Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Yoghurt Bear Ring Buns

Came across a cute bear bun in Pinterest and since I had the time, I got down to make these cuties. They were not only visibly cute but also taste soft and fluffy! Yes, even when these were done with the straight dough method, oh and it stayed soft even on the 2nd day. I did not have to warm the buns up in the oven and just bite into it with my cuppa coffee. Yummy! :)

Yoghurt Bear Ring Buns (Straight dough method)
(Makes 8 buns or 1 loaf)

300g + 1 tbsp bread flour
4.5 tsp skimmed milk powder
1.5 tbsp castor sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp [12gm] instant yeast

125ml warm water
70ml mixed berries yoghurt (you can use plain or fruity yoghurt)

15gm butter

1. Put yoghurt, warm water into bread machine, followed by bread flour, skimmed milk powder, castor sugar (1 corner), salt (opp corner of sugar) and yeast (make a small hole in middle of bread flour, put in yeast and cover with bread flour) and put to mix on Option 8 for Kenwood BM250.

2. After 5 to 10 minutes when dough is formed, add in butter and let BM continue to mix till smooth and glossy. I then removed and manually knead it to window pane stage and put it to 1st proof for 30 minutes.

See how stretchy the dough turned out.

After 30 minutes of 1st proof

3. Punch down dough and divide into 8 portions at 70g each. For each portion, I took out 8g, and further divide it into 4 small balls of 2g each, for 2 ears and 2 hands.

4. Assemble the 4 small ball dough onto the bigger dough and place all 8 assembled dough into a greased chiffon tube pan. Cover with a clean and moist cloth and leave to proof for 45 min. After which, I lightly sprayed some water over the proofed buns and decorated the buns with chocolate rice (for the bears' eyes, nose).

2nd proofing stage

Deco-ed and ready to be sent into the oven!

5. I baked the buns in the preheated oven at 160 degrees C for 30 minutes. Remove from tube pan and leave to cool on cooling rack before storing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Cantaloupe Sago with coconut Milk

Bought a cantaloupe with the intention to just cut and eat it, as it is. In the end after looking at it, I thought I could trying making a dessert out of it. Searched the net and decided to use Cosybites' recipe instead, but I used cantaloupe and not honeydew.

Cantaloupe, also known as rock melon is not too different from honeydew.

I googled and found this from The Produce Lady:

What's the Difference Between a Cantaloupe and Honeydew?
  • The cantaloupe is closely related to the honeydew melon, but it is also quite different.
  • Cantaloupe has a netted rind that is beige in colour with orange flesh inside, whereas honeydew has a pale green flesh inside a rind that ranges from green to yellow in colour.
  • Both melons are sweet tasting and nutritious, although cantaloupe contains much greater amounts of vitamins A and C.
Okay, there are alot alot more info, but I shall leave that to your own googling. 

Cantaloupe Sago with Coconut Milk
Recipe by Cosybites where honeydew was used instead

80 gram sago
1 honeydew (approximately 2 kg) (I used cantaloupe instead)
150 ml low fat milk
100 ml coconut milk (I used Kara coconut cream)
60 gram rock sugar (to taste)
400 ml water

1. Soak sago in hot water for around 30 minutes.
Drain the soaked sago and place sago in a pot of boiling water, cooking and stirring at the same time, until the sago becomes almost transparent, about 10 minutes.
(Put a pot of water (water level to be 2 times more than sago) to boil. Without soaking sago, pour in sago into the boiling water and let it cook till almost transparent (some white dots still visible is normal), do stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking to bottom.)

2. Remove from heat, cover the pot with lid and leave for 10 to 15 minutes, until sago becomes completely transparent.

3. Rinse cooked sago with ice water through a fine sieve.  Rinse sago with ice water to remove excess starch. (I drained the cooked sago using a sieve and put it under running water to wash off excess starch, and then leave the sieve filled with sago pearls in a bowl of ice water. This way, the sago pearls cool down faster yet retaining the QQ feel.)

4. Cut the honeydew open and separate into three layers.
Put the innermost (sweetest) layer and outer (closest to skin) layer into a food processor. Blend until smooth.

5. Cut the center layer into cubes.

6. Add milk, coconut milk, rock sugar and water in a pot. Bring to boil, make sure that rock sugar is completely dissolved and remove from heat. Leave to cool.

7. Stir blended honeydew and sago into the cooled coconut mixture and leave it in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

8. Serve chilled with the cubed honeydew.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Steamed Spare Ribs with Fermented Black Beans

Hubby always love to order steamed spare ribs whenever we go for dim sum. I have nothing against it actually but dislike that some steamed spare ribs are not done well and meat are so tough it gets stuck in between teeth after you bite into the meat!

We seldom go for dim sum nowadays as it is not cheap eating it here in Singapore.  We only gorge ourselves crazy with dim sum when we are in Hong Kong, where dim sum dishes are so much cheaper, nicer and most importantly, authentic.

I have made this steamed spare ribs with fermented black beans many times, and always like how it pairs so so well with rice. Love it homemade because I can add lotsa minced garlic and that increases the flavour of this dish even further.

A simple, savoury and yummy dish this is.  Yet another dish good for lazy days hehe!

Steamed Spare Ribs with Fermented Black Beans
(Serves 2)

200g spare pork ribs 
(I normally ask the butcher to help me cut them into smaller pieces so that I just have to trim of excess fats and and wash them when back home)

Seasoning sauce
1 tsp baking powder or 2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp fermented black bean, washed briefly and crush the beans using the back of a spoon
1/2 tbsp cooking wine
1.5 tsp abalone sauce or oyster sauce
2 or 3 garlic, minced (if you aren't a garlic lover like me, just use 1 pc)
1/2 tsp sugar
A dash of pepper
2 tsp dark soy sauce (reduce to 1 tsp if you do not like the end product to be too dark)
1/2 tsp of sesame oil

1. Wash spare ribs and drain excess water.

2. If using baking powder, mix it well into the meat and let stand in fridge for an hour. This is done to tenderise the meat. After an hour, wash meat under running water, drain and season meat with the rest of the seasoning sauce ingredients (exclude cornflour since baking powder has been used to tenderise meat). 

If you do not have baking powder, you can just season the meat with cornflour together with the rest of the ingredients, thus skipping the 1 hour step of tenderising the meat.

3. Mix well and leave it to marinate in fridge for at least an hour or overnight.  Steam for 15 minutes on medium high heat, or till done. Serve.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wu Pao Chun's Matcha Red Bean Toast

I have a colleague in office who loves baking and cooking as much as I do. Some 2 weeks back she asked if I knew anything about Wu Pao Chun's Champion Toast and also if I have tried baking it.  

There have been much ravings about this loaf and I saw many food bloggers baking these loaves. I bookmarked this but no action taken thus far.  Now that my colleague brought this up, I thought it's time that I bake one.  

This bread is good in the sense where there is no need to prepare the sponge dough a day before. I can make this bread at anytime I want to. The bread is soft due to the amount of milk used. Best of all, no need for egg! Easy peasy.  A must-try indeed :)

Wu Pao Chun's Matcha Red Bean Toast
Recipe by Baking Taitai

(I used my leftover azuki beans instead of white chocolate)

198g Fresh milk 
270g Bread flour 
30g Organic wholemeal flour 
10g Matcha powder (can replaced with Cocoa powder)
14g Organic raw sugar (can replaced with castor or fine sugar) I used 30g castor sugar
1 tsp Salt  (about 3g)
1 tsp Instant dry yeast (about 3g)
14g Unsalted butter 
100g White chocolate chips I used 45g azuki bean paste

*I reduced the amount of sugar as the white chocolate chips are sweetened. 

Breadmaker loaf method:  

1. Place all ingredients based on the sequence listed above (except butter) into the breadmaker pan. (Note: Place sugar on the left side and salt on the right side. Make an indention at the centre of the flour and add instant yeast, make sure it does not touch the wet ingredients below.

2. Select pasta program. (Kenwood BM250 - select program '9' , this cycle takes 14 minutes to complete.)

3.  At the end of program '9', select basic loaf program and add in the butter. (Kenwood BM250 - select program '1',750g loaf and light crust , this cycle takes 3 hrs and 18mins to complete.) 

Update:If you are baking the bread in the oven, at the end of program '9', select dough program, add in butter. (Kenwood BM250 - select program '8', this cycle takes 1 hrs and 30 mins to complete.). 

4. Add in the white chocolate chips at the end of the 2nd kneading cycle. (Kenwood BM250 will sound an alert for adding the ingredients at the timing 2:56.)

If baking in oven, remove 1st proof risen bread dough and knock out air. Divide into 3 equal portions and leave aside for 5min to let the dough relax before rolling it out.  Spread azuki red bean paste over dough and roll it up like a swiss roll.  Put dough into a greased loaf tin or Pullman tin and let proof for 1 hour or till 3/4 of tin. Bake in preheated oven at 180deg C for 20min or till done. 

5. Remove the dough paddle at the last stage of kneading so that the bottom of the loaf will not have a big hole.  (Kenwood BM250 -remove at 1:42) 

6. Shape the dough back nicely after paddle is removed, close the lid and leave the dough to rise。When baking is done, remove the bread immediately from the baking pan to prevent shrinking and sweating. Cool it on a wire rack for about 30 mins before slicing

7. Store in an air-tight container and consume within 2-3 days as homemade bread does not contain any preservatives.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Chrysanthemum Tea

Weather has been scorching hot of late! The rain did not help to ease the heat and humidity so this is when staying home is best, away from the sun!  I really do not wish to get any tanner since I was never fair to begin with! Hehe~

Home sweet home. I could do so much when at home, and one of it was making some chrysanthemum tea to cool our bodies in this hot weather.  Housework, cooking, baking and relaxing need not be further explained :P

Chrysanthemum Tea

2 handful of chrysanthemum flowers
1.5 litres of water
1 big pc or 2 medium size rock honey sugar (as per desired)

1. Wash and rinse the chryanthemum flowers under running water to get rid of dirt and impurities. Leave on a sieve to drain excess water.
2. Bring the pot of water to boil.
3. Add in rock honey sugar, adjust sweetness according to your preference.
4. Put in chrysanthemum flowers and cover, letting it simmer for about 2 minutes. Turn off fire and leave it covered for further 15 min.

5. Serve lukewarm, at room temperature or chilled.

Note: Never leave the chrysanthemum flowers to boil for a long time as it will cause the tea to have a dry and bitter taste.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Overnight Soft Buns with Spicy Tuna & Red Bean fillings

Believe or not, it's been over a month since I am back but I am still having the post holiday mood.

I miss the 2 plus week spent in Europe, not worrying about work and chores, what to cook and bake, but just sightsee, eat, sleep and enjoy.  Good times always pass so fast.  I can only look forward to my next vacation.  Life is not just about work, we need holidays to balance out the fast paced life here. I cannot imagine a life without vacations!

I have been baking loaves of bread and not buns, so I am back at it again, this time using recipe by Cornercafe.

Overnight Soft Buns with Spicy Tuna & Red Bean fillings

Overnight Poolish:
150g bread flour
150g lukewarm water
0.5g (1/8 teaspoon) instant yeast

Main Dough:
250g bread flour
100g cake flour (or plain flour if desired)
15g milk powder
50g caster sugar
6g (1 1/4 teaspoons) salt
5g (1 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
75g (approx.) lukewarm water, adjust as necessary
50g butter, cut into small cubes

A can of spicy tuna mixed with 1 medium chopped onions, divide into 6 portions (if you like it drier, you can stir fry it in a pan for a while)

240g red bean paste (rolled into 40g ball each, for 6 buns)

1. For the poolish, mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl together until incorporated. Cover with cling film and let it proof for about 1 hour in a warm place, then place into the refrigerator to chill (preferably at 5°C but not strictly, a couple of degrees off is still fine) for at least 16 hours; it should be bubbly at this stage. Let poolish return to room temperature, about half an hour, before using.

2. Sift bread flour, cake flour, milk powder, caster sugar and instant dry yeast onto the working surface and mix well. Form the flour mixture into a well and add lightly beaten egg, room-temperature poolish and salt, then
gradually add just enough lukewarm water to form into a slightly sticky, soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

3. Finally knead in the room-temperature butter, a cube at a time, until incorporated. (In many cookbooks, they mentioned that the dough at this stage should be able to be pulled and stretched into membrane – “window pane test”, but it’s hard to achieve with hand kneading because the dough does not heat up as much as when using machine. I usually stop kneading when the dough stretches like chewing gum when pulled!) Form the dough into a round ball and let it rise in a warm place (preferably at about 26°C – 28°C) until at least double or nearly triple in size in a large greased bowl, covered with cling film (should take about 1 hour in optimum warm temperature, longer in winter months). To test if the dough has risen properly, dip a finger into bread or plain flour and poke down into the
centre of the dough as far as your finger will go and pull out again – the hole should remain if it is ready. If the dough springs back, then it is not ready, continue to prove further.

4. Punch down, knead briefly and form into a ball shape. Then divide into 12 or 16 equal portions. The easiest way is to first divide equally into 4 larger portions first, then divide each of these again into thirds (for 12 portions) or quarters (for 16 portions) each. Form each into balls and let rest for 10 minutes.

5. Shape and fill the buns according to recipe. Place all finished buns on a greased baking sheet, lightly cover with cling film, and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 1 hour in warm weather, longer in winter months).

6. Brush with eggwash if the recipe calls for it and bake in preheated 190°C oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Tomato, Carrot & Water Chestnut Pork Ribs Soup

It's been some time since Mum made this soup, and since Mum gave me some water chestnuts and tomatoes, I decided to cook this.  It is a simple soup but is filled with lotsa goodness. Yummy!

Tomatos and carrots are good for digestion while water chestnuts helps to reduce cough and phlegm as they are relatively cooling food.  

Can it get any more easier to make soup with just the few ingredients? 

Tomato, Carrot & Water Chestnut Pork Ribs Soup

2 tomatoes
2 carrots
8 water chestnuts
280g pork rib or lean pork
2 slices of ginger
Salt to taste
Onion (deskinned, left whole) (optional)

1. Cut tomatoes into serving pieces. Remove seeds (I left the seeds on) and wash briefly.
2. Peel carrot and water chestnuts.  Wash and cut into serving pieces.
3. Wash pork ribs or lean meat. Blanch in a pot of boiling water to remove scums and oil. Rinse well and leave aside.
4. Put all ingredients into boiling water.  Bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 2 hours. Season with salt.  Serve.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Zha Jiang Mian (Noodles With Minced meat Sauce)

With no plans to go anywhere last Sunday, we stayed home and rest. That meant I cooked too!

Seeing that I still have a handful of jiaozi lying in my freezer, I wanted to cook another dish to go along with them, and so... Zha jiang mian, aka noodles with minced meat sauce was the way to go!

Glad I have a hubby who gives me all freedom to cook or bake anything, and he will just eat it all the same!

Zha Jiang Mian (炸酱面)
Recipe by Foodie Baker
(serves 2) (Original recipe serves 4 but I halved it)

250g noodles (I bought those slightly flat and white chinese style noodles from NTUC. They can be found at the instant noodles and pasta section)
3 pieces of dried shiitake mushrooms
1 medium red onion, chopped into small pieces
1/2 carrot, peeled and cubed
4 cloves garlic, minced
250g minced meat
1.5 tbsp spicy bean paste
1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar (optional)
1.5 tbsp dark soy sauce
1.5 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
Salt and white pepper
1 Japanese cucumber, shredded finely
Spring onion, chopped - for garnish
Chili oil (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Season with 1 teaspoon salt. Add in the noodles and cook per package's instructions, or until soft and tender. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water until the noodles are cooled. Drizzle with a little olive oil and stir around so that the noodles don't stick to each other. Keep it covered aside until needed.

2. Place the shiitake mushrooms in a bowl, add in enough boiling water (not the water used to cook the noodles) until they are covered. Soak them for 30 minutes until they became soft. Squeeze them dry, chop and discard the stems. Dice or slice the mushrooms. Strain the mushroom water to get rid of any dirt or grit and top up with plain water until it reaches 350ml.

3. In a large pot, add in a good couple of lugs of oil and heat over medium heat. Add in the onion and carrot and sautéed until the onion has softened and became translucent. Add in the garlic and sautéed until fragrant. Add in the minced pork and cook until the most of the pork's no longer pink in colour. Add in the sliced/diced mushrooms and the bean paste.

4. Add in the reserved mushroom water and the dark soy sauce, vinegar, light soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Turn up the heat and bring the sauce to a boil, then turn it down to low heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasoning till it suits your taste. Add more water if the sauce is too dry.

5. Dissolve the cornstarch in 1 tablespoon of water and stir into the sauce gradually until it starts to thicken. You may not need all of it.

6. Place the noodles in individual bowls and spoon the sauce generously over the noodles. Top with shredded cucumber and spring onion and drizzle in chili oil if desired. Dig in while it's hot!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Steamed Tofu with Scallops

What would you do with the box of tofu and few pieces of scallops lying in your fridge?  I googled and found a recipe that I tried, tested and like it.  This easy-to-prepare dish is good for working ladies and mummies. 

Steamed Tofu with Scallops
Recipe by Wokkingmum

1 box Silken Tofu, cut into 8 thick blocks
1 tablespoon Chinese Cooking Wine
1 tablespoon Sesame Seed Oil
8 pieces Scallops, halve if thick
2 tablespoon Raw Chopped Garlic or Fried/Roasted Garlic
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
2 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
1/2 tablespoon Cooking Oil

1. Place tofu top with scallop in a dish or you can place both items separately.
2. Sprinkle garlic on top.
3. Drizzle cooking wine and sesame seed oil over them.
4. Steam for 4 minutes or till scallops are cooked.
5. Remove and drain away the liquid.
6. Place scallops on tofu and set aside.
7. Heat cooking oil, sugar and light soy sauce together.
8. Pour the hot soy sauce and oil over the scallop.
9. Serve.

The water is drained away after steaming to avoid diluting the sauce.  You may keep it if preferred.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Stir-fried Long Beans with Sambal Dried Shrimps

Sometime back, Mum made some sambal belacan and gave me a small tub of it.  Happy was I! Yeah, my mum does mean sambal belacan!

With our busy lifestyle, I stashed the tub in a corner of my freezer and kinda "overlooked" it a little till Mummy asked me if I still want more of it when we were back at my parents' place last weekend. She then told me I could cook a simple and nice dish out of it and I made this dish the following weekend.

That evening, I cooked slightly more rice than usual yet Hubby and I wiped it all dishes clean. A simple and sinful indulgence at the comfort of our home ;)

Stir-fried Long Beans with Sambal Dried Shrimps
(Serves 2 to 3)

1 tbsp cooking oil
200g long beans (wash & cut to 1.5 inch)
2 tbsp sambal belachan
3 to 4 tbsp water
1 tbsp cooking wine
1/2 tbsp sugar
salt, to taste
2 tbsp dried shrimps (soaked till soften, drained and finely chopped)
5 pcs of garlic (finely chopped)
3 pcs of shallots (finely chopped)

1. Heat cooking oil till hot, add in chopped dried shrimps, garlic and shallots and stir fry to mix well.
2. Add in sambal belachan and stir fry till fragrant.
3. Add long beans, sugar, cooking wine, followed by water and stir well. Cover for 5 minute and let cook on high heat.
4. Stir well to coat long beans with sambal sauce.  Add salt to taste and serve.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Overnight Oats with Blueberries, Kiwis, Raisins & Sunflowers

While the food-blogsphere have earlier had the overnight oats craze, I only just got myself started now.

True enough, this overnight oatmeal thingy can really be quite addictive. Best of all is that this convenient quick meal is packed with high fibre, protein and calcium.

For this first try, I made 2 servings enough for Hubby and myself using kiwi and blueberries. I read that kiwi causes overnight oats to taste slightly bitter, well I think that is probably due to the acidic nature that the fruit has. Yes, mine turned out a little bitter tasting, but I added a teaspoonful of honey and slightly more milk, gave it a good stir and I thought it tasted quite good after that.

I am now thinking about other different combi I can come up with to make my weekday breakfast or lunch more interesting, yummier and of cuz healthier.  Try it! You will like it too :)

Overnight Oats with Blueberries, Kiwis, Raisins & Sunflower seeds
(Serves 2)

10 tbsp of rolled oat/ old-fashion oats (not quick-cook)
Enough milk to cover the oats
1 Kiwi fruit (cut into cubes)
5 tbsp of blueberries
4 tbsp of greek yoghurt (low fat types work well too)
2 tbsp Sunflower seeds
2 tbsp raisins
1 to 2 tsp honey (optional)

1. Wash blueberries and gently pat dry with a kitchen towel.  Cut kiwi fruit into cubes. Leave aside.
2. Put rolled oats into a clean and dry container (with a tight lid), followed by yoghurt, sunflower seeds and raisins.
3. Pour milk over, with just enough to cover the oats and all. (You may add a little more milk if you prefer a slightly more watery consistency). Give it a thorough stir.
4. Add in kiwi fruit cubes and blueberries and do a quick stir.
5. Cover and leave it overnight in the fridge.
6. Drizzle with honey the next day and dig in!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Wanna bake something simple for a weekday breakfast?  Do these!  Fast and simple. Little washing up too.

Do your little part of saving the earth by leaving out muffin and cupcake liners when you bake these dainty quick-bread. I baked them in silicon muffin tray and cups. They look equally delish too, don't they? :P

Chocolate Chip Muffins
Recipe by The Little Teochew
Makes 12 regular muffins

(A) Dry ingredients
- 330g (3 cups) plain flour
- 4 tsps baking powder
- 1 tsp salt

(B) Wet ingredients
- 2 eggs, at room temperature 
- 225g (1 cup) sugar (I reduced to 170g)
- 236ml (1 cup) milk, at room temperature 
- 118ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Chocolate chips
- 160 to 180g (1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips - I used mini ones)

1. Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F). Lightly grease muffin tins, including the rims.

2. Whisk (A) briefly in a bowl to mix. 

3. Mix (B) in a medium bowl - eggs and sugar first, followed by the rest. 

4. Add (B) to (A). Fold gently to combine - using either a spatula or spoon - until no streaks of flour remain. The batter should look lumpy and thick.

A tip on folding: 
- We want to combine the ingredients in as few strokes as possible. The less we handle the batter, the fluffier the muffins. Start folding in long, broad strokes, scraping the ingredients from the bottom of the bowl in an upward motion. 

5. Sprinkle in the chocolate chips and fold in 2 to 3 strokes to combine.

6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins all the way to the brim

I filled my batter right to the brim as per the recipe and true enough, no spills or overflow, and the dome rose nicely!

My muffins in silicon cups

7. Important step: bake at 220°C for the first 5min and then turn the temperature down to 190°C for another 25min. Those first 5min will provide that crucial rise to help produce those beautiful domes. After the muffins are done, allow them to cool for 10min in the tin before removing.