Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Just posting some pictures of what I cook for lunch. I'm off to C'bodia.

Stir-fried Bean Sprouts and Bean Cake

Sting Ray in Salted Vegetables

Potato and Minced Meat

Fried Mee Sua

Curry Fish

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mango Jelly

I had three mangoes sitting in the fridge for almost a week. They were over-ripe and wouldn't taste good eaten on their own. I had a choice of making it into juice or jelly.
I decided on the latter as my hubby would appreciate the jelly more than a drink.

The Recipe:

1 packet mango jelly powder (already sweetened)
1 packet plain agar agar powder (unsweetened)

750 ml water
200 ml low fat milk
sugar to taste (depends on how sweet the mangoes are) I used about 4 tablespoons.

3 large mangoes, pureed

1. Dissolve agar agar powder in 250 ml water and set aside.

2. Boil remaining 500 ml water in a pot. Once water starts to boil, pour in mango jelly powder and stir.

3. Add in the agar agar mixture and milk. Once well combined, add in the pureed mango.

4. Add sugar to taste and continue stirring until it begins to boil. Remove pot and pour jelly mixture into a mould. Let it cool before refrigerating.

This was dessert after dinner!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Blog Awards

This is my first time receiving an award, correction two awards. Just fancy that! It's great!

Compared to all the wonderful blogs I've been visiting, mine is a simple one!
I'm not so computer-literate and don't know how to come up with fancy designs or lovely pictures that I have seen on so many blogs. How I do admire their photography and lovely layouts!

My very first award from Jean of Noms I Must @
Thanks Jean!

Zoe of also presented the above award plus the one below. Thanks Zoe for both the awards.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pancakes for Breakfast

My two older grandsons come over every Friday after school for a stay-over.

Their dinner request is simple with little fuss and it's their all-time favourite. They have named the dish, 'Grandma's noodles' which I would prepare when I don't have a ladies' meeting.

For breakfast, I will always try to give them something different whenever they are here. Their breakfast would sometimes be pau, siew mai, bread with nutella spread, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate chip cupcakes, hotdog buns, bread with pork floss or chocolate cake, etc.
My grandsons love anything chocolate, so I decided to make chocolate chip pancakes.
The recipe is from Edith of Precious Moments which I bookmarked some time ago.
I made some changes which is indicated in brackets.

The Recipe:

200 g plain flour
33 g cake flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
a large pinch of salt (used 1/2 teaspoon fine salt)

2 large eggs
54 g butter,melted (used 50 ml olive oil)
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (used 1 1/2 teaspoon)
1 1/2 cup milk (used low fat milk)
(used 2 tablespoons caster sugar)

3/4 cup chocolate chips (used 120 g mini chocolate chips and 150 g raisins and cranberries)

a little melted butter for greasing pan

1. Sift all dry ingredients in A together in a mixing bowl.

2. Whisk eggs and sugar till frothy. Pour in vanilla, milk and oil and continue whisking till combined.

3. Make a well in the flour and pour in the egg mixture in three parts. Mix well after each addition.

4. Divide batter into two. Add chocolate chips in one and mixed fruits in the other.

5. Heat a frying pan, preferably a non-stick one and very lightly grease with a little melted butter.

6. Scoop a portion to preference into the pan over medium low heat. When some bubbles appear, turn over the pancake to cook the other side for 30 to 40 seconds.

Serve warm with maple syrup or without. It tastes good even when it's cool.

With chocolate chips - for my grandsons who enjoyed it.

With raisins and cranberries - for my hub and me, we enjoyed it

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mixed Fruit Bread Roll

Besides steaming cakes, I've been on a bread-making spree.
I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #5 Fruity March hosted by Bakericious .

This is a healthy yet delicious bread which can be eaten on its own. My hubby prefers to eat it with a slab of butter. Hmmm... not so healthy to me!

The Recipe:

270g Bread flour
30g Cake flour
70g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 tablespoons low fat milk powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast

1 egg yolk
170g warm water

50 ml olive oil

80g raisins
80g cranberries
40g chopped walnuts

1. Sift both flour into mixing bowl.

2. Add in sugar, salt, milk powder, spices and yeast. Use a whisk to mix the ingredients well.

3. Mix egg yolk with 170g warm water.

4. Attach dough hook to mixer at low speed, gradually pour in egg and water mixture and mix till well combined.

5. Pour in olive oil, bit by bit, making sure it is incorporated into the dough.

6. Machine-knead for 20 minutes.

7. Remove dough onto lightly floured board and roll into a big ball.

8. Place dough in a bowl and cover with cling wrap and let it proof for 50 minutes or more (depending on the weather) till it doubles in size.

9. Remove the dough and punch it flat. Roll out into a rectangle about 1 1/2 cm thick. Sprinkle fruit and nut mixture evenly and then roll up like a swiss roll.

10. Place on a baking tray, covered with a damp cloth to proof for 30 to 40 minutes or till it doubles in size.

11. Bake at preheated oven 200 deg C for 15 to 20 minutes.

My oven has been acting up lately
and the browning is becoming more and more uneven!

I couldn't wait for the bread to cool
and had these two slices!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Steamed Palm Sugar Cupcakes

Another one for the trip!
For the country that has lots of coconuts
Palm sugar or gula melaka!

The Recipe: (Adapted from A. Goh)

50g palm sugar
30g water
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg
20g sugar

40 ml oil
40 ml coconut milk

100g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 teaspoon double action baking powder

some raisins for topping (optional)

1. Prepare steamer and bring water to boil and leave it to simmer on low heat.

2. Place palm sugar, salt and water in a saucepan and bring it to a slight boil till sugar has dissolved. Strain and leave it to cool. This should be done beforehand.

3. Whisk egg and sugar till thick and creamy. Pour in palm sugar syrup and continue beating at high speed till well mixed.

4. Add in oil and coconut milk and mix well. At this point, bring the water in the steamer to a boil.

5. Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder and baking soda.

6. Pour into lined cups and steam on high heat for 12 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the cups.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Steamed Chicken Floss Cake

Lately I have been into steaming my cakes instead of baking them.
There are two reasons why I am trying out steamed cakes.

For steamed cakes, I used oil instead of butter.
I am trying to bring my bad cholesterol level down by eating right and exercising. My medical test revealed that I have a 'fatty' liver. Thus by watching what I eat and coupled with exercising, I hope it will work. It certainly worked that I have shed about 3 kilograms in about 8 weeks. Next is to find out if my 'naughty' cholesterol has gone down which will be known next week. Though the doctor prescribed cholesterol pills, I refuse to take them. I want to try to do it the natural way. I don't like to be dependent on life-long medication if I can help it.

The other reason is that I'll be going to Cambodia next month to teach some baking skills to a group of young women staying at a women's centre. As most of them come from the villages, it is most likely that they do not own an oven. Thus steaming cakes would be an appropriate option and using oil would be cheaper than using butter. Besides cakes, they will be learning to make kueh kueh as they have abundant sweet potatoes, tapioca and palm sugar!

As I try out the various steamed cakes, I am making adjustments in the ingredients used because what can be bought here may not be available in Cambodia.

Though I used chicken floss in this cake, it can be substituted with whatever I can obtain there.

The Recipe:(Adapted from A. Goh's)

1 egg
80g sugar

1/4 chicken flavour granule
35 ml oil

95g plain flour
1/2 tablespoon double action baking powder

10g chicken floss + extra for topping

1. Whisk egg and sugar till thick and creamy.

2. Beat in the salt and chicken granule.

3. Pour in the oil and mix well.

4. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix well.

5. Add in the chicken floss and mix.

6. Pour into a greased and lined 6" or 15-cm round cake tin. Sprinkle some chicken floss on the top.

7. Steam for 30 minutes.

The cake texture is like the typical 'kai tann kou'!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Vanilla Beans

I finally visited ToTT with my sister yesterday. As my hub needed to use the car to take my grandsons to lunch, we took a bus from Tampines Interchange. It took us almost 2 hours to reach our destination.
The moment my sister stepped into the store and took a quick glance, she commented that the things are similar to those found at Sia Huat, a shop at Temple Street. They are the suppliers of all kitchen and food equipment.
I asked my sis to check out SH's pricing to see if it's any different from Tott's which is rather pricey!

Anyway, I bought a packet of vanilla beans at Toque, a store next to Tott that sells baking and cooking ingredients. On display are two packets of the same brand vanilla beans. One packet has Iran printed on it and the other Papua New Guinea. The vanilla pods from Iran are about 3cm shorter than those from PNG. Both packets weigh 250g each and they are vacuum-packed. I asked the sales rep about the difference between the two packets with regards to the countries, he told me that they are of the same quality. Okay, but I wasn't convinced because (1)they are different in length and (2)they smelled different.
I could smell the sweet aroma of vanilla from the PNG packet despite been vacuum-packed in quite thick plastic whereas the Iran packet (similar packaging) yielded a faint aroma. So how could the two packets be of the same type.
I know that there are a couple of varieties of vanilla beans and some give off better aroma than others. So guess which pack I bought?

Obviously I bought the one from PNG. After 10% discount, I paid $49.50 for 250g of vanilla beans. Now what needs to be done is to buy a bottle of vodka to make vanilla essence and maybe a bottle of rum to get vanilla rum! I have no regrets buying the PNG pack because my kitchen smells of vanilla essence even though I have not opened the pack!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Baked Broccoli and Cheese

An easy dish to prepare
No fuss and bother
Just add in anything available
Bake it
And place it on the table
Now tuck in!

I don't have a fixed recipe for this. The basic ingredients are:
low fat milk
a teensy bit of butter (in my case, half a teaspoon)
a little olive oil
half an onion, chopped
some flour
diced ham
a dash of worcestershire sauce
a small bowl of cooked brown rice (leftover)
grated cheddar cheese and mozzarella
no salt required as ham and cheese are used

I simply sauteed the chopped onions with a little olive oil and a dash of worcestershire sauce and the diced ham till soft and fragrant and set it aside.
Next I microwaved the broccoli florets on high for 2 minutes and drained any moisture.
Then I cooked some white sauce, using a little butter, milk and some flour.
After that I mixed the broccoli, white sauce, some grated cheese, brown rice, ham and onion with a little pepper. I drizzled some milk and topped up with more cheese.
I placed it in a pyrex bowl and baked it at 190 deg C for 20 minutes.

Sloppy, sloppy job!
The orangey hue is red cheddar!

Creamy enough and not cloying!

That was my daughter's and my dinner! We polished up everything!
But uggh! Baked cheese stuck to the bowl is hard to wash off! I'll just soak it with water and leave it till tomorrow to wash.