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Saturday, March 28, 2009


Minestrone, pronounced :- meen -es-strohn -ay

I first made this dump in soup when I was 11 or 12.. don’t quite remember the exact time, but it was definitely the early times when I first learnt to cook. I didn’t know that it’s an actual soup called minestrone. To me at that time, it's just a no name soup.

How come I could bump into a minestrone soup? Well, my mom liked to buy vege that can keep well in the fridge, and these were available in the fridge at that time. So, I put in whatever I could find, pork, celery cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, and onions. I liked the outcome of this soup, so I made this dump in soup with the same ingredients the next time, and the next time, and the next time.Minestrone was made with broth as the soup base, I just made the meat broth as I made the soup.

Sigh…. I guess I have to change the ingredients next time I make this, no more tomatoes in my minestrone, as Mike doesn’t quite like tomatoes. But it does taste good with them in, what can I do? He doesn’t like the red plump fruits.
Therefore goodbye my old warming friend, and I shall say hello to the new tomatoless minestrone next time.. The name Minestrone still sticks to it, as there are no rules to a minestrone.

1 cup cabbage, cut into 1 inch squares
1 cup sliced celery
¼ cup sliced carrots
2 tomatoes, cut into 8pcs each
¼ cup sliced red onion
100gm thin pork/chicken slices
3 cups water
1 Tbsp oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat pot and put in oil.
2. Put in onion and sauté until fragrant, but dun brown it.
3. Put in pork slices and fry for a while until colour changes white.
4. Pour in water, tomato and carrots.
5. Bring to a boil, let simmer for another 5 minutes.
6. Put in celery and cabbage. Simmer for another 3 minutes.
7. Season soup with salt and pepper. Serve.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

No Bake Char Siew

Mike's grandmother was a great cook. My mother in law told me that she used to make yummy no bake cha siew. My MIL din really learn from her, but was told by grandmother that it's simmered with soy sauce, light and dark until the oil comes out, and sweetened with sugar.

I first got the idea of making no bake cha siew from bakingmum. Then I followed that and changed a bit here and there for my cha siew pau. But the technique used then made the cha siew hard and dry. The marinating and the early addition of sugar caused the the juices to come out from the meat.

So, I used Mike's late grandmother's method to do it, no marinating, simmer and sugar in last!
The result was yummylicious! Tender and juicy!

Here's how I did it.

600 gm skinless pork belly (cut into 2cm thickness strips)
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt (use only if the dark soy is not salty)
1 Tbsp Chinese Rose Wine (Mei Gwei Lou)
3 Tbsp sugar

** Use chinese soup spoon (equivalent to a baking measuring tablespoon, not the tablespoon for eating rice)

1. Put pork belly, arranged flat in a heavy based pot.
2. Put in soy sauces, salt and rose wine. Put enough water to cover pork belly.
3. Bring to a boil and lower heat to smallest flame. Cover pot and simmer belly for 30 minutes.
4. After 30 minutes, flip to simmer the other side of the belly.
5. Check belly after 20 minutes to see whether the pork fat has turned softer.
6. If not, simmer for another 10 minutes.
7. When pork belly has slightly softened, turn to high heat and add in sugar.
8. Leave pot uncovered and cook until gravy is greatly reduced to a syrupy consistency. Turn off the heat. Be careful when reducing gravy, it'll burn easily due to the high sugar content.
9. Leave cha siew in pot to cool down. When cha siew has totally cooled down, u can see there's some oil and the gravy is at the consistency of thick honey.
10. Slice cha siew (when cool,... if still hot, meat will crumble).

***** Do not leave gravy too watery when reducing. If gravy is not properly reduced, the cha siew will not be fragrant as the oil from the belly is not released. If gravy is too thick (after total cool down), put in a bit of water to thin down. U can thin down the gravy later, but do not leave it watery in step (8)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Crispy Cornflake Cookie

Had cookie craving lately, with all those late nights waiting for Lyanne to fall asleep, I really needed some late night snacks. Tho a cookie may not be the healthiest choice, but, it does sure make me satisfied.

I've been thinking to make some cookie with coconut in it, and this recipe from Nestle Malaysia caught my attention.

150gm flour
50gm cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
125gm dessicated coconut
100gm cornflakes, crushed

200gm butter
100gm sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg

Some red glace cherries, cut into small bits.

1. Sift flour, cornflour and baking powder together. Mix with dessicated coconut.
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla and beat well.
3. Fold (1) into (2)
4. Use a teaspoon, take about 3/4 teaspoon of cookie dough and shape using another teaspoon into an almost round lump. It'll look marble sized.
5. Roll into crushed cornflakes. Top with a cherry bit.
6. Bake at 180C for 15 minutes. (I baked them at 160C, cos I'm using fan forced oven)

The dessicated coconut in this made the cookie really crispy and light. I used King's Brand of dessicated coconut, and somehow I regretted it. I should have used the cheaper ones, those drier less flavourful ones. King's coconut smell seems to be a bit over the top, for me. By using the cheaper ones, the texture can be retained, but minus off a bit of the smell... It's smell... I don't call that fragance. Overall, this cookie is very nice(putting aside the aftersmell, yeah the smell comes after u chew it, cookie down the throat, and the smell'll go up the nose) , I love the texture.
Will make this again, but will use cheaper coconut.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Banana Yoghurt Muffins 香蕉 酸乳小蛋糕

I made these an hour ago to use up my yoghurt and my pisang emas..., threw in whatever I have in the fridge. Even the butter was whatever that was left in the wrapper.

Local bananas make darker muffins, as they oxidize much easier than Cavendish bananas.
So, if u use Dole or Montel, u'll get lighter coloured muffins.

So, these were the stuff I threw into the batter....

Ingredients180gm banana (Pisang mas or Finger Bananas)
2 large eggs
140gm plain yoghurt(1 cup dutch lady)
100gm butter, melted
210gm flour
1 tsp baking soda (soda bicarbonate)
150gm brown sugar (can add more if u like it sweeter)
pinch of salt

12 pcs whole walnuts

1. Place eggs and banana into a blender and blend for 10 seconds or until mashed up.
2. Pour banana egg mixture into a big bowl and put in yoghurt and butter. Mix.
3. Sift flour together with baking soda. Combine with sugar and salt.
4. Put (3) into (2) and combine well.
5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin moulds and top with a whole walnut.
6. Bake in a preheated oven at 170C (Convection) or 180C (Conventional) for 25 minutes.

*Take note that Pisang Berangan will make a much sweeter muffin.
The outcome was nice and fluffy! Not too sweet, just nice!

Brought them down to hubby's shop, and half were gone in almost an instant! And they are still very warm.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Stuff I've made these few days

Red Bean Spiral Pau

Made these Red Bean Spiral Pau while at 1am, while waiting for Lyanne to sleep.... Finished at 4am, and she's finally sound asleep.

An aunt gave us Pisang Rastali, a type of local banana of which the skins turns black upon ripening. Doesn't look appetizing when the skin is black. So, made these into cekodok.
And this time, I coated them in sugar like doughnuts
Well, basically, they do taste like banana doughnuts.

There are other stuff too..but they are new recipes not in this blog, so, I'd post them up later.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Marble Cheesecake 云石芝士蛋糕

This is adapted from Kraft's site, Classic Cheesecake.
Made it into a marble cheesecake rather than a plain one.

The outcome? So so la... I prefer Alex Goh's marble cheesecake.

Being an asian.. I like things to be soft and fluffy, so a dense cheesecake is just not for my tastebuds. If u like it dense, u'll like this one. It's ok..but not very nice, in my opinion. Maybe due to the density.

Rather easy to make and bake. My first uncracked cheesecake!

Ingredients: I used 2 6 inch foil pans. Smaller pans means shorter baking time.

150 gm digestive biscuit (finely crushed)
60 gm butter, melted

Mix the above ingredients and press onto base of pan.
Bake in 160C for 10 minutes. Leave to cool.

500gm cream cheese, room temperature
100gm sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs
1 heaped teaspoon quality cocoa powder
2 Tbsp boiling water

1. Cream the cream cheese until smooth.
2. Add in sugar and continue to beat for a minute.
3. Add in vanilla, mix well.
4. Put in eggs, one by one. Beating well after each addition. This is the cheese mixture
5. Mix cocoa powder with boiling water until smooth.
6. Put in 6 Tablespoons of cheese mixture into cocoa powder to make choc cheese mixture.
7. Put in 4 Tablespoons of cheese mixture into each prepared pan. Spread and level mixture
8. Spoon 2 Tablespoon of choc cheese mixture onto each cheese mixture. Drizzling it all over.
9. Top with remaining cheese mixture, trying to cover up the choc cheese mixture.
10. Lastly drizzle the remaining choc cheese mixture onto the 2nd cheese mixture layer.
11. Use a tooth pick or whatever with a pointy end to draw the mixture in whichever direction u like.
12. Bake in water bath, 160C 10 minutes, 140C for 30 minutes.
13. Leave to cool in closed oven for an hour.
14. Remove from oven and when completely cooled, chill in fridge for 4 hours or overnight before cutting.


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