Friday, January 13, 2006

Tomato n Basil pasta

i'm so sick with the usual spaghetti bolognaise. as if that's the only dish u can cook with spaghetti. which is y, i love this dish, bcoz it's simple, no fuss, it's just 3 key ingredients cooked with pasta.

for the italians, the must haves in their cooking r garlic, basil leaves n tomato. oh yeah, and also cheese.... for 1 serving, i used half a tomato (the redder the tomato is, the has lycophene or lyco something which is a cancer fighting agent) n some garlic, which i liquidised in the blender... then i poured the content into a frying pan (which is coated with some olive oil) n added some basil, pepper n salt...then i added some pasta (i used linguine, which is cooked al dente) n coated the pasta with the sauce... n voila! the dish is done :o)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Butter Crescents & Almond Custard Croissant

Butter crescents r simply divine for breakfast (although they can be served as dinner rolls). i made these more than a year ago, using the recipe taken from . these r softer than white bread, bcoz of the egg added. the flour used is just all-purpose flour, so u neednt worry abt hunting for high protein flour. this is definitely easier to do than to make the traditional puff pastry (which i tried 4 times n still i couldnt master it). of course, bcoz it's not made fr puff pastry, expect the crescents to be just like a normal bread n not their rich n fattening cousins the croissants or danish.

when i was in melbourne, i loved eating the almond croissants that r sold at victoria market. i loved them so much that i tried to find one in KL. well...i wasnt lucky. went to delifrance but at that time almond croissant wasnt ready yet. so i had to make do with some danish, which unfortunately, was very dry.

i returned home n tried to find an almond custard croissant recipe. n i found one at . the dough was a bit hard tho', so next time i'll have to put more milk. the reason y i dont really fancy making puff pastry is the fact that u've to roll the dough n put knobs of butter n then fold the dough n then roll it again....u've to repeat this a few times. my problem is that the dough actually burst n the butter just spilled, which made rolling harder. nevertheless, despite the uneven croissant shape, they tasted nice that my nephew wanted to bring them back.

i would definitely make the croissant again - but when i've ample time, as i treat this as a marathon.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Potato Bread

i like eating potato bread. it's soft due to the potatoes added (n also due to bread improver n softener which r widely used in commercially produced bread) n it has a subtle pleasing flavour, which is not unlike donuts, but a little bit different.

years ago, i had a recipe sent by a chef on how to make potato bread, but sadly i lost it. the one that i made for breakfast today is featured in celebrity chefs don yong's bread recipe book. i'm sorry but due to the copyrights i cant feature the recipe here.

i was pleasantly delighted when i was kneading the dough, bcoz it's soft n pliant but not sticky, unlike some recipes (esp. those taken fr. western recipes) in which u have to make some adjustments. probably it's bcoz don yong is a local baker. pls bear in mind that there's nothing wrong in using a western bread recipe, but u've to take into consideration the humidity of our place, the kind of yeast n the kind of flour we use.

for first time bread bakers, please wear an apron. make sure u have a clean surface to knead ur dough. i purchased a large tile fr the tile shop so that i have ample space to knead the dough. make sure that u measure ur ingredients, bcoz making a bread is also like making a cake. any mistakes in measuring will yield a very flat bread, or a baling-dinding-hard kind of bread. i personally love american recipes just bcoz they use measuring cups instead of metirc measurement. also, make sure that u have a proper measuring cup, not the tea or coffee cup that u have at home. most bread recipes require bread flour, or known as high protein flour. i've used plain flour b4, bt the texture of the bread isnt the same as wat u'll expect fr a typical bread. nevertheless, it's not a sin if u dont use high protein flour. u can find high protein flour at shops selling cooking ingredients n utensils. i use instant yeast, or mauripan, which is so much better than its predecessor of a few yrs ago. a basic bread recipe only needs high protein flour, sugar (which acts as food for the yeast as it begins to ferment), water, yeast n oil. other ingredients such as milk, honey, eggs r used to enhance the flavour n also soften the texture of the bread.

i had a chat with another teacher who's also interested in cooking, n she prefers to knead her dough using the mixer. those who dont have the time can opt for a mixer, but personally, i prefer to use my own hands to knead. after all, i'm a purist...n i just dont feel satisfied with machine kneaded dough, it's as if it's incomplete. by using ur own hands, u'll know when the dough is ready for proofing. normally, kneading a dough takes 8-10 mins. any later than that will make ur dough hard, as the gluten begins to stick.

i'm sorry again for not giving the recipe. pls dont hesitate to ask me regarding bread making.

Soto n Blackforest recipe


for tumis
A -kayu manis, bunga lawang, buah pelaga, bunga cengkih

B -bawang merah, bawang putih, halia, lengkuas, a bit of kunyit, buah keras, serai, some serbuk ketumbar, jintan manis n putih, plus white pepper (blend)

some chicken meat n chicken cubed stock.

tumis rempah A, then masukkan B, masukkan chicken. add water n chicken stock. biar menggelegak lama.condiments:meehoon or nasi impitkacang, tauge, daun sup, bawang goreng n shredded chicken taken from the kuah soto, n fried soohoon

BlackForest Cake
Sponge cake
5 eggs
150g sugar
140g flour
10g cocoa
a pinch of salt
75g melted butter.

beat the eggs with electric beater for 8-10 mins. fold in flour and cocoa alternately with melted butter. pour the batter into greased n lined baking pan.bake at 180C for 10 mins (note : time for baking may vary from an oven to another oven)

2 cups of non dairy whipping cream
1/2 cup of milk or cold water
1 cup of chocolate sprinkles
1/2 canned of black cherries
100g cooking chocolate, grated

to assemble the sponge cake should be cut into 3 layers. beat the cream with milk until it becomes stiff. moisten each layer of the cake with some cherry syrup. pour some cream onto 1st layer n arrange the cherries on top. repeat with the other 2 layers. top the top layer with the remaining cream n decorate with grated chocolate, chocolate sprinkles n cherries

Forevah Summah with Hershey

ok, u dont see nigella lawson the cooking goddess in this blog whipping up some exotic looking food, i'm just giving some simple recipes to cool the heat now that drought season is here. like jamie, kylie n nigella, i'm not going to give exact measurement. anyway, i simply love the way those celebrity cooks just throw stuff in in that nonchalant, i-m-the-expert way of theirs. it's a pity sazi doesnt give me my own cooking show. haha now that's a laugh.

okay, here're some recipes for u out there

grilled chicken
a few chicken breasts
some pepper,garlic, olive oil, salt n soya sauce for marinate.

grill for 20 minutes or until it's done.

pineapple stew
1 pineapple, cubed
some sugar
a screwpine leaf (daun pandan le)

in a pot, add in pineapple cubes, sugar n enough water. cook for around half an hour, then put in screwpine leaf b4 u turn off the stove.

chocolate ice cream (taken frm hershey's recipe)
14 oz condensed milk (i used less than a can of our local produced condensed milk)
1/3 cup of cocoa
2 cups of cream
1 cup of light cream (i used evaporated milk)
1 tb vanilla essence.

In medium saucepan, stir together sweetened condensed milk and cocoa. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly.2. Gradually add whipping cream, light cream and vanilla, beating with whisk until well blended; refrigerate until cold.3. Place in ice cream freezer container. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.when it's about to crystallise, i took the container out frm the freezer n beat it with a beater. u may do this once or twice. the ice cream will turn out perfect! oh, i added in extra cocoa since i'm a chocoholic, n i added in choc chip as well

My Love Affair with Food

i always associate food with the family. with ppl that i love. bcoz my earliest memory of food is associated with coming home of all my siblings during raya. that's when Mother would wake up at 4am to cook nasi dagang on raya morning. or the time when Abg Mi n Kak Dah would bake semprit or biskut arab. on raya, there would be arrays of cakes n cookies on our chinese roundtable, along with our nasi dagang n gulai ikan tongkol (or known as ikan aya in the east coast or better known as tuna ) n in the centre, is a cake complete with icing, looking too pretty to be eaten.

as i grew up, more family gatherings were held - most of the time they're barbeques. we're a very tolerant lot, so the barbeques were often western styled concoction, complete with beef steaks, frankfurters, lamb chops, mashed potatoes n gravy n salad.

all of my sisters took home ec., except for yours truly. they love to bake, n cookbooks r plentiful at their houses. 2 of my sister-in-laws also love to cook, one of them being a Filipina born in a family who also love to eat.

we do enjoy local fare as well, our absolute favourite being nasi beriyani. in fact, when my siblings talk of the old days, they will talk abt my mother's nasi beriyani recipe (written in jawi) with such reverence n awe. my mother is a purist who believes in cooking almost every dish from scratch. being the youngest n the most who spend time with Mother, i've also become a purist. Aside fr the nasi beriyani, i love nasi minyak, which is eaten as breakfast here in terengganu (yes, we love heavy food here - breakfast menu consists of nasi dagang, nasi lemak, nasi minyak, pulut kuning or laksam).

it is no surprise then, with such passion for food in the family, that i've become passionate abt food as well. cooking, in my opinion, is an art that one should master, n should not be treated only as a means of survival. wat more better way than to make ur loved ones happy by presenting them with ur work of art?