Friday, May 30, 2008
This Food Exchange Program that I had in mind is mainly to round up a few ardent and enthusiastic people who like to cook or bake and also has an intention to improve their cooking/baking skills. The idea is that we will have a forum to share (haha.. I wanted to say off-load... so rude hor) our creations with a few who will give genuine and honest opinions and suggestions on improvements. I wonder if many will be game for this as I truly believe that only with honest opinions (even though the truth does hurt.. sometimes) can I improve on my cooking.
At the moment, unofficially I already have Babe and Sue in this food exchange program (actually, they have no choice as they are already in by default). I wonder if Supes are interested? How about you Amy? And anyone who is interested, just leave me a comment.
I have made some of these mango cream cheese tarts for the food exchange program but last nite, some test bunnies came over and ate every last crumb. Oh well, lucky for the weekend coming up. Can relax tonight and decide what to "create" over the weekend. Have a great weekend everybody :D
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
This is going to be a post which I did over two days. Yesterday, all I had time to do was post up the pictures. Did not have the time to put in the recipe. Furthermore, I was still trying to adjust the recipe, especially the base. I still had a lot of base left and that was the reason for the Mango Yogurt cake.
The ingredients below has already been adjusted. I will most likely be making one more cheesecake by the next 2 weeks. This is an Oreo cheesecake using Toblerone chocolate as the filling. This recipe was given to me by my friend Sue. It is going to be an extremely sweet cake, I am sure :). I'll do it when I have picked up all the ingredients.
1 tube of Oreo biscuits
60g of melted butter
200g of whipping cream
2 tbsp of gelatin
6 tbsp of water
120g of caster sugar
150ml of full cream milk
5 pieces of Oreo biscuits (coarsely chopped)
For the Base
- Crush the Oreo biscuits either with a blender or put them in a zip lock bag and crush them with your pestle.
- Leave the butter out in the open for ½ hr to soften it.
- Use your fingers to mix the crushed Oreo biscuits with the butter.
- Line the baking tin with aluminum foil as this will really ease the removal of the cake from the tin later.
- Place the biscuit mix into the pan and press down with a spatula to ensure uniform thickness.
- Place in the fridge for about an hour to set the base.
For the filling
- The cream cheese should have been left in the open for about ½ hr or so to soften it.
- Place it in a mixer and mix until the cream cheese turns creamy.
- Slowly add in the whipping cream
- Put this aside whilst you prepare the next lot of ingredients
- Dissolve the gelatin in water. Set aside.
- Dissolve the sugar in the milk either using a microwave oven or in a double boiler. Leave aside to cool.
- Place the dissolved gelatin and sugar and milk into the bowl of cream cheese and whipping cream
- Mix well until they are all combined.
- Add in the 5 pieces of coarsely chopped Oreo biscuits
- Take out the chilled Oreo biscuit base from the fridge and pour the mixture into the pan.
- Put the cheesecake into the fridge to be chilled for at least 3 hours or overnight would be even better.
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Monday, May 26, 2008
I am still trying to make the ultimate non-baked cheese cake and that was exactly what I did on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. More about that later. I had made 2 pans of biscuit base but as I only had enough Oreos for 1 cake, I had to decide what to do with the other base. I didn't want to leave it in the fridge just like that when I remembered babe showing me a site some time last week with the recipe for a yogurt cake. I checked all the ingredients and wallah.. I didn't exactly have everything in the list but I'll just have to make do.
The original yogurt recipe was from Tazz in the Kitchen. I had to improvise as I did not have all the items listed, or rather, I did not have them in sufficient quantities. I wonder what my test bunnies had to say about that...a rather funny mixture of taste probably.
Tazz's recipe has been reproduced below with my adjustments in green.
Ingredients for the base:
crumbs from 7 pieces of disgestive biscuits
40g melted butter
(i used the remains from the Oreo Cheesecake base)
Ingredients for the filling:
100g sugarless natural yogurt (mango flavored yogurt)
150ml yakult (natural flavored & apple flavored vitagen)
1 tbsp lemon juice
150ml non-diary whipping cream
1 tbsp gelatin
3 tbsp sugar (2 tbsp sugar since the yogurt and vitagen are already sweet)
Grated lemon zest (left this out)
2 large mangos, one for filling and the other for decoration
1/3 pkt Jello
120ml hot water
1/2 tsp gelatin
Friday, May 23, 2008
Most of the time my inspiration comes as a result of interacting with others. Was on the Yahoo Messenger with my gal pal Susan the last few days and we were chatting on and on about baking and everything related to it. She mentioned that it is her colleague's birthday on Friday (which is today) and she wanted to bake something nice for her (I just assumed that it is a girl colleague...haha.. i know that it is very presumptuous of me to think that only girls appreciate baked gifts).
We have been looking up blogs to learn more about about baking and specifically cupcake decoration. My current favorite 3 sites baking sites are Yasmin's Baking Project, Aunty Yochana's Yochana's Cake Delight and Melinda's Apple Kitchen.
By the end of yesterday afternoon, I have already made up my mind to bake something which I have not attempted before (yah..I know it can be risky business but this is what I do for kicks...I like trying new recipes). Went checking out some recipe blogs and found this at Cooks.com, Mixed Peel Muffin. So, printed out the recipe from Cooks.com and was so excited to go home to try it out. Left the office on the dot, before my boss could even realize that it's already knock off time :).
The ingredients and the method have been reproduced here from Cooks.com Recipe Search.
1 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. poppy seeds
1 heaping tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. melted butter
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
2 lg. eggs
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon (this I replaced with 1 cup of mixed peel)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Line muffin tins with paper liners.
- Combine dry ingredients and blend well.
- Mix melted butter and lemon juice. Add eggs and rind.
- Stir egg mixture into dry ingredients and stir just enough to moisten.
- Pour batter into liners, filling just to lip. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until nicely browned.
- Remove muffins from pan and cool totally before you start decorating with buttercream and fondant.
Played with some fondant and buttercream for the decoration. Was using the Melinda's formula for the fondant. If you want it, do please get in touch with Melinda. The butter cream was the same one I used previously except I added some shortening, based on Min's advice.
These are the results of what started out as a conversation with a friend and inspirations from the foodie bloggers, especially those 3 whom I've mentioned above :)
This lot will be going to Susan's colleague... Happy Birthday and Many Happy Returns !!
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
A very long time ago, I made an attempt to cook Nasi Biryani to JW's pot luck dinner and back then, I did not follow any recipe from the internet or book. It was a pure guessing game for me. I cooked it exactly the way I would cook claypot chicken rice, except instead of frying the ginger, chinese mushroom with the seasonings before adding in the rice, for the Nasi Biryani, I fried all the spices, cashew nuts and raisins before adding in the rice. That method is simple and I reckon quite yummy.
However, this time, when JW invited us to another of her pot luck dinner, I decided to be smart. Surfed the net and found a recipe for Indian Chicken Nasi Biryani. It took quite a lot more work than what I would have like. I think my mistake is that the recipe would really work if you were making Chicken or Lamb Nasi Biryani. But I only wanted to cook the rice without the meat. Hence, the result was a soggier version of how I would have preferred my rice to be. And at the dinner, someone commented that the rice was not salty enough. Sigh.. another one that takes me back to the drawing board.
The recipe which I used was from Recipes Indian and I have reproduced both the ingredients and the methods below.
3 1/2 lb./ 1 1/2kg Chicken
1/8 tsp Ground turmeric
1/2 cup Sour cream
1 cup Crispy fried onions
2 tbsp Garam masala
1 3" cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp Brown
3 Star anise
2 tbsp Cumin seeds
5 Small green chilies
5 cloves Garlic
2 tsp Paprika
Salt to taste
4 cups Rice, washed
3 Cinnamon sticks
6 Bay leaves
8 Cardamom pods
1 tsp Brown mustard seeds
3 Pandan leaves
10 cups Water
1 cup Milk
1 tsp Whole saffron
1 cup Frozen green peas
1/2 cup Dark raisins
2 tbsp Vegetable oil
100g Butter or Gee
Some mint leaves
Salt to taste
- Mix the chicken pieces with sour cream, ground turmeric and salt & let it sit for about 2 hours.
- Mix crispy onions with garam masala and set aside.
- Roast the cinnamon stick, brown mustard seeds, star anise, cloves, cumin seeds in a dry skillet. Pound them together in a mixer. Set aside.
- Pound the garlic and green chilies together.
- Mix marinated chicken with crispy onions mix, ground spices, paprika, garlic and green chilies. Set aside.
- Soak saffron in the warm milk and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a skillet and add butter,add 1 cinnamon stick and 3 bay leaves and fry until nice aroma comes out. Set aside.
- Boil the water in a large pan and stir in cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 bay leaves, & brown mustard seeds.
- Add rice, pandan leaves and cook until 2/3 done. (do not cover the pan while rice is cooking)
- Drain the rice and discard the pandan leaves. Mix the rice with salt for taste.
- Place all the marinated chicken in a pan. Add a layer of rice on the chicken and sprinkle with some colored milk, fragrant butter, green peas, dark raisins & mint leaves. Repeat the layers with the same order and bake in 325 deg F oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the chicken is done. (must have at least 2 layers).
- Ready to Serves.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I have been trying to enroll for a cheesecake class with my friend Susan at Melinda Apple Bakings but somehow the timing just wasn't right. Anyway, I have been looking at recipes from a cookbook plus that posted by several bloggers. Some are much harder to do than others and not being overly ambitions, I chose a highly simplistic recipe and added some fruits into the cheesecake to give it a little bit of added flavor.
I have made no bake cheesecakes in the past (oreo cheesecake and peach cheesecake) but i have yet to find one that I am totally happy with. I have found another one and this time, the filling was quite okay but I think the ingredients resulted in a tad too much base. I have to reduce the quantity of biscuits and butter for the base. I didn't make that big a cake and as I did this on Sunday night, by the time it was Tuesday, there was not much cake left. Could only bring 2 pieces to pass to Susan to test it out for me. I will have to wait for her verdict before I try to do it again. The other test bunnies had only this to say "Why is your base so thick ah??" Sigh.... back to the drawing board..
Will post the recipe only when I get it right :). So, watch this space.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I have always loved peas even as a child and back then, mum only buys peas in a can and never those frozen ones as those were more expensive. This is a very simple dish that mum used to make that will definitely make lunch or dinner time a wonderful meal for me. The meat for this dish can either be pork or chicken. Not sure if it will taste the same with beef or mutton but pork and chicken are my preferred red meat.
This is mum's recipe for one of my favorite meat dish...Pork Fillet with Canned Peas.
6 slices of chicken breast meat or pork loins
1 tsp of sesame seed oil *
1 tsp of light soya sauce *
1/2 tsp of sugar *
1/2 tsp of salt *
a dash of pepper *
1 can of Green Peas (drained as we don't want the water that the peas were soaking in)
1/2 large onion (sliced)
*all this is used to marinade the meat
- Taking a chopper or mallet, pound the chicken breast meat or pork lions. This makes it very tender to eat, without having to use meat tenderizer
- Put in all the marinade ingredients with the meat and leave for 20-30 minutes
- Heat up a little oil in the wok/pan and put in the sliced onions.
- When the onions start to soften, add in the meat.
- If it gets too dry, sprinkle a little water into the wok/pan
- When the meat starts to turn nice and slightly golden, add in the green peas
- Depending on the brand of Green Peas that you buy, some are softer than others. For those which are rather hard, you may need to cover your wok/pan for a minute or so to soften them
- Once the peas are soft, add a little bit of water (if you like gravy) with a little corn starch.
- Add a little salt and sugar for taste.
- Ready to be served.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Of late, everyone has been complaining about the heat. I have been blog surfing and many have been complaining of lethargy, sleepless nights and sore throats. Well, I know something that loves the hot weather .... and that is bread dough. I must be getting out of my own lazy lethargic state. As I was on my way home yesterday, I have already made up my mind to try make buns when I got back.
First thing to do was to dig up the recipe from Aunty Yochana again for her roti kaset. I did this previously using the bread machine and the results were pretty good and I was happy with it. However, this time, I decided that I will not use the bread machine and to use manual labor instead (not by choice as I do not have those heavy duty mixer, only a hand mixer which I think will not be able to handle this type of dough). Hence, it was a hand made dough this time and it took much longer to get the results. By the time the buns were ready, it was almost 11:30pm. The meat buns were a little too tanned.... but this I blame it on Astro TV. Was too engrossed with a show on tv that I forgot to watch the buns :(.... never mind lah.. what to do.. an amateur is an amateur.
The results were 5 red beans buns....
and 8 meat buns.
Will let 2 test bunnies have a go at it to later. Ate 2 meat buns and a bean bun myself and I do feel that there is a very obvious difference with making the dough by hand and making the dough with the bread machine. The texture is much better with the manual labored bread. I'll wait for my test bunnies to comment on it later ;).
The bread dough recipe has been reproduced below to convenient those who would like to try it.
130g of cold water
2 large eggs
75g of shortening (or margarine)
300g of Bread flour (sieved)
100g of Plain flour (sieved)
20g of milk powder
75g of sugar
11g of Instant Yeast
The method is exactly as that posted in Aunty Yochana's blog with some slight amendments.
- Mix all the ingredients for the bread dough together except the margarine and salt.
- After 10 mins of kneading, add in salt and margarine and continue kneading for another 5 mins or till a pliable dough is formed. Dough must be soft and not rubbery. Rest dough for 45 mins.
- Weigh and divide into 12 pieces of dough. Roll into round balls and let it rest for 10 mins.
- Wrap up the dough with preferred fillings. Let it rest for 45 mins.
- Glaze with beaten egg. Bake at 180C for about 25 mins.
- Leave to cool on a cooling rack.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Ha Ha.. what a title. In fact, I have been holding onto this post for a while... in search of the right name for those little tiny silver fishies (ngan yee chye). I do love eating them and I also heard mum say that they are very rich in calcium. See not all things good for you tastes bad.
This is a rather special type of stir fry kai lan as the leafy part of the kai lan is the unusual part of the dish, and not the tiny silver fish. You have to fry the leaves first to make it crunchy. It is rather appetizing, and a good inducement for people and kiddos who do not really like the green taste of the leafy part of the vegetable.
For this dish, what you do is firstly clean the kai lan in a bit of salt water. Mum says this is to "disinfect" the vegetable and since mum knows best, I do not question her.. just do as instructed.
Wash the little silver fishes and rinse well as they are sometimes a bit dirty as I have seen them being dried on the sun uncovered. You just don't know what has landed on them.
Take out the kai lan and cut the leafy part from the stem. Try to shake the leaves as dry as you can. Then using your knife (chopper), slice the leafy part. These are to be fried in oil and when they are done, take them out and sprinkle in some salt.
Cook the stems like normal. Put a little oil in the pan/wok and put in some slice or chopped garlic when the oil is hot. Put in the little fishy when the garlic turns aromatic. Stir them abit and put in the kai lan stem. Add a little salt and rice wine (optional). Once they are done, quickly stir in the fried leaves and turn off the fire. Serve with rice.
By the way, does anyone know what these little fishies are called? This mystery is killing me!
Friday, May 9, 2008
This is what mum sometimes makes for Sunday lunches as Wonton Mee (Noodles) with Sui Kow soup is one of my dad's favorite food. At one time, she even went to the extend of filleting her own fish to make make fish paste for the dumplings until her hairdresser told her that buying the fish paste from the market is not going to make that much of a difference to the taste plus it is much less work. Since then, we seemed to have Sui Kow in soup a little bit more often :)
The Wonton Mee that she buys from the market are normally the ones with egg in the ingredients to make the mee. The ones without eggs are not as nice to eat but it is cater to strict vegetarians who do not consume eggs. I normally like mine wonton noodles dry but I will have the sui kow in soup...see greedy.. end up having everything.
I found that sui kow is simple to make as one can change the recipe according to one's preference. Like for instance, if you don't like fish paste, you could change it to mince chicken or pork. Mushrooms, carrots, water chestnuts, chinese black fungus can be added or done away with. Green peas can be added if one likes green peas. Hence, one can really play with the ingredients according to one's preference. Anyway, what I have done is just reproduced what mum normally puts in her Sui Kows and for the soup, it is always ikan bilis (anchovies) soup.. the real type..not the stock cubes. Actually, I can taste the difference.
150g fish paste
100g shelled prawns (chopped)
5 pcs of water chestnuts (chopped)
1 carrot (diced or julienned)
2-3 pcs of chinese black fungus (sliced) - can be replaced with shitake mushrooms
spring onions (chopped)
1/4 cup of green peas (optional, will put only if we have some in the freezer)
sui kow skins
1/4 tsp of light soya sauce
3/4 tsp of corn flour
2 tsp of sesame oil
salt and sugar to taste
a dash of pepper
- Mix the fish paste and the chopped prawns in a bowl. Stir to mix well.
- Add the seasonings into the meat. Make sure the seasonings are well combined into the meat. Leave for about 1/2 hr in the fridge
- After 1/2 hr, remove the meat from the fridge and add in the rest of the ingredients and give it a good stir
- Take a piece of the sui kow wrapper and place a spoonful of the meat mixture in the middle of the wrapper.
- Place a bit of water on the edge of the wrapper, fold it into half and seal.
- Heat up some water in a pot and when the water is boiling, place the sui kows in.
- When the sui kows are cooked, they will float to the surface.
- Remove and place in a bowl. Add in the ikan bilis soup.
- Serve with some chopped spring onions for garnishing. I added some lettuce into my ikan bilis soup pot just before I turned off the heat to give it some color variation
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
As promised, I have managed to take a photo of the Japanese Breadcrumbs which I used for the coating of these prawns. Somehow, I am quite sure that it was these breadcrumbs that made the difference in the normal deep fried prawns that I have eaten in the past. It stayed nice and crunchy even after some time. I suppose if this is the case, then this particular dish can be done up and served as a snack, especially for your favorite guy(s) whilst he or they are watching football. Ha Ha.. I think my sister-in-law is not going to thank me for this as my brother is a football fanatic (crazy MU fan).
This is the recipe for the Crispy Deep Fried Prawns
12-15 Medium -sized prawns
1/2 tsp with
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 egg (beaten)
Oil for frying
Batter for frying
2 tbsp of plain flour *
2 tbsp of corn flour*
3 tbsp of breadcrumbs (Ottogi)*
* mixed together
- Shell prawns, leaving only the tails intact
- Slit the back to remove the veins, wash and pat dry
- Add in the marinade and leave for at least 30 mins
- Heat oil in a wok or a pan. Test the hotness of the oil by dipping a chopstick. When bubbles form around the chopstick, then the oil is hot enough
- Take a prawn from the marinade and dip it into the beaten egg.
- Remove from the egg and roll it into the batter.
- Shake out the excess batter and place prawn in the hot oil.
- Repeat with the rest of the prawns
- Fry the prawns until they turn golden brown
- Remove and drain on the paper towel
- Serve hot or cold on its own, or with chillie sauce or mayonnaise
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
The ingredients and the method of cooking of this pork ribs soup is exactly the same as that for the ABC soup. Only difference is the meat itself and also as I think I am also coming down with the sniffles, I added a handful of peppercorns into the soup.
Pork ribs (1 used only about 300g)
1 big onion
salt to taste
- Put 3000ml of water into a pot to boil
- When the water is boiling, add in the ribs, onion and potatoes. Boil for 10 minutes in high heat.
- Add in some slightly crushed pepper corns
- Turn the heat down and add in the carrots and tomatoes.
- Leave it to boil at this heat for about an hour.
- Add some salt and a little pepper to taste before serving.
Monday, May 5, 2008
This is my second attempt and this time, I followed Florence's recipe to the letter and the results were much better. The recipe has been reproduced below.
100g chocolate chips
200g top flour
25g milk powder
15g castor sugar
1) Sift the flour, cornflour and milk powder.
2) Cream the butter and Horlicks for 3 minutes at low speed. Do not overbeat.
3) Add the sifted flour and beat for about one minute to form a dough.
4) Divide dough into 10g each. Embed 3 chocolate chips into each piece of dough and roll into a ball.
5) Insert 2 pieces of Koko Krunch to form the ears and 1 chocolate chip as the nose.
6) Bake at 140 degC for about 25 minutes.
7) Cool before storing.
This is the 2nd attempt, which I did on Saturday morning. There were not enough cookies from the 1st attempt to give to my nephews and niece but I did share the photos with my brother, of which he commented "You sure they are dogs? They look like pandas lah.. cept for the ears". So, this time, I have some slit-ty eyed doggies. Which led to one of my nephew asking, "Why are some of the dogs eyes like that?". I told him " Those are chinese doggies lah... flat nose, beady eyes"..haha..Can't please everybody.