Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Soft sweet buns

I lurveeee soft buns that we get back home in Malaysia. Here in New Zealand, "ang moh's" prefer heavy breads, nothing wrong with that, just means we got to get use to it. Recently some Asian bakeries have sprouted and there were bakes like soft buns, swiss rolls and all that we Asians love. BUT, the prices! A swiss roll cost NZ$12!!! I'd save that till I get DESPERATE!
Stumbled upon this recipe while I was blog hopping and am so grateful for this PERFECT recipe from 'A Daily Obsession'. I'm no baker and surely am not very gifted in this department but it worked hence its Dummy proof!
Check out what I yielded:

After the first rising, shaped them and left for another hour of rising:

After an hour, ummmm potential d...Aren't they preeetyyyyy????

And ohhh so soft...These breads are gone within a day or two in our household, be it ate just like that or with some dips or curry, its PERFECT!!!

Tips for dummies like me (I learnt it the hard way, so thought I'd share-only if you're a dum-dum like me):-
I used dried yeast and the recipe says mix everything together, so naturally I did. Was so disappointed that the dough didn't rise for like 5 hours, was gonna throw it away after 3 hours but left it there cause I was watching some show. Luckily for that, it did rise when I came back later to chuck it!!! But only after so many hours???
Hmmmm okay i got to ask Mum why????
Turns out I should activate the yeast first-meaning dissolve them in some lukewarm water and add in a wee bit of sugar to wakey those fellas.
Secondly, this recipe called for a teaspoon of salt which is quite enough to kill the yeast, so Mum advised that the salt should be added to the side of the dough, knead them in after the first rising.
BINGO!!! I didn't have to stay up till 12am to finish baking them ever since...yeah stupid rite? How did I pass home science? Wait a minute don't recall ever baking breads back then :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lite Cheesecake

A friend requested for this recipe after seeing the picture in my FB. The credit really is not mine, it belongs to Big Boys Oven What i merely did was convert the recipe to 1 1/2 portion to fit into a 9" baking pan. The result delighted us as we really love these Japanese version of cheesecake and used to buy them from Isetan despite the hefty price!
Here's the recipe after conversion:-
240gm Cream Cheese
40gm soft unsalted butter
180gm milk
6 egg yolks (mid-size)

60gm plain flour
4gm corn flour
6 egg whites (mid-size)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
150gm Sugar
a pinch of salt

Heat oven to 180C.
Sift ingredients B.
Whisk ingredients A, add egg yolk one by one. Add ingredient B in portions.
Whisk egg whites, add in sugar portioned, cream of tartar and slat. Whisk till firm peaks forms.
Add C into A and mix gradually.

Place into a 9" baking tin. Bake in water bath-cling foil the cake tin and then sit it onto a roasting pan filled with boiling water (half full will be enough). Bake till desired color.

Tip: I made this some time back and did not take down the amount of time it needed in the oven. But it took quite some time i recall so do be patient. Test it with a skewer to check for doneness. If under baked, the inside will be very wet.

20/2/2012- Baked this today and took note of the time for baking. Baked the above recipe in an 8 inch square tin (prefers this as the cake is slightly taller), took 60 minutes. The cake was tent once the top of the cake reaches the desired color/tan.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cous Cous with grilled veges, steak and garlic mushrooms

Self explanatory this dish. It was not dry as I thought cause of the lack of sauce in this dish, it was really nice and almost guilt free. Everything was just merely seasoned with salt and fresh cracked black pepper and tossed in olive oil. The yummy-ness in this dish comes from the grill, the smoky flavour that has gone into the steak and the veges. The mushrooms was sauteed with garlic and also merely seasoned with salt and black pepper.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

'Ma Po Tauhu' ala my version

I love this dish immensely and have tried many different versions of it at restaurants. What's the original taste of 'Ma Po Tauhu'? No idea! But I do know what i like about it though. One the aromatic spices and two the spiciness of it. Never cooked this before as I had no idea how to replicate it and have always been tempted to buy the ready mix at the markets but its so expensive! NZ$8/box for a mix!

While walking down the Asian market sauces aisle the other day, i chanced upon Spicy Bean Sauce aka Ma Po sauce and bought it at a hearts beat. So here goes my experiment:


-300gm ground pork scotch (much better than store bought mince)

-2 packets of silken tauhu

-about 2 tbsp of spicy bean sauce

-1 tsp of black bean garlic sauce

-1/2 tsp sugar

-1 tsp of chicken granules

-3 tbsp of 'Chiu Chow Chili Oil'

Brown the ground pork with some garlic (add in garlic later otherwise they will be too burnt) when the pork is 80% cooked, add in all the other ingredients and stir for another 3-4 minutes. Taste test and adjust the sauces to your liking. I added in the Chili Oil as it was not spicy enough to my taste but still i think that didn't work too well for me. Next time I'd add in some grounded red pepper flakes. I like it the way the name suggest it to me i.e. 'Ma Lat' spicy to the degree of numbness hehe...

Do try this, it is very very nice! Down side of this dish is that it makes you go for lots and lots of rice! Especially perfect on a cold day like it is here in Auckland now.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Salty Rice aka 'Ham Fan'

This is one of my favorite lazy but yummy meals...easy peasy.
Marinate some chicken pieces with :-
- enough dark soy sauce to blacken the rice to your liking
-a couple of dashes of light soy sauce
-a dash of sugar
-a dash of corn flour/starch
Put washed rice and some ginger pieces to boil in the rice cooker, during the last 15mins of cooking time, pour in the chicken together with all the marinate. (Important note: reduce the amount of water that you'd normally need for the rice to cook because the marinate and some juices from the chicken will moisten the rice further) Add in some preserved Chinese sausages or any other preserved meat as you desire and enjoy when your rice cooker beeps that its done cooking!!! Of course do a taste check and see if its salty enough for you, it never is for me and I'd season it with some Chicken granules or salt.
I had some blanched lettuce mixed with some oyster sauce and the normal other jazz to go with it. And of course one must not forget the star of the show...the 'chilli padi's'! Well for me anyway :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

On a typical nice day.

How many SAHM out there constantly cracks their brain as to what to do to occupy their tots day? New Zealand climate if pretty kind with more summery days than wintery ones. But its May now and winter's approaching soon with lots of tell tale rains. So on a perfect sunny day with clear blue skies and no rain in sight, its time for a stroll in the park with the little one Yay Yay!!! Had to pack some food cause when we made it out of the house its her tea-time already. Its lots of work making such things honestly (first timer) so hats off to those mummy who makes it everyday for their kid!

Packed up some coffee for meself and a little bottle of milk when its time to coax the little one back to the car for the ride home.
Sunblocked, sun hat, loads of layers and a wind cheater, safely tucked into her seat, off we go.

This is Barry Curtis Park in South Auckland New Zealand, officially opened in April 09. Its the biggest park in South Auckland and lucky us its only 1 min drive from our home. Its just a vast piece of greenery's for now till the trees grows.
Alyssa's new to such skewers, but since it looks so cute, she was more game with her food. Effort paid off :)
One thing about making bento kinda food is that there are bound to be lots of scraps of food leftover by the cut out pieces and all, but since I didn't want to be a human dumpster why not give it to the gulls/ducks/birds, there are plenty of them here.
Most importantly, the little one should be allowed to exhaust some of her energy so that Mummy can have a little more time on the net when she goes for a longer nap in the afternoon :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Nigella's Aromatic Lamb Shanks

This is a very very nice recipe that I've adapted from 'Nigella's Bites', love the spices in this recipe that somehow makes you heady at the first taste. Here's the original recipe from Nigella, and of course i tweaked the amounts of spices to my liking, so feel free to do so if you ever make this.

6 tbsp peanut/vegetable oil
8 lamb shanks
2 onions
4 cloves garlic
sprinkling of salt
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1 dried red chilli pepper, crumbled or 1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes (to your taste really)
2 tsp cinnamon (can substitute with 2 cinnamon sticks)
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
black pepper
3 tbsp honey (too sweet for me)
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp marsala wine
6 tbsp red lentils

to serve:
3 tbsp chopped pistachio, chopped blanched almonds or a mixture of both or NOTHING!

Put 3 tbsp oil into a large, wide, heavy-bottomed pan and warm over medium heat. Brown the lamb shanks, in batches.
Chop the onions and garlic finely and fry the onion-garlic mush until soft, sprinkling salt over to stop it sticking (now that's a neat trick, it really works!)
Stir in the turmeric, ground ginger, chilli, cinnamon and nutmeg, and season with some black pepper. Stir again, adding the honey, soy sauce, marsala wine. Add the shanks back into the pan, add cold water to almost cover, bring to the boil then put a lid over the pan, lower the heat and simmer gently for 1-1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender ( took me about 2 1/2 hours!)
Add the red lentils (i used yellow ones as that's what i have in the pantry) and cook for about 20 mins without lid (now that didn't work me, i suggest soaking the lentils overnight then maybe, otherwise it would take about an hour for the lentils to soften in its original form) until lentils have softened into the sauce and the juices have reduced and thickened slightly. Check for seasoning.
Toast the nuts by heating them for a few minutes in a dry frying pan and sprinkle onto the lamb as you serve.

Serves 6.