Saturday, March 21, 2015

Double-boiled Pumpkin & Dried Oyster Soup 南瓜耗鼓炖汤

Work has been mad busy of late with so much more on my plate with the reorganisation and all. I had, several times almost chose the out option. Somehow life here is really taxing and stressful. Not a conducive country to live in. Life should not be just about work ya? I tend to think lots more about life nowadays. And so people says one gets wiser when older? Hahaha!

Soup heals the soul, doesn't it? Well, at least for me. With this period of stressful moments in office, I try to make it up to our bodies and health by making more soups. No other food comforts me as much as soups do! Easy to cook, yummy to consume. Slurp!

Double-boiled Pumpkin & Dried Oyster Soup
Recipe by Eric Teo of Eric Teo's Simply Soup Book

200g pumpkin, trimmed and cut into cubes
8 pcs dried oysters, soaked to remove sand
8 pcs red dates, pitted
1/2 chicken, skinned and cut into 8 pcs (I used a pc of boneless chicken breast meat instead)
1.5l water

1. Rinse and peel pumpkin. Remove core from pumpkin and cut into cubes.
2. Scald skinned chicken in boiling water and put into a soup pot.

3. Put all ingredients into soup pot and add in water.

4. Steam for 2 hours. Season with salt.

I am submitting this post to Cook-Your-Books #21 hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours

Monday, March 16, 2015

Chicken & Beef Pies 鸡肉牛肉派

Not sure why but I have been craving for savoury meat pies in the past weeks. I am not one who craves for meat! So not me leh. I caved in. I made chicken pies and beef pies over Saturday and Sunday last weekend. Why 2 days? Because I prepared too much and got a huge portion of both the chicken and beef fillings! 

I took the lazy way out for my fillings by using store bought Campbells Mushroom Soup can for the chicken pie filling and beef broth for beef pie filling.

Did chicken pies many times but it is my first having potato cubes added. Love the colour combi.

I love using creamy mushroom soup as that alone is enough to give the filling its flavour. No need for anymore seasonings!

Minced meat always go so well with button mushrooms!

I must say I was shocked with the amount of pies I made in total. I freezed them when they cooled. Pop some into the toaster or oven to heat them up and then sink your teeth into them right after. YUMMY!

Hubby is a pie lover. He was all for it when I told him I would be making pies that very weekend. My forever supporter (and guinea pig)! :P

Be forewarned. Long long post ahead!

I cooked up my own filling for the chicken and beef pie. Pie crust pastry were made using Baking Mum's recipe and Christine's Recipes.

Baking Mum used a mix, refrigerate and use recipe. Plain yoghurtadded. Yields soft crusty pie crust. I like my pie crust this way. Downside is having a slightly sticky dough that must be refrigerated for at least 30min before using. Not that easy to handle and I needed plain flour to prevent sticking.

Christine used the rubbing-in method for the pie crust. I do not like getting my fingers all messy with the cold butter and flour, but I love how I can use the dough rightaway without refrigerating it. No sticky dough to handle. No need to sprinkle flour all over too.

Seriously, ask me which crust I prefer and I can't quite answer that. Both crust had different bites. Both are good. I can only say it depends on how much time you have for making the pies. Abit more time to spare? Use Baking Mum's. Looking for easy to handle dough? Go for Christine's one.

Never give me more than 1 thing to choose from. I can never decide on one.

Chicken, Potato & Mushroom Pie

Pastry by Baking Mum

200g butter
250g plain flour
110g plain yoghurt
1 tsp sugar
1 egg yolk
A pinch of salt

Put all the ingredients into the mixing bowl except yoghurt, and mix to a crumble. Add in yoghurt and mix to a dough. Dough will be very soft so need to keep it refrigerated for at least 30 mins.

The steps for the chicken pie will be as per normal. You can either do big pie or mini pie. Just need to roll out the dough, cut the size required and place in a pie dish (or disposable aluminium cups). Poke hole on the base using a fork and place ingredients on top. Cut another piece of dough to cover the top. Poke a few more times using fork on the cover of the pie and brush with 1 beaten egg. Baked in a preheated oven at 180C for 30 min. (I bake at 180deg C for 45 min.)  

350g Chicken breast meat, fats removed and cubed
5 small Brastagi potatoes, deskinned, boiled and cubed
1/2 can of button mushroom, thinly sliced
1/2 ricebowl mixed peas
1 red onion, cubed
1/2 yellow onion, cubed
1 can of Campbells Mushroom Soup
2 tbsp olive oil, or canola oil

1. Heat oil in pan. Add in both onions. Saute till fragrant and translucent.
2. On medium heat, add in cubed chicken meat and stir fry till well mixed and meat half cooked. Add in mixed peas and sliced button mushrooms. Mix well till chicken meat is just cooked. Add in boiled potato cubes and give it a quick mix.
3. Pour in cream of mushroom and stir well to break down the coagulated mushroom cream to thoroughly coat all ingredients with it. Add a dash of pepper (more if preferred) and stir well. Turn off heat, scoop out into bowl and set aside for later use. (You can cook the filling a day earlier, cover with clingwrap when cooled and use it the next day.)

Black Pepper Ground Beef & Button Mushroom Pie

Pastry by Christine's Recipes
160 gm plain flour / all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
90 gm chilled unsalted butter, diced
1/4 tsp lemon zest
3 Tbsp iced water
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Sift flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add diced butter and stir with a knife. Rub the butter into the flour with your finger tips, lifting the flour from the bottom up on top, until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Mix in lemon zest.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of the chilled water and lemon juice to flour mixture. Add the rest of the chilled water bit by bit until the mixture comes together into a ball. The dough should leave bowl clean.
3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead by hand until smooth. Don’t over knead the dough. Divide into two balls, one larger in size for making the base, with another one smaller for making the top. Roll into two disc shapes. 4. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in fridge for about 25 to 30 minutes. (I did not refrigerate them and used the dough as it is.)
5. Preheat oven to 200C/395F.
6. Remove the larger dough disc from fridge. Place on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out into a circle slightly larger than the mould. Carefully line the mould. Trim the edge. Save the trimmed dough for decoration. Prick the base with a fork. Line with baking paper and place ceramic beads, or beans, or rice on top. (I just poked holes on base and spooned in fillings, cover top with dough, poke holes on dough top. Brush top with beaten egg yolk and put to bake at 180deg C for 45 min.)  

7. Transfer to the preheated oven for blind-baking, about 15 to 20 minutes, until the edge becomes lightly brown.
8. Remove the pie shell from oven. Remove the beads and baking paper. Roll out the smaller dough disc into a circle similar to the size of the mould. Spoon the fillings into the shell and cover with the dough disc. Crimp the edges to seal and score the top pastry. Cut two slits in the middle of the pie. Use the trimmed dough for decoration. Egg wash the pie.
Bake in the preheated oven, for about 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Serve hot.

300g ground beef
1/2 can of button mushroom, thinly sliced
1/2 ricebowl mixed peas
1 yellow onion, cubed
200ml of Campbells Beef Broth 
2 tbsp olive oil, or canola oil
1 tbsp abalone sauce or oyster sauce or simply use soy sauce
Ground black pepper

1. Heat oil in pan. Add in onions. Saute till fragrant and translucent.
2. On medium heat, add in ground beef and stir fry till well mixed and meat half cooked. Add in mixed peas and sliced button mushrooms. Mix well till ground beef is just cooked. Add a dash of black pepper and mix well.
3. Pour in 200ml of beef broth and stir well. Add oyster sauce/ abalone sauce or soy sauce. Depending on how spicy you want your beef filling to be, add ground black pepper accordingly. I used about 1.5 tsp of it though because I like it peppery! Stir and mix well. Taste test. If okay, turn off heat, scoop out into bowl and set aside for later use. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Blanched Broccoli with Abalone & Pacific Clams in Oyster Sauce 西兰花蚝油汁加鲍鱼鲍贝

Yet another way due post. This is one dish easy enough and suitable to host guests at home. This was one of the few dishes I cooked when my family came by during CNY. It was a Lunar New Year filled with lots of abalone.

Life is good. Indulge when the time calls for it! :)

Blanched Broccoli with Abalone & Pacific Clams in Oyster Sauce

1 medium broccoli, cut in florets
1 carrot, skinned and sliced
1 pc of celery
1/2 can of Pacific Clams
1 can of medium sized abalone (reserve 3 tbsp abalone broth for dish gravy - you can freeze the remaining for use the next round)
5 pcs garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce / abalone sauce
3 tbsp water
1 tsp cornstarch mixed with some water and mix to dissolve
a small pc of ginger, flattened slightly with back of knife

1. Fill a small pot with enough water for blanching the vegetables. Bring to boil. Blanch broccoli, carrots and celery for 3 to 4 min. Be careful not to over blanch as we would still want the vege to maintain a crunch in them. Drain and set them on a serving plate.
2. With the same pot of water used for blanching vege, place in ginger and when boil, add in Pacific clams and blanch for 30sec. Remove and set over vege on serving plate. Place abalone pcs by sides of plate.
3. Mix abalone broth, water, oyster sauce and minced garlic in a small pot. Bring to a soft boil. Do a taste test. Add more water if more gravy is required / Add a little more oyster sauce if preferred.
4. Mix cornstarch solution and pour into oyster gravy sauce. Add more if a thicker consistency is preferred. Stir well sauce and turn off heat when thickened.
5. Pour sauce over the plate of vege and abalone. Serve immediately.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Coconut Milk Loaf Bread 椰奶吐司

I finally got my hands on bread making again and this time I tried a recipe from Carol's bread recipe book which I bought during a staycation in JB some time back.

I prefer reading off books than from the internet. I am quite an old school. Hubby said my recipe book collection is growing and taking up quite abit of our study room space. Oh well, this is one thing he can never stop me from buying (apart from bags! Keke~)

soft and fluffy I could eat it on its own :)

Now back to this bread, a yummy one. It stayed soft even on the 3rd day. 1 way that I can use up my free supply of Kara coconut milk. 

This bread got me hooked on the bread making affair again. What bread should I bake the next round leh?? So many I cannot decide! :P

Coconut Milk Loaf Bread 椰奶吐司 
Recipe adapted from Carol 烘焙新手必備第二本書 (P.280) 

高筋麵粉270g bread flour (I used total of 300g bread flour) 
低筋麵粉30g  plain flour (Did not use this) 
速發乾酵母 3g instant yeast
細砂糖30g caster sugar
鹽1/8tsp salt
蛋一顆(50g) egg
椰漿 150ml coconut milk (I used Kara coconut cream and it worked well)


1. If using bread machine, add wet ingredients (coconut milk and egg) into bread machine, and top with bread flour.

2. Place caster sugar at one corner of bread flour, and salt on the opposite corner.  Make a hole in centre of bread flour and spoon in yeast, cover with bread flour.  Put bread machine to start its mixing and kneading process.
3. I just let my bread machine do the mixing of ingredients and remove the dough to knead manually when the dough comes together.
4. As per the usual, knead till bread is elastic and reaches window pane stage.

5. Mould bread into round shape and leave in bowl to proof for 50 to 60min or till double in size.
6. Remove bread and knock out excess air.  Divide into 6 equal portions and shape into round dough, place them into greased bread loaf tin.  Spray top of dough with some water and cover with a cloth and leave to proof  for an hour.  

7. Preheat oven to180dec C.
8. Beat whole egg and brush dough top with eggwash, put to bake in preheated oven for 35 to 38min.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Stir-fried Sambal Okra 叁巴辣椒炒羊角豆

I have been keeping myself away from too spicy food for awhile now, and had that sudden craving of sambal okra some days back. Had a small tub of homemade dried shrimp sambal chilli from dearest Mummy (Mummy is da best okie!!!), and I had that put to good use!

Yummy spicy dried shrimp sambal chilli from my mummy!!!

With the Japanese Okra I bought from the supermarket some days back, I whipped up a dish in no time. I took the back seat this time with just 1 dish. Hubby did the rest. He cooked stir-fried ginger spring onion beef and made a pot of daikon soup. A lazy wife he has got himself. :P

One Saturday dinner over just like that! It is always nice to have the other half whipping up meals for me once in awhile :)

Our dinner.
A joint effort.

Stir-fried Sambal Okra
Serves 2 to 3

250g Japanese Okra (Lady Fingers)
1 tbsp sambal chilli, washed, stalks cut and removed, sliced
4 pcs garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced dried shrimps
light soy sauce, to taste
1.5 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tbsp sugar

1. Heat oil in pan. Add in garlic, dried shrimps and sambal chilli. Fry till fragrant.
2. Add sliced okra and stir-fry till well mixed.
3. Add water, more if you want slightly wetter consistency. Stir well.
4. Add sugar and mix well.
5. Add some light soy sauce, do a taste test and add more if required. Stir well and turn off heat when okra is cooked. Serve inmediately with a bowl of rice!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Yong Tau Fu in Black Bean Sauce 娘豆腐炒黑豆酱

My annual vacation is coming right up and am still not quite done with the F&E plannings! Gonna be a good break I am taking to be away from housecleaning, cooking, baking and above all, office work! Can't wait for my vacation really!

A throwback for this post. Cooked this dish before the Lunar New Year which is now over in a twinkle of eye.  Oh in fact, I have quite some overdue posts waiting to be posted. Pls bear with me!

Love how this one dish is just enough to get us done with a meal. Under my dearest Mummy's influence, I love eating yong tau fu from young. Good in soups, with dry or soupy noodles and even stir fries, yong tau fu are easily my go-to help if I want to be a lazy bum that day :P

Yong Tau Fu in Black Bean Sauce
Recipe by Noob Cook

350g yong tau foo (about 15 pieces or so)
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 tsp fermented black beans rinsed, patted dry, mashed slightly with fork
3 cloves garlic minced
2 chilli padi sliced
1 tsp hot bean sauce/la dou ban jiang (辣豆瓣酱)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/4 cup water
cornstarch solution (1 tsp cornstarch mix with 2 tsp water)

1. Cook yong tau foo pieces in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat oil in claypot or wok and stir fry fermented black beans, garlic and chilli until fragrant.

3. Add spicy bean sauce, oyster sauce and water to the casserole, stir evenly to form a paste.
4. Add the blanched yong tau foo pieces and stir to coat them well in the sauce. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch solution.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bak Kwa Buns (Pork Jerky Buns) 肉干面包

This year I am blessed to have 2 packs of bak kwa (pork jerky) given to us during the CNY. I knew we would not be able to finish munching on them and I had plans to use them for cooking and baking.  After using some for bak kwa fried rice, I use another portion for bak kwa buns this time.

Bak kwa buns are not sold cheap here. If I were to sell my bak kwa buns, I am sure to make a loss! My homemade bak kwa buns were heavily stuffed with bits of bak kwa. A sinful yet heartening breakfast - 2 buns over a cuppa hot coffee. YUMYUM!!

Gotta go plan what to do with my last box of bak kwa!

Bak Kwa Buns (Pork Jerky Buns)
Gelatinized Basic Sweet Bread recipe by Alex Goh

Gelatinized dough
50g bread flour
35ml boiling water

1. Place flour in a mixing bowl.
2. Add hot boiling water and mix with wooden spoon to form a rough dough.
3. Cover bowl with cling film and leave dough to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour, and up to 48 hours.

Basic sweet bread dough
(Yield 1000g to 1100g dough)
I got about 500g of dough and divided them into 9 equal portions

150g bread flour
50g plain flour
40g sugar
10g milk powder
1/2 tbsp instant yeast
1/4 tsp salt
87ml cold water
1/2 cold egg (about 30g)
30g cold butter, cubed 

200g bak kwa, cut into little square bits

1. Combine flour, sugar, milk powder, yeast and salt together in a mixing bowl.
2. Tear the gelatinized dough into pieces and add to the bowl along with the eggs
3. Using a stand electric mixer, mix on low speed, adding cold water gradually.
4. Mix until dough is well combined and leave the side of bowl.
5. Add in the cold butter cubes and mix on medium speed until dough is smooth.
6. Shape dough into a ball, leave to proof for 40 min or until doubled.
7. Punch down dough to rid excess air, roll it round and set aside for 5 min to let it relax for easier rolling.

8. Roll out dough into a rectangle shape with even thickness, about 40cm in length.
9. Spread bak kwa bits all over dough and roll up lengthwise, like swissroll.
10. Seal ends of dough to secure bak kwa bits from spilling out. Set dough with sealed ends at bottom.
11. Use a sharp knife and cut dough into 9 even pcs.
12. Place dough with exposed bak kwa bits side up (like sugar cinnamon buns) into greased round baking tin.

13. Cover with clean moist cloth and leave to proof for 30min.
14. Brush top with the leftover beaten egg from the dough mix.
15. Bake in preheated oven at 180deg C for 15 to 20 min. Remove to cool on rack.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pandan Chiffon Cake 班兰可可戚风蛋糕

Not easy to get yummy pandan chiffon cakes from bakeries nowadays. Pandan chiffon cakes are made right only with fresh pandan extract and I somehow feel not many bakeries use real pandan juice anymore. Easy way out is to use pandan essence but I never like artificial tasting pandan cakes, hence I prefer baking my own pandan chiffon cakes these days. 

Mum loves eating my chiffon cakes and I always deliver a portion of it to her when I bake them. Mummy always cook yummy food for us. I wanna bake her favourite stuff for her! 

This time, I used Cherry Potato's Pandan Chiffon cake recipe but made a slight change to turn it into a Pandan Cocoa Chiffon Cake instead. Call me a greedy one but I got the best of both the pandan and cocoa taste in 1 cake :) Greedy me.

Pandan Chiffon Cake
Recipe from Cherry Potato

5 Egg yolks
30ml Pandan juice
120ml Coconut milk
80ml Corn oil
2tbsp Water

120gm Cake flour
60gm Sugar

5 Egg whites
1 tsp Cream of tartar
60gm Sugar

Cocoa powder

1. Mix all ingredients (A) into a bowl till well.

2. Fold in sifted flour and sugar, mix well. Set aside.
3. Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy.

4. Gradually add in sugar and continue whisk until stiff.
5. Fold the above into egg yolk mixture, mix well with spatula.

6. Pour batter into a 9" ungreased chiffon tube pan. (I poured in 1/3 of the batter into the chiffon tube pan, sifted a thin layer of cocoa powder all round the top of the pandan batter, pour 1/2 of remaining batter over cocoa powder. Sift another layer of cocoa powder again over pandan batter and pour remaining batter in. You may sift another layer of cocoa powder on the top or leave it plain.)

7. Bake at preheat oven 170'C for 50-55 minutes till done.
8. Remove from oven and invert cake to cool.