Thursday, April 29, 2010

Steamed Chicken with Gravy

A simple and easy dish to prepare for dinner. It's delicious, very tasty and it doesn't take much time to prepare. I like to steam the chicken till well done where you wont find any traces of slightly red or pinkish meat meaning that the meat is slightly undercooked. After steaming, there would be some steaming liquid in the steaming tray, this is the liquid collected from the chicken and very tasty. It is then used to cook the gravy and pour over the chicken. Delicious! Try out this simple, easy and tasty Chinese dish. Enjoy!

Steamed chicken cut to bite-sized pieces

Pour gravy over and enjoy!

Steamed Chicken with Gravy
Ingredients for steaming
half chicken
1 tbsp ginger juice
some salt

Ingredients for the gravy
2 tbsp chopped ginger
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped red chilli
2 tbsp chopped spring onion
some cornstarch solution

Method :
To steam chicken :
Clean chicken and put on steaming tray. Rub ginger juice and salt all over chicken half. Steam on high heat about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken and keep aside to cool. Retain liquid from steaming tray. Keep aside. When chicken is cool, cut to bite sized pieces and arrange on a plate.

To prepare the gravy :
Heat about 1 tbsp oil. Saute minced ginger and garlic till fragrant and slightly brown. Add in minced red chilli and stir for a minute. Pour in the liquid retained from above and let it simmer for about 1-2 minutes. Test for saltiness, add salt if necessary. Add in chopped spring onion and some cornstarch solution. Stir and pour gravy over chopped chicken. Serve.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

French Baguette

French Baguette is one of my favourite bread. It can be eaten plain as it is, with or without butter, or it can be toasted or baked with any topping you fancy, spread it with butter and garlic, wrapped in aluminium foil and baked it for a delightful garlic bread or just dip it in your favourite soup ! This recipe is so easy to follow. I use my bread machine to do all the kneading! I'm really lazy at kneading. The crust is so deliciously crispy (as it should be!) and the bread is soft inside. Couldn't wait for the bread to cool, sliced one immediately and eat it. Soooooo.... crispy! As breakfast for the kids, I top it with sausages, cheese, tomatoes and bake it for a few minutes. They love it! My son says "Tastes like mini pizza, very nice!". Top it with anything you like, the next time I'm gonna try with tuna, or maybe minced chicken, or maybe ham with sour cream.... the list is endless! Try it, it's a healthy breakfast and an after-school snack. Enjoy!

French Baguette
(adapted from "The World of Bread" by Alex Goh)
Ingredients A

90gm plain flour
360gm bread flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3 tsp instant yeast

Ingredient B
250-260ml water

Ingredient C
10gm shortening

Method :
  1. Mix A till well blended.
  2. Add B and knead to form a dough.
  3. Add C and knead to form a smooth and elastic dough.
  4. Leave it to rise for 45 minutes.
  5. Divide the dough into 3 pieces, mould them into balls and let them rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Flatten the dough and make them into stick shapes about 30cm long.
  7. Leave them to prove for 30 minutes.
  8. Brush them with water and slash the tops with a sharp knife 3 or 4 times.
  9. Bake at 220C for 25 minutes.
(my notes : I use butter instead of shortening. I put everything in the bread machine up to end of step 4)

My topping recipe :
2 sausages (the ones with mushroom)
2 red cherry tomatoes
2 yellow cherry tomatoes
2 slices cheddar cheese
some coriander
dash of black pepper

Chop sausages, tomatoes and coriander to small cubes. Cut the cheddar cheese to bigger cubes.
Mix everything together in a bowl with dash of black pepper. Slice the french baguette diagonally and butter on one side. Scoop topping and place on buttered side. Bake in oven (or toaster oven) at 150C for about 3-5 minutes, or until bread is crispy and cheese melts. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Apple Pie

The crave for apple pie has been on my mind for several weeks now. You can hardly find any apple pie selling at the local bakery. The only one that I can think of is from McDonalds. But this is "fast food apple pie".What I want is the traditional old-fashioned american apple pie! So the only way that I'm gonna have it is to make it myself. This recipe was taken from 'Joy of Baking' who sourced it from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'Pie and Pastry Bible'. It is really delicious. I'm not posting this recipe as it is too lengthy. If you want the recipe, just visit the website of 'Joy of Baking', a really wonderful and informative website on baking. The pastry is slightly crumbly with a light crispy crunch and the apples are just perfectly moist and soft, full of flavour. Try it out and you will be rewarded with the most delicious apple pie! Enjoy! Mmmm.....

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

I have a list of recipes from Alex Goh's books that I intend to try out. This is one of them. I made pumpkin bread using my Kenwood mixer but it stops turning a few times during kneading and after almost twenty minutes, the dough is still not smooth but sticky! So I switch to my bread machine. Took out the dough and put everything in the bread machine and let the machine do all the kneading! Within minutes, the dough looks all smooth and round. (the next time, I'm gonna let the bread machine do all the kneading! I use the Kenwood mixer earlier because it is already on my kitchen counter whereas the bread machine is kept in my little 'store' corner and I was lazy to take it out!). The bread machine even proof the dough beautifully. The next step is to remove the dough, shape it and let it rise again in the baking pan. Egg wash the surface and the bread is ready for baking.

The dough rose beautifully in the bread machine. Time to remove and shape it.

Cover with cling film and leave it to rise about 45 minutes

After about 1 hour

Egg wash top of bread, sprinkle with extra pumpkin seeds and ready for the oven.

Freshly baked pumpkin bread!

Yum, really good with black coffee!

The texture of this bread is soft although it is not as fluffy as the ones in the bakery (I bet they use dough softener!), it is good enough for me and it goes well with black coffee. Try this healthy bread, full of fiber and the colour is beautiful without adding any colourings at all. When you buy the pumpkin, choose one that is dark orange in colour. Here's the recipe. Happy baking!

Pumpkin Bread
(adapted from "Magic Bread" by Alex Goh)
Ingredients A
100gm bread flour
85gm boiling water

Ingredients B
400gm bread flour
40gm sugar
1 tsp salt
15gm milk powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
8gm instant yeast

Ingredient C
120gm pumpkin (cooked and mashed)

Ingredient D
150gm cold water

Ingredient E
60gm butter

Ingredient F
80gm pumpkin seeds

Method :
  1. Add the boiling water from A into flour, mix until well blended to form dough. Cover and set aside to cool. Keep it into refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
  2. Mix B until well blended. Add in C and D, knead to form rough dough. Add in A and knead until well blended.
  3. Add in E, mix to form a smooth and elastic dough. Add in F, mix until well combined.
  4. Cover it and let it proof for 40 minutes.
  5. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and mould it round. Place 6 pieces of dough into a 24 x 13 x 7cm pan. Makes 2 loafs. Let it proof for 45 minutes or until double its size.
  6. Egg wash the surface and sprinkle some pumpkin seeds on top. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes.
(my notes : brush top of bread with melted butter immediately after baking for a shining and glossy finish)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Homemade Pasta

I have a new kitchen toy! Being "toying" around to get this kitchen gadget for soooooo long! No more "toying" around. Bought one home and couldn't wait to use it. Introducing my new kitchen toy the "Pasta & Noodle Machine". So, it only make sense that the first recipe to "open ceremony" is to make pasta! Since this is not an electrical appliance, I wash it and wipe it dry. Then I look at the instruction leaflet, to my horror it states that never, never wash this machine with water or in the dishwasher. This instruction is on the last page of the manual listed under "maintenance of the machine" .Oh gosh! how should I know. The first thing we usually do when using anything when it is new is to wash it first before using! I quickly took a dry cloth and wipe it again and hope that it won't damage (maybe rust?) in corners that I can't wipe! Well, I guess that I shouldn't have assumed that since it is not an electrical gadget, it is okay to wash with water. Read the manual instruction first!! Anyway, I still think that this important information should be listed FIRST in the manual.

I was very excited about making pasta. This is the first time I'm making one. It turned out not too bad but there is still room for improvement! I need more practice. I thought that homemade pasta would take a shorter time to cook but it takes almost as long to boil as the packaged pasta. The colour of the dough is a nice corn yellow but turns to almost white when it is cooked. I made meatball with tomato gravy to go with this pasta.

Here's the recipe for the pasta.

Basic Plain Dough for Pasta
(adapted from "The Essential Pasta Cookbook")
300gm plain flour
3 large eggs
30ml olive oil (optional)
pinch of salt

Method :
  1. To mix the dough by hand, mound the plain flour on a work surface or in a large ceramic bowl and then make a well in the centre.
  2. Break the eggs into the well and add the oil if using, and a large pinch of salt. Using a fork, begin to whisk the eggs and oil together, incorporating a little of the flour as you do so.
  3. Gradually blend the flour with the eggs, working from the centre out. Use your free hand to hold the mound in place and stop leakage if any of the egg escapes.
  4. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface with smooth, light strokes, turning it as you fold and press. It should be soft and pliable, but dry to the touch. If it is sticky, knead in a little flour.
  5. It will take at leat 6 minutes kneading to achieve a smooth and elastic texture with a slightly glossy appearance. If durum wheat semolina is used, the kneading will take a little longer, at least 8 minutes. Put the dough in a plastic bag without sealing, or cover with a tea towel or an upturned bowl. Allow to rest for 30 minutes. The dough can be made in a food processor.

Rolling and Cutting With A Hand-Cranked Machine
  1. Clamp the machine securely onto the edge of your work surface. Divide the dough into three or four portions and shape each into a rough log. Keeping the unworked portions covered, take one and flatten it by one or two rolls with a rolling pin. Dust lightly with flour.
  2. With the machine's roller at the widest setting, crank the dough through two or three times. Fold it in thirds, turn the dough 90 degrees and feed through again. If the dough feels damp or tends to stick, lightly flour the outside surfaces each time it is rolled until it passesm through cleanly. Repeat this folding and rolling process eight to ten times, or until the dough is a smooth and elastic sheet with a velvety appearance. From now on the dough is not folded.
  3. Reduce the width of the rollers by one setting and pass the dough through. Repeat, setting the rollers one notch closer each time until you have rolled the desired thickness. Some machines may roll the sheets too thinly on their last setting, tearing them. A way around this is to stop at the second last setting and roll the dough through several times. It will come out a little thinner each time. This step also applies to machines that don't roll the pasta thinly enough on the last setting.
  4. As each sheet is completed, place it on a dry tea towel. Leave uncovered to surface dry for 10 minutes if the sheets are to be cut, but cover them if they are to be used for filled pasta.
  5. For lasagne sheets, cut the pasta to the desired size. For narrower lengths, select the appropriate cutters on the machine and crank each pasta sheet through it. Spread them on the tea towel until ready to be cooked, only covering them if they appear to be drying too much. Long pasta such as tagliatelle can be hung to surface dry on broom handles or long wooden spoons between two chairs.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Stir-Fried Cincaluk Pork

Cincaluk. Either you love it or hate it! It is an acquired taste. This delicacy is loved by almost every Babas and Nyonyas. Cincaluk is a mixture of raw small shrimps, cold cooked rice and salt. This combination is then left in a cool place for the fermentation process until it is ready to be consumed. It is sold packed in glass bottles and can be found in almost every supermarkets, wet markets, even in some restaurants in Malacca. Cincaluk can be used in cooking or eaten as it is as an accompaniment to other dishes by adding sliced fresh chilli, sliced shallots and lime juice.

Needless to say, my family just love cincaluk. When used in cooking, remember that it is very salty, so do not use too much. To reduce the saltiness, just use the required amount and put it in a small bowl, add some hot water and wash away the saltiness by draining the cincaluk. Repeat this process once or twice (depending on the saltiness of the cincaluk) and the drained cincaluk is ready for cooking. This method is suitable if you are making Cincaluk Omelette. Now I do not know how to describe the taste of cincaluk. It is salty and the smell is well, it is the smell of fermented shrimp! Those who do not care for this delicacy, say that it stinks! But for those of us who loves cincaluk, this is a wonderful stink! What else can I say, except, try it yourself!

This delicious recipe is from the cookbook, "Nyonya Flavours". It is really tasty eaten with plain white rice. Simple, quick and yummy. Try it out!

Stir-Fried Cincaluk Pork
(adapted from the cookbook "Nyonya Flavours")

2-3 tbsp oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 tbsp cincaluk
300gm pork fillet, thinly sliced
1 tbsp tamarind juice
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 red chilli, seeded and sliced diagonally
1 green chilli, seeded and sliced diagonally

Method :
  1. Heat up the oil in a wok over medium heat to fry the shallot until crisp and golden brown. Dish out and set aside.
  2. In the remaining oil, fry the garlic slices until fragrant and just lightly browned. Remove half of the garlic and set aside before adding the cincaluk.
  3. Saute the cincaluk until fragrant before adding the meat. Stir-fry for a few seconds and add the tamarind juice, sugar and salt. Allow to cook for 10-20 minutes.
  4. Lastly, add the chillies. Turn off the heat, dish out onto a serving plate and top with the shallot crisps and fried garlic slices.
(my notes : I only used 2 tbsp cincaluk and omitted the salt. It is salty enough.)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Japanese Pastry

This is a great snack over the weekend. It is crispy and if you are generous with the sugar topping, you will be rewarded with a sweet, crispy, delicious snack. It really is quite easy to do, except that it takes about a whole day to complete it, with the folding, waiting, folding, waiting, folding, waiting....refrigerate, then bake.... But in the end, you will be pleased with the result. The children will love this. This delicious snack is from Alex Goh's "Baking Code". Have fun trying and enjoy !

Japanese Pastry
(adapted from "Baking Code" by Alex Goh)
Puff Pastry
Ingredients A
300gm plain flour
100gm bread flour
40gm butter
1/8 tsp salt
15gm sugar
1 egg
160gm water

Ingredient B
300gm pastry margarine

adequate sugar

Method :
  1. Mix ingredients A, knead to form smooth dough. Let is rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Roll out the dough into rectangular shape.
  3. Place the pastry margarine onto half side of the dough then wrap it up.
  4. Roll out the dough into 1.5cm thick and fold the two ends to the centre then form a book fold with 4 layers. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Repeat step 4 three more times.
  6. Roll out the puff pastry into 3mm thick and 20x30cm rectangular shape, then brush the top with water.
  7. Roll it up like a swiss roll. Keep refrigerated for at least 3 hours to let it firm.
  8. Cut it into 10mm thick, coat both sides with sugar. Roll it to 2mm thick oval shape.
  9. Place it onto a prepared pan lined with baking paper and sprinkle some sugar on top.
  10. Bake at 170C for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
(my notes : the pastry turns brown too quickly, so I reduce the temperature to about 160C and bake for about 20-25 mins)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lemon Polenta Cake

Ever since I bought the recipe book, "Bake Your Cake & Eat It Too by Tamara Milstein", I am eager to try out many of her recipes. The first cake that I bake a couple of weeks back, Key Lime Cake turned out really well. This sort of gave me the confidence that the rest of her recipes should be good too! Lemon Polenta Cake is the second cake that I am trying from this book. It turned out to be really soft and really moist. It is slightly a little too bit oily and as usual, I always reduce the amount of sugar used in almost any recipes. You can taste the coarse, grainy texture of the polenta, but it is softened by the liquid and butter. If you have eaten sooji cake (semolina cake), then the texture is almost similar. There is no flour used in this recipe as it is replaced by the almond meal and polenta. If you like the taste of polenta, then this is a nice cake to bake. Try it out, I'm giving the original recipe as it is. This is a rather large cake, so I only bake half the recipe.

Lemon Polenta Cake
(adapted from "Bake Your Cake & Eat It Too" by Tamara Milstein)

500gm butter, softened
500gm caster sugar (for half the recipe, I only used 200gm)
zest and juice of 3 lemons
zest and juice of 1 orange
6 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
500gm almond meal
300gm yellow polenta
2 tsp baking powder
icing sugar, to serve

Lemon Marscapone:
500gm marscapone cheese
1 cup of icing sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Method :
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C and butter a 24cm springfrom non-stick cake tin.
  2. Beat the butter, sugar and zests of lemon and orange together until thick and pale. With the motor running, add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition.
  3. Remove the bowl from the mixer, then mix in the lemon juice, orange juice, vanilla essence, almond meal, polenta and baking powder. Mix thoroughly so that all the ingredients are combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, tapping lightly to make sure there are no air bubbles.
  5. Bake at 170C for 1 hour, then reduce the heat to 160C and bake for a further 40 mins. If necessary, cover the cake with foil if it is beginning to brown too quickly.
  6. When the cake is finished baking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin. When it is cold, remove the cake from the tin.
  7. To serve, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with some lemon spiked marscapone.
Lemon Marscapone :
To make this creamy accompaniment, beat the cheese, sugar and lemon juice together until smooth then chill until ready to serve.

(my notes: for half the recipe, I bake at 170C for 40 mins, then cover with foil and bake at 160C for 30 mins)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fried Fish Braised In Hot Bean Sauce

Have a few slices of fish in your freezer? No idea how to cook it yet? Well, here's a simple but delicious dish that goes great with plain white rice. You can use any type of fish, snapper, promfret, garoupa, stringray, the list goes on..... Try this dish, it's really easy!

1 pc sliced garoupa
15 whole garlic cloves, remove skin (choose the plump round ones)
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped red chilli
a bunch of coriander leaves, chopped (or spring onions)

For the braising sauce:
2 tbsp hot bean paste
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce

Method :
  1. Clean, wash and pat dry fish slice. Fry fish on both sides until cooked and crispy.
  2. Fry whole garlic cloves in hot oil until golden brown. Remove, drain and put aside.
  3. Leave about 3 to 4 tbsp of oil and saute chopped garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add in hot bean paste and stir for about 1 to 2 mins. Add in oyster sauce, sugar, soy sauce and water. Bring sauce to boil. Test for taste. Sauce should be a little salty and sweet.
  4. Add in fried fish and fried garlic cloves and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes, turning fish once halfway through.
  5. Dish up fish and thicken the sauce with a little cornstarch solution. Add in chopped coriander, stir and pour sauce over fish. Enjoy !