Example of what CCC Yangon could acheive

Clandestine Cake Club Yangon has arrived!

Clandestine-Cake-Club
Clandestine-Cake-Club

The much anticipated CCC Yangon has arrived!  I have just arrived in Yangon, Myanmar and would like to spread my love of cakes from the UK to my new home city. 

Pistachio, Polenta and Elderflower Cake from a previous CCC club meeting in Manchester, UK
Pistachio, Polenta and Elderflower Cake from a previous CCC club meeting in Manchester, UK

 

The Clandestine Cake Club (CCC) Yangon has now been set up and the first event will be taking place in Yangon, Myanmar on Friday 15th May 2015 7-9pm. Please spread the word among fellow cake lovers and bakers! It is free to be a member of the Clandestine Cake Club. The only costs are that of the ingredients of the cake you bake to bring with them and any refreshments you buy at the host venue. (The venue is kept secret until just before the event!)

Black Sesame and Pear Cake
Black Sesame and Pear Cake from a previous CCC club meet in Manchester, UK

This is Myanmar’s first CCC group! If you love cake, this is the event for you! Let’s bake, eat and talk about cake! For more information about how to join this social gathering,please visit the website or email me (wangsamsin@gmail.com) for more information. You must become a CCC member and email me to confirm you will be coming along before you find out the venue address! (That’s why it’s clandestine!)

Example of what CCC Yangon could acheive
Example of what CCC Yangon could expect

The CCC originated in the UK and is now a world wide craze!  They take place around once a month and are open to all people, local and visitors. 

Date: Friday 15th May 2015

Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm 

Theme: ‘A World of Cakes’

Take inspiration from Myanmar’s diversity of people! You may be from another country or have travelled further afield, take inspiration from your surroundings and the places you have been. Maybe you can use locally sourced jaggery or fresh fruits grown in Myanmar? Take inspiration the Middle Eastern use of cardamom or recreate a British classic! 

Venue: Mingala Taunyyunt Township, not far from Downtown (specific address to be revealed right before the event)

Additional venue info: Refreshments will be available to purchase at the venue. 

As with all clubs there are rules and CCC is no exception.

  • No Cupcakes, Muffins, Brownies, Pies or Tart. It’s all about Cake! 
  • You get to take cake home

This event is open to all people, bakers can bring one guest who does not have to bake a cake. However spaces are limited so if this event proves very popular, a waiting list will be put in place. 

Please feel free to pass this information onto friends. Remember, only members can attend so please visit the club page on The Clandestine Cake Club website to become a member. Once you have joined CCC, you must email me to book a place otherwise I won’t know you want to attend and the venue address will not be revealed to you…

I look forward to seeing you there! 😀

Sam

xx

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Nepalese Dal Bhat: A Cracking Good Food Session

Nepalese Dal Bhat

The shocking news of the devastation caused by the earthquake on 25th April 2015 in Nepal that has seen the lives of 2000 people lost is beyond my comprehension. Just reading the stories and seeing the images on line is shocking enough, and my heart goes out to those affected. If you are able to contribute any financial support, please donate to your local Red Cross society who have set up an emergency appeal to support survivors and their families.

Nepal Earthquake Appeal

Nepal Earthquake Appeal

It is at times like these that I am reminded of my good fortune in life. To be able to live in a stable country better equiped to deal with devastating natural disasters. Although I am in Myanmar, far away from the country of Nepal, I have received numerous messages from my friends and family concerned of my welfare and worrying how I am getting on in this new country.

Dal Bhat

This post should have been written a couple of months ago, but as life got busy it got pushed further down the list of priorities. However it seems like its the right time to share these recipes now. Even though Nepal is in the midst of mass devastation there will be people who will be trying to get some normality in their lives, preparing Dal Bhat as their staple meal twice a day.

Cracking Good Food Nepalese Dal Bhat Cooking Class

Dal is an aromatic lentil soup that adds flavour to plain rice (bhat) and provides a great base for your curries. The recipes are courtesy of Momo Cooking who run fun and friendly workshop style cooking classes teaching everything you need to know about home cooked Nepalese food. As well as running their own cooking classes and catering business, they also run classes for Cracking Good Food to spread the word of great Nepalese cuisine!

Momo Cooking

Momo Cooking

Dal Bhat is the reknowned Nepali dish and a staple in the rice-cultivating regions. It generally consists of dal (lentils), baht (rice), a vegetable curry / saag, and a chutney. It is usually eaten by mixing the dal with the rice to form a soupy mixture, making a ball of the mixture with your hands, and adding curry and chutney. Hense why this post consists of three recipes! (All recipes are taken directly from Momo Cooking)

Cracking Food Good Dal Bhat cooking class

Dal

Ingredients (10 servings)

  • 200g Red lentils
  • 200g Black lentils (urid dal)
  • 2 1/2 litres water
  • 2 tsp oil
  • Fresh coriander to garnish

Spices:

  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp coriander powder
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • 3 tsp curry powder

Method

  • Rinse and drain your lentils until the water is clear
  • Add all of the water, spices and oil
  • Cover the pan and bring contents to boil. Once boiling, leave covered and simmer for around 90 minutes until the dal has reduced down and thickened into a creamy soup.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander and serve.

* Tip: To save time when cooking dal, make up a large batch and then divide and freeze individual portions. Take out and re-heat until bubbling as and when you need it. Make sure to taste your reheated dal before serving as it may need reseasoning.

Dal Bhat

Garlic Saag

Ingredients (6 servings)

  • 250g fresh spinach leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Generous pinch salt
  • 1/2 tbsp oil

Method

  • Heat oil in a pan and fry garlic until just starting to brown.
  • Add spinach, sprinkle with salt and stir fry until the spinach has wilted down.
  • Take off the heat and serve.

*Tip: Try replacing the spinach for seasonal greens such as kale or spring greens, and add a bit of heat by throwing in a bit of chopped fresh chilli.

Tomato Achaar

Tomato Achaar

Tomato Achaar

Served as a classic accompaniment to dal bhat, or with crispy papadums as a tasty snack in its own right Ingredients (6 servings)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soya beans
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh chilli, thinly sliced
  • 200 ml water
  • 1 handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Spices:

  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1tsp meat masala
  • 1tsp coriander powder
  • 1tsp garam masala
  • 1tsp mild curry powder

*Tip: If it’s hard for you to get hold of soya beans, you can replace them with fresh garden peas instead. Skip step 1 and 2 in the method, and add the peas in step 8, in place of the cooked soya beans. Remove from the heat once the peas are cooked.

Method

  • Heat the soya beans in a dry pan for about 5 minutes.
  • Move the beans around the pan regularly to ensure that they cook evenly on every side. You will know the beans are cooked when you hear small popping sounds, see small brown dots appear on the beans and you get a nutty smell coming from the pan.
  • Take beans off the heat and set aside until later.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a high sided pan, add the onions and fry until starting to brown.
  • Add turmeric and stir.
  • Add tomatoes, garlic and chilli and stir in until everything is coated with oil and turmeric.
  • Sprinkle the salt and the rest of the spices evenly across the tomatoes, add the water and stir everything through so that the spices are mixed into the curry.
  • Cover pan, bring up to a boil.
  • As tomatoes soften, use the back of a spoon to mash them together. Slowly add more water if the tomatoes seem to be drying out and catching on the pan.
  • Once all of the tomatoes have softened, add the cooked soya beans and stir through.
  • Leave on the heat for about another minute, stirring and adding splashes of water if needed.
  • Remove from the heat, garnish with fresh coriander and serve.

I’ve not included a curry recipe in this post as it’s getting far too long! Add your favouite vegetable and/or meat dishes to this for a completely satisfying meal… Enjoy! 😀

Schwedagon Pagoda

A move in the right direction, and to Yangon, Myanmar

A move in the right direction, and to Yangon, Myanmar

Myanmar

Myanmar

Now, this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute
Just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I became the princess of a town called Yangon…  

Don’t you just love the Fresh Prince? This song just came to me when I was wondering how to start off this post. It reflects my mood at this moment… 😀

You may have noticed my absence of blog posts in recent months, and having promised to keep up with it I’ve not done so well! I have really good excuses though!

Since I took a career break in September 2014, I’ve been travelling and then working to save up for more travelling! I started off waitressing full time in my aunt’s Cantonese restaurant in the Peak District, then I took on some casual freelance work with Cracking Good Food. When I no longer needed to work full time at the restaurant, I carried on working weekends then took on a temporary office admin role. This meant that for a couple of months I was working 6 or 7 days a week and rushing from one job to another. It was all worth it though, for these reasons:

  1. I discovered that I much prefer working in the hospitality industry than in a 9-5 office job
  2. I reconnected with people around me, work was social. Watching people enjoy a meal and socialise with friends and family was a joy!
  3. I was more active and felt like I had so much more energy and control over my own life
Harmoneat

Harmoneat

Now 6 months into my career break, I’m inching closer to realising what the next step is. I’ve moved to Yangon in Myanmar (Burma) to volunteer for a couple of months with a Burmese cooking school and travel around some new areas of South East Asia.

It’s been a bit of a trial for me to get to Yangon, despite booking my flight months in advance, I forgot to apply for my visa! This meant re-booking the flights and wasting a lot of money and time all because of my absent mindedness… you live and learn! 🙂

Schwedagon Pagoda

Schwedagon Pagoda

Now that I’m here, I know it was the right step to take. I feel at home here, even though I’ve hardly spent any time in this country. I found it hard to put into words why it felt so natural to be in Myanmar. Then I met a Scottish guy, Don, who knew exactly how I felt. This is how he explained it…

Most people in Myanmar are migrants. The country is made up of many ethnic minority groups, so nobody really belongs here… everyone is starting from the same position! Tom’s words helped me to put my own feelings into context and I finally understood why it was so easy to while away the hours in this beautiful country!

As a second generation British born Chinese person, I’ve never really felt that I belonged in the UK. Nor did I feel that Hong Kong was my home. The world is such a huge place that I have no idea where it is I belong, but seeing as much of it as possible may lead me in the right direction.

I’ve only been in the country for a few days and already have met a lot of new people through my work and through a ‘Yangon Foodies’ Facebook group. It’s amazing how the expat community come together and freely welcome new arrivals so easily. I guess its because everyone is away from their own families and creating seeking out a new community to ‘survive’ in.

Clandestine-Cake-Club

Clandestine-Cake-Club

One way I’m planning on bringing a little piece of Britain to Yangon is to set up a new Clandestine Cake Club right here in Yangon! I’ve been part of this cake club back home for a while, getting to meet ups when I can. It just seemed wuite natual that I would start a club up in Yangon so I can continue to eat a lot of cake but also share the love of cake with the lovely people of Myanmar! #bringingcommunitiestogetherthroughfood

Clandestine Cake Club Spread

Previous UK Clandestine Cake Club Spread

So this is the start of a new chapter in my life. Hopefully I’ll get some answers to my currently unknown questions… and maybe I’ll finish this post before the battery on my laptop runs out. The frequent power cuts are not fun!

Black Forest Cake: A CCC post

Black Forest Cake: Childhood Sweethearts

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

This post comes a couple of months late, but by heck have I been busy! Another post will explain all…

For my most recent Clandestine Cake Club meet up the theme was ‘Childhood Sweethearts’ which made me instantly think- “Blackforest Gateaux!”

I think I’ve said this on previous posts but basically my favourite cake is ‘Blackforest’ as it is the cake I always remember from childhood birthday parties. Back then it was the Sara-Lee frozen kind and more recently, home baked creations by my mum. It’s something about the way the sour cherries cut through the sweetness of the cake and the whipped cream balances out the bitterness of the dark chocolate… or am I over-thinking this? 😀

It’s not the first time I’ve made this recipe, in fact I made mini versions for a Christmas afternoon tea (not Christmas themed, but it took place on Boxing Day!). Despite making up the recipe as I went along at Christmas, the turned out quite well. This time, it wasn’t so! After a couple of attempts at the chocolate sponge, I ended up with something passable but not my best baking to date. What can I say? For me, baking under pressure does not result in a tasty cake!

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

Ingredients:

  • 200g good quality dark chocolate
  • 200g butter
  • 85g self-raising flour
  • 85g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 75ml milk
  • grated chocolate to decorate
  • 1 can or jar of cherries (use fresh pitted cherries if in season), saving some for decorating
  • 3 tbs sour cherry jam
  • 1 tbs cornflour
  • 750ml double cream
  • 1 tbs icing sugar

Method:

  • Butter a 20cm round cake tin and line the base. Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/ gas 3.
  • Break 200g good quality dark chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy-based pan. Cut 200g butter into pieces and tip in with the chocolate, then mix 1 tbsp instant coffee granules into 125ml cold water and pour into the pan. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted – don’t overheat.
  • While the chocolate is melting, mix 85g self-raising flour, 85g plain flour, ¼ bicarbonate of soda, 200g light muscovado sugar, 200g golden caster sugar and 25g cocoa powder in a big bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat 3 medium eggs in a bowl and stir in 75ml milk
  • Pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, quite runny consistency. Pour this into the tin and bake for 1 hour 25- 1 hour 30 minutes – if you push a skewer in the centre it should come out clean and the top should feel firm. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • While the cake is baking, warm through 3 tbs cherry jam in a saucepan and add the whole cherries. Stir in 1 tbs cornflour to help thicken the mixture, ensuring there are no lumps of flour remaining. Set aside to cool completely.
  • Whip the double cream with 1tbs icing sugar until soft peaks form.

To build the final cake:

  • When the cake is cold, cut it horizontally into two or three layers depending on how much it has risen and how confident you are that it won’t fall apart!
  • Using just under a third of the whipped cream, evenly cover the bottom layer of sponge then add a third of the cherry jam filling
  • Top this layer with another layer of cake and repeat the previous step. Do this again if you have a three layer cake, ensuring you have enough cream and cherry filling for each layer.
  • Decorate the top with piped cream and grated chocolate. Decorate the cake with the saved cherries as you see fit. I took inspiration from Sara-Lee’s classic frozen Black-forest Gateau for mine!
Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake