Saturday, August 8, 2009

Dried Shrimp Sambal Sauce

Everu Tuesday The Star newspaper will have a column in the StarTwo section where Amy Beh will have recipes following a certain theme(maybe quiche week or chilly week or something) or answering people's queries for recipes with related recipes.

The latest Tuesday(which is a couple of days ago duh) she had recipes on various sambals or chilli paste, matching certain types of food recommendation.

Since Mom decided to fry bee hoon with crab today, I wanted to make this dried shrimp sambal sauce as accompaniment to the bee hoon. The recipe can be viewed here.

I followed the recipe, but left out the 6 red chillies because I didn't have them on hand. I find out that this is crucial to give the sauce the vibrant red colour as in the picture. Oh well, the bird's eye chillies(or cili padi) gave the sauce the taste anyway, and that's what I'm looking for.
I used belacan cubes, so I had to roast them according to Mom. I've double checked with dear Uncle Google and she's right. Roasting the cubes actually enhances the flavour of the sauce! MMmmm~

I don't have an inkling what calamansi limes are, so I just plucked some limes from the lime trees in my porch area and squeeze the juice out, omitting the seeds.
Amazingly the belacan cubes actually get whizzed in the food processor, I was thinking its impossible since they became hard like nails after roasting.
The tomato took a while to get blended. At that time I couldn't wait to dig in to the bee hoon already. But being a chilli fan I had to finish what I started just to enjoy eating bee hoon with great chilli sauce!

It was worth the wait and the hardwork(try de-skinning and slicing 3 cloves of garlic will you) as now I have tasty chilli sauce waiting to accompany my next meal. Till next time...

Singaporean Bee Hoon

There was an article about Singaporean bee hoon in the New Straits Times newspaper some time ago, and seeing that I liked most things bee hoon, decided to give the recipe a try.

Boy was I in for a surprise.

Unlike my previous experiences of making dry mee suah and dry black sauce instant noodles (similar to IndoMee), frying bee hoon takes a whole lot more than just "frying".

All went well until it was time to add the bee hoon that Mom helped me soak into the frying pan to be mixed and cooked among the other ingredients. The bee hoon stayed there, rebellious to my trying to separate the strands to get the other stuff mixed around thoroughly.
In the end I had to ditch the wooden flat-head spoon I was using to mix the bee hoon and opted for chopsticks, a pair each in both my hands, and I started to do a method similar to when ppl do "lou sang" during Chinese New Year.
The good part is, it worked!
The bad part is, I had random ingredients flying out of the pan as well(not much, but obvious enough. Left hand coordination sucks).

Verdict: I felt that it wasn't salty enough. But family members said it was okay. I suspect its cause of all the workout I went through preparing the dish that my body must've run low on salt(lost in sweat, remember?).
All in all, now I know how tedious it is to prepare anything bee hoon. Except soup. But this doesn't stop my love for Singaporean bee hoon YUM!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Breadmagic - Wholemeal Bread

Okay I know this is weird but I swear I did take photos of this bread, seeing that I've made it more than twice.
But I can't find the photos!
So I guess this is going to be a photo-less post. The outcome looks similar to the one pictured the the book so I'm not complaining :)

The most surprising part was, my family members actually ate the bread, and proclaimed it good stuff (they never eat whole grain anything).

Its quite tasty right out of the oven (am always tempted to pinch one while its still piping hot ouch!). Best slattered with abit of butter while hot then carefully cherishing each bite. This bread is not one to let you down! :D
Can be eaten plain, turned into a sandwich or buttered or jammed for teatime, whichever suits the time and taste :)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Coconut Jelly

With July(okay so now its August) raging its ever-scorching heat upon us, one would think "Hmm a nice cup of refreshing coconut juice will do the trick!"

Well, what if I tell you there's something else slightly (well, I *may* be pushing this) better than that??

The first time I tasted it, it was at a morning market. Father bought some home because it was a hot day and, well, *it* was the perfect thing next to coconut juice.
It's actually Coconut Jelly! And it was made it the coconut shell where the juice and flesh of the coconut came from, so you can still scrape bits of the coconut flesh off the inside of the coconut shell.

Tasty eh? Weird how I never thought or even attempted to try to make my own at home.
But wait.
Just two days ago, I came across a link to this here blog: Elinluv's Titbits Corner
She attempted to make the jellies and voila! Refreshing Coconut Jellies for you to savour during a hot afternoon!

I just made mine yesterday afternoon. Happened to pass by a man selling coconuts, so Father bought two young orange (not sure what's the difference between the green and the orange coconuts but...) coconuts for me to attempt the recipe.

I was clueless on how to make the sugar syrup(yes I am hopeless) so I consulted Uncle Google.
Turns out to be one part sugar two parts water boiled till the sugar dissolved, then it becomes sugar syrup. I added a screwpine/pandan leaf in mine during boiling stage since the recipe said "sugar syrup with pandan flavour".

Then boiled the coconut juice, sugar syrup and agar-agar powder, strain and left to cool before putting into bowls (I put mine into two metal bowls and one plastic tupperware). The amount of agar-agar powder does not result in a firm agar-agar, which is fine because I love soft agar-agar :D

When cooled, the mixture doesn't firm up until placed in the refridgerator. The recipe says 4 hours at least for firming but mine firmed within an hour and a half.

Overall, the jelly is good(and soft so thumbs up to this recipe!)! Although I've already added about 9 tablespoons on sugar syrup and it still wasn't sweet (just a slight tinge). However, the jellies tasted a tad sour (perhaps it's because of the orange coconuts?). Still, youngest sister gobbled up most of the agar-agar :D she seems to like it very very much.

**P.S. Many thanks to Elin of Elinluv's Titbits Corner for the recipe. You're a lifesaver on a hot day! ;)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

Want to make awesome cinnamon rolls? Well check this out:
I've stumbled across a website (yeah you all have prolly heard of this already) called that has a vid on how to make cinnamon rolls!

Yeah sure your grandmother makes cinnamon rolls you can never forget but I bet you will want to learn the tricks of the trade at least? It's really simple, I've made from this recipe about 10 times and it never disappoints :)

And the good part? You don't need to run out to get bread flour because this recipe uses all-purpose/plain flour.

Cinnamon Rolls step by step

Why have I never tried cooking?

Today really tested my abilities to cook.

Mom was feeling under the weather. Dad asked whether I can cook dinner, or just opt for take-away.
Well now, I thought that'd be one of my rare chances to cook!

So off I went to do some research from the various books and magazines I got.
And you know what?
....................................there's nothing to cook.

It was all bake bake bake and bake. Okay except fried rice and some fancypansy roast beef(mmm!) but no cooking. No simple. healthy. cooking.

Thinking back, I've never considered buying cooking books. I was all baking baking baking.
Doesn't sound all-rounded does it?

When I watched the Julie/Julia Project movie trailer, she was really brave to attempt cooking. FRENCH cooking, at that. And I should be ashamed of myself. The book itself by Julia Child is all-rounded, with bread, meat, pie and other stuff. Won't be sticking to baking alone.

Perhaps after this Bread Magic Bake-Through Assignment, I'd better invest in a cooking book.
Maybe Amy Beh?
Chef Wan?


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Julie/Julia Project

Hi people, I ain't dead yet!

I haven't any stuff to post up here and bread baking progress on the Bread Magic book has come to a temporary(hopefully) halt. Insufficient funds, low stock on ingredients and jobless is really taking a toll on this and I doubt I'd be able to finish the book by end of this year. However, when i thought about it, end of this year doesn't make the project to be "one year". So in other words, i was prolly fast-forwarding too much.

I heard about the Julie/Julia Project movie and watched the trailer. It ain't no action-packed, adrenaline-rush movies but it was enough to cause the inner cook/baker in me to stir. It's amazing how Julie Powell one day decides (although I have to agree it's an insane one) to cook through the entire Julia Child's cookbook within a year. Julia Child was not a born cook. She started dabbing in cooking late in her life but it proofed fruitful. Did you see how she cheerfully greeted "bon jour!" at the group of chef in her first cooking lesson in Le Cordon Bleu cooking school? Totally energy-bound! :D

This makes me think about culinary arts again. Did I make the wrong choice of not pursuing it? Would it have gave me satisfaction I can barely find in this current course?
Well, whatever it is, I have made my choice and its too late to turn back. Although, classes at The Cooking School does rouse my interest...

Can't wait to watch the Julie/Julia Project movie. And also UP, G-Force, etc etc...