Monday, December 24, 2012

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake & Xmas dinner

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake
I really like the way Tomoko conducted her class and therefore when I saw her Dec schedule include a dainty little Strawberry Shortcake, I signed up for the class immediately. It's limited to max 6 pax per class and each of us will get to take back an entire whole cake. Yes !!
The genoise or sponge as what we normally called it doesn't require ovalette. The sponge cake I used to do requires ovalette to make it soft (I supposed). Tomoko imparted her knowledge by explaining why we should do this and why we shouldn't do certain things with very logical and simple technical explanation. This is exactly what drawn me to her class otherwise any tom dick or harry can easily conduct a baking class by just following the recipe diligently.
A humongous slice of cake for myself :D
We first did the sponge cake which is best to be kept overnight before cutting into layers and decorating it with cream. It's not that a difficult cake to do but we have to be very sure of the texture of the batter for the sponge cake and also to what extend we should stop whipping and beating the cream.
My eyebags are getting worse and I look tired but here I am, posing proudly with my cake.
Hubby was surprise I brought back a nice looking dainty cake because the last time I baked a Blackforest Cake with chocolate topping was like ages ago.  The problem with cream layered cake is I need to use up the whipping cream preferably in 1 week after opening it. Moreover whipping cream doesn't come cheap.
Main course
Upon request from hubby for a so called "Christmas theme dinner", I rushed out to Jaya Grocers to get Nuenberger sausage and Cumberland Sausage. I whipped up a simple salad with just balsamic vinegar and olive oil and mixed it with sliced jackfruit, grapes, tomatoes and jumbo raisins. It was definitely healthy and yummy. I hope you guys have had a jolly Christmas Eve like I had. Merry Christmas to all and God blessed.

Salad with assortment of vege and fruits

Bought the Balsamic vinegar in Sydney.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Chocolate éclairs & Custard cream puff

My legs are really breaking apart and right now, all I can think of is a good massage. The last time I made choux pastry was in office together with my then Application Manager and that was like 4 - 5 years ago. Recently I had the chance to attend a class held by Tomoko who is a Japanese trained patisserie. She's not just any other person who knows how to bake but rather from the way she explained and answered questions posed to her, I gathered she has a solid background on food science. Now, this is what I really like and look up to. If you wish to attend her class, click here to be directed to her webpage.


Choux pastry being cream puff and eclairs are one of those amazing pastry which just balloons up without yeast and it has very minimal butter and flour. It consist of lots of eggs and while you're baking it in the oven, the wonderful eggy smell whiff through the kitchen. I just love it. To bake custard cream puff and eclairs, I went to 3 stores in search of 1cm nozzle but to no avail. Well, it seems that  this size is extremely popular. I had to settle with a 1.5cm nozzle for both pastry and bought an additional 0.5cm nozzle for piping the cream in. A teeny weeny nozzle already cost me an exorbitant RM5.50.  

 The 1st batch of cream puff as well as the 1st batch of eclairs turned out to be flat instead of puffy and airy. The 2nd batch of eclairs however turned out great but I just couldn't fathom why the same batter would create a different outcome. The way I piped it out, perhaps?  Anyway, I wasn't very happy with  my puff pastry and knowing me, I just had to do another round of it. A good thing it puffs came out great the 2nd time

Hubby came back and I stuffed 3 custard cream puffs into his mouth and 1 eclairs. He saw the display on the dining table and asked me whether I'm baking it to sell tomorrow. One thing for sure is my colleagues are in luck tomorrow. They'll be having it for breakfast. When will someone in office bakes for me for a change??

I'm packing one box each of eclairs and custard puff for my doc tomorrow. He loves chocolate and I hope he will enjoy eating it as much as I do. Gosh.. I lost count of how many puffs I stuffed into my mouth!

The custard cream is awesome. I definitely must attend another class of Tomoko's . Her recipes are good, the classes are hands on method, her knowledge on baking is indisputable, she gladly answered all my questions to her without holding anything back and lastly, she is just a simple humble lady who enjoys baking and imparting her knowledge while making a living out of it.


These are the failed batches of puffs and eclairs (no cream added yet).  See? It's 'kemek'. They look hideous, I agree but they taste as good nonetheless. Why... I could even pop them into my mouth without any cream in it.. .that is if you like eggy taste.

Verdict : I'm satisfied with today's baking. The taste of cream and the pastry was awesome. I really really love it. I don't normally eat a lot of what I bake but this.....I just couldn't stop popping them into my mouth. It's gonna be midnight soon (again another late night) and I'm dead beaten. However, it's all worth it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mayo Tuna Bun

Re-baking the same recipe today to compensate for last week's not-so-satisfied tuna buns because last week, I was literally distracted by many unexpected excitement : my Hello Kitty goodies, arrangment to pick up Tony and Uncle Meng at Sentral, the nice cutie pictures of HK display which Tony took in Taiwan etc. So in the end, I didn't put my heart into baking and normally how much effort you put in, that's how much you'll get.
I learnt this recipe from Ai Ling when I went over to her place one night straight after work. It was also the day before I started my dreaded detox program. Since that night, I've been dying to try out baking it myself, not so much of eating it but .. well.. just to bake it for the sake of baking. I'm not sure how my colleagues will react when they see the buns tomorrow because obviously they erm.. didn't have a 'pleasant' experience with last week's buns :)


Buns turned out not as soft as I would have like it to be but definitely better than last week, thank God for that. It's a joy to see the dough risen up to a soft round airy shiny ball. My reliable Kenwood bread machine helped to knead the dough and that certainly saved me plenty of time and labour. Afterall, the machine has been idling and under used for quite some time.

Yes, I remember to roll and fold the dough this time. I remember to brush the egg wash over the buns and finally, I remember to transfer the buns to the rack for cooling.

 The tuna was barely enough to make 13 buns and I wasn't going to open another can of chili tuna. Since tuna was scarce, I decided to replace the tuna with my jumbo size organic raisins. Made a long roll and a round shape for the raisins bun , just for the heck of it.

I wonder if cousin Soo has embark on her so called 'crash' diet? I do so wish she and the kids will eat my buns.... Whadya say, couz?

I need to get permission from Ai Ling before I can share the recipe out here..

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sushi from Scratch

It was my very 1st attempt on sushi making and prior to this, I had my Singapore colleague Jezamine, to scan over the recipes to me. Thanks Jez! I seriously think it doesn't worth all the trouble if I were to prepare sushi for just me and hubby to consume. Afterall, how much can we stuff the sushi loaded with high carb rice into our tummies and how many varieties can we have? Since mom and dad is here to stay with me, I thought it would be great to finally try my hands on sushi making. Let me just put it that japanese dinner can be pretty costly  for the 1st time because the ingredients and sauces do not come cheap. As long as I use up all of them before they expire, I guess money will be well spent then. The fillings I prepared today were cucumber, rish roe, sesame, carrot and pork floss. There were canned tuna and crab stick in the fridge but mom and I decided that the current ingredients should suffice.

I do not want another boring style of sushi with the seaweed on the outer layer. As such, I made with the rice on the outer so that I could coat the rice with the roasted black sesame. What I failed to achieve was rolling it into a square shape. Well, next time I'll try to do better than this.

I enjoy eating inari. We bought the empty tofu skin and made an assortment of filling : stuffed rice with fish roe & sesame  and stuffed rice with pork floss & sesame. Good combination? The sweetness of the tofu skin blends real well with the rice which has been mixed with japanese vinegar.

While shopping for the ingredients, hubby saw the raw fish which came with 8 of them in a box. He kept asking me 'this?, ok?" and I knew no matter how vehemently I object to it, he will still place this box of fishes into our shopping cart. He loves the fried fried fish filled with plenty of ..uh.. eggs. Mom coated the fish with our special crispy flour and fried it at high fire towards the end to achieve a tip top crispiness. They all claimed the bone could be swallowed but I ain't taking no chances. I don't even eat unagi, for Christ's sake!

So here are the ingredients I used for today sushi making. The roasted sesame dressing is my usual salad dressing besides mayonaise, ceasar and thousand island. The next sushi for dinner will be in Sept as well, I promise.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Roasted Pork Belly (again)

While I was in Spore during the recent raya, John's FIL bought siew yok for us to eat. He mentioned it was one of the notable stall selling siew yok. Later on, I bragged to dad and mom that I know how to roast one. Dad of course poohed poohed at my remarks and so....I just had to show him and make him eat his words... as well as the roast pork, of course.

There were several deafeaning explosions in the oven that made me hover at the side. The pop and cackling sound were just too humongous and frequent but that means the skin will be crispy instead of chewy. I bought the fattest chunk of meat belly I could get because dad will not bat an eye on any meat without a layer of huge fat in it.

Dad loves the meat to be cut slightly  think and chunky while me and mom prefer it to be just about 1-1.5cm thick. Dad went oohhing and aahhing when he first tasted the meat and I of course was chuckling at his reaction. I was showered with accolades and he told me I must make this in Singapore for my bro John and his in laws to eat. I told dad to pass that message to my brother  that if he can't wait to eat it, all he needs is to buy me an air tix and I'll fly there to roast one for him. All expenses will be on him then. Afterall, nothing comes free right? Afterall, I'm his little sister, right?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fried Longevity Noodles

The yummy Longevity noodles

Dad's nong li's birthday (birthday according to the chinese calendar) is tomorrow. We just arrived from Singapore yesterday and mom depended on me to get groceries during my lunch hour. Since there was a time constraint with me bringing back the groceries after work, mom decided to push forward the frying of longevity noodles from tomorrow to today. I gotta hand it to my mom. Whatever she whips out seems to be so mouthwatering and delicious. The best part is she doesn't seem to be tired and constantly putting on her thinking cap on what to cook next or what newbie she can introduce on the dining table. Needless to say, my next one month is gonne be terrific with homecook meals (except for the fact that I desperately need to diet. Yea... you heard that months ago), nicely pressed blouse for me and shirts for hubby and fresh smelling clean clothes completely washed and hung dry. Aahh....blissful days ahead before mom head for Sydney till next year.

Red eggs for dad. Mom stole some of my coloring meant for baking

Oh yea.. the noodles. It was cooked with some mince pork, slices of mushrooms, shredded carrot, fish cake and spring onion. I haven't got the chance to interview mom thoroughly on what sauces she used but I overheard hubby telling mom to teach me to cook this. The noodle itself was slippery and the entire dish was not completely dry but  with little gravy beneath the noodles. Two thumbs up. Long live mom ...... and dad.

Something to go with the noodles

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Stuffed Bitter Gourd

I was inspired to try this out after having sampling this dish made by hubby's eldest sister. I realized that I missed out a very crucial ingredient when I was halfway frying it because the filling doesn't seem to stick well to the vegetable. The culprilt is  mackerel (ikan tenggiri). We just had to make do without it then. Can you believe I was actually being shooed out of the kitchen by hubby because he insisted that he knew better how to make the sauce than me?  This dish turned out great. We both love bitter gourd and the simple marination of the meat seemed to go well with the vegetable. The sauce... well... what can I say? It was awesome. This dish goes well with white rice or you can even eat it on its own. We ate it with steam white rice topped with a juicy piece of ayam goreng berempah. l'll rate this as an easy and fast dish to whip out. In case you're interested, here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Filling & Marination :
Mackerel fillet
Mince pork
Soy Sauce
Sesame oil
Chop onions

Sauce :
Bean paste (taucu)
Dash of salt
Sesame oil (optional)

Other Ingredient :
Bitter gourd (of course!!)
Small onions - slice

Method :
  1. Marinate the filling with the sauces mentioned. Set it aside.
  2. Cut bitter gourd to about 1 or 1.5cm thick. Remove seeds and white pulp with a spoon.
  3. Stuff the a generous portion of filling into the centre of bitter gourd. Pat around it.
  4. Heat wok with little oil. Fry the bitter gourd in low fire.When it is cooked, dish out and set aside.
  5. Heat wok with little oil and fry onions in slow fire till slight golden brown. Scoop in sone bean paste, stir it a while before adding water and remaining sauce ingredients except cornstarch.
  6. Bring to simmer. Add in the bitter gourd, stir around and lastly add in the cornstarch.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Homemade Apple Crumble

My Apple Crumble with lots of crumbles

I  thought I'm finally done with apple pie. Apparently I was wrong. I overheard a conversation on apple pies between my colleagues that piqued my interest which slowly built up to an intense craving for my very own self made apple pie. Don't ask me why but I just love appie pies but I would normally opt to have the crumble as topping. The decision to bake came at the time I was shopping for some baking stuffs in Chang Tung in Taman Megah. It was there and then that I decided that I would scoot home to bake the apple tart today. 
The apple tart before topping the crumble

Once again, the strange phenomenon happen. The very thing that you crave for so much and couldn't wait to get your hands on, suddenly doesn't seem appealing once it is right before you. The pies are great .... I mean it isn't as if I've made it for the 1st time. Peeling the apples, core it and subsequently chop it took a great deal of my time. Thereafter, was patiently cooking the filling in the pot. Green apples are sour in nature and I deliberately reduced the sugar. Next, my faithful food processor helped me to produce the dough out in a jiffy. Finally, it's baking of the pie shell and the crumble.
The pot with apple filling

I had this as part of my dinner  at almost half past nine. I shall bake the remaining tomorrow morning as breakfast for myself and for cousin Soo (who else ...)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Creamy Mushroom Soup & Pork Patty

A juicy piece of patty with a slab of mayo and drizzle with some chili sauce. Awesome.
My blog it seems, has been reduced to quite a pathetic state with the frequency of postings getting few and far between. Blame it on my hectic time schedule and well,  facebook too. What prompted me to make another round of mushroom soup was the finding of 3 wild mushrooms sprouted out from my lawn. I just need to refresh my memory of how to make it by making a call to my sis in law in Singapore. It is typical to have garlic bread to go with mushroom soup but I figure I'll do something different this time : a meat patty. We had several meat projects done for some clients of ours and I remembered my then Application colleague had to come out with the actual meat patty with added flavors from our library collection. All it needed was a message to her via facebook and she obtained the meat patty recipe for me from our the chef.  Thanks Jez for the prompt reply and action on my request :)

The really creamy wild mushroom soup. Yummy....(fatty...)

I think the dinner attempt tonight was fated to be postponed since hubby called to say he ain't coming home for dinner. I went ahead with my dinner plans because for the next few nights, I will not be home early to cook. Less than halfway cooking the mushrooms, I had a major kitchen mishap. I accidentally cut my finger while taking out my food processor. Blood was oozing out and I was fumbling to take a picture of it while manning the mushrooms still simmering in the saucepan.

My homemade mini burger, sandwiched with a mini pork patty.

The so called 'kitchen mishap'.

 It took me slightly more than 2 hours to come our with the creamy mushroom soup and the meat patty plus the cleaning. Hubby came home to taste the soup and for him, it was creamy. He doesn't like it too creamy though but I like it otherwise. I'm not sure whether to consider the meat patty a success because it was obvious that I was over generous with the salt. Yes, you got it right. It was over salty. To make the best of it, I'll just have to top it with lots of veggies then. Other than the saltiness, it was awesome to bite into the burger which I smeared a generous amount of mayonaise and chili sauce. I just wish I have more people to eat it with me and to share the delight. Cousin Soo will get her share tomorrow and perhaps I'll scoup some out for my doctor too since I'll be seeing him tomorrow.

Not cheap. Deliberate got it for the purpose of making the soup.

The real stuffs and therefore, this soup is really costly.

Over estimated again that I had to keep a packet of the mushrooms

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fried Chicken Wings in a jiffy

I was craving for fried chicken wings last Sunday and instead of satisfying my desire once and for all, I left the mamak restaurant fuming because I wasted my stomach on this highly fatty and oil foodstuff and yet it tasted...not to my liking. Guess what? Yes... on Monday, I drove to Tesco in Paradigm (yahoo.. finally there's a shopping centre near my office!), got myself the wings, went back home to marinate it and today, had them for dinner. Marination was simple : with soy sauce and red fermented beancurd. Hubby rode his bike like a wind to tapau back Singapore Fried Beehoon and Hokkein Mee to savour with the wings lest the wings go cold. Now.. this is what I call 'teamwork' :D p.s not often I get this teamwork though...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Roast Pork (Siew Yok)

It's everyone's favorite, let's just admit it. While someone was still in the midst of his dreams, I got up at the wee hours to make a trip to the morning market before starting work. I'm glad the dinner turned out well because hubby just gave me his big 2 thumbs up. I'm not exactly sure how sincere he meant, but I sure felt a sense of triumph on his reaction. I already had in mind to whip up a dry wan tan mee noodles to go with it roast pork. The only thing missing was there were no wan tan to go along with it. I diligently followed the recipe given to me by my cousin. At one point I really thought I had burnt it because the charred smell filled my entire living room. As it turned out, it was the right kind of smell and I was truly glad that I followed my cousin's advise to really make the skin slight burnt and then to scrape off some of the burnt parts. The skin is crispy but on certain parts, it was chewy instead. It's really strange that when I crave for something so badly and when I finally made it myself, the marginal utility has diminish even before I started devouring the meat.

 Knowing perfectly well that there are only 2 mouths to feed ,  I bought and roasted 1.2kg of the meat. It will look nicer to roast a bigger square chunk  rather than just a thin flimsy strip meant for 2-3 pax. However, I am now stuck with the stunt fact that it will take us days to finish it. Anyone wants?? Cousin Soo?? For recipe, please click here

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Crispy Fried Popiah

I was doing the weekly grocery shopping with mom in hypermart, deliberately led her to the frozen food department and merely showed her the popiah skin. It was like she was suddenly struck with something long forgotten and replied : I know how to make crispy popiah. Her next inevitable question was "do you wanna eat?" I would be a total idiot if I said no but frankly speaking, I'm a fan of anything fried and crispy too. Umm... seems like I'm a fan for a a variety of food.

Mom stir fry the content to be wrapped in the popiah skin : slices of turnip, cabbage, black fungus and bits and pieces of chicken meat cut in small cubes. She said making this finger food is like snapping her fingers ; easy, fast and hey presto, the food is done.

One can't do without sweet Thai chilli sauce when it comes to fried popiah. We dipped generously into the chilli sauce and savoured the taste and the crispy popiah skin. Well, you just gotta eat it while it's still hot and warm, otherwise it will be soft and soggy.

Sigh...another yummy dish to go with our dinner.
Huh?? What?? Recipe?? Later lah. The weather of late is killing me and the new TNB meter is ticking away like nobody's business.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Braised Pork Belly / Kou Rou Bao(扣肉包)

My lovely mom made some really awesome braised Pork Belly( Kou Rou Bao - 扣肉包)  in which we sandwiched it between the pau, added a little piece of lettuce and drip some drops of the superb sauce in it. Mom made it for dinner tonight. You'd be surprise that at one point, mom actually vowed not to ever attempt any bao related recipes after so many failures (that's according to her standard). Finally one fine day, she got it right after consulting several recipes and from there on, came up with her own recipe.

I cannot tell you how tasty and yummy it is. The pork belly was just at the right tender texture while the bao was super soft. At this rate, I don't think my diet plan is going to materialize at any time sooner but anyway, it's a blessing to come home with yummy dinner waiting for me.

Look at the wobbly combination of fat and lean meat. The top skin was fried on a pan of scarce oil to make it crispy (of course when soaked with gravy, it becomes soft), the mixtures of major spices like cloves, star anise, cinnamon stick, chinese wine and fermented beancurd created the aromatic and tasty gravy as well.

As we munched with satisfaction on bao with the gravy oozing out from the side, the other hand of ours reached for another piece of lettuce to crunch together.

The above has been packed for a friend of mine whom I haven't seen in decades. Tomorrow ...yes ....tomorrow... we will meet for the 1st time in decades and exchange food for the first time as well.