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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pulled Pork Burger with homemade buns

I love using the slow cooker to cook my meals. My faithful cooker has been with me for a long time. I used to dump ingredients in the morning before I go to work way before when I used to work long hours and come back to a completely cooked meal when I reached home. Or you can put in the ingredients at night before you sleep and hey presto,you will wake up to a nice smelling kitchen in the morning, a meal fully cooked. 

The whole point of using a slow cooker is to get the ingredients into the cooker quickly and then be able to walk away. For this easy pulled pork recipe, just coat the pork shoulder with a dark brown sugar, paprika, cinnamon, minced garlic, then cook it on a bed of chopped onions covered with a can of stewed tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and BBQ sauce. When you come back six to eight hours later, you’ll have juicy pork that’s ready to be shredded and served alongside coleslaw, french fries or chips. This no-fuss, versatile recipe makes enough to feed quite a few and the leftovers, should you have any  freeze well.


Pulled Pork

Ingredients

1.5 kg of pork shoulder
1 big onion, chopped
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp yellow mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 cup vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 can of stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup of BBQ sauce
300 ml of chicken stock

Method

Spray the slow cooker with a thin layer of oil.
Lay the chopped onions at the bottom of the cooker.
Wipe the pork dry with paper towel after washing.
Put in a bowl, salt, black pepper, garlic, cajun seasoning, cinnamon, paprika, chilli powder, mix it all up.
Rub the mixture on the pork all over.
Next pat the pork with the brown sugar and press on it.
Place the seasoned pork into the cooker.
Pour BBQ sauce, stewed tomatoes, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and chicken stock on the pork.
Turn the slow cooker on high and if possible turn it down to low after a couple of hours when boiling.
If not, just leave it on high all the way for about 6 to 8 hours. 
It is optional if you would like to continue to cook it in the oven at 180 C for an hour.
Take out the meat out to be shredded without putting it into the oven if you think the meat is a good enough texture for you. 
You can thicken the sauce with cornflour over the fire if need be. Season with more salt if necessary.
Mix the shredded meat with the thickened sauce before serving on a nice bun.
You can add lettuce, tomatoes and even cucumbers to the pulled pork and bun.

Note: If you find that you do not have certain dry or spice ingredients, and do not want to buy them for adding so little in, you can omit, but the taste of this meal will not be so robust and tasty. But you cannot omit the wet ingredients. 



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Cinnamon French Toast


I will make this particular French Toast for my family once in a while whenever I bake Brioche bread. This French Toast goes very well with Brioche bread but of course you can use normal white bread. 

I ate this French Toast with filling as one of the dishes served at a food luncheon party by Australian celebrity chef Curtis Stone organized by a bank at a hotel. It was very delicious. The toast was served with a fruit sauce. 

This is my very own recipe and you can twitch it and fill it with anything you want or feel like it. It is very simple to make and can be a hearty breakfast on a nice Sunday morning.

Chocolate Peanut Butter and Cinnamon French Toast. 

Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 4 to 5 eggs
  • 4 thick slices brioche bread or normal white bread
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Peanut Butter spread
  • 1/4 cup of meltable chocolate chips, couverture type, (you can use Nutella if you want)

  • Honey/Golden Syrup (optional)



  • Method
    Using a fork, beat the eggs in a baking dish to blend.
    Apply peanut butter on one side of the brioche/bread, divide and put the chocolate chips/Nutella on the peanut butter. 
  • Sandwich with another piece of bread on top.
    Place the brioche sandwiches in the egg mixture. Let stand for 5 minutes or until the eggs are absorbed, turning the brioche to let it absorb the egg mixture.
    Melt some butter on a flat frying pan over medium heat.
    Place the brioche slices on the pan and cook for about 2 minutes per side or until golden brown on the outside and heated through, melting the chocolate chips inside.
    Meanwhile, stir the sugar and cinnamon on a large plate or pie dish.
    Immediately place the hot French toast in the cinnamon-sugar and turn to coat completely.
  • Repeat for the other sandwich.
    Drizzle a little honey or golden syrup in a thin stream on the French Toast if desired. 


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cempedak Crumble Mini Tarts


It is cempedak season again. Besides durian, this is another highly popular fruit in this part of the world. Pronounced "chem-pe-dak", which is the same genus as jackfruit. It is native to Southeast Asia. The thin and leathery skin of the fruit is greenish, yellowish to brownish in color, and patterned with hexagons. The fleshy, edible arils surround the large, seeds in a thick layer. It is yellowish-white to orange in color, sweet and fragrant, soft, slippery and slimy on the tongue and a bit fibrous. The taste of the fruit is similar to the related jackfruit with a hint of durian. The seeds are flattened spheres or elongated, about 2–3 cm in length.

I had excess cempedak after making ice cream with it, so I usually freeze it up. So I took on the challenge to make my own version of this Cempedak Crumble Tart. I believe you cannot find this in the shops. I am quite proud of myself for this creation. Give it a try if you have an itch to bake something and if you are running out of ideas on what to bake, like me.

Do eat it up fast, these tarts cannot be kept for more than 3 days.
 
Cempedak Crumble Tart (individual mini tarts)
Makes about 15 mini tarts using disposable aluminium mini foil cups.

Ingredients for filling

300g cempedak without seeds
150g whipping cream
2 to 3 tbsp sugar (option to add more if you like it sweeter)

Put cempedak and sugar in the blender and purée, add a tiny tad of water if it helps in the blending.
Put whipping cream in a stand mixing bowl and whip to become whipped cream.
Use a spatula and mix the sweetened cempedak purée and whipped cream together until well mixed.
Spoon it into a large piping bag and put it into the fridge to harden into piping consistency.

Ingredients for sweet tart dough

160g butter (softened)
90g icing sugar
25g ground almond
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
250g plain flour (sifted)

For making the sweet tart dough, put the softened butter in a mixer bowl, put on the paddle and mix till light and fluffy.
Add icing sugar, almonds, salt, vanilla extract and egg and mix on low speed. Blend well after scraping the sides.
Add the sifted flour in a few additions, do not add all at once.
Switch off the machine as soon as dough comes together. Do not over mix. Divide the dough into two portions. Roll each portion into a ball and wrap with food plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours preferably. You can store the rest in the freezer if you are not using it. This can be stored for up to a month.
Heat the oven to 180 C, when you are ready to make the tart, cut out a freezer bag or a big clean plastic bag, and put the dough in between to roll out. Cut according to size of the mini tart cups.
Press gently onto the tray and poke holes all over with a fork so that it allows air to go around when baking.
For individual small tart shells, we do not need to use beans for weighing them down.
Bake for 15 minutes at 180 C till golden brown for the small tarts.
Cool the tart shells on a rack and prepare the filling.
 
Leave some dough for the crumble, roughly take small pinches of dough and scatter on the baking tray, bake at 180 C for 5 to 7  min or until golden brown. set it aside to cool.
 
Cool the tart shells on a rack and prepare the filling.
 
To assemble the mini tarts
Take the piping bag of cempedak fillings out of the fridge. as soon as it is of piping consisitency, we can fill the mini tart cups. Pipe the fillings into the tart cups in a spiral manner, ending it to a tip. put the prepared crumble all over the filling, making sure it sticks to the filling. There you go, enjoy!
 















Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fresh Milk Loaf, super soft.

My family got tired of eating bread from the bread maker, so I have to urgently think of new ideas of what to bake before they even mention buying a loaf of Gradenia bread. I really do not want them to eat bread with full of artifical commercial chemicals in in.

Well, just in time, I saw some bloggers sharing the Hokkaido Milk Bread recipe and in Youtube as well. But lazy as can be, both recipes were the hand kneaded kind, am I going to hand knead? No way definitely. I do not plan to dump the ingredients into the bread machine because it will come out the same shape and my family members are bound to complain again. So, I have to dump the ingredients into the mixer with a dough hook of course.

The mixer can well knead the bread dough till the 'window pane stage', no problem. Well, I am really glad I am born into the convenience of machines era. What am I going to do without my gadgets? I simply love all my gadgets, as long as they can help me reduce my workload, I will continue to use them.

I sort of combined the two recipes I found and adapted from there. I reduced the sugar level because I don't really like my bread so sweet. I also skipped quite a few steps being the lazy me. It turned out fluffy and soft. I used my new bread mould that I just bought to give me that 'Gardenia' look. I like the cube like look of the bread mould, it reminds me of my Montessori Pink Tower, which is exactly  a 10 cm CUBE.

I will not call it Hokkaido Milk Bread because I just used ordinary fresh milk, not Hokkaido Milk to bake this bread. I am not about to go all the way to Meidiya Supermarket to buy just a packet of exorbitant priced milk to bake some bread.

This bread is very good and tasty and I can eat it plain. Or better yet, I spread the bread with my favourite Echire butter.

Recipe was adapted from http://mymindpatch.blogspot.sg/2014/01/hand-kneaded-hokkaido-milk-loaf.html & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCzyeyJ6ApQ

Using 2 of 10 cm x 10 cm x 10cm bread mould or pullman tin with cover, 200 C oven, 30 minutes.


Fresh Milk Loaf

Ingredients

260g bread flour
20g cake flour
1/2  tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp condensed milk
1 tsp yeast
Half a beaten egg
120 ml fresh milk
60 ml cream

30g softened butter

1. Put all the ingredients except the butter into the mixer with a dough hook and mix it well at low speed and increase to medium speed when all the dry ingredients have come together.

2. It will appear to be a very wet dough at first. But do not be tempted to add in more bread flour.
Be patient, kneading bread dough takes time.

3. It will come together and eventually be a nice smooth dough. Please stand nearby the mixer when you are kneading bread dough to make sure the machine does not move over the edge of the counter.

4. Touch the dough to test that it is no longer sticky, now you can incorporate the butter in.

5. Let the dough hook slap the butter around. Knead till the 'window pane' or 'membrane' stage. It is ready when the dough reaches this stage. It means when you grab a little of the dough between your fingers and stretch it till it is almost trnslucent and it does not tear easily. It does take time to reach this stage.

6. Oil a big clean bowl and store the dough in it, cover with cling wrap and let it proof till double in size for about an hour or so.

7. After it has doubled in size, transfer the dough onto the counter or worktop and punch out all the air.
 8. Weigh the dough and divide the dough into two equal portions.

9. Tug the ends of the dough into two round balls.

10. Put it back into the big bowl, cover with the cling wrap to rest for just 15 minutes.

11. After that, take out one portion, roll it out flat with a rolling pin into a rectangle.

12. Now fold the two of 'length sides' in to meet in the middle, resulting into a narrower rectangle.

13. Use the rolling pin, roll it flat again, now becoming a longer rectangular strip.

14. At this stage, roll up the dough with your hands into a rounded roll just like a swiss roll.

Please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCzyeyJ6ApQ for demo.

15. Put the rolled up dough into the bread mould. Do likewise with the other portion.
If you have a 20 cm x10 cm x 10 cm mould, put the rolled up dough side by side.

16. Cover with cling wrap, put it aside to proof till dough is about 80% to 85% full almost reaching the top of the mould. (leaving about 1 cm of the rim). It takes about an hour or so. You can speed things up by putting the pullman tins in the microwave oven with a glass of hot water beside them to heat up the environment.

17. 15 minutes before, heat up the oven to 200C.

18. When it has proven enough, cover the tins or moulds with the lid and bake for approximately 30 to 35 minutes.

19. Take out the bread from the mould immediately when it is baked and cool it on a rack.

20. Only cut the bread when it is completely cooled.














Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cheesecake with Dragonfruit

I honestly like the colour of the dragonfruit very much, I mean the red fleshed one not the white one. The taste of the red dragonfruit is also much more superior than the white one hence the price difference as well. I find that the white one has an after taste which I dislike but not the red one. The red one costs much more too.
Some Malaysian exporters justified the higher cost to its benefits. I read somewhere that eating red-fleshed dragonfruit was reported to increase bone density, prevent colon cancer and ease constipation. This can explained why red dragonfruits cost more as compared to the white fragonfruit . It was also reported that the red flesh variety is believed to be rich in antioxidants and has an exceptionally high content of soluble fiber. It is considered a good source of vitamin C and its vitamin C is more easily absorbed than vitamin C from a pill supplement. Some bloggers swear that it helps to lower blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes.
 
Well. I bought 3 that day, ate one and decided to make a pretty cheesecake with the other two remaining ones. I love the pink colour it yields. It has just a hint of taste of the dragonfruits, mainly still dominated by the cream cheese.
 
Dragon Fruit Cheesecake

Using 8 inch loose bottom cake pan

Ingredients A :

Biscuits (Digestive) 120g, crushed into crumbs
Butter (melted) 80g

Ingredients B :

Dragon Fruits 2 (Chopped)
Milk 100g

Ingredients C :

Sugar 100g
Cream Cheese 500g
Whipping Cream 300g

 Ingredients D :

Gelatin 2 tbsp
Water 60g

 Method:

1. Mix the biscuits crumbs and butter well and press evenly onto base of cake pan. Freeze it for 10 mins and use as the base.

2. Put chopped dragonfruits in a pot. Cook dragonfruits till hot until it is paste like. Then add 100g milk. Stir well. Let the mixture cool.

3. In a mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy and add in the whipping cream.

4. Mix the cooked dragonfruits with the cheese batter in a bowl and mix well.
 
5. Mix the gelatin and water and double boil until it is dissolved and add into the cheesecake mixture. Mix well.
 
6. Pour the mixture into the cake pan with the prepared base and chill for at least 4 hours in the fridge and serve.
  
   Boil the dragonfruit
Add 100g of milk
 

 
 

 
 
 


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sausage Buns, sweet and soft


Today is my last day of my precious June holidays. I have indeed enjoyed my Greece trip with my darling daughter. Waking up late, shopping and so on. Three and a half weeks passed light lightning and tomorrow I have to go back to work for the preparation of school reopening.

My hands are itching to bake before I get busy again. I did not manage to bake much this holiday. I have a long line up for many recipes and many ingredients waiting for me. Too much things to do but not enough time. That is my usual complain. Even I have time, I do procastinate and spend more time ploughing for recipes than baking or cooking.

Anyway, my last chance today, and I want to do it for my staff. My faithful teachers who are also ending their holidays and going back to work. I have chosen to bake sausage buns for their breakfast, hopefully to bring back smiles on their faces.

Sausage Buns

(makes around twenty buns)
Recipe adapted from Happy Home Baking

300g bread flour
300g cake/top flour
11g instant yeast
100g sugar
1 tsp salt
250ml fresh milk
2 egg
*Tangzhong 3 tbsp
100g butter
20 sausages
A little melted butter for brushing on the buns
Method:
Put all the dry ingredients (1st 5items) in a stand mixer using the dough hook. Mix well.

Add in the milk, eggs and tangzhong. Mix at medium speed for a good 5 minutes at least.
Now add in the butter, and mix until it is no longer sticky.
Testing now and then for the window pane stage.

Take a small piece of the dough and stretch it with your fingers. If it can be stretched into a thin layer without tearing easily, the dough is good. When it has reached that stage, transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap to let it double to twice the size. In tropical Singapore, it takes about one hour.

If doing by hand. Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add in milk, egg and butter. Mix into a dough. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough until the dough is elastic, smooth and non sticky. it will take approximately 25 to 30 minutes by hand.    
When it has doubled, take out the dough and punch it out. Let the dough rest for another 15mins.

Make sure the sausages are dry and not wet.

Divide the dough into 60g portions.

Flour the countertop and roll each portion into long round strips with your floured palms. Then roll
the dough tightly round the sausages without leaving any gaps and seal the edges by gently pressing it down. Gently roll the rolled sausages between he palms to bring it to a rounder shape.

Arrange the buns in a greased, lined or silpat pan. Cover with a tea towel or wrap. Rest them for about another 15 to 20 minutes at the max. I don't suggest you rest it longer because if it grows very fat and big, the strips will come apart and will not be pretty.


I did not brush with an egg wash, I prefer to brush with melted butter after baking because it gives a softer crust.

Bake in an 190C oven for about 15mins until golden brown. Brush melted butter on the buns.
*Tangzhong recipe
50gm/ 1/3 cup bread flour
250ml/ 1cup water (could be replaced by milk, or half water and half milk)

Method:

Mix flour in water well without any lumps. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring all the time.
The mixture becomes thick. Once you notice some “lines” appear in the mixture, it is done. The tangzhong is ready. Remove from heat. You can store it in the fridge if you are not using immediately and can last a few days. The chilled tangzhong should return to room temperature before adding into bread mixture.






Saturday, June 21, 2014

Cherry Jam (Homemade)


Cherry Jam (Homemade from Fresh Cherries)

This is my first blog in the June holidays. I am thrilled as I came back from my vacation in Sunny Greece. We went to Athens, Santorini and Naxos. It was a good trip, we planned it all ourselves, free & easy and managed to see one of the loveliest and beautiful, postcard worthy islands in the world. Santorini should be one of the places you must go before you die.


As it was in early June, Summer has just started not long. But the weather was HOT, we came back three shades darker (tan). Fruits were aplenty on the roadside stalls and the cherries and strawberries were calling out to me. As you know, cherries in Singapore are SO very expensive. It can go up to S$16 to S$20 a kilogram here in our supermarkets.


The roadside stalls in Athens were selling them for like 4 Euros (S$6.80) a kilogram. We were eating it for snacks every other day. But when we got to the Central Market in Monastiraki, Athens, they were selling it for 1 Euro per kilogram!!! What? S$1.70 for a whole kilogram? That is ridiculous I thought. Singapore is over charging us for everything! I made a plan to go to the market on the day we fly off just to get some cherries to bring home. So true enough, we flew home with 3 whole kilograms of fresh cherries, very happy and satisfied. Other cheap items to buy are saffron and olive oil of course.

Fresh cherries are delicate and on transit, even hand carried, there will be some slightly bruised ones that will not be exactly very pretty to look at but completely edible. What do I do with those bruised ones? Make jam of course! Who would buy cherries from our supermarkets to make your own jam in Singapore? Come on, you and I will never. But in this case, cherries came dirt cheap and I would take the opportunity to make a fresh cherry jam. Further more, I could either use the Thermomix machine or bread machine to make the jam without stirring. Very simple and the end result is a nice, delicious Mason jar of GREEK cherry jam !

Fresh Greek Cherry Jam

Makes 1 Mason Jar of jam
Ingredients:

500g of fresh cherries, pitted but skin intact
200g sugar
Lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp of Nielson Massey rose water (optional)

Method:

Wash, remove the stalks and pits of the cherries, drain the water and pat dry.
Put cherries, sugar, zest and lemon juice in a non-metallic bowl and mix everything together.
Let it macerate for 1 hour in the fridge.
In a small or medium pot, bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Stir the mixture now and then.
Bring the the mixture to a boil and carefully skim the scum away from the mixture. Turn to low heat and make sure jam does not burn)
Stir gently until the jam is set. (approx half hour to 45 min )
Test for sweetness, if you want it sweeter, add a few tsp of sugar.
You can test by putting a small saucer in the freezer, make sure it is completely chilled and drop a teaspoonful of jam onto the cold plate and put it back into the freezer for 2 minutes. If the jam wrinkles, it means it is set, if not, cook for another 5 minutes.
Make sure you turn off the fire when you are testing, if not your whole pot might burn.
Store the cooled jam in a sterilised jar.

Take note that I never use pectin to make my homemade jam. Be it Strawberry. blueberry or kumquat jam.

ALTERNATIVELY

By Thermomix  
Method

Put all the ingredients and cook for 45 to 60 minutes at 100C, speed 1, with the Thermomix basket on the mixing bowl lid instead of the cup to allow steam to escape.
The last 5 to 10 minutes, I like to turn the heat to Varoma, speed 2.

Bread Machine
Method

Put all the ingredients in the baking pan, press the JAM key.
It will take about 1 hour 20 min in my Zojirushi Home Baker Mini.

Enjoy with any kind of bread, homemade is the best of course!

This is one of the many orange trees in the middle of Syntagma Square, Athens, right in the middle of the city, opposite the Parliament House.

                                                                Rose Water (optional)








Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Meyer Lemon Tart (2)

 
I simply cannot resist buying Meyer lemons when I see them on the shelves in the supermarket. Likewise I will not be able to not buy the Yuzus when I see them in the Japanese supermarkets during the seasons. I admit I definitely have a penchant for citrus fruits and I will try to make them into desserts of all kinds since I cannot eat certain ones straight. But these are actually sweet enough to eat. Meyer lemons are readily available for a bigger part of the year nowadays compared to one to two years ago where I thought I have to go to Australia to try tasting one when I heard so much about it through the net.
 
They are not as tart as a normal lemon and the fragrance is heavenly to me. It is a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin. The colour of the peel has a tinge of orange in it, just beautiful to me. It can also be kept for quite a few weeks without spoiling.
 
I even tried to plant the seeds but so far I have not gotten any success of course. Well, no harm in trying anything right? Popularity of the fruit climbed further when Martha Steward statrted to feature them in her recipes through her shows. She is one person who is crazy over all sorts of citrus fruits as well. Of course she has the luxury of having a huge greenhouse and her team of staff to experiment with them.  
 
Well, for Singaporeans who cannot find Meyer Lemons, don't despair, you can always make a 1:1 substitution of the juice and zest of various lemons. Meyer lemons are much sweeter and less acidic than normal lemons, so you might want to minus the sugar level in some recipes or vice versa.
 
When I can get hold of Meyer lemons, I always end up with a lemon tart some how. Don't ask me why. You can also find another recipe in my older post. http://foodmaestro.blogspot.com/2014/01/meyer-lemon-tart_5.html

 
Meyer Lemon Tart
adapted from Rick Stein in Delicious Magazine
25cm round tart pan or 35cm x 12 cm x 2.5cm longish tart pan
 
Pastry
200g plain flour
50g ground almond
25g icing sugar
A pinch of salt
150g chilled unsalted butter - cubed then put it back into the fridge
1 egg yolk
1 egg white
1 1/2 tbsp ice water
 
Filling
4 to 5 Meyer lemons to yield 150 ml juice and all the zest (finely grated)
6 eggs - beaten lightly
180g sugar
150 ml cream
Icing sugar to dust (optional)
 
To make the pastry:
1. Sift the flour.
2. Put sifted flour, ground almond, icing sugar and salt into the food processor. If you don't have a   
    machine, you can do it manually, it just takes some effort.
3. Pulse it 2 to 3 times to mix it up.
4. Now add the chilled butter to the mixture and briefly pulse (please use pulse function) till it
    resembles fine bread crumbs. Use your finger tips if you don't have a machine.
5. Add the egg yolk and the ice water and pulse again until the pastry just comes together.
6. Remove and gently knead a few times so it forms a smooth round.
7. Roll the dough out between 2 sheets of big plastic bags (cut sides) big enough to fit
     your tart pan.
8. Poke holes in the dough all over and then store the tart pan in the fridge for 30 minutes.
9. Preheat the oven to 200C or 180C with fan.
10. When you are ready to bake the pastry, line the tart pan with baking paper, fill with beans or
       raw rice and blind bake on a metal baking sheet for 12-15 minutes until the sides are a bit golden
       brown. Take it out of the oven, brush with the egg white  (to seal the pastry) and put it back into
       the oven for 2 minutes.
11. Take the baking sheet with the tart pan on it out and lower the oven to 140C.
 
To make the filling:
1. Lightly beat the eggs and sugar together but do not create foam.
2. Mix in the lemon juice, beaten eggs and cream.
3. Mix well.
4. Sieve the mixture into a jug with a spout.
5. Add in all the zest and give it a good stir.
6. Put the baking sheet with the tart pan back into the oven, partly pull out the oven shelf and pour the
    filling from the jug into the tart pan to almost the brim.
7. Very carefully slide the oven shelf back in and bake for 40 to 50 minutes (140C) until just set. The
     mixture should still be a bit wobbly in the centre but will continue to firm up after it comes out of 
     the oven. 
8. Remove and leave to cool but do not refrigerate just yet.
9. When cooled, dust with icing sugar before serving if you wish.
10. Best served on the day it is made.
 
            


 


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ma Lai Go, Hong Kong style steamed sponge cake

Whenever I go to Hong Kong, I will never fail to go to Tim Ho wan for my dim sum fix. They have to my opinion the best Cha Siew Polo bun and Ma Lai Go. I cannot comment on the Singapore branches as I have never been there.

So, I have done some research and the traditional Ma Lai Go has to be fermented for at least 2 to 3 days. Tim Ho Wan ferment theirs for two whole days.

Although the cake is brown in colour, it has no brown sugar in its ingredients, just normal sugar. When you ferment the batter, it will turn brown while steaming. I find it interesting, although a little yeast was used, there are no taste of the yeast at all in the steamed cake.

It is fluffy, soft and spongy at the same time. I like the result of the cake with the streaky holes! It is like the 'Pak Tong Go' I used to eat when I was a child. You need patience to make this cake if you want it this way because of the fermentation. I figure you can steam the cake on the same day with just a little waiting but I suppose it will have a different effect. Well, more experiments on the way!

My good friend found this recipe in her written book of recipes from some newspaper cuttings and jotted it down.

Recipe adapted from Ms Amy Beh
Steamer with cover
8 inch container
45 minutes of steaming

Starter
160g Hong Kong flour or any low protein flour like cake flour
35g sugar
1 tsp instant yeast
75ml slightly warm water

180g sugar (can add more if you want it sweeter)
35g bread flour
35g custard powder
20g milk powder
5 eggs
50g melted butter
100g canola oil/any tasteless vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp alkaline water (optional)

1. First, start the fermentation process by mixing all the ingredients for the starter in a bowl and cover with cling wrap and put it aside.
2. Let it ferment for at least 12 hours without touching it. Mine was fermented for 36 hours. The longer you ferment, the darker will be the colour. The texture and the colour will also depend on how long you ferment it.


3. When you are ready to prepare your cake, sift bread flour, custard powder and milk powder together in a bowl.
4. Place the fermented starter in your mixing bowl and mix it with a beater attachment at low speed.
5. Gradually add the sugar and beat it for a couple of minutes.
6. Now, add in the flour mixture gradually, still at low speed for another couple of minutes until combined.
7. At this moment, change to the whisk attachment in your mixer and add the eggs one at a time at low speed.
8. Turn the speed on medium high and whisk it for 10 minutes more.
9. Scrape down the sides of the bowl half way. Now you will notice that the batter will turn smooth without lumps.
10. At low speed, add in the melted butter and the oil. Mix well.
11. At this juncture, you can either put the batter in a bowl and ferment again in the fridge for 12 hours (I fermented mine for 24 hours) or you can proceed to add on the last of the ingredients and steam it.
12. You can also just ferment it for 2 hours and proceed with the rest of the ingredients. this depends on how impatient you are.
13. When you are ready to steam the cake, or rather fermentation is up, prepare the steamer with a cover and make sure there is enough boiling water.

14. For the pan, I used an 8 inch cake ring and a steaming rack and put baking paper in the cake ring with a single big piece of paper with an overhang for ease of removing the cake later.
15. If you have an 8 inch bamboo steamer, it is all the better and ideal.
16. I suppose you can use a normal round cake pan to steam as well, just make sure you line the pan with a whole piece of baking paper as well for lifting the cake up.
17. Now, add in the alkaline water (lye water) if using.
18. Sift in the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix until just combined.
19. Pour the batter into whichever prepared container you are using to steam the cake, cover and steam at high heat for 45 minutes.

20. Do not be tempted to open the cover for the first 30 minutes.
21. After 30 minutes, you can check whether there is enough water in the steamer. Replenish with hot water to continue steaming if necessary.
22. Let the cake cool on a rack for at least 5 to 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.

Eat it fresh and warm.
Store the rest in the fridge and you can heat it in the microwave for 10 seconds whenever you need a piece!


 



Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sourdough Bread

 
 

This post is long due, I have made countless sourdough bread and my bottle of sourdough is already two years old. I have been feeding the dough weekly only because I am too lazy and I do not make sourdough bread all the time. I literally have to discard some dough whenever I feed it.

Sourdough bread is bread which is fermented with wild yeast in the air instead of commercial yeast. Wild yeast is everywhere - in the air, in the flour and on the surface of some fruits. Commercial yeast has replaced wild yeast because it is easier to mass produced and easier for bakeries to use and store and most importantly it proofs our bread quickly. In contrast, wild yeast works much more slowly to proof breads.

So you ask, why do people bother then? Well, for one, I LOVE the flavour and texture that sourdough that is made with wild yeast gives as compared to bread made with commercial yeast. I admit Singaporeans simply love the soft pillowy bread that is sold in every local bakery. We are so used to soft, sweet and easy to chew bread. We are lazy, are we?

But I  love to chew my bread, once in a while. When I am not rushing to work, we will have sourdough bread with dinner and have nice conversation with my family or friends. I also like to dip my sourdough bread in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, some herbs or simply just smear some good butter on it. If you ask me, I will have very soft tangzhong bread in the morning when I have to rush to work but textured sourdough bread in the evening especially in the weekends. A nice balance I would say.

How about a beginner sourdough bread? It is a bread that does not take a whole day to ferment or rise. It takes just about two hours for the first rise and then about an hour for the second rise. As compared to the seven to eight hours for the purist sourdough bread. This bread uses the bubbly sourdough starter along with the commercial yeast to speed things up as you are getting used to working with sourdough.

Don't worry, this bread does not taste sour as you expected it to be. It is subtle and yet still soft on the inside. The strong sour flavour are only developed over a long, slow fermentation ofr a fully sourdough bread. Since we are on a speedy note, we will not get it so sour. Your bread will taste a little more sour if you have not been feeding your starter for more than two weeks at a stretch or if you use a mature starter. If the starter is fairly new, the taste will be mild.

Would you like a change in taste and texture of your bread? Then, make your own. Starting from the starter. Get it at http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-your-own-sourdough-starter-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-47337

Simple Sourdough Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

3 cups bread flour
2 tsp Kosher salt (or 1 tsp table salt)
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 cup water
1 cup sourdough starter

Method:

Put flour, salt, yeast and water in a mixer with a dough hook.
Make a rough dough.
Add the sourdough starter and knead till smooth and dough leaves bowl.
It is a fairly wet and sticky dough.
Either flour your hands well or put a little oil on your hands to take the dough out onto a oiled big bowl and cover with cling wrap. Let it rise to double its size, about two to three hours.
Before the time is up, flour a proofing basket/brotform/banneton well.
If you don't have this, try a bowl! Oil the bowl, flour it very well.
Dump the dough onto the proofing basket, cover with cling wrap again.
The dough should rise to the desired size by an hour or so.
Turn the dough out onto a lined pan.
Better still, if you have a pizza stone, it will be perfect.


Bake it in a preheated 220 C oven for 15 minutes with a pan of steaming hot water at the bottom of the oven.
After 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 180 C to bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. If you want your bread to be a bit more brown, bake it for another 5 minutes or so.








 
 
 
 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Black Glutinous Rice Flour with Palm Sugar Chiffon Cake


Black Glutinous Rice Flour with Palm Sugar Chiffon Cake

You can also call it Pulut Hitam with Gula Melaka chiffon cake. This chiffon cake has a mixture of flavours that is very unique. I like this cake very much. It is a pity that we cannot get hold of black glutinous rice flour easily in Singapore. I only know of one place in Singapore that you can get this flour after I did my research on the net. Before that, it was only in Malaysia or Indonesia that you can get hold of this flour.

I read all about the cake using the black glutinous rice flour but I was so eager to bake it but there was no flour to be found in Singapore. All you get in Singapore is the normal white glutinous flour selling in the shops. I wonder why it is not so popular in Singapore. Is there no market for this kind of flour? I was so desperate that I wanted to buy some black glutinous rice and bring it to Little India for the spice grinders to grind it for me. Or I can also bring it to the Chinese Medical shops for them to grind it for me, as they can grind all sorts of brown rice and hard medicinal herbs to fine powders for babies to consume. But I was going on a trip to Malaysia soon and therefore I waited patiently for the day to come so I can buy some black glutinous rice flour from KL.

At last, I got my hands on them after looking for three supermarkets in KL. It was still a difficult feat for me. The flour became a very precious possession in my bag. But now, I know you can get it in Singapore but I still have to drive a distance to get it. Nevertheless, I made this cake and it was gorgeous, whether it tasted gritty or not, I don't care.

 

Pulot Hitam with Gula Melaka chiffon Cake

Recipe adapted from Herbs & Spices
Using 25 cm/9 inch chiffon tube pan
180 C oven
 
Ingredients

5 egg yolks
120 ml coconut cream/milk
125 g palm sugar/gula melaka
80 ml canola oil or any tasteless vegetable oil
150 g black glutinous rice flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 egg whites
75 g fine sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Method

Preheat oven to 180 C.
Sift together black glutinous rice flour with baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Set aside.
In a mixer, beat together egg yolks with palm sugar/ gula melaka and vanilla extract, until sugar is dissolved for about 5-7 minutes.
Stir in coconut milk and oil to the egg yolks.
Next, add black glutinous rice flour to the egg yolk mixture in the lowest setting of the mixer until it is all well mixed. Set aside.
In another clean bowl, put the white eggs and beat using medium speed a little while until bubbles form. Add sugar gradually in a stream to egg whites and beat it together until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat until it is of stiff peak. But take care not to over beat. Set aside
Take the bowl out of the machine, using a spatula, add 1/3 of the egg white mixture and fold gently to egg yolks mixture.


Now, fold in the rest of the egg whites gently until combined. Do not over mix at this stage.
Pour the batter into 25 cm chiffon tube pan. Bang the pan a few times on the counter top to break the air bubbles in the batter so that you do not have huge gaping holes in the cake.


Bake for about 50 to 55 minutes. Some ovens might need a longer period in baking.
Invert tube pan to cool completely on a rack.
It is better to over bake than to under bake in chiffon cakes if you don't want your cake to fall out of your pan when you invert it on a rack to cool.
When it is completely cooled, use a knife and go round the cake pan to remove it.


 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Kaiser Buns


Kaiser buns or rolls are indeed very nice bread rolls if you like European bread. I have always loved the shape of these bread and especially the dark golden hue on them. I was looking for recipes to make a burger bun for my pulled pork and I suddenly remembered these buns that I saw in the bakeries in Europe. I used to make the softest ever bread for my burgers but not for pulled pork because it has sauce on them and I need substantial harder bread definitely. These Kaiser buns have a good crispy crust and it does not fall apart and lose its shape once any sauce touches it. It gives bite and yet it is not heavy and is actually quite light. It is perfect for my pulled pork burger. I think I would bake these buns for my hamburgers too. I will just leave it whole and round without the knots.
These buns taste great and it is also easy to make. It is probably not the original recipe for Kaiser buns but hey, I don't care, I like it.

This recipe makes about 8 to 9 buns
Ingredients:

380g bread flour (3 cups)
120g whole wheat flour (1 cup) You can substitute it using wholemeal flour
1 tsp instant yeast
18g sugar (1 tbsp)
1 tsp salt
250 ml warm water (1 cup)
15 ml butter, melted
1 large egg, beaten
Another egg for egg wash
Sesame seeds for topping the buns

Method:

Put all the bread flour, whole wheat flour, salt, sugar and yeast in the mixer using the dough hook. Mix well.
Now put the beaten egg, butter and warm water and mix until all the dough come together. if it looks dry, add another tablespoon of water. Do not pour in too much, be patient and it should form into a dough.
Continue to mix at medium low speed until a smooth dough is formed.
You can now turn out the dough into a smooth work surface and knead it for about 2 to 3 minutes till it is very smooth.
If you don't have a mixer, you can do all this by hand as well.You just have to knead it for a good 10 to 12 minutes.


After kneading, form a ball and tug in the ends below and place it in a greased big bowl and cover it with a plastic food wrap and leave it in a warm place.to double the size. This should take between 1 to 2 hours depending on which part of the world you are. In my hot and humid country.it took just slightly more than an hour.
Once the dough has risen nice and big, knock out the air in it and bring it out of the bowl and cut the dough into 9 equal pieces in my place as one piece will weigh about 98g.
Cover the rest of the dough with a piece of kitchen towel when you are working each individual bun. For each individual bun, roll it into a long rope then tie it into a knot and one end tug under the bun and the other end pull it over the top and tog the end in securely.


Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper or a silpat.
Again cover all the knotted buns with a towel or plastic food wrap loosely for 1 hour or so.
Before the hour is up, heat the oven to 220C. Get ready a roasting pan for putting it at the bottom of the oven.
For the egg wash, beat an egg in small bowl. (I do not mix with water for this egg wash)
Boil water for pouring it into the roasting pan for steaming the oven.
When you are happy with the size of the buns, brush the egg wash very gently all over the buns including the sides.
Sprinkle some sesames seeds on the buns if you like.
Put the baking sheet with the risen buns in the middle rack of the oven.
Pour the boiling hot water into the roasting pan.
Bake buns for 20 to 25 minutes depending how brown you want the buns to be.
It should be nice, crispy and deep golden brown.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Pecan Pie with Chocolate


It is not Thanksgiving I know, but my pecan nuts have been sitting there for quite a while and I have been pushing it aside to make this pecan pie. I have been wanting to make this pie for the longest time. The cost of the pecans in Singapore is just too high. But recently I managed to find much cheaper pecans and I grabbed a big packet.

Today is the day to make this pie because I have sweet tart dough in the freezer. I love to eat tarts and pies but the thought of making the dough will stop me in its path. Now, I will make a batch of sweet tart dough and store it in the freezer and I can whip it out whenever I feel like making a tart or a pie.

I was imagining how sweet this pecan pie will be looking at the ingredients from the net and my cookbooks and I shudder at the thought of biting into ultra sweet fillings. So I chanced upon a website that adds chocolate to the pie. It sounds good but I would cut of  some of the sweetness, I thought. So here it is, my long awaiting attempt at Pecan Pie with Chocolate.

Sweet Tart Dough 

Ingredients
(You can Make this 1 day in advance because you need to chill and rest the dough for a minimum 4 hours or up to 2 days, before rolling and baking)
285g butter (softened)
180g icing sugar
100g ground almond
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
490g plain flour (sifted)

For making the sweet tart dough, put the softened butter in a mixer bowl, put on the paddle and mix till light and fluffy.
Add icing sugar, almonds, salt, vanilla extract and eggs and mix on low speed. Blend well after scraping the sides.
Add the sifted flour in a few additions, do not add all at once.
Switch off the machine as soon as dough comes together. Do not over mix.
Divide the dough into two or three portions. Roll each portion into a ball and wrap with food plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours preferably. You can store the rest in the freezer if you are not using it. This can be stored for up to a month.
 
Filling
 
Ingredients
 
3 large eggs (60g each)
240g corn syrup (3/4 cup)
80g brown sugar
20g fine sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
125g semi sweet chocolate (55% )
160g Pecans to arrange on top (1 1/2 cups or might need more)
 
Assembling the Pecan Pie (23 cm or 8 inch tart tray)
 
Get the sweet tart dough out of the freezer or fridge.
Turn on the oven to 180C
To make the tart, cut out a freezer bag or a big clean plastic bag, and put the dough in between to roll out. (no table to clean and you do not need to wash the rolling pin too, how good is that?)
Cut the dough according to size of the tart tray. (8 inch or 23 cm)
Press gently onto the tray and poke holes all over with a fork.
Put it back into the fridge for 20 minutes.
We do not need to precook the dough for this recipe.
In the mean time, we can make the filling.
Boil some water in a small saucepan,
In a medium metal bowl, melt the chocolate in a bain marie or double boil, making sure not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the boiling water. Stir the chocolate till it melts. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, crack the 3 eggs into it, add the corn syrup, brown sugar, fine sugar, vanilla extract, and pour in the melted chocolate.
Beat well with a whisk till all the sugar is dissolved and well mixed.
Take the tart tray out of the fridge, and pour in the egg mixture slowly.
Carefully arrange the pecan nuts onto the mixture. Don't worry, the nuts will definitely float on top.
Put the tart tray on a baking sheet so that if it spills, it will not dirty the oven and at the same time it is easier to transport the filled tart tray to the oven this way.
 
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Insert a toothpick to check for doneness.
Cool the pie  on a metal rfack for at least a couple of hours before serving.
The pie will look puffed up at first but it will subside as it cools.
 
 
 
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