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Girls' Best Friend

Bright and sparkly. Gemstones came to my mind when I was removing this Dragon Fruit and Orange jelly from the mould. Like a combination of gemstones...rubies, amber and diamonds, all in one!

Dragon's Eyes

The literal translation for the name of a small brown, juicy exotic fruit from the lands of Asia, known as Longan in Chinese, packed into these muffins

Nostalgia

A taste from the humble beginnings, the Long Bean Rice brings back beautiful memories of the yesteryears

Light and Fluffy

Lemon, Yogurt and Cranberries~a nice blend of flavours in a light and fluffy chiffon cake

Bread Stories

Asian style buns ~ Popular as breakfast food or snack, sweet/savoury fillings wrapped in soft, cottony bread

Monday, 28 July 2014

Ribs, The Pinoy Way

Hello there my blogging friends, it has been awhile, my apologies for not visiting.  I hope to catch up soon.   Life has been busy after going back to full time employment.  Hats off to my friends who are working full time yet find time to blog constantly and beautifully while i am struggle to find a right rhythm!

Asian Food Fest blogging event moves on to the Philippines this month and I am quite glad that i managed to complete my 'homework' early but yet i am rushing to post this unfortunately  :(

Don't know much about Pinoy cuisine and have not had much opportunity to savour them except those had during a brief trip to the beautiful Cebu island a few years back.

The only Pinoy dish that i can claim i know how to make would be the Adobo which they say is the unofficial national dish.  I learned how to make this a few years back and i make it occasionally ever since.  It's easy to make (no. 1 criteria to make it into my house menu)  and it's delicious, can't be better...

Adobo is a simple stew like meat dish made by braising the meat in essentially soy sauce, vinegar and garlic. One can make it with chicken, pork or even seafood (i read) but i chose pork of course since i wanted to add this into my collection of Asian Pork Ribs dish :)  Apart from the variation in the choice of meat, other extras like potatoes and eggs can be added into the dish too.  I tried with potatoes since they can never go wrong in stews.

The meat is tender with a unique mix of savoury, sweet and tangy flavors.  Flavors are more intense if left to marinade longer (i left it overnight and made it for lunch).  I like mine with a little sweetnes hence the addition of  a little brown sugar.  A comforting dish that goes well with rice.

Recipe
Source: Pansalang Pinoy

Ingredients
  • 2 lbs pork belly (850g) 
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced or crushed (4 tbsp)
  • 5 pieces dried bay leaves (3 pieces)
  • 4 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (1/3 cup)
  • 1 tbsp whole pepper corn
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 russet potatoes skinned and cut into quarters
  • salt to taste
Method
  1. Combine the pork belly, soy sauce, and garlic then marinade for at least 1 hour (I left it the fridge overnight and made it for lunch the next day)
  2. Heat a heavy based pot and put-in the marinated pork belly to brown the meat.
  3. Add water, whole pepper corn, and dried bay leaves then bring to a boil. 
  4. Simmer for 20 minutes.  
  5. Add in vinegar and simmer for another 10 minutes or until meat is tender.
  6. Add in potatoes and simmer for another 15 minutes or until potatoes is soft.
  7. Add sugar and salt to taste.
Notes: My variation in blue


I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest – Philippines hosted by The Sweet Spot.

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This post is linked to the event Little Thumbs Up (July 2014 Event: Potato) - organised by Zoe (Bake for Happy Kids) and Mui Mui (My Little Favourite DIY) and hosted by Jasline (Foodie Baker

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Super Soup Bowl Sunday


Happy Sunday everyone!  Hope you are having a great time with your loved ones.

I made this dish 2 Sundays ago.  I am at a loss as to what to name this dish.  Listing down all the ingredients will make it long and boring.  Since it's a big bowl of goodness, Super Bowl came to mind :)  Or maybe Super Soup Bowl to be technically correct.  After all that's what it is literally, not American football :)

This dish was inspired by Sonia's claypot luffa gourd, black fungus and fish maw dish that she shared not long ago.  I like this kind of dish with lots of ingredients braised in supreme stock.  Something that one could eat on its own or at the most some rice to go with it for die-hard rice fans (which i have in my house).

Sonia made hers using the traditional Cantonese way of cooking. She used dried sole fish to make the stock which is a widely used seasoning in Cantonese style cooking.  I don't have any of those so i made do with anchovies instead.  To make up for the flavors, i threw in fish, prawns and some meatballs.  I also used a chayote instead of luffa.

It turned out delicious!  Lots of tasty ingredients and soup to go with it too, a typical chinese home style meal that was really comforting.

Recipe
Inspiration: Nasi Lemak Lover

Ingredients
  • 1 medium size chayote, peel and cut into wedges
  • 40g fish maw, soaked in water for 30mins
  • 1 medium size carrot, peel and cut into thick slices
  • 10g dried black fungus, soaked in water till soften, tear into small pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 slice white flesh fish
  • 1 cup meatballs
  • 6 medium size prawns, deveined 
  • Salt to taste
Stock ingredients
  • 1 cup dried anchovies
  • 1000ml water
Method
  1. Rinse and wash anchovies in some water.
  2. Heat one tablespoon of cooking oil in a stock pot then fry anchovies until fragrant.
  3. Add water then allow it to come to a boil and simmer for around 15 minutes until soup becomes whitish.  
  4. Strain broth, discard anchovies and set aside.
  5. Heat one tablespoon of cooking oil in a claypot, sauté garlic until fragrant. Add in carrot, black fungus and chayote.
  6. Add in stock and let it come to a boil.
  7. Add in fish maw, continue to cook for 5-10mins till fish maw soften.
  8. Add in prawns for 2-3 minutes then add in meatballs followed by fish slices the last.
  9. Turn off heat once fish is cooked.
  10. Remove from heat, serve hot.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

A Very Berry Good Morning!

I was on a berry buying frenzy the other day.  Isetan Kuala Lumpur was offering every other type of berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries and raspberries) at a bargain in conjunction with the Mega Sales event.  Yippee! If you visit me often enough, you must have read about me lamenting how expensive berries are on this part of the world.  So, you can imagine how crazy i went when they were going at a discount.  I bought at least a punnet of every other berries that they had.  Very berry happy i was :)


I couldn't wait to lay my hands on something that has lots of berries in it :))  I ended up making this swirl bread by Joy the Baker.  This recipe is one of the challenges for a Baking Bootcamp in which she is partnering with King Arthur flour.  The many photos of this beautiful bread  of those taking part in the challenge was just captivating. 

The biggest challenge is the braiding and then the transferring to the baking pan.  The dough was really soft, berries falling off here and there when you braid it and added to that some berries started to bleed after the dough is cut.  It's doable but not easy!  The key to this is to do it fast!  I must admit i didn't do too well :(

We had it for breakfast the next day, the bread was still soft without any need to reheat it.  Buttery, moist, cinnamony, bursting with berries and their juices.  Just delicious!  I am thinking a scoop of ice cream will go very well with it too :)

Recipe
Reference: Joy the Baker and Bryony Cooks

Ingredients

Dough
  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (2 tsp)
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, warmed to a warm lukewarm
  • 1 large egg yolk (1/2 medium size egg)
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (28g)
  • 2 1/4 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour (280g)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Olive oil, for greasing the bowl (omitted)
Filling
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (56g)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (45g)
  • 3 tsp. ground cinnamon (2 tsp, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
  • 2 cups fresh berries (sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
  • 1 large egg, beaten, for egg wash (1/2 medium size egg)
Method
  1. In a medium size bowl, heat milk until warm.  Stir in yeast and sugar. Add in the egg and melted butter. Whisk together until thoroughly combined. Allow mixture to rest until it becomes foamy, around 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour and salt. Pour the milk mixture over the dry ingredients and bring everything together into a rough dough.  Place dough on a lightly floured counter and knead by hand for about 10 minutes more. Dough ball should be soft and smooth after kneading.   Shape dough into a ball.
  3. Place the dough in a bowl that has been lightly greased with olive oil and cover.   Allow to rest in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. While the dough rises, whisk together the butter with cinnamon and sugar for the filling. Set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).  Grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet (I used a 9-inch springform cake pan). Set aside.
  6. After the dough has doubled in size, place it on a lightly floured counter and knead twice. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a rectangle of about 18×12 inches.
  7. Spoon the cinnamon filling over the top, spreading evenly, leaving a clean 1-inch border around the edges. Sprinkle the fresh berries over cinnamon filling. Start by rolling the longest side of the dough. The roll will be a bit lumpy because of the berries. Using a sharp knife, cut the log in half lengthwise leaving 1-inch of the edge uncut.
  8. Start braiding the two pieces by lifting the left strand over the right strand. Repeat this motion until you reach the bottom of the dough. Press together to seal. Join the two ends, creating a circle with the dough and press together.
  9. Using two swift hands, transfer the dough ring to the prepared cast iron skillet/pan. Brush the wreath with the beaten egg.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Allow to cool for about 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
Note: 
  1. I followed through Step 1 but i let my breadmaker handle the kneading using the Dough program.  
  2. For Step no. 3, i left the dough the dough to rise in the breadmaker.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Orange is the Happiest Color


It is not very often that i bake cheese cakes.  The problem is they keep calling out to me whenever they are in my fridge.   I love them so it's easier to refrain from baking than to refrain from eating! 

I had this block of cheese leftover after i made a cake for my son's class party, just the excuse for me to make myself one :)  I didn't have that much left, only 250g, so i thought a Japanese style cheese cake would suit it well.  And i was craving for something orangey. Orange is my favorite fruit and i like its bright sunshiny color. I must agree with Frank Sinatra to a certain extent, "Orange is the happiest color" so he said :)

I did a search and landed on Ann's recipe which she posted in 2010. I know Ann bakes gorgeous stuff but when i saw this cake of hers, i was like 'wow' she was baking gorgeous cakes even way back then :)  I absolutely love this cake.  It has a very fine texture that was light and airy and the orangey tang is just heavenly for orange lovers like me.

 Light, airy and tangy!

I substituted corn flour with potato starch and i am wondering if it had a hand in making the cake lighter, hmm...any thoughts my friends?

Recipe
Reference: Anncoo Journal

(A)
  • 250gm Cream Cheese, soften
  • 250ml Milk
  • 120gm Butter
(B)
  • 50ml Fresh Orange Juice
  • 2 nos Orange Rind, grated (Zest from 1 big orange)
(C)
  • 6 nos Egg yolks (Medium size eggs)
  • 60gm Sugar
(D)
  • 70gm Cake / Plain Flour
  • 20gm Corn Flour (Potato Starch)
(E)
  • 6 nos Egg Whites
  • 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar (omitted)
  • 60 gm Sugar
Method
  1. Melt cream cheese and milk over a double-boiler, strain using a wire mesh sieve to get a smooth mixture.
  2. Remove from heat and add in butter, stir until butter melted.
  3. When mixture is cool, add in ingredients (B) and (C). mix well.
  4. Mix ingredients D and sieve into mixture in 3 batches.
  5. Mix well until mixture becomes thick.
  6. Whisk egg white and cream of tartar till frothy.
  7. Add in sugar (2 batches) and continue whisk until peak foam.
  8. Mix egg whites to cheese mixture with a spatula (in 3 batches).
  9. Pour batter into a 10" lined square cake tin (8 inch round removable base pan plus a 3 inch paper liner).
  10. Bake at preheat oven 150'C with water bath for 1 hour 10 mins.
  11. Leave the cake to cool in the oven with door ajar for 30 minutes- 1 hour.  This is to prevent the cake from shrinkage with sudden change of temperature.
Notes
  1. My variations in blue.
  2. For water bath effect, place 4 tart moulds filled with hot water in 4 corners of oven.  You do not need to wrap the pan with aluminium foil with this method.
  3. Tent the cheesecake by covering it with aluminium foil loosely when half way baked (about 20-30 mins) to prevent cheesecake from over browning.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Ribs the Vietnamese Way

Yes, that's pork ribs you are staring at in case you can't make out what it is!  Unfortunately that is the best photo that i can find for this dish even after changing plates, with garnish, without garnish, this angle, that angle etc, etc, etc and yet this is what i got.  I am sure fellow bloggers can relate to this.  Must have been my bad photo day.  Sometimes it's just so hard to get one nice photo.  I was contemplating whether to post it.   The good thing is it tasted delicious, it's just the photo that isn't doing it justice.  So, since i did do my homework, I will add it to my Asian Pork Ribs collection (if you have been following me on this) for good or for bad :)

This is really another simple recipe to add to the other 2  equally simple Vietnamese recipes (not that all Vietnamese dishes are simple, difficult ones are just not within my territory).  I think grilling is the more popular method with ribs but i am not doing the grill in this hot weather.  This recipe requires the meat to be marinated then pan fried for awhile before adding in water to braised the dish for the meat to be tender.

The addition of lemon grass and ginger made it really fragrant, good enough to  pique hubs' interest to  ask what was for dinner.

Recipe
Adapted from: Wandering Chopsticks

Ingredients
  • 800g pork ribs
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, finely minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1-inch knob ginger, finely minced
  • 1 chili pepper, finely minced (omitted)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt  
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup water 
Steps
  1. Combine lemongrass, garlic, ginger and chili pepper and finely mince everything in a food processor until a rough paste is formed.
  2. Add honey, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, salt and ground black pepper to the paste. Then slather the marinade all over the pork ribs.  
  3. Leave the ribs in the fridge to season for 1-2 hours.
  4. In a large sauce pan on high heat, drizzle a bit of oil and quickly sear the ribs. Add 1 cup of water, cover the pan, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. Check from time to time and make sure nothing's burning, stirring occasionally and make taste adjustments or add water if necessary. The marinade will gradually thicken into a rich sauce.
Notes:
  1. The original recipes calls for pork chops which i substituted with pork ribs.
  2. I reduced the amount of water from 2 cups to 1 cup and adding about another 1/4 cup when the gravy starts to thicken.
  3. I used Thai fish sauce instead since it was on hand.

"I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest - Indochina hosted by Kelly Siew Cooks."


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Wu Pao Chun Loaf with a Japanese Twist

Some of you might have come across the Wu Pao-Chun milk loaf by now.  A recipe that has been popular with quite a few Asian food bloggers recently.  I caught the bug too and gave the original recipe a try here.  The results are satisfying and I like the recipe for its simplicity.  One that you can rely on when you realised too late that there's nothing for breakfast tomorrow.  Pop everything in the bread maker and you will wake up to a freshly made loaf the next morning!

This one here is a variation of the original recipe.  The inspiration came from Baking Taitai who spiced up the plain milk loaf with matcha (green tea) and white chocolate chips.  I didn't have any white chocolate chips on hand but i had white chocolate Toblerone, and yes you can guess what happened :))  Apart from that, I added some craisins for the color and tang to cut through the entire sweetness.

Quite an enjoyable breakfast it made even when eaten on its own. The bread was creamy from the addition of chocolate, lightly scented with a fresh green tea fragrance which reminded me of green tea latte and the cranberries provide some bite and a tangy flavor.  

I noticed the dough took longer to rise than the original recipe, just have some patience and wait until it doubles its size.  The other thing that puzzles me is there was some shrinkage, i suspect it was because i removed the loaf immediately after i took it out of the oven,  i am wondering if its because the loaf was still very soft when it was hot and it got a little compressed when the pan was inverted!

Recipe
Inspired By: Baking Taitai

Ingredients
  • 290g bread flour
  • 10g matcha powder
  • 14g sugar 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 198g milk
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 3 triangular pieces of Toblerone 400g
Steps
  1. Mix all ingredients (except butter, chocolate and craisins) into a dough using low speed, then use medium speed to knead it into a shiny and smooth texture.
  2. Add in the unsalted butter, then knead it using medium speed until it forms dough that can be stretched into a thin, translucent membrane.
  3. Mix in white chocolate and craisins.
  4. Proof the dough for about 60 minutes. (Until about double the size)
  5. Punch dough down and allow dough to rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Roll into a rectangular shape with one side not longer than length of pan/tin that will be used for baking.  Roll up dough like a swiss roll from the shorter side.
  7. Turn dough 90 degrees.  Roll it into a rectangular shape again as in step 6.  Roll up dough like a swiss roll again.  Seal seams and place in pan.
  8. Place it on the baking tray and go for final proofing for another 50 minutes. (I used a Pullman tin for a 450g loaf and put it to bake when it was 90% full .  I baked it uncovered)
  9. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 30 – 35 minutes
  10. Remove the bread from the pan after 5 minutes and cool on rack to prevent sweating.  
Note:  I combine all the ingredients (except chocolate and craisins) and let my breadmaker handle steps 1, 2 and 3 using the Sweet Bread program.  The Sweet Bread program will beep signalling the point to add in ingredients like raisins or nuts.  Add in chocolate and craisins at this point.  I stopped the program once its reaches the Rise stage.

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Friday, 20 June 2014

Bread Basics~ Buns with Chicken Floss

Here's another variation from a basic bun recipe that i love using.   I have been using this same recipe for so many times that it comes naturally without having to make any reference.  Sounds boring? Hey, but they say repetition is the root of many great things like perfection, reputation, fashion, believe etc, etc, etc! 

I remember going crazy about chicken floss buns.  These buns were made popular by a particular bakery chain in Singapore.  At that time before the bakery chain hit our shores, hubs will bring some back occasionally when he goes down south to Singapore on business.  They don't come cheap though when we take the currency exchange into consideration, roughly around RM4 per bun at that time.  Now that they are in town, they are not any cheaper though.  So, the best brand is still in the house, cheaper and filled to the brim with floss :))

It really is something achievable at home.  All it takes is a good milk bun as the base, spread on some condensed milk/mayonnaise before wrapping/topping it with some chicken/pork floss.  I like doing it both ways, wrap some floss into the buns before baking then top them with more floss when they are out of the oven.  That way you get a double dose of floss and it makes the buns so, so tasty!

Bread Dough recipe here

Chicken Floss Buns

Ingredients
  • Chicken/Pork Floss
  • Condensed Milk/Mayonnaise 
Method
  1. Divide dough into 70g portions.  Set aside and let dough rest for 10 minutes. 
  2. Flatten dough then spread on a thin layer of condensed milk. Sprinkle a layer of chicken floss then roll it up and seal the seams tightly.
  3. Arrange on greased tray.
  4. Cover and rest buns until double the size again.
  5. Glaze with egg mixture (refer Part D of bread recipe) or if fresh milk mixed with water on 1:1 ratio. 
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 17 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Remove buns from tray and let them cool on a wire rack.
  8. When buns are cooled, make a cut in the centre of the bun.  Spread on some condensed milk into the slit and on top of the bun.  Sprinkle more floss to coat the buns.

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