Thursday, October 29, 2009

Steam Fish Hong Kong Style

I've always liked fish... Not that I like to keep them as pets or dive into the water to see them swimming around. I mean I like to eat them, provided they're fresh & not fishy... My mom would always prepare a dish of fish during dinner as my dad love fish. A typical dinner will be 3 dishes, (fish, another meat, stir fry vegetables) & a soup served with white rice. Nothing beats a fresh fish that's steamed, like what most Teochews (a dialect group) would like. I especially love steamed garoupa Hong Kong Style... Simple & simply wonderful.

Jerome knows more about fish than I do. His favourite section of the supermarket is of course the fish & seafood section. He would be the one pointing out the different fishes & telling me the names. My knowledge is limited to a few different fishes. He would also look at the price & tell me whether it's a good buy or not.  So of course, Jerome's the one who pick out the fish at the supermarket. All these knowledge comes from his love for fishing. In fact he loved it so much, he bought a boat just so he could go fishing out in the Singapore waters..(hmm... not that there have been many great catches so far.)

Watching the sun setting & waiting for a fish to bite...

Regarding fish, Jerome's the guy who can do everything from 'start to finish'... He can fish, he can scale the fish, clean the fish & cook it well.  In fact, when we started cooking fish at home, it was Jerome who took the lead... From steamed fish to curry fish head.... & I helped by eating... And if I'm going to cook them, just make sure that they're already cleaned. The first few times I cooked fish, it didn't work very well. Fish that are not fully cooked, steamed fish that smelled fishy, etc... I've decided that the only fish dish I'm ever going to cook will be curry fish head. The curry paste is ready mixed & whatever fishy smell will be covered by the taste of curry.

While pouring over the recipes in the cook books at home, I stumbled across one from "Hawkers' Fair... Sauces" and the picture looks just like the kind I like. So I decided to try out the recipe & try steaming fish once again. I've also decided if that failed again, I would never steam any more fish. Well, glad to say, it worked well and I've used the recipes a few times already. I've cooked once for my in-laws and once for my parents during my mum's birthday. Even my dad said it was good! :))) I'm ready to try out new recipes for more fish.... There's another fish head in the fridge.

Steamed Fish in Fish Seasoned Sauce, Hong Kong Style

Adapted Recipe for Fish Seasoned Sauce
(makes enough for 2 dishes, can keep up to 2 mths in the fridge)


5 shallots, peeled & chopped
3 pips garlic, peeled & chopped
2 stalks spring onion, chopped
500ml water
100ml premium light soya sauce
thumb size ginger, crushed
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
a dash of pepper

1) Heat up 2 tbsp of oil & saute (A) till fragrant.
2) Add all the other ingredients & bring to a boil.
3) Lower heat & simmer for 10 minutes.
4) Strain.Cool & store in fridge until ready to use.

Recipe for Steamed Fish Hong Kong Style

1 fresh fish for steaming(eg Garoupa), cleaned
1 stalk spring onion
1 cup fish seasoned sauce
1 tbsp shredded ginger
1 stalk spring onion, shredded finely
* 1 stalk corriander leave, cut into sections
optional: red chilli, shredded

1) Line plate with a spring onion and top with fish. (This is suppose to help the fish cook faster.)
2) Steam at high heat fro 15 minutes or until fish is cooked.
3) Pour away the water from the plate. Sprinkle (B) over the steamed fish.
4) Pour hot Fish Seasoned Sauce over the fish & serve immediately.

* The corriander leaves to be sprinkled over the fish not only serves as a garnish, it also release its  unique fragrance to the sauce. So do not skip this.

Fluffy Pancakes

Found this "Fluffy Pancake" recipe from Rei's Blog "All That Matters" and had used it for a few times already. The recipe requires the separation of egg yolks and egg whites. And you'll get fluffy pancakes, better than Macdonalds :P No more pancake mixes for me!

The first time I attempted the pancake recipe, I tried to cheat by skipping the egg separation step & beat the eggs together with everything else. The pancakes ended up okay but not as fluffy as I would have liked. And according to Rei, the pancakes ahould be fluffy, like those served at Macdonalds. I had no prior success in separating eggs before & I gave up the recipe, hoping to look for another one that uses the whole egg method. It was only after I've picked up the skill of separating the egg that I decided to try the recipe again. And this time, it worked! The pancakes were great!

The Tricky Business of Separating Egg Whites & Egg Yolks
At first I tried those plastic 'egg sieve' that supposedly helps to do the task. But it just didn't work for me. The egg white tends to stick to the yolk. And when I tried shaking the egg whites off, the entire yolk dropped into the bowl! I almost gave up, thinking that the skill must be for master chefs & very experienced cooks. Then I read a book that actually shows & explain how this should be done. So I plucked up the courage & tried again. Of course, there were minor accidents along the way... like being violent enough to break the egg yolk together with the shell... I didn't know I was that strong!
If you're wondering how exactly, watch this  youtube video on egg separation.

Fluffy Pancakes

Adapted Recipe for Fluffy Pancakes
(Makes 8 medium size pancakes, using 1/4 cup to pour the batter)

(A) Mix together in a mixing bowl
100g self raising flour, sifted
a pinch of salt

(B) Mix well in a mesauring cup
80ml milk
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

2 egg whites
2 tbsp fine sugar

1) Make a well in the centre of (A) the flour & salt in the mixing bowl.
Pour in (B) & mix the mixture to a smooth batter using a hand whisk.
2) Whisk the egg whites in a grease-free bowl using electric whisk till foamy.
Add sugar gradually & continue to whisk till stiff.
3) Stir in 1/4 of egg white to the batter to lighten it folding mixing in the rest of the egg white.
4) Heat a lightly greased frying pan (or just use a non-stick pan) and pour batter.
(I use a 1/4 cup to scoop & pour the batter at 1 go to achieve a nice circle & the pancake will be evenly browned. If you use a tbsp and make a few scoops, the cooked pancake will not be a nice circle & will appear to have 'rings' with the centre ring being the darkest.)
5) Flip the pancake over once you see bubbles appear on the surface. Brown the other side & remove from heat. (There is no need to add oil to the pan as there is already oil in the pancake batter.)
6) To keep the pancakes warm (while cooking the rest) before serving, keep them in the oven with low heat turned on.
7) Enjoy your fluffy pancakes hot with some butter & golden syrup. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chocolate MatchSticks

Found a recipe for chocolate fingers from "Chocolate Galore" by Caroline Barty which I borrowed from the NLB. What started out as chocolate fingers ended up being chocolate matchsticks...

Crisp, buttery Viennese fingers dipped in milk chocolate

Recipe for Chocolate Fingers

120g butter, slightly softened
40g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla essence
120g plain flour
80g chocolate, broken into pieces

1) Cream butter, sugar & vanilla essence till light & fluffy.
2) Fold in the flour till you achieve a smooth dough.
3) Fill the dough into a piping bag with a 2cm fluted nozzle. Pipe out 7.5cm long fingers onto a non-stick baking sheet. Leave gap to allow for expansion.
4) Bake for 10-15 minutes in a preheat oven of 180 degrees celcius.
5) Leave them on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
6) Melt chocolate in a bowl over hot water. Dip the ends of the biscuits into the melted chocolate & place on non-stick perchment until hard.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bar Chor Mee II

Just prepared Bak Chor mee (minced pork noodles) for lunch again. This time I used Wantan noodles, those finer type. Still prefer the mee pok noodles. I've also used vegetables-fishballs this time, but the plain white ones are still better... Bak Chor Mee Recipe.

Bak Chor Mee (Minced Pork Noodles)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Japanese Curry with Pork Cubes

After a lunch of Katsu Chicken, I followed up with a Japanese Pork Curry for dinner :P Today is Japanese food day! Personally, I would have preferred to use chicken meat. Since we had chicken for lunch already, I chose pork instead. Next time, I'll try using beef.  This is a super quick meal, ready in less than half an hour. And the best part, it's tasty!

Japanese Curry Bento

Japanese Curry with Pork & Vegetables
(I added a big onion, a potato, carrot & capsicum)

Japanese Curry Sauce Mix
Easy... Just add water.... & all the ingredients you like...

A recipe is provided at the back of the box. Just get the ingredients that you want ready and your Japanese Curry is just 20 minutes away...

Chicken Katsu with Tonkatsu Sauce

Just prepared Chicken Katsu with Tonkatsu Sauce for lunch :) Jerome said this is the best Bento set I've made so far... But then again, he said the same thing when I made the Teriyaki Chicken Bento Set & Tonkatsu & Japanese Curry Bento...

Chicken Katsu with Tonkatsu Sauce Bento

Close-up of Chicken Katsu with Tonkatsu Sauce

Recipe for Chicken Katsu
(Makes 4 pieces)

2 skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp soya sauce
some pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
oil for deep frying

1) Slice the chicken breasts into halves (to make it thinner for easier cooking) so that you can 4 pieces in the end.
2) Marinade the chicken in soya sauce & pepper.
3) Coat the chicken with flour, then the beaten egg & finally the bread crumbs.
4) Heat oil for deep frying & deep fry the chicken till it's nice & golden brown.
5) Dish up and drain off excess oil on kitchen paper. Cut in pieces & serve hot with some Tonkatsu Sauce & rice.

Tonkatsu Sauce
2 tbsp Worschester Sauce
3 tbsp tomatoe sauce
Just mix the 2 sauces together. Then pour over Chicken Katsu.

Homemade Pizza, Garlic Bread & Baked Chicken Wings

Have been wanting to make pizza at home for quite some time now. Borrowed a few books from NLB but still didn't manage to make one. Must be waiting for Christmas... until I saw a blog post on Wednesday by Happy Home Baking. She had made pizza & included the recipe for making the dough. It didn't look too difficult & after my success in Cinnamon buns on Wed, I decided to make some pizza from scratch!

Pizza Before baking...

Hawaiian Pizza on the Plate, ready to be eaten...

The Taste Verdict: Jerome said that it's nice Lasagne :P The crust was kind of soft, actually soggy :P I must have added too much tomato paste, too much liquid on the dough... So this 1st pizza making attempt didn't work. Will try again soon.

I've also decided to make my own garlic bread & baked chicken wings to go along with my Hawaiian Pizza. I used the bread recipe for the Cinnamon buns to bake the bread first. As much as I tried to shaped the dough, I didn't managed to get them to look identical. No quality control :P

After the bread cooled, I cut slits into the bread & spread some ready-made garlic bread spread, wrapped the bread in aluminium foil & sent it back into the oven for another 15 mins together with the pizza. Jerome said the garlic bread is nice, but Pizza Hut's still better. Sigh...

Nice Soft Homemade Garlic Bread
Maybe not all totally homemade... as I used ready-made spread

In the end, it was the baked Teriyaki chicken wings that saved the day. I know that they will never fail to please.

Baked Teriyaki Chicken Wings

Recipe for Baked Teriyaki Chicken Wings

6 pieces of midwings
2 tbps light soya sauce
2 tbsp mirin
2 tsp brown sugar

1) Mix up all the ingredients & marinade chicken wings for 2-3hrs in the fridge.
2) Grease a baking tray & line the chicken wings on the tray.
3) Bake the wings on each side for 10-15 mins on each side in a pre-heat oven of 160-180 degrees celcius (depending on your oven's 'strength') or until brown. Spread the left-over marinade over the wings occasionally during baking for more flavour.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cinnamon Buns Again

Cinnamon Buns
More kneading, more sugar, more cinnamon, more sinful...

My 3rd attempt making cinnamon buns & 2nd successful one. Hooray! Memories of my 1st failure was always at the back of my mind & I was keeping my fingers crossed up till the moment I bite into the cotton soft buns. The 1st time I made the cinnamon buns, they were kind of tough, solid like a rock. Jerome said I could kill with them. I've also changed a different brand of yeast. The old one I was using has a very sour smell. I kneaded the dough by hands a little after the mixer worked on it, giving it a good massage. I added more sugar & cinnamon powder. The results are great! The cinnamon buns are the best that I've made so far! Now, they're to die for... Well.... At least that's according to me :P

Fresh out of the oven, looking a little 'undone'...

Buns turned out from the pan....
Ooooo.... Look at all the goodness....
Enough sin... Don't have to cover them with frosting.... and sin further...

Cotton Soft ... Just the way I love my bread...

For recipe, please refer to my previous blog entry on Cinnamon Buns :)
Pics of different steps are included.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chocolate Cream Puffs

Tried making these miniature chocolate cream puffs for the 1st time :) Nice! This time, I coated the cream puffs with some melted semi-sweet chocolate chips. Next time, I'm going to try using chocolate ganache. I'm also going to make some durian puffs :)

Chocolate Cream Puffs

Recipe for Chocolate Cream Puffs
(makes about 36 pieces of small puffs)

For the Cream Choux Pastry:

(A) Sift together
120g plain flour
1 tbsp icing sugar
200ml water
75g butter, cubed
3 eggs, beaten

1) Heat water & butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat to melt butter. Bring to a boil & remove from heat.
2) Add the flour mixture to the mixture & mix well until a smooth dough is formed. Transfer to a bowl & leave to cool.
3) Gradually mix in the eggs into the dough with an electric mixer to make the cream choux pastry.
4) Pipe the pastry onto the baking sheet.
5) Bake in the oven @ 200 degrees for about 30 minutes or until puffed & golden.
6) Make a hole with a chopstick at the top of the puff & leave to cool on the cooling rack.

Chocolate Cream Filling:
300ml whipping cream
2 tbsp drinking chocolate powder
7) Whip the cream & chocolate powder until stiff.
8) Piped the chocolate cream into the puffs through the holes made earlier with the chopstick.

Chocolate Coating:
100g semi-sweet chocolate chips
9) Melt the chocolate chips using the microwave or in a bowl over hot water.
10) Dip the filled cream puffs over the melted chocolate covering the top.
11) Serve the chocolate cream puffs chilled.

Strawberry Cake

Jerome's parents came over last Friday for dinner & stayed overnight. They were here the previous weekend for dinner & stayed over too. I know they enjoyed dinner at our place. Is this turning into a weekly event? Not sure yet. Not that I mind. I can cook more :P At the current moment, we just enjoy having our own place- just the 2 of us enjoying our privacy.

I baked another cake on Friday for them to bring home on Saturday. I gave them the cake for Superman last week :P Jerome's parents are currently staying with Jerome's eldest brother & family. I know my nieces love eating cakes so the cakes are really for them :) Hope they like the cakes as there will be more to come...

Strawberry Cake
Traditional Sponge Cake covered in fresh cream & strawberries

Anybody's birthday coming? Who else can I bake for? Maybe I can bake a birthday cake for I, Me & Myself :P

Ribeye Steak (Lawry's Marinade)

Prepared steak for the 1st time for Jerome's birthday... trying to replicate a meal from Jack's Place we had last month... minus the hotplate... plus lotsa love :P I'm not much of a 'beef' person... The beef I usually eat comes in a burger. I'm always cooking chicken at home :P So you can say that it's a special birthday meal for Jerome who likes to eat beef.

Ribeye Steak served with boiled brocoli & baked potato

And since it was my 1st time preparing steak, I bought a bottle of instant marinade from Cold Storage... to guarantee a simple success.

I marinaded the beef in the fridge for a good few hours & by pouring quite a bit of marinade to 'bathe' the meat in. I pan fried the beef steaks, trying to get them medium well, not too raw, not too tough. For the sauce, I just heat up the leftover marinade and added some cornflour mixed to water to thicken up the sauce.

For the potatoes, I washed the potatoes & brushed the skin with oil & baked them in the oven @ 180 degrees for about an hour. I put some whipped sour cream with spring onions & bacon bits to the potato & the sour cream started to melt into a gooey mess!

When I placed the plates on the table, Jerome couldn't wait to try the beef. We were  really disappointed when we found out the beef was still quite raw... I had to cook it again. Finally, after the extra cooking time, the steaks were just right. Despite the inperfection, it was still a great meal. Jerome said that it was worth the wait ...

This is not so difficult after all. :) Next time, I'll make sure I cook the beef steaks a little longer.

Durian + Chocolate = Fatal Combination?

When I baked the durian cake for Jerome' birthday, I had extra batter for a small sponge cake...

Sponge Cake with Fresh Durain Bits

I decided to cover it with chocolate ganache... & dusted some icing powder...

Durian Sponge Cake Covered in Chcolate Ganache

Jerome & I were enjoying the cake when he suddenly recalled reading about a girl who actually died after eating durians & chocolates together a few years back. I don't recall such an incident but to err on the safe side, we had to throw away the rest of the cake :(  I tried to look for some information over the net about whether there was such an incident but I can't find any relevant information.

Anyone else heard of such a thing? Eating chocolates & durians together is fatal?

Well, Jerome & I ate some & yes, we're still alive :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Durian Cake for Durian Lovers

When I asked Jerome what he wanted for his birthday cake, he said he wanted a durian cake. So that was my 4th challenge in cake making for a birthday :)

Durian Cake

I went to my collection of cook books at home & the net to search for suitable recipes. In the end, I decided to use the traditional sponge cake recipe that I've always been using. As I was baking a smaller cake (using the heart-shape cake tins I bought from Daiso), I used 3/5 of the original recipe. I cut up the flesh from a durian seed & mix it into the cake batter. In the end, I had extra batter for another smaller mould.


I had absolutely no idea how to decorate the durian cake. So I decided to sandwich some fresh cream & fresh durian flesh in between the 2 pieces of cakes. I covered the cake with fresh cream & wanted to coat a thin layer of cacao powder on top. And that's it...

When I was doing marketing later in the morning, I walked past a bakery & saw a durian cake & it inspired me to try decorating the cake to look like the real fruit...

After lunch, I quickly set about decorating the cake. I started by mixing my fresh cream to get a nice green for the thorns. I used a star nozzle to pipe the thorns. But halfway through, the freshcream started to melt... Maybe I didn't whip the cream well enough. So I tried another batch of fresh cream & it still melted while I was piping. So I decided to use butter cream instead. I put a little butter cream at a time into the piping bag so that my warm hands will not melt them. I placed the remaining cream in a bowl placed in a bigger bowl of ice water to keep cool. I will just keep refilling the piping bag with cool cream as I piped.

Real fresh durians on top of cake...

After piping the thorns, I piped the durian shell using butter cream. I tried placing real durians on top of the cake, but I can't keep it into the container. The cake was too high. So I pureed the durian flesh & mix the puree with some fresh cream, piping them on the cake to look like the durian seeds. I also had to use the spatula to smoothen the durian.

Durian cake, made to look like the real fruit...

Jerome was really surprised to see his birthday cake. He was actually quite impressed. I was just hoping that the taste will not disappoint as everything was really based on an experiment.

Jerome finished up the cake in record breaking time (even though we just had dinner) & said it's the best cake I've made so far. Then again, it's his birthday cake & he knew I made it especially for him. The cake has definitely more flavour & more durians than a store-bought cake.

It's a good thing I kept the cake in a Lock & Lock container, else the entire fridge will be smelling of durian...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mango Ice-Cream

I think I'm getting addicted to making ice-cream & of course eating them :P

Fresh Mango Ice-cream with fresh strawberry

Recipe for Mango Ice-cream:
(makes about 8 scoops)

2 ripe sweet mangoes (about 400g of puree)
200ml whipping cream (Pour & Whip)
1 tbsp icing sugar

1) Process 2 ripe sweet mangos into a puree. Add icing sugar if necessary.
2) Chill the mango puree in a freezerproof container (big enough to add in whipped cream & for beating up the ice-cream)
3) Whip cream till it thickens but still falls from a spoon.
4) Fold in the whipped cream into the mango puree till well incorporated.
5) Put back into the freezer to freeze, beating up the mixture with a fork occasionally to break up the ice-crystals. This will give you a smoother ice-cream.

* For pictures, refer to Strawberry Ice-cream Recipe :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

A cake for Superman...

Just baked a sponge cake & decorated it for fun on Saturday morning.

A cake for Spiderman :)
I should add a chocolate spider next time...

Easy Strawberry Ice-cream

After I made the strawberry ice-cream last week for my sister's birthday cake, Jerome also wanted some for our own. So I made them again since they're so easy, as you can see from the pictorial recipe. :)

A scoop of fresh strawberry ice-cream. Yummy!

Ingredients: (makes about 6 scoops)
250g fresh strawberries
30g icing sugar
juice from 1 slice of lemon, about 1 tbsp
150ml of whipping cream

1) Put the strawberries into a food processor & process till a puree.
Add the icing sugar & lemon juice to the puree & process again to mix well.
Pour the puree into a freezer proof container & chill.

2) Whip the whipping cream till...

...cream has thickened but still drops from a spoon.

3) Fold in the whipped cream into the strawbery puree...

...until smooth.

4) Put into the freezer, beating up the freezing mixture occasionally as it freezes.
This breaks up the ice-crystals, giving you a smoother ice-cream.

5) Enjoy your ice-cream :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Chicken Pie - A Pictorial Recipe

Inspired by the 'Step-by-Step' book, here's my pictorial recipe :P

Makes 5 Chicken Pies In a Bowl

Chicken Pie Filling

300g chicken fillet, cut into cubes, marinade with some soya sauce & pepper
1 potatoe, peeled & cut into cubes
1 pink onion, diced
1 can of sliced mushrooms
1 can Campbell Soup
1 bowl of frozen mixed vegetables
(you can also include celery)

Heat 1 tbsp oil in wok. Add onion & fry till fragrant. Add some water, then the potatoes.
Cover wok and cook potatoes before adding chicken and all the other ingredients.
Add additional water & seasoning if necessary.
Set aside to cool & keep in the fridge until ready to use.

For the Shortcrust Pastry ('Pie Skin')

240g flour
1/4 tsp salt
50g caster sugar
120g butter, cut into cubes & frozen
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp lemon juice
some ice-water

Sift flour into a bowl. Add sugar & salt. Mix well.
Add in the cold butter.

Use a butter/fat cutter or a fork to cut the butter into the flour...

... until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture & pour in 1/2 the beaten egg.
Mix well with the fork & add in the remaining egg & lemon juice. Mix well.

Slowly add a little water at a time and mix well...

...until a dough is formed.

Wrap up the dough and let it rest in the fridge for 30 mins.
Now is a good time to wash up all the previous mess...

... and get ready to roll the dough.

Make the dough into small balls before rolling them using a rolling pin.
Slightly flour the work area and the rolling pin to prevent the dough from sticking.
Rotate the dough 90 degrees after every roll.
Press the rolled pastry into the bowl & trim off the excess over the edge of the bowl.

Baking Blinds (Optional) : This helps to give you a crispy base.
Line the pastry bowl with a piece of greaseproof paper.
Put soya beans/rice on top to prevent the pastry from rising during baking.
Bake for 15-20 mins in a pre-heat oven of 180degrees celcius.
You can re-use the beans for baking blinds again.
Allow them to cool before storage.

Allow the pastry to cool before adding the fridge cold filling.
Add a cooked quail's egg or quarter of an egg if desired.

Cover the pie with another piece of rolled-out dough.
Trim off the excess & seal the edges by pressing down with a fork.
Decorate as desired.
To glaze, brush a beaten egg.
Prick some holes with a fork to help release steam during baking.
This will help to give you a crispy crust.

Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes or until the crust has turned a golden brown.
Enjoy your pie hot :)
Storage: Let it cool before keeping in the fridge.
Before serving, put it into the oven & turned on the oven to 180 degrees and heat up for 30 mins.
Related Posts with Thumbnails