Monday, 29 August 2011

Steamed Pumpkin Cake

My mother didn’t like to cook much apart from the usual main meals. This was one of the rare snacky things she used to make. As I said in the last post on Fried Radish Cakes, you can make radish cakes using this recipe; just simply substitute the pumpkin with grated radish.

500g pumpkin mash, I like to leave some in cubes for a bit of texture
300g rice flour
2 tbsp plain flour (optional if you are going gluten free)
750ml water
50g dried shrimps, roughly chopped
1 Chinese sausage, chopped
150g pork mince (traditionally finely chopped belly pork is used)
4 stalks spring onion, chopped
1 fresh chilli, chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Fried shallots for garnish

1.          Heat oil in fry pan.
2.          Sauté garlic, shrimps, mince and sausages.
3.          Add pumpkin, flour and water, all half the chilli and 1/3 of the spring onion.
4.          Add salt and pepper to taste.
5.          Stir until the batter thickens a bit.
6.          Pour into a greased tray.
7.          Steam at high heat for 45 minutes.
8.          Remove from steamer; sprinkle the top with the chilli, spring onions and fried shallots.
9.          Cut into squares to serve when cooled.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Fried Radish Cakes/ Chai Tau Kueh

This is one of the street foods of Malaysia, and one that is not often sold in restaurants here as it’s considered too “homely”. You can make the steamed radish cake yourself, or in this case, I bought a block from the Asian grocer. I will post a recipe of the homemade radish cake soon, although when do I tend to make the pumpkin version at home, just because that’s how mum used to make it.

Ingredients (serves 2 or one very greedy hungry person)
250g of steamed radish cake, cut into 2cm cubes
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 stalks of spring onion, chopped
2 tbsp of chai poh (preserved daikon)
A handful of fresh bean sprouts
Optional fresh chilli sliced
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
½ Chinese sausage, thinly sliced
2 tbsp cooking oil

1.          Heat oil in pan.
2.          Sear the radish cake cubes, turn the cubes around for even browning.
3.          Add garlic, chilli, Chinese sausage and chai poh.
4.          Add soy sauce stir without mushing the radish cake.
5.          Add eggs and stir to scramble.
6.          Lastly add the bean sprouts, put the lid on to cook it for 2 minutes.
7.          Sprinkle on the spring onion and chilli to serve.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Banana Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Muffins

Despite the banana price inflation at the moment, we managed to have over-ripe bananas leftover this week. I came up with this recipe that the boys would like in their lunchboxes.


1 cup self raising flour
¾ cup Hazelnut meal
¾ cup wholemeal self raising flour
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup buttermilk
120g butter, melted
½ cup choc chips
2 mashed overripe bananas
2 eggs

1.          Preheat oven to 170°C fan force.
2.          Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3.          Add in the wet ingredients and stir.
4.          Do not overmix.
5.          Bake for 18 minutes in 170°C oven.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Soft Bread Rolls

Hotdog rolls.

I’ve been coveting other bloggers’ soft bread rolls made using the Tangzhong (water roux) method. I finally have the chance to try it out. This is my second attempt, the ones on the first try didn’t rise as much, and the oven was too hot. The bottom line is I’m improving. I used my breadmaker to do the kneading.

I used Christine's RecipesSee her step by step instruction for making tangzhong and how to wrap the sausage rolls.

Raisin scolls.

For the Tangzhong/water roux
250ml water
50g bread flour

For the Bread
125ml milk
1 egg (56g)
120g tangzhong
350g high protein flour/bread flour/00 flour
55g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp + 1 tsp milk powder
6g dried instant yeast
30g softened butter

To make the Tangzhong/water roux
1.          Heat water and flour in a pan on the stove.
2.          Keep stirring until the temperature reaches 65°C.
3.          Cool down before use. You can keep this in the refrigerator for a few days.

To make the bread in a breadmaker
1.          Put the ingredients into the breadmaker in this sequence. Milk, egg, tangzhong, flour, sugar, milk powder, sprinkle salt on the side.
2.          Make a well in the middle of the flour and put yeast in the middle.
3.          Start the machine to knead on “dough” setting.
4.          After 30mins, pour in the softened butter.
5.          After rising the dough to double its size, knock it down and divide into portions.
6.          Be creative with the shapes and flavours.
7.          After shaping, let it rise again for about 15 minutes.
8.          Brush top with a bit of eggwash.
9.          Bake in 180°C fan forced oven for 15minutes.

Cheese sticks.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Rum and Raisin Slice

I love rum and raisin, ice cream, Old Jamaica choc bar, rum balls, yum! I saw this recipe when I was flipping through my recipe books the other day while re-arranging the bookshelves. It is so decadent!

200g dark chocolate
100g butter
¾ caster sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ cups plain flour
80ml rum
½ cup raisins
2 tbsp of cocoa powder

1.          Preheat oven to 180°C.
2.          Soak the raisins in the rum.
3.          Chop chocolate and butter into small pieces.
4.          Melt in a Bain Marie, make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.
5.          Pour in the caster sugar, the rum and raisins.
6.          Remove from heat.
7.          Mix in the flour.
8.          Lightly beat the eggs and mix it in.
9.          Pour into a greased and lined square 20x20cm pan.
10.      Bake for 25 minutes.
11.      Slice when cool. Dust top with cocoa powder.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Chicken and Leek Pie

Chicken and leek makes a perfect combination. This is a fast weeknights and low fat version.

3 pieces of chicken thigh fillets, cubed
3 large leeks, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
200g button mushrooms
200ml of reduced fat evaporated milk (use cream if you must)
A few sprigs of thyme or use dried ones
1 tbsp of flour
Salt and Pepper
1 piece of frozen puff pastry
2 tbsp cooking oil

1.          Preheat oven to 180°C.
2.          Heat oil in pan.
3.          Sauté garlic and leeks.
4.          Coat chicken in flour, add into the pan.
5.          Sear chicken pieces.
6.          Add in evaporated milk, potatoes and mushrooms.
7.          Add thyme, salt and pepper to taste.
8.          Cook until the sauce thickens.
9.          Pour into baking dish.
10.      Top with puff pastry. Brush top with a bit of the milk. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on the pastry (I used nigella seeds).
11.      Bake in oven for 15mins until the pastry is golden.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Lobak/Pork in Crispy Bean Curd Rolls

In Penang we call them Lobak, in the south of Malaysia and Singapore they’re known as Ngoh Hiang. Ngoh Hiang means five fragrance, or five spices, which is the essential ingredient of this dish. You can purchase five-spice powder from Asian grocers or mix it up yourself; the 5 spices are star anise, cinnamon, clove, schezuan pepper and fennel seeds. The rolls are usually served with a sweet and sour sauce. I broke the no deep frying in my kitchen rules today. It was 2 Christmases ago that we last had any deep frying in this house. Anyway, I now regret having to clean up. Thank goodness the reward was worth the effort.

500g pork mince
2 tsp of five spice powder
1 tsp of ground white pepper
3 tbsp of light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 stalk of spring onion finely chopped
200g of water chestnut finely diced
1 egg (60g)
Bean curd sheets
1 tsp of corn flour mix with 20ml of water
Oil for deep frying

1.          Add all the seasonings and egg to the mince, mix well, marinate for at least 30minutes.
2.          Wet bean curd sheets with a bit of water to make it more pliable.
3.          Cut the sheets into 12x12cm squares.
4.          Wrap mince in the bean curd skin, seal with the corn flour paste. Put seal side down for it to stick while wrapping the rest of the rolls.
5.          Heat vegetable oil/rice bran oil.
6.          Deep fry the rolls until the skin is golden and crisp.

Dry Bean Curd Sheets

Friday, 12 August 2011

Lemon Slice

Well, the lemon tree is fruiting this season, I can’t remember what species it is now, the lemon is rather large but the skin not smooth like a Meyer lemon. Here’s a little afternoon tea treat, a tangy lemon slice from Better Homes and Garden’s special edition of 105 easy basics biscuits, cakes and slices by Ed Halmagyi.

For the base
175g butter, chopped into little cubes
80g icing sugar
1-2 vanilla beans, scrape the seeds out or use 1 tsp vanilla extract
280g plain flour

For the lemon curd
180ml lemon juice
4 eggs
Lemon zests
300g caster sugar
90g plain flour

1.          Preheat oven to 180°C.
2.          Grease a rectangular tin (27cmx18cm).
3.          Process all the ingredients for base in food processor or work with fingertips until it resembles coarse crumbs.
4.          Press firmly into tin.
5.          Bake for 20mins.
6.          Whisk all the ingredients for the lemon curd until combined and bubbly.
7.          Pour onto warm base and return to the oven.
8.          Reduce the heat to 160°C and bake for a further 20mins or until the middle of the lemon curd is set.
9.          Cool before slicing.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Soba/Buckwheat Noodle Salad

This is a simple healthy meal perfect for summer, as the dish is often eaten cold. I bought some soba or Japanese buckwheat noodles to try, as I’ve heard of its excellent nutritional value. Have you followed any food fad recently?

Here’s what I learned while researching buckwheat. Buckwheat isn’t actually a grain; it comes from a hardy, weed-like plant related to rhubarb. Its seeds are used for centuries as staple food. Buckwheat is therefore gluten free and can be eaten by people with coeliac disease. It is high in protein, fiber, magnesium, copper, manganese, antioxidant flavonoids (especially rutin) and lignans. Diets that contain high intake of buckwheat have been linked to lower risk of developing high cholesterol, gallstones, and diabetes.

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 bundles of soba noodles
1 capsicum, julienned
1 carrot, julienned
Snow peas
4 dried shitake mushrooms
1 piece of chicken breast
2 cm piece of fresh ginger
2 stalks of spring onions
4 tbsp soba sauce (or use gluten free soy sauce)
1 tsp sesame oil

1.          Poach chicken breast in a pot of simmering water.
2.          Add to it sliced ginger and the dried shitake mushrooms.
3.          When the chicken is cooked (about 15 mins), set it aside to rest.
4.          Blanch the snow peas and capsicum for about 2-3 minutes, drain.
5.          Cook the noodles in boiling water for about 10 minutes, drain.
6.          Add the soba sauce and sesame oil to the noodles, toss well to coat.
7.          Slice the chicken and mushrooms.
8.          Toss all ingredients with the noodles.
9.          Top with a sprinkle of chopped spring onions.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Strawberry Bread

Strawberries are in abundance right now at the shops, and they’re packed full of flavours too. I spotted this recipe a while ago while browsing the net and had it written down in my “need to try” notebook.

125g butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups self raising flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup sour cream
1 ½ cups strawberries, chopped

1.         Preheat fan force oven to 160°C and grease a loaf pan.
2.         Cream butter and sugar until light.
3.         Add eggs and vanilla extract.
4.         Sift all the dry ingredients into the egg and butter mixture.
5.         Stir in the sour cream.
6.         Lastly, stir in the chopped strawberries.
7.         Bake 40 minutes in 160°C fan force oven.

What is your favourite morning tea treat?

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Polenta Crusted Fish and Celeriac Remoulade

This is a twist on the traditional battered fish. Polenta crust is a good gluten free alternative (omit the potato chips). I’ve always wanted to try making a celeriac remoulade. Imagine my delight when I came across celeriac at my local green grocer this morning.

Does anyone have a "fish and chips" night as part of their family tradition?

For the fish
White fish fillets x4
1 cup of polenta
Salt and Pepper
Grated zest of 1 lemon

For the remoulade
½ celeriac, julienne finely
½ granny smith apple, peel and julienne finely
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tbsp mayonnaise
A handful of chopped herbs (I used parsley here)
Salt and pepper

1.          Make the remoulade by mixing all the ingredients together.
2.          Pat dry the fish fillets.
3.          Mix the salt, pepper, lemon zest into the polenta.
4.          Lightly coat the fish in the polenta.
5.          Fry until cooked.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Orange Chocolate Chips Muffins

I spotted these muffins at a café at lunch today but couldn’t fit one in my tummy at the time. I came up with this version at home this afternoon.

1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup caster sugar
Grated zest of 2 oranges
Juice of 1 orange
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup plain low fat yoghurt
1 cup dark chocolate chips

1.          Preheat oven to 170°C in a fan forced oven.
2.          Mix the flour, sugar and almond meal together in a large bowl.
3.          Grate the orange zest into it.
4.          Add to it a lightly beaten egg, oil, yoghurt and choc chips.
5.          Mix, add orange juice bit by bit to a dropping consistency.
6.          Bake muffins for 20minutes in a 170°C fan forced oven.

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