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...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Crumb Coffee Cake

If I'm not mistaken I made this around July 13th (which is sometimes ago, yes) from a recipe in the Star newspaper as a tribute to Mother's Day. The owner/author of the recipe is related to the Agong...or royal family if I'm not mistaken (where's that article when I need it...). From the looks of this recipe, it's considered one of the healthy recipes, without the need to cream loads of butter with sugar. This cake is best eaten with coffee (hence, the name). However, it does not contain any coffee. Verdict : Yum! :D
Cake just out of the oven. Smells awesome :)
Getting meself a slice!
Look at the crumbly texture. Looks like apple crumble.
A closer look:
P.S. Buttermilk was needed for this recipe but since I was unable to find buttermilk in any stores around my place, there are plenty of buttermilk substitutes after doing a search on Google :D thankfully, if not there won't be a chance for me to try this yummy recipe.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Steamed chocolate brownies

Yesterday, Mom requested me to make the steamed chocolate brownies I used to make when I had lots of time before I started studying again. Strange how I came across this recipe from the first edition of Sedap magazine at the news stand outside Atria's KFC side entrance.

I wasn't very inclined to buy that magazine but was attracted to the cake on the outside (blueberry cheese cake). Out of impulse I bought it hoping that some day (yeahhhhh another forever) I'll collect enough guts to attempt it when I saw steamed chocolate brownies recipe. And get this, it only uses cocoa powder and evaporated milk, and vegetable oil instead of real chocolate, full cream milk or butter! And nobody was able to guess the difference! :D Good news...low fat, same taste!

I was so hungry that as soon as it landed on the cooling rack, pull off the paper at the bottom and chuck it back into the warm tin, I ate the middle part off.

Looks like craters on Mars.

One thing for sure, this recipe is for keeps. And also, I am in dire need of a camera (been using sis').

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How odd?

Strange...I remember making some wholewheat bread from the Bread Magic book but I can't find the pictures of it...

I guess I have to make it again :(

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bread magic updates

This is seriously one-month late, but am going to blog about it anyway for tracking purposes ;)

April 2nd 2009:

This blueberry yogurt bread took quite some time to rise! (prolly cause of the cold water)
And the browning time in the oven took way more than the stated time in the book. There is some discrepancies in the part says brush with egg wash and bake but the illustrated picture says to dip top on a damp towel and then dip in poppy seeds.

In the end I brushed water on top and sprinkled white sesame seeds. The bread came out hard as stones! They have a tinge of blueberry taste. Perhaps I should have brush egg wash, then they wouldn't have been so hard and tough to eat :(

April 4th:

I read a blog some time ago. The owner of the blog absolutely LOVES black sesame ice cream. Black sesame! I can't imagine, ever. The smell is very overpowering, and the taste as well. White sesames are alright.

Decided to try this sesame buns, because at that time I haven't tried black sesame seeds before, and what better opportunity to work it into this here dough. Verdict? It produces a nutty bread. Best served hot fresh from the oven and spread with butter or other accompaniments.

While rummaging the refrigerator for the black sesames, found some leftover raisins and sultanas from something I baked some time ago. So happened that there's a Mock Beesting Bread in the book! So I took the opportunity to bake that too :)
Verdict : I didn't get to try it! The recipe yeilds two large breads. TWO! Large! And my family members still managed to finish it! Oh well, the second time I make this, I have to squander some pieces just for myself.

April 8th:

When I leafed through recipes in the book, I had planned to bake 2 recipes in one go, and both recipes are halves. For example, if this recipe asks for basic sweet bun dough, and after first rising, to be divided into 60gram portions, as well as another recipe, then I will make a basic sweet bun dough recipe, then split it in half for both recipes.
Which I find, actually isn't helping my family's appetite cause I have to feed 5 other members excluding me.
How do I know this? Because these recipes: Kaya Buns and Sardine Buns is proof.

Both recipes ask for basic sweet bun dough. Okay, so I made basic sweet bun dough. I divided the dough to 10 portions (600grams divided into 60gram portions....10) and made 5 kaya buns and 5 sardine buns.

Weird as it wasn't enough for my family. Prolly cause sis managed about 2-3 buns each time...harumph! By the way, the Hi5 kaya sucks! It was difficult to tell whether the kaya I bought was the watery or stiff type. I know Auntie Rosie's kaya is the stiff type, but the shop I went to didn't have Auntie Rosie's kaya :(
Then halfway baking some of the kaya buns burst and kaya was sizzling in the oven. And I couldn't do anything :(

Nevertheless, both buns tasted great! The sardine bun is spicy, and took some time to make cause I had to cook the filling and before the final proofing, I had to roll the top and sides into chilli + curry powder mix. It tasted nice and thats all that matters :)
The kaya bun, perhaps the kaya was the only downfall of it, but not much came out of the buns so they still tasted great.

April 15th:

See those rolls up there? Those are from the Black Date Rolls recipe, but I didnt' have any red dates paste on hand and had a lot of leftover white lotus paste from past failed lotus mooncakes. So I substitute with white lotus paste. The lotus paste is quite oily..and since I can't see the colour difference between the dough and the paste, when it split it'd be too late to patch. So to test whether I've rolled the dough thin enough without causing the white lotus paste to split, I check hw oily the rolled dough is. Oily? Done. Roll, cut and leave to proof. Which works pretty well.

Verdict : Abit too sweet. Should decrease the amount of white lotus paste next time. I did scale it the same weight as for the black dates paste, but perhaps white lotus paste has more sweetness to it.
Oh yes, and one of the back of the rolls had a seahorse shape! What a coincidence.

The next buns are the Tuna Buns. This is one absolutely tasty bun! Best for snacks for midday simply lunch. Really easy to make, and the almond nibs on top makes for a nice crunch! Thumbs up for this one.

April 26th:

Wanted to make some plain bread with abit of wholewheat flour in it when I realised I accidentally used all-purpose instead of bread flour! Due to my mistake, I was low on all-purpose but that's a matter for another day.

Anyway, I decided to switch to making bagels because I was interested after watching this one chef on Cook Like a Chef making bagels. Also because 3 bloggers (Di's Kitchen Notebook, Cookie Baker Lynn and Under the High Chair) had made bagels. Sounds easy? Yeah it is!
Although the boiling part did leave me abit surprised...boiled bread? Err...never heard of it.
Was a tad sad cause the bread didn't brown like its supposed to be. Maybe lack of sugar...or was I supposed to put egg wash? The chef on tv brushed with water. Maybe the weather here is different? Maybe...

The next bread I made is sweet potato buns. This one in the pictures is my second attempt, which truthfully, isn't as delicious as my first try. I found out why a day later, the sweet potato I used wasn't very dark orange in colour. Less colour = lighter flavour. But the sweet potato made the buns super soft! Which is delicious! I will definitely make this again, cause it got my father hooked too :D

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bring it on!

Finally decided to challenge myself to go ahead with the baking goal.
As you can see, the breads in the book are listed according to order in the book at the sidebar.
Everytime I finish making one type of bread successfully, I'll bold the said bread at the sidebar.

Although I've read blogs of people who do this bake-through of a whole book who follows the recipes EXACTLY, as in no substitution of any ingredient whether minor or major, I can't say that I'll follow through that entirely.

I mean, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of crushed Japanese seaweed, I can't just go out and buy an entire packet just to get 1 tablespoon! This may sound like an excuse, but being a student on a budget and not earning much (or none), an ingredient like that (which is not even a major ingredient in the recipe) is wayyyyy too much to go out of my way to get.
Unfortunately I can't say the same for kiwi jam. That, I have to get, for it's needed for more than 1 recipe.

So the best I can do is follow the recipe as closely as I can. I might have to substitute pans and maybe change the shape of breads to accommodate my goal.
Getting some silicone moulds for a one-time recipe? No way! I'll have to make do with what I have on hand then. Maybe just leave them to be round free-form breads :D

Now since I've got all that out of my head, I'll have to figure out what to make for lunch tomorrow.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A new challenge

I've been following Tuesdays with Dorie and Daring Bakers for some time now, and have stumbled upon Bread Baking Babes, Bake Your Own Bread (abbreviated to BYOB) and many other baking websites which bakes through a specified book or recipe.

The thing on my mind is, perhaps I should embark on a challenge. I have many books sitting in a cupboard in my room and I'll admit; I've never bothered to do at least 90% of the recipes in there!
There's prolly a treasure gem or two that I would never find unless I set hands on said recipe and do something.

So I figured, perhaps I should consider picking a baking book which I find easy enough to finish by this year. Whaddya think?

Recently I found a blog called breadbasketcase and the person who owned it, Marie, actually made that blog to document the breads that she made through Rose Beranbaum's The Bread Bible book. And boy did she finish that book in less than a year! Hooray for her :D
Imagine finishing 82 breads in one year. Now that's an achievement!

I've been thinking between 3 books, but all of them have their pros and cons. The first book, was prolly translated straight from chinese, and has insufficient directions for a beginner. I mean, there was some recipe that needs grated cheese but what cheese??? In fact, if you just read the ingredients, there is no mention of cheese whatsoever. And its a cheese bread for god's sake, too.

The other book is by Don Yong, who owns the Malaysian Institute of Baking school (which I had contemplated on going to sometime in the middle of last year, but an IT course eventually won over me). The book is awesome, and there are explanations on why this flour gives better texture than that flour, but after going through the book, I have to get a waffle pan and find where to get malt flour (what's this?). And no, malt flour isn't on "optional".

The third book, which I'll most likely choose if I decide to accept this challenge, is Breadmagic by Alan Ooi. Looking through the book, the recipes are pretty straight forward, although I won't know what to do with a French Hard Bread (dip in coffee? But I don't drink coffee in the morning) and a whole load of Danish pastries. But maybe my kind neighbours and friends might help out in the eating process.

While all these is going on, the new semester of my course starts today! It's the mark of the third semester already and I'm raring to go!

A chocolate cake, po longs, muffin pan and challenge please...

Oh my, its been ages (1 year to be exact) since this here blog was updated! Hold on let me just brush that speck of dust off....ookay!

Now, where was I...ah yes! I *have* to share this delectable cake! Since I read Aunty Yochana's blog almost on a daily basis (I tend to skip some days since having time to blog is a luxury ever since my laptop went ka-put) I happen to stumble upon the time when she steamed this wonderfully moist chocolate cake.

Last time i used to think steaming is for fish and buns but this cake is a must-make! It's healthier (I made it using oil but there is a variation that uses butter) and does not have as much fat as other baked chocolate cake. I can foresee that every chocolate birthday cake after this in my family will be this very cake. Do give it a try ;) No need any fancy pansy equipments, just a whisk or spatula, and measuring cups, steamer and also a pan to steam the cake in.

Another thing that I have been steaming also lately is "po long". This is somewhat like a sweet bun that is made with either sweet potato or pumpkin. My grandmother have been making these for quite a long time (i.e. family recipe) but since her hands have become rather numb she hardly makes them anymore.

Here's a tortoise...

Here's a banana...

Here's a pile of shit...

Here's a piggy...

Here's some random stuff...

And in between waiting for the po long to rise (its like bread) I managed to squeeze in time to make nestum cupcakes.

Which didn't turn out right because I substitute oil for butter. Verdict : Yech!!
NEVER ever substitute oil for butter in a recipe unless it states that such substitution is allowed.

Picture-wise they look fine...but was extremely moist at the bottom (due to oil and because the recipe actually states that the butter and sugar must be creamed) and I can't even taste the Nestum in there :(
But I'll definitely give this recipe another try once I get hold of some butter :D

A couple of days later I made some raisin buns, adapted from one of Agnes Chang's recipe books. The one she made was plaited, but mine's just round.

Verdict : Tasteless, but that's because I didn't have raisins, only blackcurrants (which are tiny!) and didn't brush the top with egg and sift icing sugar on them.
My sister, however, had a better idea, she added chocolate chips (imported, absolutely delicious!) and a small piece of cheese on top of each bun.

Creative eh?

Lastly, I finally received my free gift from One Houseware & Gift :D A book on steamed cakes which I gotten recently have this free gift if someone purchases the book. Among all 3, I chose the pastry wheel which I have been wanting for a long time.

I wanted it when I saw that one y3k magazine issue had a recipe on how to make mini apple pies with fluted lattice pastry on top and then remembered that Bake With Yen and Chang Tung sells pastry wheels because I saw them once (ow twice).
But when I went to both stores the pastry wheels weren't there :( and I've been checking for quite some time and STILL don't see no pastry wheel.
Well, glad that I finally have one now. Since I have a bunch of Granny Smith apples ripe for eating, do I hear calls for apple pies and apple strudels?