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.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Steamed Cabbage Roll

Have you all tried steamed cabbage roll? Try it if you all haven't, will you?

I have procrastinated for the longest time on trying out this recipe. I finally tried! And I love it. And why did I sit on it for that long? Simply because I did not want to go through the blanching of cabbage leaf part and then having to wrap the stir-fried fillings in the cabbage leave before finally steaming them to eat. I did not want to go through such a trouble. Oh well, in the end, I caved in. So here is it.  I got down to do and quite enjoy it. Seriously, I will cook this again because it was a yummy dish.

Steamed Cabbage Rolls
Recipe by Andrew Kow of One Day One Dish | 365 Selected Home-Cooked Recipes

1 cabbage
150g minced pork
1 carrot (peeled)
5 pcs black fungus
8 water chestnuts (peeled)
150g celery (I left this out and used 3 pcs of chinese mushrooms instead - minced)

1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp chicken seasoning powder (I left this out and added 1/2 tbsp chinese cooking wine)

1. Shred carrot, black fungus, water chestnuts and celery. (I cut water chestnuts and soaked chinese mushrooms into cubes instead)

2. Boil 1/2 pot of water, cook whole cabbage in boiling water till soft, remove and drain. Gently pluck off each cabbage leaf. (I plucked off each leaf and washed them, then blanched a few pcs of cabbage leaves at a time. I did not cook whole cabbage in water for fear of tearing them apart when plucking them as the leaves would be too delicate for me to handle)

3. Heat up oil in pot, add in ingredients (except cabbage), and seasonings, and stir-fry till fragrant.  Remove amd drain,  reserve sauce for use later.

4. Place the mixture on a cabbage leaf, and roll it up.  Repeat for other cabbage leaves. Place cabbage rolls on a steaming tray and steam for 10-15 minutes.

5. Mix some tapioca flour with water to thicken the reserved sauce. Pour it over the steamed cabbage rolls.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Garlic Butter Buns

It has been too long a break it seems, that I have been away from this space. A new year, a new start. While everyone has been baking and cooking up storms, I have been keeping myself away from the kitchen. Knee problem is back to haunt me again, and I cannot afford to stand around too much. Better be a good girl and start slow this year!

For a start, I made these garlic bread. I love how my kitchen smells of garlic when it was being baked in the oven. Woooot!

Garlic Bread
Recipe from Magic Bread Book by Alex Goh

60g bread flour
45g boiling water

240g bread flour
6g sugar
6g salt
4g instant yeast

135g cold water
75g overnight sponge dough (refer to below on method)

15g butter

1. Add the boiling water from A into flour, mix until well-blended to form dough. Cover and set aside to cool. Keep it into refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
2. Mix B until well-blended. Add in C, knead dough to form rough dough. Add in A, knead untill well-blended.
3. Add in D and knead to form elastic dough. Let it proof for 40 minutes.
4. Divide the dough into 85g dough and mould it round. Let it proof for 45 minutes.
5. Flatten the dough and roll into oblong shape. Let it proof for 45 minutes.

6. Egg wash the surface and cut the centre with sharp knife. Place some garlic butter onto it.
7. Bake at 220deg C for 18 minutes.

Overnight Sponge Dough
100g bread flour
60g water (room temperature)
1/4tsp instant yeast

Mix water amd yeast until well-blended. Add in flour and mix to form dough. Let it proof for 30 minutes. Wrap it up and refrigerate overnight.

Garlic butter
 10 pcs of garlic, finely chopped
some parsley (I used dried parsley)
100g soft butter

Mix all ingredients until well-blended.