Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Avocado Gula Melaka Smoothie 鳄梨椰糖奶冰沙

Are you an avocado smoothie fan? I sure am! I particularly like the avocado gula melaka smoothie sold at Alexandra Food Market, and would surely get a glass of it to ease my never-ending avocado smoothie crave.

It has been sometime since I last had my avocado gula melaka smoothie fix, and I thought it is about time I tried blending this smoothie at home. And so I went avocado shopping at the supermarket. Got 3 of the buttery fruits!

Honestly speaking, I have tried to replicate this smoothie drink at home for several times and have never got anywhere near the ones sold at Alexandra Food Market. This time, I decided to melt gula melaka with water and some pandan leaves. I did not do this the last few times when I DIY the smoothie at home. I merely used melted gula melaka, fresh milk and some condensed milk as per friend's recommendation, which did not turn out to my liking. This time, I "concocted" my own avocado gula melaka smoothie and I simply love it! Hubby who also adores this drink gave a thumb's up. Taste and smell of the blended goodness is so so near to the food centre's avocado smoothie standard.

I am gonna blend this yummy smoothie again! No need to travel that far for my favourite drink anymore! Yay!!!! =)

Avocado Gula Melaka Smoothie 
2 ripe avocados
140ml milk
3 tbsp gula melaka syrup
2 handful of ice cubes

Gula Melaka syrup
100g gula melaka
40ml water
4 pcs of pandan leaves, knotted

Place gula melaka, water and knotted pandan leaves into saucepan and let gula melaka melt. Stir well. You may use a spatula to gentle press down pandan leaves and stir about so that gula melaka syrup will be infused with pandan fragrance.

Pour gula melaka syrup through sieve to rid bits of residue. Ready to use.

1. Half avocados and scoop out fruit flesh using a spoon and place into blender.
2. Add in milk, gula melaka syrup and ice cubes. Place on blender cover and blend into smoothie. If smoothie is too thick, add in more ice and blend. You may do a taste test, if smoothie is not sweet to your liking, add in more gula melaka syrup accordingly. Blend well. Serve with or without ice cubes.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mushroom & Shredded Chicken Ipoh Hor Fun 香菇鸡丝怡保河粉

Running out of ideas to cook a simple lunch or dinner? Fret not. Try cooking this simple and fuss free mushroom and shredded chicken Ipoh hor fun. I like that there is no worries about stir frying anything and getting my kitchen all greasy, and a meal can be served all in 30 minutes!

I was brought up with a belief that these instant stock contains a significant amount of MSG, so I tried to avoid using them as much as I could. My office mate told me that certain instant stock were okay so I gave it a try since I was just gonna cook the Ipoh hor fun as a dinner meal for just two of us.  Not too bad though, at least I did not have to gulp down tons of water after the meal

Hubby asked me on the difficulty of cooking this dish and I gave a crisp reply of 1 out of 5 star - Easy! And so I conquered another hawker-centre-kind-of-food at the comfort of our own home. More to come!

Mushroom & Shredded Chicken Ipoh Hor Fun

Main Ingredients

1 packet Ipoh Hor Fun (rinse under running water to soften them)
1/2 chicken breast (wash and pad dry with kitchen towel, season with 1/2 tsp salt, a dash of pepper and 1/2 tsp sesame oil. Leave in refrigerator to season for 1 hour or more.)
1 small pack of chye sim vegetable (wash and cut into bite sizes)
4 dried Chinese mushrooms (add more if you wish) - rinsed and soak in water till softened, remove mushroom stems and set aside. Keep mushroom water.)

240ml chicken broth (I used Swanson's instant chicken broth)
1/2 bowl of mushroom water
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp light soya sauce
1/2 tbsp sugar

Thickening agent
1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water

Some pickled green chillies (Optional)
A dash of pepper (Optional)

1. Cook chicken breast meat to a small pot of boiling water. Remove and shred meat. Set aside.

2. In another small pot, blanch chye sim and set aside. Blanch rinsed Ipoh hor fun in same pot and portion them on serving dishes.
3. Pour chicken broth into saucepan, add in all gravy ingredients. Add in mushrooms and let gravy mixture comes to a boil and allow mushrooms to cook.

4. Remove mushrooms and set aside. (You may choose to leave it in) Add in thickening agent and stir to prevent clumpy starchy bits. Let simmer to thicken.

5. Place shredded chicken meat, chye sim and dried mushrooms on top of Ipoh hor fun. Spoon thickened gravy over noodles and ingredients. Place green chillies on side of noodles and add a dash of pepper. Serve immediately.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Hairy Gourd Soup

Am feeling under the weather due to some viral infection of the nose and throat which has been so common lately. Festive season is round the corner, gotta get well soon! So much to do, and not much time left before CNY approaches! 

This is gonna be a short post of a soup recipe which I would like to document it down. This soup is simple to make and is good for young and old due to its neutral nature. 

Hope everyone stays healthy and happy!

Hairygourd Soup

1 medium hairygourd
About 5 red dates, pitted
3 to 5 pieces of medium or big sized dried scallops
about 250g of pork ribs
1 carrot, deskin and cut into bite sizes
1 dried cuttlefish
2 litre of water
salt, to taste

1. De-skin hairygourd, half and de-seed, cut into smaller pieces.
2. Put water in main soup pot and bring to boil.
3. Blanch pork in a separate small pot of boiling water - ro remove dirts, excess oil and scums. Rinsed blanched pork under running water.
4. Place pork ribs and all other ingredients (except salt) into soup pot and bring to boil on high heat.

5. When it comes to a boil for about 5 minutes, turn down fire and let it simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours.
5. Add salt only when serving, otherwise turn off fire after the simmer. Bring soup back to boil, add salt to taste and serve thereafter.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Korean Dried Scallop Porridge

Sometimes after a few days of good food or greasy sinful food, I crave for simple plain porridge to get by the remaining week. I will either cook plain white porridge and settle the meal with some preserved olive vege and some pork floss or cook some congee.

As I was flipping through one of my recipe book lazy week, I saw this one recipe by Jin Yin Ji's Korean Kitchen Book. It is a simple dried scallop porridge which I cooked, and we like it.  I thought it was good and easy enough for toddlers too.

Haven been craving for this and will be cooking it again soon!

Dried Scallop Porridge
Recipe by Jin Yin Ji's Korean Kitchen Book

1 cup rice
1 1/2 anchovy / chicken stock
3 pcs dried scallop
150g lean pork
2 pcs of garlic
3 shallots
1 tbso oil

a dash of pepper
sone soy sauce
some salt

1. Rinse and soak dried scallops in clear water till they become soft.  Tear the scallops into shreds. Drain well and set aside. Keep the water used to soak the dried scallops.  (I rinsed the scallops and soaked them overnight in the fridge, covered.)

I used 3 big Hokkaido dried scallops and several small ones because I want more bites of them in my porridge 😁

2. Peel and finely chop shallots and garlic separately.
3. Chop the lean pork up to minced meat.  (I used mixed meat. Saves the effort of mincing them on my own.)
4. Rinse rice grains and soak them in clear water for about 20 minutes.
5. Heat oil in a wok and fry shallots and garlic till fragrant.

6. Add in shredded scallops and minced pork, and fry till cooked.
7. Add in stock and the water used to soak dried scallops. Simmer over low hear for about 40 minutes.
8. Add in rice grains and continue to simmer till porridge is formed.

9. Add in seasonings to taste before serving.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Lemon Buttercream Roll Cake

Finally tried a roll cake recipe adapted from Teacher Meng's Yummy Roll Cake Book which I bought from my last JB trip.

Love this book so muchie! Cannot believe I baked this soft and yummilicious roll cake (because I made bad ones so many times I almost gave up! BUT I persevered). I made some tangy lemon buttercream to go along and it was (in my opinion) a perfect teacake. I can foresee more swiss roll bakes from now on! Keke!

Getting more confident after each successful try 😊
Always love taking photos of each cut made to reveal the nicely rolled cake slices. Mum and Hubby gave thumbs up after trying *yeah*

Lemon Butter Cream Roll Cake
(Recipe by 孟老师的美味蛋糕卷)
Makes one 31cm x 21cm cake (I baked it in my 26x26cm square cake tin)

80g egg yolks (about 4 eggs)
20g castor Sugar
30g corn Oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp water
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
65gm plain flour

150g egg whites (about 4 eggs)
80gm castor sugar

Lemon buttercream
80gm softened Butter
40gm Icing Sugar
20gm Lemon Juice
20gm Water
Zest of 1/2 a lemon

Lemon butter cream (I normally prepare cake fillings before doing the sponge cake.  Leave the cream into fridge for later use till cake is baked & cooled for use.)
1. Sift in icing sugar into softened butter and mix well with a spatula first before beating under high speed till fluffy and creamy.
2. Combine lemon juice, lemon zest and water in a bowl and and pour lemon juice mixture into butter mixture.
3. Beat to combine well and it is ready for use.

1. Preheat oven to 170 deg C. Line baking tray with baking paper, leaving about an inch of extra baking paper up the sides of the baking tray.
2. Beat egg yolks and sugar till well mixed and sugar has dissolved. Add in oil, water, lemon juice, lemon zest and mix well.

3. Sift in flour and mix well. Set aside.
4. Beat egg whites using an electric mixer under low speed till whites turn foamy. Add in sugar gradually in 3 additions and beat till slightly stiff peaks are formed.
5. Beat whites under low speed for one minute to get a smooth and fine egg white mixture.
6. Fold in the 1/3 of whites into the yolks mixture. Mix well with a hand whisk. - this is done to allow easier incorporation of the remaining egg whites when you fold in later.
7. Pour the mixture into the remaining whites and fold well using a spatula.
8. Pour into the lined baking tray and even out batter top.
9. Bake at 170 deg C for 15 minutes.
Cake is done when the surface turn brown and springs back when pressed lightly with finger.
10. Remove lined baked cake from baking tray to cool on cooling rack with a sheet of baking paper on top.  After about 5 minutes, invert cake over and carefully peel off baking paper from cake bottom.

11.  Place a new piece of baking paper over cake and invert.  Peel off top piece of baking paper, make about 3 slits 1/3 down start of cake to allow easier rolling.  

12.  Spread lemon buttercream evenly over cake with a spatula and roll up cake tightly.  Twist both ends of baking paper to secure roll cake, leave in fridge for an hour before cutting.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Langues de Chat (Cat's Tongues Cookies)

What do you normally do with the leftover egg whites from the baking pineapple tarts or lapis? Cook and eat them, use them as face mask or throw them away?

I made cookies with them this year - Langues de Chat, also known as Cat's Tongues cookies.

Langues de Chat are French cookies and are made into a shapes that resemble the shapes of cats' tongues. Easy to bake and they are so yummy and addictive to eat.

I baked 4 different flavours - Vanilla, Matcha, Coffee and Cocoa. Piping them was fun too. I piped 2 flavours side by side to make a piece of cookie, just so that I can have the best of both worlds when I bite into them. Such a glutton am I hehe!

Now, here you go for these cat's tongues cookies. I am surely making them again because hubby said they are yummy and easy to eat.  I love pairing them with a good cup of coffee. You will love them too ☺

Langues de Chat (Cat's Tongue Cookies)
Recipe adapted from The Secret of Cookies by Gu Huixue
Makes about 20 pcs for 1 batch

A: 60g butter, 75g icing sugar
B: 65g egg white, some vanilla essence
C: 60g cake flour

Baking temperature: 190deg C upper heat and 180deg C lower heat (I baked my cookies at 220deg C for 14min) (If your oven does not have upper and lower heat control, you may bake them at 180deg c for 10-12min, or till a golden ring is formed round the sides of the cookies)

1. Cut softened butter into dices. Sift cake flour.
2. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking mat. Preheat oven to required temperature. Prepare a piping bag fitted with round tip nozzle.

3. Place ingredients A into mixing bowl.  Using a whisk, beat the mixture till light and fluffy. Add egg white in 2-3 batches and beat well after each addition. (Batter might appear curdled after the additions and mixture of egg whites.)

4. Add in cake flour. Using a spatula, mix till a smooth batter is formed. Add in vanilla essence and stir well. (Curdled mixture will become smooth batter after cake flour has been folded in.)

5. Using a spatula, spoon the battery into a piping bag, pipe the batter into strips, about 5cm long, leaving a gap of 5cm between them. (Go creative and dun by piping 2 flavours together!)

6. Bake in oven for 10min. Remove the cookies from tray immediately and set aside to cool.

I made 4 batches of these cookies, 4 flavours.

Steps above is for the original vanilla flavour, for matcha, coffee and cocoa flavours, I divided the smooth batter (Step 4) into 4 bowls, 1 with vanilla essence, add 2 tsp matcha powder to 2nd bowl, 2 tsp instant coffee powder to 3rd bowl and finally 1 tbsp cocoa powder to the 4th bowl. Mix each bowl of batter well.  Fill into 4 piping bags and continue from Step 5 onwards for piping.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Melt-in-your-Mouth Pineapple Tarts

It is the time of the year again to bake Chinese New Year cookies again! This time to kick off my CNY bakes, I started with pineapple tarts and I did these cookies over the past 3 days (bless me!).

With the ong lai tarts now off my list, I am left with the tedious Lapis Legit (Kueh Lapis), and perhaps some melting moments and egg white cookies since there would be quite a substantial amount of whites left. Nah~ I aren't gonna use them as egg white mask on my face! They fit better in stomachs than on face hehe!

My past years' pineapple tarts were made using a recipe that contains cream cheese and whipped cream, and my family and I do like those tarts lots. I wanted to try some new recipes for this cookies and hence went ahead with Fresh from the Oven's recipe. It was yummy, no doubt. The tarts were crumbly (and fragile when baked!), and melt in your mouth, AND I like them these way. Glad I tried this recipe. Gonna name these Melt-in-your-Mouth Pineapple Tarts.

Now, this has to my longest post ever. Many photos ahead. Do bear with me!

Crumbly and melty crust. I likey!!

Had a little time on hand hence I made the tarts into enclosed ones and open ones (with cookie cutters).

Sweet and dainty ong lai tarts.

Went a little too heavy on the egg wash and got dark looking tarts but still yummy.

Tried oval ones and without floral clippings.
Quite bothersome shaping them into equal oval shapes but fortunately end results looked okay.

Left: without egg wash
Right: with egg wash
Which look better?

Which do you like best?

No. 1 looks nice but due to exposure to heat, it caused the pineapple jam exterior to be a little chewy. 

I like No. 3 best because it was the easiest method to do, just roll and go! Also, pineapple jam is wrapped in so filling was soft and moist. My hubby and family also prefer the enclosed types.

Oh yes! Do use good butter for these tarts! I tried many and I still love Lurpak and President butter ♥♥♥

Pineapple Rolls/Tarts
Recipe by Fresh from the Oven

for the pastry:
220g unsalted butter, at room temperature
375g all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
50g confectioners' sugar/icing sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg yolk, for egg wash

for the pineapple filling (from scratch):
250g grated pineapple
150g sugar (or to taste)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2-1 teaspoon cornstarch
for the pineapple filling (from canned crushed pineapple)

1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 cup granulated sugar (or more to taste)
1-1.5 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)

To prepare the pineapple filling,(from scratch):

Bring to a boil grated pineapple, sugar and lemon juice. 
Let it simmer for 30 minutes or until it thickens.
Taste to see if it has achieved the desired sweetness. Add more sugar when necessary. 
Sieve in half a teaspoon of cornflour.
Let the pineapple filling cool to room temperature before using. It can also be kept in refrigerator for 1 week.

Pineapple filling from canned crushed pineapple:

Using low to medium heat, cook the drained crushed pineapple and sugar until most liquid has evaporated, and the mixture turned golden. Stirring constantly using a wooden spoon to avoid burning. Taste, and add more sugar when needed. 
Add in 1 to 1.5 teaspoon of cornstarch to thicken the mixture.
Let cool to room temperature before using.

For the pastry:

Sieve all purpose flour, corn flour, salt and icing sugar into a medium bowl. 

Beat butter in a mixer until it turns light in color and fluffy. 
Add in egg yolks until well combined. 
Slowly beat in the flour mixture until just combined.
(I mixed it with a rubber spatula first to incorporate the flour and icing sugar mixture before using mixer to mix and form dough, on low speed)

To assemble:
Roll pineapple filling into small individual rounds. Turn dough out and roll into small rounds.
Flatten the rounds and use it to cover the prepared filling.
Brush the unbaked rolls with egg wash.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350F/180ºC for 10 to 15 minutes or till lightly brown. (I baked mine at 230deg C for 23min - my oven temp is different from others - I am using a convec oven)

I rolled out these a day before and kept them in the fridge.
Each jam ball weighs 9g.

Each dough ball weighs 12g.

My Personal Notes:
1. I used cake flour instead and it worked well.
2. I used 60g icing sugar.
3. I used store bought pineapple jam from Phoon Huat for this round and amazingly taste yummy and nlt too sweet! I got the premium pack Red Man brand. (Spare my legs from the standing! :P)
4. I added 1 tsp of milk to the egg yolk and mixed well for egg brush.
5. Each enclosed (both round and oval) pineapple jam filling for the tarts weigh 9g while dough weighs 12g.