Monday, February 28, 2011

It's Been A Year! / Corned Beef Potato Patties

How time flies! A fleeting glance and it's been a year since I started venturing into the blogging world!
And what an adventure it has been for me, sailing across the world, visiting food blogs and making friends!
The wonders of the INTERNET!
How crippled we would be if the big plug is pulled out!! (shudders!)

Potato patties or bergedil in Malay has been a favourite of my hub! He eats it with lontong or rice whenever he buys nasi padang. In fact he loves potatoes in any form except mashed potato.
I was in a good mood (how often have I ever been in a bad mood?) and decided to pamper my hub with some potato patties with his favourite corned beef! As if I haven't pampered him enough for 37 years! Yup been married for that long and have known him for 40 years!
Sorry for digressing..... when one gets old, one tends to be long-winded! LoL!

The Recipe: (all measurements are estimated as I did it according to taste)

1. Skinned about 6 to 7 potato. Halved them and slow boil in water to soften.

2. Use a fork and mash coarsely or finely as preferred and leave to cool.

3. Chop a few sprigs of spring onions and slice some shallots.

4. Stir fry shallots till nice and brown and drain oil.

5. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of canned corned beef, spring onions, shallots, salt and pepper to taste. If you want it spicy, just add some chopped red chillies.

6. Mix thoroughly and roll into balls and flatten a little.

7. Beat an egg lightly. Dip patties in the egg and shallow fry in a pan. Turn over after a few minutes to cook the other side. Serve warm.

I made extras and kept them in the freezer.

These are bite size. Just pop one in the mouth!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Steamed Dried Longan Cake

I bought this book a couple of months ago out of curiosity. I have been browsing through it several times.
It's a book on steamed cakes by the well-known Alex Goh. In the past, I did steam cakes but they were mostly 'wa ko kueh', coconut blossoms, harum manis and a few others. Alex Goh has included some cakes besides cupcakes in his book.
The quantity of the ingredients used would be too much for my little steamer. Hence I down-sized the portions. I also reduced the sugar and substitute oil for butter.
Well, I am quite happy with the results so far.

I was attracted to his dried longan cake recipe and was curious to know what it would taste like.
I wasn't disappointed. It turned out soft, moist and not too sweet. Yay!

The Recipe:

75ml luo han guo drink/juice (I used water)
30g butter (I used 40ml oil)
50g brown sugar (Iused 40g)
100g dried longan, rinsed once

1 egg, lightly beaten

60g plain flour
1/3 teaspoon double action baking powder
1/3 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
50g chopped walnuts

1. Put all ingredients A in a pot and cook over medium heat till sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool completely.

2. Prepare steamer and bring water to a boil, lower heat to simmer.

3. Add cooled A too lightly beaten egg and mix well.

4. Add sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda and walnuts. Mix well. The flour added can barely cover the longans. At this stage, turn up the heat to bring the water to boiling point.

5. Pour mixture into a 6-inch or 15-cm round tin, lined and greased.

6. Place tin covered with foil and steam for 30 minutes. If the cake mixture is higher, the steaming time will be longer.

7. Once cooked, remove cake to wire rack to cool.

This one has a nice brown colour, like a baked cake.
The brown sugar did the job!

No regrets! Truly soft and moist!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Steamed Banana Cupcakes

Steamed cakes are usually soft and moist. Less butter or oil is used.
This recipe I tried turned out good though the colour of the cake wasn't too attractive.

The Recipe:(makes 10, depending on size of cups)

1 egg
50g sugar

80g banana, mashed with 1/8 teaspoon salt

30ml evaporated milk

80g plain flour, sifted together with baking powder and b. soda
2/3 teaspoon double action baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

50ml oil (I used sunflower oil)
60g raisins
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

1. Start boiling water in steamer, reduce heat when it reaches boiling point.

2. While water is simmering, whisk egg and sugar till pale and creamy.

3. Beat in mashed banana and milk.

4. Add sifted flour and mix well.

5. Lastly add oil, vanilla essence and raisins and mix well. At this point, turn the heat up to get water boiling.

6. Spoon into greased cups, almost to the brim if you want a dome shape. I filled mine 2/3 of the cup.

7. Place cups in steamer. I used a cloth to wrap round the cover to prevent water droplets from dripping onto the cake.

8. Steam for 15 minutes. Cool and remove.

Steamed in heatproof plastic cups

Removed and dressed in cupcake cases

Pale-faced Banana Cupcakes!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pastry for Pineapple Tarts

I am posting this for some friends' request for the recipe.
This cny, I made healthy pineapple tarts.
The pastry for the first batch was made with 100% olive spread and the second batch, I decided to use 50% olive spread and 50% butter.
The pastry is more suitable for the wrapped tarts. For the cut-out type, just add more flour, a little at a time to get a stiffer dough that can be easily rolled out and cut.

The Recipe:(makes about 35 pieces)

75 g olive spread
75 g butter, softened
25 g cream cheese (used low fat)

15 g icing sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoons vanilla essence
1/4 teaspoon fine salt

175 g cake flour or Hongkong flour
15 g cornflour
1 egg yolk

1 egg yolk, mixed with 2 teaspoon water for glazing

1. Cream olive spread, butter, egg yolk, salt, vanilla essence and icing sugar till just combined. Don't over mix.

2. Add in cornflour and flour. Mix quickly by hand to get a soft dough. Cover and rest for 15 minutes.

3. Use a measuring spoon to scoop even amounts and roll into balls to wrap the pineapple jam.
The size of the jam and pastry is up to personal preference.
(I used a half tablespoon for the pastry and a teaspoon for the jam. I levelled off both ingredients and rolled them into balls.)

4. Use a pastry crimper and make patterns to your fancy. Place on baking tray and glaze with egg yolk. Use a suitable-sized brush to do the egg glaze. Don't over-glaze as too much egg will flow to the tray and the tarts will end up having a dark rim at the bottom.

5. Bake in preheated oven at 160 deg C for 14 minutes. The wrapped tarts will crack a little while baking. Once cooled, they will return to their original shape/size. This is due to the jam expanding when heated up.

My first batch - 100% olive spread used

The second batch - 50% olive spread + 50% butter

Verdict: Definitely the second batch tasted better than the first! The first batch had a slight hint of olive oil flavour but was not detected in the second batch. I will continue to make both types as I like the taste and texture!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sweet Meat or Bak Kwa

I am glad I tried out making my own sweet meat instead of joining the queue to buy some for cny.
It turned out quite well and it wasn't that difficult to make as I had perceived initially.

What I like about being able to make my own is that I can control the saltiness and sweetness and even the flavour.

As it was my first attempt at it, I referred to two recipes which I got from two blogs and tweaked it. I added, subtracted and omitted some ingredients.

The result was quite good but still not there yet in terms of flavour like those commercially produced. I realised that could probably be due to the grilling part. I used a grill pan to 'burn' my sweet meat whereas those sold were grilled over charcoal which gave a distinctive charcoal burnt flavour. Another observation made was that my sweet meat didn't have that lovely 'red' tint as those store-bought. I found out the reason after googling around. Commercially produced sweet meat has 'pink salt' or sodium nitrite added to it. It acts as a preservative as well as gives the meat a nice red or pink shade! I don't think I would want to have that in my sweet meat. As long as what I am doing is good and healthy and cost-saving, I'm truly satisfied.

The Recipe (tweaked)

1 kg minced pork (used 800g minute steak or eye round and 150g belly pork for some fat)
Minute steak or eye round is the second best part to the premium cut of fillet pork. You can use shoulder pork which also suitable.

The Seasoning:

2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

200g sugar

2 tablespoons Chinese wine (used shaoxing wine)

1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder (will reduce this the next time as I find it a little overpowering)
a pinch of 5-spice powder

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

a few drops of red food colour

1. Mix all the above-mentioned ingredients together.

2. Place minced meat in a bowl and mix with the seasoning thoroughly using chopsticks or a cake mixer. To test if more sauce or sugar is required, microwave a small piece of meat already seasoned to taste.

3. Wrap seasoned meat in cling wrap and refrigerate for the night.

4. Take a portion and place it on parchment paper. Place a plastic sheet(to prevent sticking) over the meat and use a rolling pin to spread the meat evenly, about 4mm thickness, to form a rectangle. Do the same for the rest until all the meat is used up. Make sure the size of the rectangle fits the baking tray.

5. Place the parchment paper with the rolled meat onto a baking tray which is turned upside down.

6. Place the tray in a preheated oven 80 to 100 deg C to 'dry' and firm up the meat. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. If the oven heat is too high, the meat will be thoroughly cooked.
As long as the meat is firm to the touch and doesn't break off easily when handled, it's done.

7. Remove the layer of meat from the parchment paper when cool. Cut to size or shape. Wrap with cling wrap and refrigerate if not grilling immediately.

8. Grilling can be done on a grill pan or in an oven. If you are using the oven, remember to line your tray before grilling for easy cleaning.

Using a knife to spread the meat before rolling

A plastic sheet over the meat before using the rolling pin

Out of the oven after the meat is firm to the touch

Removed from the parchment paper and cut to size

The yummiest part - all nicely grilled and ready to pop into the mouth!
It is tender because of the cut of meat used.

I will attempt this again and make different flavours - spicy, black pepper and fruity!