New Youtube Channel

Now that my home's internet speed is upgraded, I can make more videos!
This is my new channel
Please subscribe!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hasselback Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Seems familiar? That is if you've seen this in Sea Salt with Food.

It looked so pretty on her site. So I tried it.

I don't know whether it's due to my sweet potatoes or what, but the potaoes had a dry skin, akin to a tree bark. Hard and chewy, not crunchy.

But as you can see my purple sweet potatoes aren't that purple either. So, let me blame it on my sweet potatoes.
They're no good.

My MIL thought they were bread when she first saw it, and Mike's aunt said they looked like worms. I thought they looked cute.

Only Lyanne liked them. :(
I could only eat whatever that is not part of the "bark".

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gunfire Celery 炝炒芹菜

Haha!!! Caught your attention?

The name is a direct translation from the site I got this recipe from, 炝炒芹菜
I could translate it into Gunshot celery, Gun fried celery, Pistol celery, Rifle celery.. but my favourite is Gunfire celery :)

Very easy to do, and the secret ingredient is Sichuan / Szechuan Peppercorn
I didn’t cook as much celery as the original site, but maintained the rest

Serves 4
300gm celery, trimmed and sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
5 Sichuan Peppercorns
2 Dried chillies, seeds removed, cut into 3 pieces each, rinsed at least half an hour before use
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp oil
Few tablespoons of water

1. Heat wok until very hot. Put in salt and Sichuan peppercorn. When salt jumps, put in oil.
2. Put in dried chillies and garlic. Fry until garlic is golden. (Must be quick, if not the chilli will burn)
3. Put the celery and toss for about 30 seconds. If celery seems too dry, put in some water around the wok, not onto the celery.
4. Toss for another 30 seconds if you want the celery to be crunchy and longer with more water if u want it softer.
5. Dish up and serve.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lydia is 3!!!!

Lydia.. my elder daughter. Born this day 3 years ago.
I remembered the day I woke up, thinking I needed to go to the loo, but actually it was contraction pain, 13 days earlier than my given date.

Being a first timer, I was totally ignorant and kept on thinking why the pain won't go away, even after I've eased myself. Right until more than one and a half hours later, when I realised it actually happens at regular intervals, and it's already at 16 minutes. Because it was very very mild, I didn't suspect anything earlier on. When I managed to get my hubby to wake up, I actually leaked.

First time... what did one know?

Haha, I'll leave the rest of the experience unsaid now... but all that I could say was, the pain of being induced was horrible, unbearable. I couldn't breathe. No time to breathe. So bad I cried for epidural. I almost wanted to give up and told my hubby, no more babies after this. Hahaha, but then Lyanne came after Lydia. Hahaha. Words said on impluse. I didn't mean it. Hahahaha.

I remember the moment Lydia was out. My tears also came out, tears of joy. She was grey and dirty when I saw her, still with a long umblical cord. Then the nurses cleaned her, and there she is my sweet bundle of joy, resting on my chest. Oh the joy, indescribable!!!

She's grown up a lot these 3 years. Actually a bit too matured for her age, I feel. Her infancy seemed shortlived cos she ran, literally ran like a kid 3 days after she walked. Jumped off the ground at 18 months. Differentiates between chimpanzee, gorilla and orang utan at just 2 plus. Whereas Lyanne is pretty much like other kids at 18 months, still babyish and fumbling around most of the time.

Last 2 weeks, I showed her pictures of my Pork Tocino, and I asked her what is in the picture
1. Me pointing to the this, she told me, CHICKEN
2. Then I pointed to this , she answered CHU YOKE, which meant pork in Cantonese.

I was rather surprised that she could recognise the chicken cos it didn't look like a drumstick or anything in her books. But I tell you, she can recognise a feathery chicken, a dressed chicken (no heads), raw chicken parts in hypermart brochures (be it breast or wings) and call them all chicken. Cooked or raw, she'll tell you chicken. Even if you tear the meat and put in her mouth, she can tell if it's chu yoke or chicken.

Now, she's not so much of a foodie. Remember this incident? Of late, she's not very interested in her meals, except noodles. But she still enjoys my bakes, especially bread, although I not good in it. And she cannot resist vegetables, especially carrots, raw cucumber and "Choy Sum".

And I love the way she helps me make steamed buns, and here's her creation.
I call it marbles bun (bozi bao). The small balls of dough taste really good when made this small.

I'm sure you all remembered this picture before Chinese New Year 2010.

But then, let me show you other pics

Her First Christmas

Playing with the computer at 17 months. Just playing, not doing anything for real.

Her first time in a swim suit at Sg Klah hot springs.
Ever since, she always likes to take out this outfit and ask me to bring her to the beach.

Lydia my dear, I will bring you to the beach, I promise.
Pester your father, not me, as I'm not the one who will be driving you there!!!


(we already have one beach holiday planned at the end of the year)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Apricot Yogurt Cake

This cake was made on impulse.
I was suddenly craving for a butter cake. No, I’m not pregnant. Hahaha.

One two days before I made this, I was scratching my head on what to do with my balance of 500gm apricots. I don’t want to do another bake with apricot, cos I felt I was making too much of it this season. I asked Swee San for some ideas for what to do with them, and she gave me loads of it. But I brushed them all aside. I was only asking because I was at a crossroad, to make or not to make. Half crazy and only needed an outlet for blabbing. Poor Swee San. That shows how nice she is.

But today, I suddenly felt like eating a butter cake, and hahaha, an apricot one that will be then.
So, off I went to buy me some yogurt. I always like my butter cakes with some yogurt. Makes it fluffy and nice. And yes this cake is just like what I expected it to be, fluffy and tender. It may not be very very buttery, but it's definately an option to a healthier butter cake. If I don't tell you, you won't even know that it contains only that small knob of butter in a loaf cake. It cracked, as usual, but I don’t care much about cracks and most of my butter/oil cakes crack anyway. ;P

60gm butter
70gm sugar
1 egg
100gm plain yogurt
120gm fresh apricots, chopped (or use 60gm dried apricots, chopped and microwaved on high with 80ml of water for 2-3 minutes (until it looks plump), drain well before use)
150gm cake flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 160/180C.
2. Sift flour with baking soda and baking powder. Set aside
3. Put 2 Tbsp of the sifted flour into apricots and toss to coat. Set aside.
4. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
5. Add in egg and beat for another minute.
6. Put in yogurt and beat for 30 seconds.
7. Put in sifted flour and beat until well combined, it should take you less than 30 seconds.
8. Fold in chopped apricots.
9. Pour batter into a 3X6 loaf pan and bake for 35 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sweet Corn Sherbet

When I was a kid, I don't think I've eaten much of those creamy creamy milky ice creams. I grew up eating sherbets, an ice cream that does not contain "cream", but milk. It's not creamy, but it's not grainy.

When I was 5, Kindergarden ends at 4.30pm. Then I'll be home by 4.40pm. Then dinner at 5 to 5.30pm. I'd be sitting at the front door, on MY small rattan chair, getting fed by Grandaunt. I'll see this ice cream lady pushing her ice cream cart everyday, passing by my house during my dinner time. And without fail, grandaunt will get me 10 sen worth of "ice cream", put into my empty drinking cup for later consumption after I finish my meal.

Brings back a lot of memories when I made this. It made me feel like a 5 year old again.
What about you?

My husband loved this, he said, it's better than those creamy creamy ice creams. Maybe it brings back childhood memories for him too. And to my surprise, my ice cream loving Lydia, didn't take a 2nd lick at this. She didn't like it. She prefers creamy ice cream, that most kids nowadays are so accustomed to.

It feels cold, yes, cold from the inside after I ate these 2 scoops after I took pictures of it. So, it's really perfect for a hot hot day.

Sweet Corn Sherbet Recipe

250ml evaporated milk
500ml water
250gm creamed corn
100gm sugar

1. Cook everything together until it comes to a boil.
2. Leave to cool. (you can just mix everything together, but I'd rather bring it a boil first)
3. Put in a freezer proof bowl and put in freezer.
4. Let it freeze until it is the outer ring is frozen, take it out and whizz with a hand held mixer to break up the ice.
5. Repeat process another hour later. (itmakes the ice crystals more friendly to the blender later)
6. When everything seems half frozen, whizz it with an immersion blender or break it up into a regular blender and whizz til fine.
7. Pack into freezable containers and keep frozen.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Spiced Fried Chicken

I have always wanted to make this type of fried chicken. Until I saw in Sonia’s blog that she made something similar. I didn’t have any lemon grass on hand, but I did it anyway, and well, it did taste like it (the one in my my head).

This fried chicken reminds me of my days in Felda Selancar. I spent 2 years of my youth there. It’s an oil palm estate that is 55km away from the nearest town, and all along the way from the estate to town is oil palm, as far as the eye can see.

The school was my first posting after completing teacher’s training, and some got shocked I got posted to such a remote area, in Pahang. I was questioned by some why didn’t I request Perak or Klang Valley, with the thought that I will be closed to home or KL, where Mike is that time. Errr… first of all, I’m not married, they will not give me such high demand areas. If I am willing to be posted to Pahang, I won’t be posted to East Malaysia. Hey, not that I don’t like the East, I do, but just that I feel that if I ever feel homesick, it’s hard to go home, and if I’m in Pahang, no matter how remote I am posted to, I can still drive home, even if it means driving through the night. Even if I request Perak, Perak is not small, and I can get posted to Thai bordering towns.. that’s far.

Well, Selancar ain’t that bad, Segamat which is a town almost as big as Kuala Kangsar is just 40 minutes away. If I ever want to have McD’s, Pizza or KFC, I’ll just drive for 40 mins,and well, we always do :-D Felda Selancar is an oil palm resettlement that is made up of 99.5% Malay, with 0.5% Indians and 1 Chinese family among the thousands of Malay families. My school is made up of almost 2000 students with about 5 Indian kids. I didn’t feel left out amidst these people. I felt at home. I felt welcomed.

I was lucky that when I arrived, there’s another Chinese(HMF) at the school, and I came replacing another Chinese. That new friend of mine, HMF was so scared thinking that she’ll be left alone after the other girl left. And HMF was relieved that I came by, and I shared the room with her. Minority we maybe, among the rest of the Malays teachers, but everybody treat us well, and everybody were our friends.

The canteen fed us well, and I was in such good terms with the Canteen, I would request dishes from them and I’ll see them the next day for lunch, or maybe days later, but they’ll prepare it for me. And canteen will even send me Pengat Durian (Durian Coconut Dessert), on a personal basis right up to my quarters free of charge. Pak Yob and Mifa, thank you so much. Sometimes I’ll just stay at the canteen after school and chat chat chat. Life was good, so was the laksa there. The best Malay laksa ever!!!

The school also treated me well. I wasn’t forced to cover up, like what happened in JB, where any other Non Muslim teachers are required to wear shirts/blouses that covers up the elbows and if better the butt, and maxi skirts. I just dressed according to the Federal government’s rules, no sleeveless and no skirts shorter than the knee. That’s it, in rural Palm Oil estate made up of 99.5% Malays allowed me to dress that way to school, and no complaints from parents or students. It’s so different than urban JB. And the school authorities made sure that we the only 2 Chinese teachers that ever stayed longer than 6 months there were treated well. Whenever there’s an eating event in School, En. Raub will definately watch out for us, making sure we were there to eat out hearts out. They don’t want us to feel left out.

The students were superb. Although most of them are not academically inclined, but teaching is definitely fun there. They may not understand what was the internet(hey, 7 years ago, not now), and they do not know what a credit card is, nor what is e-banking, but I loved teaching them. During the fasting month, some of them will drop by our quarters and ask us out, to go food shopping with them. And these students will not allow us to treat them, and after that, we’ll eat together at our house. During the rainy season, the students will ask me to go mushroom collecting with them at the oil palm area. And being a rural school, one can just do anything and use the school’s compound as long as the activity is beneficial to the students. So, my students and I will always have cooking sessions, after school in the Home Science lab. I do remember my best cooks, Rohana, Roslina, and Sharlina. Cooking sessions with the back classes were always a blast, and they always produce the best tasting dishes and the cleanest kitchen thereafter. Top classes will prepare the best looking garnishes and most careful in all that they do. Middle classes are a headache, but still fun in the end.

Now that I’m back in KK, life in school is no longer the same. HMF also said the same, if it’s not because we need to stay near our husbands, we don’t think we would want to leave the school.
SMK Perwira Jaya, Felda Selancar… I missed you, a lot.

So here’s a copycat version of my favourite fried chicken from Pak Yob’s Canteen, eaten every so often during the best years of my teaching life til now.

75gm shallots (about 5)
75gm ginger (about 3 inches)
3 cloves garlic
Pound everything or pulverize it in the mill/food processor

1 tsp coriander seeds (ketumbar)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jintan putih)
1 tsp fennel seeds (jintan manis)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chicken curry powder
1 and ½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp flour
Ground coriander, cumin, fennel and black pepper in the mill until fine. Mix with the rest of the dry ingredients.

(C )
1 tsp dark soy sauce
750gm chicken drumsticks or any other parts, rinsed and drain. (It needs a bit of moisture)

1. Mix (A) with chicken, then (B) and dark soy sauce. Rub the seasonings into every nook and cranny of the chicken.
2. Leave it to marinate for 1 hour.
3. Heat a wok of oil and put in chicken pieces, make sure the chicken pieces are covered with a bit of the marinade. Fry in hot oil on medium high heat until golden and crispy. Pour oil over strainer to recover any bits of the crunchy fried marinade.

I'm also submitting this to Babekl's Merdeka Open House
Actually this write up was not done specifically for this event.
It was already drafted 2 months before I knew of this, you all know I have loads of back posts, right?
Just that I dug this out (supposedly due to be posted in November) because I felt it was suitable, something made from the heart.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Salted Fish Steamed Pork

A dish that everybody in my family reminisces about Grandaunt.

Grandaunt is my paternal grandma's eldest sister.
She's the eldest in her family and I love to hear her stories from Panyu, China.
From how she gave birth to her 3 daughters on her own (yes, with no help at all, house door opened, with scissors and pot of boiling water by her bed), to how she catches "Woh Choong" , a type of water slug to cook. And how she will make dried shrimp in a large clay vase for the whole year's comsumption.

Grandaunt smokes, not Dunhill or Rothmans or Malboro. But pure tobacco rolled in paper, and she says those packet ciggies are tasteless. Tell her to stop smoking and she'll ask you," Who are you to tell me to stop, my dad taught me how to smoke". And she'll tell us how it all started. ...... She was planting in the field and got so tired and sat down to rest. Then her dad handed her a ciggie and told her to smoke it, so that she'll have the energy to work. Hahah!!! And she lived til she was 94. Died due to a fall that broke her leg on that eventful day when half of Malaysia blacked out (1996??), and when her broken leg failed to heal, her health faltered in a year. Should we sue TNB for that horrible blackout? We actually hoped that she'll live til 100 and make her cetenary celebration darn big!!! But she went home to Heaven a bit too soon.

She's the one who brought my grandma to Malaysia and became the baby sitter of 2 generations, my dad's and ours, while my grandma goes out and earn money for the family. Being the one at home, rather than my grandma, obviously some in the family regards her closer than my grandma, something of which my 2nd bro and I errr... don't really like. Grandma is still grandma, and nothing can replace that. But not to say that I do not appreciate Grandaunt's efforts, I do, just that she's still my grandaunt, and not my grandma. I can't do that to my grandma (even when she's gone for more than 29 years). When she had Alzheimers (before she left us for good), everybody knew how jealous she was towards grandaunt, she was mumbling "All snatched from me, all snatched from me" all the time, just because her kids were closer to grandaunt instead of her.
Sigh, should I pity Grandaunt or Grandma? Well, I just hold both close to my hearts. One gave her time to earn money to feed the family, one stayed behind for the kids and became the family's financial controller.

Well you may ask, what about her own kids? She had 3 daughters, gave away 2 while she was still in China. She brought the only daughter she was left with to Malaysia who later married the son of her boss who is a relative of my grandpa. Her sister(my grandma) is maried to my grandpa and her daughter married our relative, so, it's double relation.When she stayed with us for good, her daughter's already married and has a family of her own. Her grandkids are doing very very well now, and the only grandson is a prominent paediatrician in Singapore and another granddaughter a prominent medical figure in Malaysia's breast cancer field. Unfortunately, we seem to be closer to grandaunt compared to those who call her grandma. Maybe because she spent 50 years of her life with us.

Actually I do not know much about Grandma, cos she left us when I was not more than 2 years old, and Grandaunt stayed with me until I was 18. Grandaunt cooks our daily meals. She has a lot of "famous dishes".
And she's damn good in making steamed dishes. If I were to do her steamed dishes, one dish per dinner, It might take me more than 2 months to copy all her steamed meat dishes. Her forte is in marinating. She's got a good feel to what she adds. And she tastes everything before she steams it. Yes, even the pork before steaming. She'll dip the finger in the marinated dish and put the finger onto her tongue, let it sit in the mouth for a while, spit the thing out and gargle with water.

Well, anyway, here's one of Grandaunt's most well loved dish. Not really tasted when raw.. Gosh, can't do that myself.. yucks!

I can't really copy her version.. Nobody could really does things the way she does.
The taste is abit off from hers, maybe I used too much salted fish or black beans... Sigh, but I do believe that one day I will be able to do it like her.

So, this is for my own reference... and I'll try to perfect this one day.

100gm pork belly, thinly sliced
30gm salted fish (definately should reduce this next time)
1/2 Tbsp preserved black beans, rinsed and chopped
1 thumb sized ginger, smashed and coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp oil
2 Tbsp water

Combine everything and marinade for 30 minutes. Steam on high heat for 15 minutes.
This portion is enough for 3 pax.

I'm submitting this to Babe_kl's Merdeka Open House
Do join in the fun in conjuction with Malaysia's 53rd Independance Day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nasi Goreng Kampung, Malay Countryside Fried Rice

When I was in Johor Bahru doing my teacher’s training stint, I had Ainur, a Malay and Ting, a Sarawakian as my housemates. People find it weird to have a Muslim Malay girl staying with 2 Christian Chinese girls. But hahaha, we are happy together and most of all, we clicked!! She was rumoured to be eating the "inedible"
while staying with us. But nope, she never did that. Both Ting and I, are very sure that didn't happen.

We cooked at lot, and I was the executive chef, with Ainur being the sous chef. Ainur loved Chinese food and both Ting and I will eat anything. We learn a lot from each other during this 11 months of staying together. I learnt to cook masak lemak cili api, noodles pancake (to be featured later), and of course, today's dish from my good Malay buddy. While Ting was a newbie in the kitchen, she soaked and soaked up whatever we were doing in the kitchen, equiping herself with culinary knowledge to be brought back to Sarawak later on.

Talk about cooking... hahaha. It reminds me of the stove cabinet. When we moved in, the house was bare, because we were the first tenants. It was totally bare besides whatever is given by the developer. And being girls who love to cook, we had to find a way to put the gas stove. Buy a table? Use chairs? Buy a Cabinet? The last idea was crazy, buy a cabinet to be used for 11 months??

One day, while Ainur and I were passing by the dumpster of our apartment, to my surprise, I saw a stove cabinet. In acceptable condition!!!!
I quickly asked Ainur to stop the car and pointed to the cabinet. She quickly parked the car nearby and both of us tiptoed to the dumpster. And quickly moved the cabinet up to our 10th floor apartment. Luckily no one saw us throughout the long journey. Well it feels longer cos we're being sneaky. When we got back to the car, both of us were laughing our hearts out, as if we're both half crazy. When our friends drop by our house, they were surprised to see us having a stove top cabinet. Haha, we just kept quiet about our "steal" from the dumpster.

And one thing about staying with Ainur. People always thought that she's the Chinese and I'm the Malay. Cos whenever we go out together shopping, salesgirls will always talk to her in Chinese and me in Malay. Both of us will be laughing and laughing, and that would make the salesgirl blush. Ainur also taught me about Minang culture, the way the inheritance goes to the girls instead of the boys, and wedding preps, how does it go about. I learnt a lot while staying with her, the good and the bad. The bad being "curses" or "reared ghosts" that is prevalent among the people she knows. A real eye opener to me.

One weekend, Ainur got up early and cooked us breakfast, Nasi Goreng Kampung, a Malay styled fried rice. Long beans, water convolvulus and dried anchovies are always featured in the Malay cooking and it comes together in this fried rice. This is not my first time eating this, thai-styled Malay restaurants have this in their menus and I’ve eaten this countless times. But she made it real good, and she told me how she did it. Pulverizing the anchovies as well. Ah ha!!!

So, here is a recipe, passed to me by my Malay friend to you

½ medium sized onion
1 shallot
2 cloves garlic
4 birds eye chilli (the ones that I bought are not spicy, so, please adjust this according to own’s preference)
1 heaped Tbsp dried anchovies/ikan bilis
1tbsp cooking oil

½ cup finely sliced long beans (not green beans )
1 large handful of water convolvulus (kangkung)

(C )
2 cups packed cooked rice
2 eggs
2 Tbsp dried anchovies (I use them dry, unwashed, so that they can be fried to a crisp)
3 Tbsp oil
1 tsp salt

1. Puree everything in (A) except oil. If you can’t get it smooth, add the oil, stir and blend again. It’ll get finer.
2. Heat wok on medium heat. Put in oil and fry anchovies until golden, drain and dish up.
3. With remaining oil in wok, put in (A) and 1 tsp salt and carefully fry it until it turns golden.
4. Put in rice and turn the heat on high. Toss until it looks even, push the rice aside.
5. Crack your eggs and put it in the center. Spread the eggs around. Immediately push the rice onto the eggs and toss the rice, making sure the eggs at the bottom are all brought up and broken up. Fry for a while.
6. Put long beans into rice and toss for 15 seconds, followed by water convolvulus. Toss again for 5 seconds, not too long. Dish up and serve.

Update: 4/7/2017: 
Ingredients (A) Grind anchovies separately. 
Method Step 3: Add in powdered anchovies when the aromatics have turned slightly golden.

Of course you may alter the recipe or ingredients as you wish, as fried rice is fried rice. But once the anchovies, long beans and water convolvulus is missing, it no longer ressembles Nasi Goreng Kampung, but just an ordinary fried rice. IMPO.

For me, if there are no prawns or cha siew in Yong Chow Fried Rice, should it bear the name of Yong Chow Fried Rice?? Or no tomatoes in bolognese.... Or use Szechuan preserved vegetables in Teochew Steamed Fish instead of salted mustard? I can't... and this is just me.

I'm submitting this to Merdeka Open House 2010 hosted by Babe_kl in conjuction with Malaysia's 53rd Independance Day.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Assam Prawns - Version 2

I changed my assam prawn recipe. Although Grandaunt's way of doing it was fragrant and good, but actually the prawns tasted dry. So, I improved the recipe and when I used tamarind paste instead of the pulp, the recipe is more accurate (for others) because one does not need to take into account the amount of seeds the pulp may contain.

Simple and tasty.

500gm prawns (weighed with shells)
½ red onion
2 red chillies
1 tbsp Tamarind paste (Adabi brand)
2 Tbsp sugar
½ salt
4 Tbsp oil

1. Clean prawns, remove shells (but leave the tail) and vein.
2. Finely chop red onions and chilli, or you can use mill/food processor.
3. In a hot wok, put in oil and put in prawns. Spread them around. Flip them when they look curled.
4. Cook prawns until both sides have turned orange/red, not for too long. Lift up prawns and drain excess oil properly back into wok with spatula.
5. On medium low heat, sauté onions and chilli until very fragrant, and half dried. Put in tamarind paste, salt and sugar. Continue to fry until very fragrant and almost dry (like crumbled blue cheese) 
6. Turn heat to high, put in cooked prawns (they should release some water, so don’t worry about being too dry), toss for about 10 seconds or until gravy is thickened and sticking to the prawns.
7. Dish up and serve.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pumpernickel Bread

I have a bread, and it’s called pumpernickel,
Yum yum pumpernickel,
Pumpernickel bread, hey!

Watch this clip.

I knew of pumpernickel through Barney. This purple dinosaur not only taught my girls stuff, but it taught me that there is a bread called pumpernickel. So off I went googling for more information.

Pumpernickel is a German traditional bread that is traditionally leavened for days and slowly baked at low temperature. It’s very dense and full of rye.
But Americans made their own version of pumpernickel, adding in coffee, molasses, cocoa powder to imitate the dark colour that traditional pumpernickels have. And it doesn’t possess the density that traditional ones have, rather more like regular wholemeal bread. Personally I believe that I’ll try out the adulterated version.. due to convenience. But please take notice that this is not the real pumpernickel that is German in origin.

One day, when I went to Ipoh for some bakery supply shopping, I saw the word “pumpernickel” in the fridge. I looked closer, gosh!!!! It’s pumpernickel rye flour or the coarse meal of rye berries. Then I saw dark rye flour beside it. Gosh!!! These stuff are in Ipoh?? Gosh Gosh!!!

I quickly bought one pack of each and when I got home, I tried to find a suitable recipe.. and I found this . I do not have whole meal flour with me, but pumpernickel meal, so I subbed the whole meal with pumpernickel meal, isn’t that better? I only have that much of rye flour and pumpernickel meal, so I can only use bread flour for the rest. And as always I love butter with bread and I put in slightly more. I adjusted the recipe slightly (sugar and oil) and the rest quite stuck to the ratio. I do not have molasses, but I have dark brown sugar, something easily found and bought at sundry shops, and they are really cheap. But mine was bought from Tesco, a milled form, lighter in colour, rather than in clumps. I do believe those in sundry/grocery shops that sells by weight smells better and looks much darker, just like gula melaka. Use that if you can. See the sugar in this pic to see how dark it is. The one below is the one I bought as used this time.

Non Traditional Pumpernickel Bread Recipe
100gm dark rye flour (although my package was labeled as dark rye flour, it doesn’t look dark at all, when I compared mine to the recipe source)
100gm pumpernickel meal (coarse rye), lightly pulsed to reduce to a finer texture
200gm bread flour
3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
20gm butter
1 tsp salt
1 ¼ tsp instant yeast
300ml water
Extra bread flour for flouring during kneading

Mix the flours and salt in a bowl. Stir in the yeast and brown sugar (break up the brown sugar a bit with your fingers before mixing it in). Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the butter, and water. Mix well to form a soft dough.
Turn dough out onto a floured counter and knead for 10 minutes. As you knead it, the dough will become sticky and a little difficult to work with – just add a dusting of flour whenever it gets too difficult and continue to knead. Clean out the bowl you were using and spray lightly with non-stick spray. Shape dough into a round and place in bowl, cover with a dishtowel and let rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.
Punch down dough in bowl and place on counter to divide in two small oblongs. Grease two small loaf pans and press an oblong of dough into each. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Place risen loaves in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the bread is dark brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Turn out and cool on wire rack. Wrap in waxed paper and foil (I just put into Tupperware, whole, unsliced) and let cure for 24 hours (I only did it overnight). Serve in thin slices.

Actually I didn’t knead this by hand, but used Mike’s aunt’s breadmaker on Pizza mode. I'm a total flop with manual kneading.
Shaped by hand and baked in my oven.

The dough is very soft and STICKY. (Maybe it was due to using less flour comparatively cos I wasn't flouring the table for manual kneading) I was glad I did it in the breadmaker. I dusted and dusted my hands and tray with lots of flour when I wanted to shape it, which explains the whitish spiral shape on the bread slices. The dough is a fast riser….. it grows and grows. And when it was baking in the oven…. You should be here to smell it. Fantastic. My kids enjoyed this bread very much, compared to regular wholemeal bread. The pumpernickel meal gives it a nice chewy and "toing toing" texture. I'll definately bake this again...

I’m going to eat it with my homemade Apricot Jam… Yum yum.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lohanguo Herbal Jelly

If one makes herbal jelly exactly with the amount of water in the instructions on the packaging, it is darn darn bitter. And one has to add loads and loads of sugar to counter the bitterness. Something that is supposed to be healthy is being turned into something unhealthy with the amount of sugar or honey it contains.

Once I made it and I was shocked at the amount of sugar and honey I had to put in. If the syrup was slightly oversweetened, it became totally bitter once the herbal powder was added in. And you have to add in a lot more sugar and honey to counter that undesirable taste. I can't imagine how much sugar and honey I was comsuming. Yeah, it's honey, but honey is high GI too you know and it's not low in calories.

"Understanding the GI is really simple

Carbohydrate foods that break down quickly during digestion, releasing glucose quickly into the blood stream, have a high GI with a value of 70 or more.
Carbohydrate foods that break down slowly, releasing glucose into the blood stream gradually, have a low GI with a value of 55 or less.
Carbohydrate foods that break down at a moderate pace, releasing glucose into the blood stream neither slowly or quickly, have a medium GI with a value of 56 to 69 inclusive." From here

"Foods which are high on the glycemic index(GI) are digested more quickly and therefore keep you full over a shorter period of time. Ideally, these foods should be eaten in combination with foods which are lower on the glycemic index.
High glycemic index foods include glucose, sugar, honey, pineapple, raisins, ripe bananas, baked/mashed potato, parsnips, carrots, rice, regular bread, Cornflakes, muffins, dates." From here

Basically, high GI foods are not that recommended for diabetics or people with high blood sugar levels.

*Eating a lot of high GI foods can be detrimental to your health because it pushes your body to extremes. This is especially true if you are overweight and sedentary. Switching to eating mainly low GI carbs that slowly trickle glucose into your blood stream keeps your energy levels balanced and means you will feel fuller for longer between meals.

◦Low GI diets help people lose and manage weight
◦Low GI diets increase the body's sensitivity to insulin
◦Low GI carbs improve diabetes management
◦Low GI carbs reduce the risk of heart disease
◦Low GI carbs improve blood cholesterol levels
◦Low GI carbs can help you manage the symptoms of PCOS
◦Low GI carbs reduce hunger and keep you fuller for longer
◦Low GI carbs prolong physical endurance
◦High GI carbs help re-fuel carbohydrate stores after exercise
*Taken from here

After reading a nutrition magazine (of which Swee San was featured with recipes), I found that Lohanguo, which is naturally sweet, is a low GI sweetener and is 300 times sweeter than sugar in the same weight. Wow, isn't that great??? So, if I make an overly sweet syrup sweetened with Lohanguo, I won't be comsuming as much calories and definately won't sent my glucose level swinging high.

And so I did..

Please read the intructions of the packet before proceding
1 pack of herbal jelly powder (for 1.25L liquid)
250ml water
3 lohanguo
1.2L water

1. Rinse lohanguo and break them open by clamping it in your palms and pushing inwards with your wrist.
2. Put lohanguo in a pot with 1.2L water. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Let it simmer on low heat for 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile, mix herbal jelly with 250ml of water (if this is the way stated in the instructions of you herbal jelly packet)
3. Measure out 1L of lohanguo infusion and sieve infusion. (It taste really really sweet)
4. Return to pot and bring to a boil.
5. Pour in herbal jelly mixture and cook as said in the instructions.
6. Pour into prepared containers and let them cool down before chilling in the fridge.
7. When time to serve, if the jelly is not sweet enough, top with diluted honey.

If I was not mistaken, the last time I did this, I used more than 300gm of sugar to counter the bitterness. Just imagine how much sugar and calories you are saving here. But I'd say, not all brands of jelly is this bitter. Some are not, therefore won't need so much sweeteners.

Actually after retrieving the infusion from the fruit, you can do a 2nd infusion, but that won't be as sweet, but why waste it right? Just fill up another 1L of water and boil it for 10 minutes and you have 1L of nicely sweetened lohanguo tea.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...