Sunday, August 31, 2008

Knead-less Focaccia

From one blogger to the next lazy blogger (which is me), I jumped onto this recipe for it calls for the least amount of work, but maximum end result. Thanks Peony, can always count on you for such easy-peasy recipes.

Well, my end-product was less that satisfactory, due to my own silly decision to half the recipe. Will need to re-attempt this, in fact, I bought some fresh rosemary herbs just last Saturday, chanced upon them @ Tesco for RM 1.79 for a mini pack of 20g. Gotta get my act together before they wilt. Keeping my fingers crossed that I will do it composing this.

My hesitation in bread-making stems from my impatience to wait for the dough to rise to double. I would be like checking the dough every few minutes, so unless I know for sure that I will be heading out to run some errands and won't be home to so as to let the yeast has some "peace" in working its magic, I normally would give breads a pass to DIY at home. But then again, I had to make sure I finish up the yeast that I got in the fridge lest they became stale and inactive. The "Fermipan" brand of instant dry yeast was a product that chef William Tan promoted during one of the demo classes that I attended F.O.C., so it was cheaper to get it after that particular class than at any other time. I know it's a classic case of penny wise pound foolish, hahah...and I got myself a box of 5 packs each. Always the scenario of buy-now-think-later syndrome, haiz. I am now at the 'later' stage.

Ok, back to the topic, no kneading and punching synonymous with typical bread making caught my eyes, all one needs it to plop the dough after mixing into the fridge and bake it the next day. In fact, it is recommended that the dough should not be overworked so that it remains soft and sticky. Translated to be the less work, the better the yield

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250ml warm water
1 tsp instant active dry yeast (equivalent to 5g or half a packet as one packet is usually 11g)

1 tsp fine salt
280g plain flour
some olive oil

own choice of sprinkling:
* fresh or dry herbs such as rosemary, parsley
* olives ring
* chopped garlic

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1/ Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, give it a stir.
2/ Sift 140g of the flour and salt together in a big bowl, then create a well in the middle then pour in the yeast mixture and stir for 2 minutes.
3/ Top with the other 140g of flour and mix for just about 4 minutes.
4/ Place the dough onto a well-oiled bowl, cover and let it proof overnight for 12 hours in the refrigerator.
5/ Thaw dough 2 hours prior to baking.
6/ Put the dough into 9.5" x 5" baking tray , sprinkle with some olive oil and sprinkle toppings of choice before baking at pre-heated over of 230° for 15-20 minutes till the top is lightly browned.

p/s: Mine end up being almost like garlic naan because it's too short in height, thus I cut them up into strips to be dipped in the soup.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Something light - Tomato Soup

Like what I said in the previous post, after a heavy buffet, we had to be kind to our stomach. Too much food will be akin to overloading and overworking it, so I switched to something light for our next meal. Just open up a can of Campbell's Tomato soup and cook per instructions on can, then 2 hot steaming bowls of Vegetarian Tomato Soup is ready. A nice portion for us as well.

Swirl some dairy whipping cream to create the ring pattern onto the soup. For this, I pour the dairy whipping cream onto a chinese soup spoon and did the swirl. From experience, if I just pour the dairy whipping cream onto the soup, I would end up a whole big blotch of cream and it's way too much cream in the soup. What's more, it's not as appealing a sight as now.

Top with some chopped scallion and fried shallots for a fuss-free meal.

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The bread sticks were home-made, the posting is up next.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Thai Food to our heart's content

This was one of the few rare occassions of buffet for us these days, for our appetites have shrank so much that the situation makes it no longer worth it for us to frequent the buffet tables. Dh used to body-build, and during his heydays, loading up on protein @ buffets is value for ringgits and cents. Forward to current times, plus the fact that he is into endurance training now, his body size is only half of what it used to be. Now we can only eat for one comparatively, so buffet is a big no-no as we would be stuffing ourselves silly and then vow to go on extreme diet for the rest of the week, if not month.

This time was a Thai buffet at a restaurant, and it's priced at only RM 10.90 nett, and we happened to be in the vicinity, so why not? Choice of food was not that impressive, and conclusion was that there were lots of vegetables, thus the restaurant can offer the buffet at such a bargain price.

It was good exposure to some other types of Thai food other than the typical Tom Yum Goong, Otak-Otak, Mango Salad and Green Chicken Curry which are must-haves when we dine at Thai Restaurants. As with restaurant's standard, the foods were not labelled unlike in hotels, so I will try my best to describe them per my memory. Please excuse me for there are even some items which I can't identify with when I took them from the buffet, and only upon tasting can I make out what they were.


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Top: Lady's Fingers with Dried Shrimp and belacan
Middle Left: Some kind of duck dry stew with basil
Bottom: Battered green brinjals to pair with the sambal (fiery-hot)
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Top left to right: Pad Thai [not that nice], Stir-fried mix vegetables, Mango Salad
Bottom left to right: Deep-fried popiah with thai-palm-sugar-dressing, Thai fish cake with chilli padi-onion-cucumber relish

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Left: Clear Tom Yum soup with lots of tomatoes, almost like a vegetarian version of Tom Yum Gung coz no meat or seafood in sight
Right: Thai fried chicken

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Left: Deep-fried battered kangkong (a.k.a. water convolvulus)
Right: Deep-fried popiah with thai-palm-sugar-dressing (again, coz I simply fell in love with the dressing)

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Thai laksa lemak using bee hoon (fine rice vermicelli), chopped raw long beans, fined chopped bunga kantan (pink torch ginger), shredded cucumber, julienned pineapple
[would have been nicer if it wasn't that spicy]

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Top: Fried Calamari rings
Bottom: Stir-fried chinese cabbage with tanghoon (mung bean vermicelli)

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Small sago pearls in thinned coconut milk with ice - dessert
[the honeydew was our own addition, it came from the fruits platter]

Enough of fiber to last us for the week, with so much greens. Overall, it was a wonderful experience despite the tongue-on-fire incident. We could barely walk to our car after that, and boy were we drowsy with such a heavy lunch. Time for some afternoon siesta! (",)
For now, I shudder at the thought of Thai food because of food overload, hahah... :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shorty Cruellers, anyone?

I think most folks would be familiar with the normal long cruellers, commonly known as "Yew Char Kway" (油条 yóu tiáo). As the name implies, it is a type of yeasty dough deep-fried in a hot wok of oil and it will fluff up to a crispy delicacy, which goes well with Bah Kut Teh or even sweet desserts. Dh is a sucker for this item, and no Bah Kut Teh would be perfect with him without this, so you can imagine that we would have to check out the availability of this item from the Bah Kut Teh stall first before placing our order. Seems to me like it's the cruellers that is the main item for savouring the herbal soup, rather than vice versa.

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But today, the highlight would be on this humble cousin of cruellers, known locally as "Hwa Chee". Compared to cruellers, this is shorter in length, about half of that of cruellers, approximately 10cm end to end. It is sweetened unlike cruellers which is plain, and peppered with a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds. There is the typical knot on it as well, apparently to bind the two sides together.

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This goes very well with a cup of local coffee, be it noir or with milk, but definitely not those western type of espresso-based coffee tho. See those big air holes within the finished product?

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Just imagine it is crispy on the exterior but soft and fluffy on the interior, best of both worlds. Of course, it is best to be consumed while still hot to enjoy that krek-sound with each bite as some of those sold from not-so-good stalls will go tough when it the hwa chee is cold. Not only the hwa chee, cruellers as well since they are made from the same type of dough, just varied slightly. However, fret not, just a few minutes of heating it up in the oven toaster will do the trick to prim this up to tip-top condition. That's normally what I do as such local delights sell like hot-cakes in the wet market, and all is gone before 10am, which means one has to go early to get a good 'catch'. So I get a few of them and pop them into the fridge (to stop me from eating more than my share) or freezer if I want to store them longer.
Oh, by the way, this particular hwa chee that I feature today is slightly green in colour because it is pandan flavoured. Tried and tested, I am still a purist at heart when it comes to food item such as this, and nay, it will still be the non-pandan-flavoured type for me.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mee Udang Sungai Dua

Someone was giving me directions to her house last week, and she quoted that her location is near the famous Sungai Dua Mee Udang. Hmm...famous, I scratch my head. I have no idea where is Sungai Dua, let alone a famous Mee Udang? I've heard of the place Sungai Dua, and came upon the term when using the highway, but still, I am at a loss how to get about to her place. So I tried to ask dh, and the sensitive him brought me to dine at this place as a surprise and also to check out the route to get to the lady's place. Thanks dear!

This place is just next to a bridge, thus the term "titi timbul" in its address below:

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There was sitting area overlooking the river, but when we got there, it was pitch dark, and we didn't opt to sit near the river for fear of "donating blood" (to the mosquitoes, I mean). We ordered the Mee Udang (literally translated as Prawn Noodles) for 2, but it's malay style, so tomato-soup base was used. The place also offered other zhu-char malay style, but we'll save that for next time. Definitely must try what they are famous for first, rite? All else is secondary :)

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The serving size is huge, and it came with 6 super-large prawns...and of course, the bill that came along with it also is high. It set us back by RM 31.60 for this big bowl. I would say it's nothing to shout about if not for the half dozen of huge-sized prawns, which are FRESH! The noddle was kinda soggy, so that was what irked me a tad. Else, it was a good experience.

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A close-up pix of the big prawns

Friday, August 22, 2008

Shepherd's Pie

This is a relatively easy and simple item to whip up at home. The invention of instant mash potato made it a breeze in fact...I just need to thaw my ever-ready beef bolognese sauce from the freezer, then get ready the instant mashed potato and put the mashed potato in a piping bag fitted with a multi-pointed star nozzled to get those wavy lines you see in the picture when the mashed potato is piped out atop the beef sauce.

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Left was topped with grated cheddar cheese, the one on the right was left "botak"

I made two, one with grated cheddar cheese and the other, plain. Lesson learnt, I should have baked both plain first, then top one of them with grated cheddar cheese and send it into the oven again for golden-ing effect. Reason being, the mashed potato for the one with cheddar cheese was wetter since the the cheddar cheese took just a short while to get a golden crust, thus there was no time to 'dry' out the mashed potato a tad. Well, we polished them off in no time all the same.

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Apparently, the term Shepherd's Pie is used when the meat is mutton or lamb (Source: Wikipedia) as per popular tendency, but the restaurants here used the term as well when beef was used. It's a good to know piece of knowledge, I would say.

p/s: The instant potato I used gave me 4 times it's original weight after the addition of liquid, so remember not to use too much of the instant mashed potato powder to avoid left-over.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Crazy weather

The weather is so crazy these days, really...yesterday it was pouring the whole day. Not that I am complaining, it was a good relief in fact to wash away the haze that has been shrouding us, so much so that one of my friends was suffering from bronchitis. As for me, I have been staying home mostly to avoid the hazardous haze, unless I had no choice but to venture out to run some errands.

And then this morning, the sun was shining so brightly, and not only that, it's scorching hot rays that type. What a contrast. Either way, I also shun the sun, so that makes me confined to the four walls of home, hahahha... Just kidding, with the internet, I can go miles (oh, thousands, even millions of miles) without even one step out of home, don't you all agree?

Enuff of babbling...here's a chilling cooling beverage that made my day and blew away all the heat from the extra sunny solar today. The word "White" in the name Chrysanthemum White Tea caught my attention, but when I pour out the content, what greeted me was a beer-colour concoction. Nevermind the colour, I like this tea as it is not overly sweet and the fragrance of the kekwa (chrysanthemum in bahasa melayu) is quite natural, not too overpowering unlike some other brands whereby one can tell that that essence/enhancer is being utilised.


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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wine brewery @ home?

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(L): 1st layer of raisin, then 2nd layer of wine yeast.
(R): The complete jar of raisin, wine yeast and sugar syrup.

1.8litre water
600g soft brown sugar (RM 2.00)
300g black raisin (RM 3.00)
5pcs wine yeast (RM 5.00)
Total cost: RM 10.00



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Wine yeast, a.k.a. "jiu pneah"


Boil water with soft brown sugar, and let it cool completely.
*Very important to let this sugar syrup cool down 100%*
1st layer = black raisin
2nd layer = wine yeast (pounded to powder form)
3rd = pour the sugar syrup into the bottle, cover with a piece of cloth, then the bottle cover.
Leave aside in a cool, dry and dark place to be harvested in 100 days time => 15-November-2008 (Saturday)



There are 2 types of wine yeast, one is called sweet, another is spicy ("lat" in cantonese). The sweet one is commonly found, whereas the latter is to make the concoction more alcoholic but it was so difficult to get hold of it. I went to like 5 shops and came back empty handed, thus I used all 5 pieces of sweet wine yeast, else the recipe states half and half, meaning 2.5 pieces of sweet wine yeast, and another 2.5 pieces of spicy wine yeast. Oh, another term for wine yeast is wine biscuit, for info sake.


Note to self: The capacity of this bottle is 3.5litre.


Counting down now, yoohoo! Simply couldn't wait to sniff a whiff of this lovely home-made raisin wine.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Vegetarian Peanut Butter Sandies

Early yesterday morning as I was going on my round of blog-hopping, this caught my half-sleepy eyes. Immediately I was fully awake, only 3 (three, tiga, san) ingredients, it's unbelieveable that I kept rereading the recipe. WOW, this is too good to be true, I simply love minimalist recipe. We always have a jar of Peanut Butter in the pantry, which is the key star player in this Peanut Butter Sandies recipe. The other two sub-players of equal importance are sugar and flour, also something that are constantly on my shelf.

So wait no more, I sprang from my chair into action, and oh wait, the recipe is in cup measurement. I was thinking hard how to measure the peanut butter accurately in a cup, since I would need to scoop out the gooey peanut butter into a measuring cup and woud the air pockets jeapordise the volume of 1.75 cups of peanut butter required? Guess there's no way around that, since the list of common ingredients in cup measurement that I have doesn't have peanut butter included in it. I will just jump right into the recipe and below is the weight measurement for those who are game to try.

1 ¾ cup smooth peanut butter (450g) {used "Skippy's Chunky Peanut Butter)
1 cup soft light brown sugar (175g) {used 150g}
1 cup plain all-purpose flour (150g)

Summary: 3 parts peanut butter : 1 part sugar : 1 part plain flour

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Dough = 750g
Yield: 75 pieces of 2cm diameter ice-cream scoop => 10g per piece

Oven: 170° C
Time: 15 minutes, or until slightly golden brown.


If the list of ingredients is as simple as 123, then the method is as easy as ABC.
a/ Cream the peanut butter with the soft light brown sugar for a few minutes.
I used my judgement here since there's no way to tell if the mixture has been creamed till light and fluffy as per normal butter & sugar mixture since the peanut butter and soft brown sugar are both brown in colour.
b/ Add in the all-purpose flour to bind the mixture, just a few seconds of mixing by the machine is sufficient.
c/ Make into rounds and send them into the oven to be baked. Cool in tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely because these lovelies are really fragile when piping hot.


Enjoy the fruits of your easy-peasy labour, but mind you, they can be quite filling, so eat with care!

As expected, dh was asking, who moved his peanut butter? That is because I used up nearly one whole jar of chunky peanut butter for this recipe. Lucky thing there was an extra bottle of peanut butter as spare, else I would need to rush out to replenish his stock of peanut butter.

Taste verdict: The sweetness is just nice for us, as I cut down the sugar slightly after Debra's comment, and there is a balance of sweet and savoury in it since this brand of peanut butter is slightly saltish, which makes it all the way better. It's almost similar to the peanut cookies ubiquitous during Chinese New Year, but this is way way much better, scoring a few notches above that. What's more, it is vegetarian as well since no egg was used.

Thanks Debra for highlighting this recipe.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Home-made Healthy Pasta SALAD

This is a fairly easy-to-do and quick recipe for salad, all one needs to prepare is to dice up most of the ingredients, such as carrots, tomatoes, capsicum and cucumber (not in the picture). What I would usually do is to boil the diced carrots till al-dente, then sieve the water away (do not throw, I normally drink it, and trust me, it is sweet and full of carotene goodness), and let the carrots cool down. Meanwhile, dice the tomatoes, and if one has the traffic-lights capsicum, namely the 3 colours of capsicum which are red, yellow and green, all the better to incorporate some of each colour as the visual impact sure adds to one's appetite.

Oh, the most important ingredient in this pasta salad is none other than pasta itself. I used wholewheat spirelli pasta, non-wheat variety can also be used if that is what one has in the pantry. Alternatively, there is also this variety of spirelli pasta that comes in a mixture of three colours in a pack, with the additional ingredients used to made them in brackets, namely red (carrot), yellow (normal) and green (spinach). I would normally go for 50g of pasta, as a bit of everything does add up to quite a big bowl of pasta for consumption.

Then tear up some iceburg lettuce, this adds crunchiness to the salad as one munches away...not forgetting a handful of raisins to add some sweetness to this sourish salad. The best part is after the raisins have plumped up, and with the juice that bursts out with each bite, hmm..heavenly.

As for the dressing, about 4 tablespoons of Kraft's Italian dressing would be just nice. Of course, one can add more or reduce according to taste. Last addition is a light sprinkling of a tablespoon of soft brown sugar to balance the sourish taste of the vinegarette apparent in this brand of dressing.

Toss everything together and chill the whole big bowl of Pasta Salad in the refrigerator before consumption. I would prepare this in the morning for dinner to let all the different kinds of vegetables 'marinate' and soak in for a more flavoursome salad. Believe it or not, hubby can tell the difference if I made this earlier in the morning or just a few hours before dinner. And he would definitely prefer to consume it the next day, so this is one good dish to prepare ahead for party ideas.

Try it and let me know your verdict, ok? Now let the photo do the talking.
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Recipe: Tollhouse Cookies

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I was captivated by the chocolate chips that studded the cookies in the picture featured in the cookbook, it was like jewels that sprang at me, and calling out to my name to give it a try. Surely I was game for it since it was written by reknown author, Chef Alex Goh in his latest book named . I would have given the book a miss if not for his name catching my attention. So far, I have been successful with recipes from him, thus giving me the confidence to part with my $ to get his book to add to my collection.


That aside, the name "Tollhouse" also intrigued me, so I did a search in Wikipedia, and here's what I found. Apparently, Toll House is a brand of cookies and brownies marketed by Nestle. Here's the extract of the recipe for those of you game to try, this is a very fragrant home-baked goodie because of the addition of ground hazelnut in the dough. The cookie taste better consumed the next day after the flavours have developed, and it goes very well with your choice of cuppa, be it coffee or tea, or a hot beverage.

On the left most pix, clockwise from bottom left to right:
1 egg, weighing about 60g with shell
1/2 tsp vanilla essence, lightly beaten together with the egg

100g soft brown sugar
60g shortening
60g butter
50g castor sugar
¼ tsp salt

60g chopped nuts (toasted) [I used walnuts]
100g chocolate chips [freeze before using so that they won't bleed when added into the dough mixture]
[I also split this into half, meaning 50g goes into the dough, another 50g for decoration]

150g plain flour
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
20g ground hazelnut [equivalent to 2 tbsp]

What to do:
1/ Cream both types of sugar and the fats till light, then add in the egg mixture to beat till smooth.
2/ Add in the sieved dry ingredients and mix till well incorporated.
3/ Lastly add in the chopped nuts of your choice and chocolate chips.
4/ Refrigerate dough for 1 hour beofre shaping. (refer top pix of the right column)
5/ Place 30-35 g of dough onto greased baking pan and press it flat. Decorate with some chocolate chips. (refer middle pix of the right column)

Temperature: 170°C
Time: 15 minutes
Dough: 660g before baking
Yield: 14 pieces of 10cm in diameter, 0.5cm in thickness (using ice-cream scoop measuring 5cm in diameter)


Notes:
* Cookie dough will flatten and spread, so do not crowd too many pieces for baking in a single tray. Else will get all conjoined twins (rofl)
* 15 minutes baking time per the instruction is insufficient, I bake them till evenly browned.

Reference: "Tollhouse Cookies" in {Baking Code} by Alex Goh, pg 104
Made on: 11-August-2008 (Monday)
Written on: 16-August-2008 (Saturday)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Pineapple Fruit Enzyme

I have re-started my fruit enzyme making...this time with Pina Colada. The basic ingredients as usual are the inevitable lemon and sugar, with the specifics below for my reference in future. Right now I'm counting down the time to harvest them...sure looking forward to the sweet nectar in 3 week's time. Till then, stay tuned.

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1 pineapple (900g) rm 2.00
9 pcs slab sugar (600g) rm 2.40
2.5 nos. lemon rm 2.50
total cost rm 6.90
Fermentation period: 1 month

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pork Cordon Bleu

This is one western food item that took me very long before I attempted it, reason being that I cannot imagine how to wrap a piece of ham and cheese within the meat, be it chicken or pork or fish, and seal it properly without the cheese oozing out and creating a war scene in my kitchen with the exploding moisture in the hot wok of oil. I tried googling for some directions, but seems like there's not much assistance online, so after such a long hesitation, I approached the butcher and asked him to slice for me a piece of pork with the biggest surface area, but the best he could do was a palm's dimension. Hmm..that can't be it, because when I wrap the ham and cheese and fold the piece of meat into half in order to envelop the treasures within, I would be left with a long rectangular piece of Pork Cordon Bleu? What he suggested instead was that he would slice 2 pieces for me, but the 2 pieces would still be adjoined, and then when I get home, hammer the meat with the back of a cleaver to increase the dimension a tad.

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I did just that, and here's what I managed to get in the picture above and it wasn't too bad a virgin attempt. Look at the cheese oozing out on the right picture *salivating now*

A rough guide as below:
1/ Season the meat lightly for some flavours and let it marinate for a few hours in the fridge.
2/ Lay a piece of ham onto the meat, top with a stick of cheese.
Note: I used orange cheese stick or alternatively, cheddar cheese block can be used, just need to cut it into sticks.
3/ Cover with the other piece of meat, then secure the meat parcel with numerous satay sticks in order to 'seal' everything within the meat.
4/ Coat the envelop of meat with flour, then dip it into a beaten-egg mixture before finishing off with a coating of breadcrumbs.
5/ Deep-fry in hot oil till light brown and crispy.

The tri-step-process can be quite a hassle, but the results it yields is superb. That is what the hawkers usually do, so I am just replicating them. :)

All in all, this first attempt of mine on Pork Cordon Bleu turned out to be quite fun, and what makes the man in the house happy made the wife glad as well, don't you agree?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New Star$ creation

Drink to your goodness...drink to your health. This is literally it, not a beer advertisement but a healthy milkshake that is so awesome that got us hooked the first time we tried it. My very initial reaction when I heard of this Avocado Milkshake from dh was like "are you seriously sure this is nice?" Part of my hesitation sprang from the high price tag of an avocado, it used to retail at RM4.00 for one, but now it is available at half that price. Of course, the size is smaller and probably the different export country that makes the forex more favourable now. Nevertheless, it's still avocado to us, so size doesn't really matter for now, the impact on one's pocket is more prevalent. Smaller avocado means less avocado milkshake, or a more diluted one only. But that is adjustable, just reduce the amount of liquid accordingly.

So there I went about concocting this delicious drink out of dh's description, of which he said the main ingredient is the brown sugar syrup, other than the avocado. I used to loathe the tedious task of having to melt the brown sugar to get the syrup, which subsequently I substituted with the brown sugar syrup available from stalls selling soya bean drink. Take it one step further, one day my mental light bulb flickered, and I realised that I can use the bottle of black treacle fror this. From then on, there's no turning back. A generous tablespoon of black treacle did the trick all right!

What is needed:
1 nos. ripe avocado (weight = 180g, nett weight of flesh only = 100g)
1 tbsp black treacle
100ml UHT milk
100ml water
sugar syrup to taste

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Avocado Milkshake

Blend the above, which makes 350ml and top with crushed ice. Can be diluted according to individual taste according to thickness or creaminess by adjusting the milk/water portion.
The recipe above serves as a rough guide only, adjust according to preference.

Hope you will like it!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Non-Korean Kimchi

Was quite bored with making coleslaw all the time with the cabbage, and chanced upon this entry in Cecily's blog. She made it sound so enticing that I sprang into action immediately (well, almost immediately, that's is - after copying down the fuss-free recipe).

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Her recipe is simplified enough, but I made-do with whatever available vegetables I had in the refrigerator, namely

1/4 medium-sized white cabbage (shredded)
a medium-sized carrot (shredded)
a red chilli (julienned and deseeded) * refer note below

Seasoning
3 cloves of garlic (minced) [omitted]
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp soft brown sugar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil (also known as telseed oil)
2 tbsp fried white sesame seeds [omitted]

Mix all the above and keep refrigerated before consumption.

Yummy and crunchy, with a strong aroma from the sesame oil. Hubby commented that it is almost like the Yu-Sheng that is being served during Chinese New Year, and I believe it is the sesame oil that made the trick. It is so good that we finished this Taiwanese Kimchi in a sitting, with nothing leftover for further marination so that I can compare the taste the next day.Definitely absolutely will remake this, and the next time round, I will try not to cheat and go for the full recipe. Must remind self to stock up on white sesame seeds for next grocery shopping trip.

Note: Supposedly to let this marinate a day before attacking it, but I was too eager to taste it, so only managed to let it soak for 4 hours. But fret not, it's still as good.

To deseed chilli easily:
Put julienned chilli in a container with cover and shake the container.
Top the container with tap water, the seeds would sink to the bottom.
Scoop out those chilli floating on top.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Trying out the rice mould that I got from Daiso, this is made using the bear-shaped one. Extremely easy to use, just need to fill up the mould with rice (it has to be either hot or warm in order for the rice to stick together), press the cover, then flip it 180° (as in overturn it) to release the bear-shaped rice from its mould. Of course, you have to remove the cover in order to do that, so meaning to say that after pressing the cover to compress the rice together, remove the cover, then only overturn it.

In the mood of having fun, I turn the bear-shaped rice into eyes, used furikake for the hair and some joo-hoo-char (fried shredded yam bean) as the mouth. That's the meal of the day. Simple love the rice mould, good investment, I would say.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

French Loaf French Toast

Oh, what a mouthful of that...Well, I read from this book that using French breadstick to making French Toast is ideal as the bread does not turn greasy and limp, unlike the conventional method of using stale bread. True to its words, normal bread would turn gooey very fast, but not this time round as the hard crust did a pretty good job to hold the bread. And the best part is the tiny little sesame seeds on the bread, they release so much aroma with each bite. Now, no more normal bread french toast for me but true blue French Loaf French Toast.

I am sure no one needs a recipe for french toast, or do you? There are so many variations out there, so this will act as one for record sake.

Beat 1 egg (weight with shell = 60g) in a large bowl, then add in 60ml of milk (choice is yours - be it fresh milk, low fat milk, UHT milk or even evaporated milk), 1 tbsp of dairy whipping cream (optional) and 1 tbsp of castor sugar (I used soft brown sugar for extra fragrance) and beat till sugar is dissolved.
Heat a flat frying pan, spread a little butter to fry the slices of soaked french loaf french toast.
Pan-fry both sides to a nice golden colour and serve with honey or maple syrup.
*Note: Multiply the above ingredients to suit the amount of bread you have got*

A truly awesome way to kick-start your day!!
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Happy 'toasting'

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Versatility in a can

of Tuna...all these while, I have only been using tuna in a limited number of ways, such as:
a) tuna sandwich
b) tuna sandwich with pineapple (trust me, this is a nice combi)

and I think, that's it...actually it's only ONE way with variation, so that count as two or just one?

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Foreground: HOT chilly tuna; Background: Rolled oats porridge

Back to the topic, my sis pass on this piece of revelation, which is to top the canned tuna with some "Thai Chilli Flakes with Dried Shrimps"and voila, you get a tangy super-duper hot fish dish to go with porridge. I upped the oomph! factor with a slight drizzle of garlic oil and a dash of soya sauce that rounded up my bland oats porridge purrfectly!

Care to share your way of consuming the small but mighty can of tuna? I'm all ears :)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Crunch a munch munch...Cheese Crunch

Eyed this fairly simple recipe in a newly-acquired cookbook, and quickly set to action. Baking is a breeze when one has all the ingredients readily available @ home...don't you agree? I find that true for myself, if I were to run out to get some ingredients that was called for in the recipe, by the time I get home with all that is needed, my enthusiasm might have waned, or I might find some other more interesting thing to do. That's the queer me for you.

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Anti-clockwise from left:
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
150g butter (unsalted)
90g castor sugar
1/2 egg (weight = 30g)
3 slices cheddar cheese (cut into cubes) *I used shredded cheddar cheese instead as I've got cheddar cheese block*

Cream butter and suggar till light, add in egg and cream till smooth.
Add the sifted dry ingredients, namely flour, baking powder, chilli powder and salt until well incorporated.
Lastly add in the cheddar cheese, then shape cookies into round.
Place them onto a greased pan and press with a fork.
Send into the oven at 170°C for 20 minutes, and they are ready for consumption.

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Note worthy:
** Flavour of the cookies improved the next day
** There is only a slight hint of chilli powder in the cookies, so it's ok to omit this ingredient if making for kid's consumption