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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cherry Tomato Basil Tripoline with Tomato Cream

Remember my tomato cream from yesterday? That cream is not a soup. Not cream of tomato. It's a dressing, a gravy, a sauce, antyhing but not a soup.

I’m using the tomato cream to replace milk cream, and remember as this is an emulsion, it’ll break apart when heated too much, just like regular mayos will. So, just put the tomato cream at the end and give it a toss to warm it up. Not too hot though.

It’s a good alternative to people who can’t take dairy, but want to have some creamy pasta. It really almost taste like regular cream sauce pasta, except for the smell, tomatoey instead of milky. But this does not taste like those made with canned tomato paste, and this has a very fresh smell and light tomato taste that my kids love a lot. They keep on asking for the cherry tomatoes.

The pasta
150gm tripoline or any other pasta that is suitable for creamy sauces
250gm red cherry tomatoes, halved vertically
Handful of fresh sweet basil (as much or as little as you like)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Olive oil for cooking
1 tsp butter for cooking
½ tsp salt to taste
1 cup tomato cream

1. Cook pasta is a pot of salted boiling water according to instructions on packaging until al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat a pan/wok on medium heat and put in olive oil and butter. Put in finely chopped garlic and fry until slightly golden. Turn heat to high.
3. Put in halved cherry tomatoes and spread the tomatoes around. Do not stir it too much. Put in salt. Leave it for 15 seconds and give it a light toss and leave it for another 15 seconds.
4. Put in cooked pasta and toss. Cook for about 10 seconds and put in basil and cook for another 5 seconds.
5. Pour in tomato cream and turn off the heat. It’ll be very warm. Toss the pasta and dish up to serve.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tomato Cream

Ah.. tomato cream. Something that really caught my attention when I watched one of Anna Olson’s Fresh with Anna Olson. She just blitz cherry tomatoes with oil, season with salt and pepper.. voila!!

And I tried it… and talk about the taste. It’s like a very light tomato mayo…. For mayo lovers, you’ll be in heaven. But I’m not a mayo lover, but I love this.

I don’t mean that I hate regular mayo, but just that I’m not crazy to slather lots and lots of mayo over my sandwiches and burgers. I just put adequate amounts, and not too much, cos I hate anything to squish out from my sandwiches and burgers.

Tomato Cream (recipe adapted from Anna Olsen )

250gm yellow cherry tomatoes
75ml corn oil or any other neutral flavoured oils, put into a measuring cup or a pouring bottle or any container with a spout.
1/3 tsp salt and pepper to taste

1. Quarter yellow cherry tomatoes and put them into a blender. Put the lid on and blend until fine.
2. Loosen the lid and put the blender back on
3. When the blender is on, remove the lid carefully and put drizzle in the oil slowly in a steady steam.
4. When all the oil has been drizzled in, put in salt and pepper (place lid back on) and blend for another 30 seconds. Tomato cream is ready :).
5. You can sieve it if you want, but I don’t bother with it.

Few weeks later, I made another batch with red cherry tomatoes, and here it is. It tasted like a light thousand island sauce. But a lot lot healthier with minimal oil for emulsification.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Braised Red Cabbage with Apple and Red Wine

I bought some red cabbage and I want to find new ways to cook it besides salad or simple garlic stir fry.
So, I think there might be some braised cabbage stuff online and searched. Indeed, there are many braised cabbage recipes, even Jamie Oliver has one, but I don’t have bacon , so I can’t use his.

Then I saw this recipe. Ok, it sure does look interesting, and I have jam, wine, apples… Ok, all set. I adapted the recipe with some changes. I didn’t use any spices at all, because I’m afraid Mike won’t like it. And I reduced the sourness and therefore had to reduce the jam used. Overall, it’s still quite similar. You may try the original recipe if you like spices.

Braised Red Cabbage with Apple Recipe

300gm red cabbage, sliced
1 medium sized green apple (about 110gm), peeled and grated. Discard core after finished grating
Half red onion, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp rice vinegar (I reduce a lot of this, because Mike doesn’t like anything sour. But this is essential to retain the colour of the cabbage)
2 level Tbsp raspberry jam (best is lingonberry jam or red currant jam)
80ml or 1/3 cup red wine
1/3 tsp salt and pepper to taste
another 1 Tbsp butter (to be used at the end of cooking)

1. Put onions and butter into a saucepan and cook until onion softens.
2. Put in sliced cabbage and grated apple. Immediately put in vinegar, then only stir.
3. Put in raspberry jam, red wine, salt and pepper to taste. Stir until well combined. Bring to a boil.
4. Put lid on and simmer for 30 minutes (time is much shorter due to much lesser amount)
5. Stir in butter and turn off the heat.

After doing seeing the recipe, I did some reading online and found that the red pigment in red cabbages can be used as a PH indicator. Just incase you do not know what is a PH indicator, it means, the colour can detect whether the solution it is in is acidic or alkaline. It turns bluish green in alkaline and reddish when in acid. Which is why you must put in the vinegar as soon as possible after you have put the cabbage into the pot.

Read :
Red cabbage contains a pigment molecule called flavin (an anthocyanin). This water-soluble pigment is also found in apple skin, plums, poppies, cornflowers, and grapes. Very acidic solutions will turn anthocyanin a red color. Neutral solutions result in a purplish color. Basic solutions appear in greenish-yellow. Therefore, it is possible to determine the pH of a solution based on the color it turns the anthocyanin pigments in red cabbage juice .
Adapted from here

The braised cabbage is really nice to eat. The alcoholic smell of the wine is no longer there after braising. The smell of the jam is really nice and it really marries well with the vinegar. The cabbage is not too mushy. It still has a crunch to it because of the vinegar. This tasted like something I had in Shangrila Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. The international buffet serves some German roast beef and had some cabbage served with it, but it’s not red cabbage, just the usual cabbage, but it sure was almost like this, sourish, sweet and fragrant. Nope, it’s not sauerkraut as that is salty. I think this is called Blaukraut or Rotkohl in German.

A fresh change to the usual salads or Chinese stir fries. I do recommend you try this out if you like sweet and sour stuff.

And a reminder to do all measurements with measuring spoon, just incase you used the rice eating spoon. Because 1 rice spoon of vinegar is much much lesser compared to if you heaped the jam with the same spoon.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mushroom Pulav

Pilaf, Pulav, Polau , or Pulao. They are all the same.

Pulav is Hindi, Pulao is Tamil and Nepali, Polau is Bengali and Pilaf is what almost the rest of world calls it.

A simple Indian vegetarian dish. You can eat this on its own or with meat and vegetables, but my kids find this to be yummy enough to be on its own. The mushrooms are really flavourful and with all the spices, yum yum.
Mike asked me to cook this next time to go with curry or some spicy meat dishes. He finds it very delicious.

Try this if you love basmathi rice and mushrooms. I love mushrooms which was the reason I was attracted to this recipe. And sprinkle lots of flat leaf parsley to go with this, absolutely lovely!!!

Recipe adapted from Vazhayila

1 cup(250ml) basmathi rice, washed and drained
½ red onion, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
A small knob of ginger, about half a thumb, smashed
200gm fresh mushrooms (this is one punnet, and I used Swiss Browns), sliced about 5mm thickness
½ tsp meat curry powder
1 small cinnamon stick (Mike can take cinnamon with savoury dishes, but not sweet food)
2 cardamoms
2 cloves
1 Tbsp butter
½ tsp salt
2 cups water

1. Heat pan on medium heat and put in butter, garlic, and onions. Fry until onions turn soft.
2. Put in ginger, cinnamon stick, cardamoms and cloves and fry until aromatic.
3. Put in sliced mushrooms and cook until it wilts and softens.
4. Put in curry powder and salt. Mix.
5. Put in rice and fry for a while, for about 30 seconds.
6. Transfer everything to your rice cooker, add in water and cook.

*I steamed my rice for 30 minutes.

See those reddish stuff I put beside my rice?? I’ll post that recipe after this.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Winner of the US$65 Voucher

Please check the giveaway post for the number that you are given.
I only did this once with the random generator, and I'm conscious clear about the winner.

Dear Winner,
If you do not contact me via email (wendyinkk at yahoo)within 48 hours,
which is on Sept 27 12 noon +8GMT, I'm going to get another number.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Peach Oatmeal Griddle Cookies

I was looking at some peaches, held one close to my nose for a whiff.
Lydia wanted to smell too. I let her hold one, but her finger nails went through the soft skin.
Sigh, I had to buy that fruit at RM4.59.

I kept the peach in the fridge for a week or two before I remembered Anna Olson’s recipe that I have bookmarked quite a while ago. Then while browsing through my favourites, I saw it and ah-ha. Alas, no milk at home. Had to wait until the birthday cakes are all over before I have some space for milk.
I finally made this (after 4 weeks of purchase) and Lyanne simply loved this. Lydia was ok and was trying to pick out the fruits and leave the cookie behind. That’s her usual antic.

Peach Oatmeal Griddle Cookies
Recipe adapted from Anna Olson
150gm milk
50gm oats
15gm butter
50m honey (or use 30-40gm sugar)
1 egg
20gm all purpose flour
¾ tsp baking powder
Small pinch salt (1/8 tsp)
½ cup diced peaches

1. Put oats into a small mixing bowl (a big noodle soup bowl). Put in butter
2. Bring milk to a gentle boil and pour over oats. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
3. In another bowl, combine baking powder, salt and flour.
4. Put (3) into the oats and mix.
5. Put in egg and honey mix.
6. Put in diced peaches and mix.
7. Heat a pan and lightly grease it.
8. Put in 2 tbsp of batter onto pan. When you see bubbles and the edges are no longer sticky, flip the ‘cookie’ and cook until golden. Be careful the ‘cookie’ browns very quickly due to its honey content.

If you think this tasted like cookies... then you'd be greatly dissapointed. It's pancakes!!
Wonder why did Anna Olsen called these cookies.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Goji Soup with Salted Duck Egg

We are familiar with goji berries or wolfberries. But do you know that the Gau Gei soup are made with the leaves of the goji berry plant? It’s just that the goji plant flowers but never fruits here.

Goji plants are very easy to plant. You can just use the stems of the ones you bought. After you’ve taken off the leaves for the soup, tuck that stem into some soil, in a area with good light, water it twice a day, and later on you’ll have goji leaves sprouting out. Give it more time, and then it’ll grow into a bush. My mom did that once, but it didn’t take long for us to eat off the plant : ) We were consuming faster than it could grow.

When I was 13, I did marketing for mom. Everyday she’ll tell me what to buy and which stall to go to. And 2 months after that, she no longer told me what to buy and I’ll decide by myself. One day, I bought these goji stalks and the lady who sold me them told me, the soup is best made with salted egg, not regular chicken eggs.

So now, may I present to you Goji Soup with salted duck egg.

180gm goji stalks (pluck only the leaves, discard the stems) Caution: Stems are thorny
1 salted egg (break the egg into a bowl, cut the yolk into small pieces, put the yolk back into the whites)
1 Tbsp wolfberries/goji berries
1/3 cup dried anchovies, rinsed
1 tsp oil
1L water
Salt to taste

1. Put anchovies into saucepan/wok and put in oil. Let it fry for a while. Put in water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Strain the anchovy stock. Return stock to pot. (You can skip step 1 and 2 if you prefer to use stock cubes)
3. Bring stock to a boil, with a ladle in one hand and the salted egg in another hand, pour the salted egg into the pot with the other hand stirring so that the egg will not clump together.
4. Now, taste the soup. If it’s not salty enough, add in salt. Do not season before the salted egg, because you won’t know how salty the egg will be.
5. Put in goji berries. Then the goji leaves. Stir and bring back to a boil.
6. Remove from heat and ladle into bowl to serve.

I wonder how do you clean those dirty looking salted duck eggs? Rinse the while thing under running water??? Or just rub it off with bare hands??? I always rub off the dirt before washing in a "wanted to throw away" plastic bag. And If you have a garden, rinse the egg there, so that the dirt won't clog your sink.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Green Curry Chicken, again

I didn’t plan to do this, but then I saw Thai basil in Jusco!!!! OMG, I just got to make something with that, and on yeah, green curry. It’s been dog years since I’ve done that. And this time, I’m gonna use cumin with it as well, it’s supposed to have cumin, just that I didn’t have that last time, so now, I’m gonna use that too.

750gm chicken pieces, chopped into smaller pieces and marinate with 1 tsp salt for 30 minutes
1 russet potato or any other floury potatoes, peeled and cubed

8 green chillies (seeds partially removed, I keep some for the heat)
2 lemon grass (4 inches from the base)
3-4 shallots
2 cloves garlic
Thumb sized ginger
Pinkie sized belacan/shrimp paste
1 Tbsp oil

(C )
1 tbsp coriander seeds
½ Tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black pepper

200ml thick coconut milk
Salt to taste
Oil for cooking
Handful of Thai basil

1. Blend (B) plus 3 Tbsp coconut cream (skim the top of the 200ml coconut milk) until it becomes a smooth paste
2. Mill (C ) until fine
3. Heat wok and put in 1 tbsp oil and fry (c ) until fragrant, put in (B) and cook until it is very fragrant.
4. Put in chicken and potatoes. Cook for 2 minutes
5. Put in water to cover chicken and cook until potato turns tender.
6. Reduce gravy to desired amount and put in coconut milk. Season with salt.
7. When curry has come to a boil, put in basil leaves and give it a toss and dish up. Serve hot with rice.

Note: If you do not own a food processor like me, but own a blender than comes with a mill, you can do this. To make a smoother paste, divide ingredients B into 3 parts, except the oil. Mill each part until they all get mushed up. Put all mushed up (B) into the blender, then 1 Tbsp oil and 3 tbsp coconut cream, then puree until fine. This way, your green curry paste will be very fine.

Liquidizers or Blenders are not the same stuff back in 20 years ago. I remember the first blender at home was so sharp, that we can just blitz anything, and they will turn superfine in just seconds. Even pandan leaves, and the mill that came with it could make a fine sambal paste or fine garlic paste for my garlic bread. Nowadays, it’s no longer the same story. My so called “Microcutter blender” doesn’t even blend as fine as my regular National blender. Pandan leaves are a chore to it, and I had to snip them real fine to relieve the motor of hard work. And I never get the same smooth fine chili paste that I could get with my old mill. Don’t even talk about milling 2 cloves of garlic that my old one could do a fine job with. They may have come from the same brand (old was National, new was Panasonic, they were practically the same company renamed). Where is the old quality??? Gone with the name, I guess.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Some Cakes that Were Never Posted n Something Special for my Readers

My dear readers,

Now, CSN stores contacted me for a giveaway to my readers.

Darn, how I wish the giveaway is for me to keep.
If I get the voucher, I'll get myself a Dutch Oven. Or a set, maybe
Darn it. So many of it is on offer.
This set, is going from $399.99 to $199.95. A Whopping 50% discount!!

But it's still a bit expensive for my means.
Then I saw another one that I like, and a lot lot cheaper. At just $49.95

But the coupon is for my readers, not for me. ;(
 I can't buy

So, what voucher did  gave me????
It's a one-time-use $65 gift certificate to use as they wish on any of their websites, including but only for readers with US or Canadian residents.
It's more than enough to get the 2nd Dutch oven.

How to enter??
Just visit any their sites and leave me a comment that includes
1. A link to the product that you would want to get with that voucher
2. What will you do with the selected product.
Anonymous comments will not be counted. I need a name at least

Any submissions without a link or your intention with the product will not be counted and I will be very strict with this. One submission per person.
When people give you free stuff, it's only fair that you really put the effort in and visit their sites.
If not why would they want to give you the voucher.
OK, so be nice and pay them a nice visit,
Go see what they have and tell me what u want and what you want to do with it.

Submissions will be closed on Sept 23 2010 12pm +8.00GMT
Results will be out on my birthday.
When will that be? You will know in good time
Let me warn you in advance,
The winner has to contact me after I announce it.
I won't be running after you to send you the voucher.
If the winner doesn't contact me after 48 hours upon announcement,
I'll select another winner in replacement.
No arguments about this!! You have been warned before hand before you even submit,..
This is to avoid giveaway scouts who go everywhere just to win giveaways.
I'd prefer my genuine reader to get the voucher and put it into good use.

Now for the main course.....

A showcase of the "never posted" pics of cakes
Actually there are a lot more but they have gone down the drain when my desktop burnt early 2009.

Moist Chocolate Cake with Condensed Milk Chocolate frosting. I always make this for gifts when I go to someone's house, because it doesn't need to be kept chilled throughout the journey and one can never go wrong with chocolate when the recipient has kids.

Orange Yogurt Muffin Cakes, made into cuppies, very popular with my neighbours.
Can be said as the most popular cake.

Marble All Butter Cake, adapted from Aunty Yochana . I made this cake a few times actually and there was once, I missed this cake so much, I can't sleep. I managed to catch a wink much later but when I woke up, I made this cake asap. Delicious!!!!

Apricot teacakes, adapted from Tartelette. Made ages ago, I think almost 2 years back? I loved the teacakes but I didn't post them

A failed chiffon experiment actually. Strawberry and lemon chiffon cake. I wasn't happy with the colour. Made early 2009

Jess of Bakericious, I wonder if you remembered told you, I made a similiar cake like yours??? This was it. Peach Yogurt Cake. Made for Father's Day 2009.

Easy Surabaya Cake. Made with lots of egg yolks, but with sponge mix :) A real spin off from the real thing. Lazy bum cake. Made late 2009.

Yogurt Peach Cheeescake. Adapted from Alex Goh's I forgot which book.
Made April 2009

A birthday cake for neighbour Maria's grandson. He can't eat anything chilled, so a Moist Chocolate Cake, topped with cute aquatic animals.
Made in 2009 too.

Pumpkin Cuppies. My own recipe. Made with some ultra wrinkled pumpkin, and it was so dried, the flesh was very concentrated in flavour. The texture was very nice and delicate. But I never posted it, because it won't be the same when made with fresh plump pumpkins. I can't ask you to purposely dry up some pumpkins. Made April 2009.

That's all folks.
I need to clean my photo bank.
Now that you've seen them, I can delete them.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Southern Pinch Biscuits

Mine look so much different from the recipe source.

At first I thought it was some sort of bread, but no, it's a scone.
Southern US calls scones biscuits. I only knew that after making this.

And it's after I make this, that I found out that many of them who made them smooth (looks like bread), swear by White Lily Self Raising Flour. Gosh, where can I get this??? It's impossible. I might have changed the shortening to butter and slightly changed the method, but hey, I don't think that would've made them not smooth, because some recipes on the internet use butter as well.Anyway, these flatter scones taste great and remain soft the next day and the next. Not soft like cake, soft like a good scone, but not dry like a cookie. It's the yogurt!!!

I made 2 batches, because the first one was a bit too tall.
This one below is my first batch. Making them in a 8 inch square pan makes them about 1.5inch tall after baking. I followed the intruction exactly, but with cold butter. Not smooth. So, I immediately made a second batch, with melted butter to see if it'll be better.....

And this is my 2nd batch, baked in a 10 inch pan. Any better???? Haha, can't compare as one is unbaked and one is baked, but I can tell you that they look pretty similiar, except for the thickness.

Southern Pinch Biscuits Recipe adapted to local ingredients
300gm cake/superfine flour or self raising flour
1 Tbsp baking powder (omit this if using self raising flour)
1/2 tsp salt (omit this if using self raising flour)
2 Tbsp sugar (some sweetness will be nice, but it's not obviously sweet, it only makes it taste nicer)
80gm butter, melted
180gm plain yogurt (substitute for buttermilk)

1. Preheat oven to 200/220C
2. Sift both flours and baking powder together.
3. Mix with sugar and salt.
4. Pour yogurt and melted butter into dry ingredients and work through to form a soft but non sticky dough. Do not knead too much.
5. Divide dough into 9 pieces and gently roll into balls.
6. Arrange balls into a 9 or 10 inch greased shallow pan
7. Press down balls with your knuckles to make indentation. The dough will be flattened as well.
8. Bake for 20 minutes.

Keep them airtight in the fridge, and whenever you feel like eating,
zap on high for 20 seconds and yummy, warm scones..
Oh sorry, biscuits.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chocolate Banana Cake

I made this cake for my brother in law few weeks back. It was a surprise cake for him..

Actually I only knew that day was his birthday at 2.30pm. And Mother in Law asked us out for dinner to have a surprise celebration for him. 2.30pm, and dinner at 6.30pm. 4 hours!!!!! What can I do in 4 hours???

I knew he likes chocolate and I had some nice Dole bananas at home. So, I quickly made chocolate ganache and kept it chilled while I baked the sponge. Then I had to wait for the cake to cool down totally before filling it. When it was cool enough, I whipped half the ganache to lighten it and then quickly filled the cake with the whipped ganache and some sliced bananas.

Then I found that I don't have enough whipped ganache for the covering. I then remembered I had a bag of croquants, then I covered the sides with it, and used the unwhipped ganache to make decorative swirls around the cake, which was hedious, because the ganache was rather too firm.

The Chinese name for my BIL was badly done, I piped a few layers for the words as some parts were thicker, some parts thinner. Well, after everything was done, I quickly popped it into the freezer for a while before I photographed it. Then popped it back into the freezer until dinner time. It was already 5.30pm!!!

Dinner time. My brother in law didn't suspect anything. Dinner went on as usual at a restaurant. Well, we eat out often, so there was nothing special about that. But at the end of it, the cake came out and he was delighted!!!!! Lydia was thinking of blowing candles, but then we told her, no, it's Jik Jik's cake (Jik Jik means uncle, younger brother of father in Hokkien, a Chinese dialect)

Everybody enjoyed the cake, especially my MIL, she said it's her first time eating a fresh banana cake.
My FIL didn't eat much that night, because he was full, eventhough I have warned everybody about dessert, but the next day, he was searching for the cake, ahahah!!!! But he came slightly too late. The cake was finished just before he asked.

I did some mistakes with this cake.... the sponge wasn't dark enough. Maybe I didn't use cocoa powder, but used melted chocolate for the sponge. The whipped ganache filling wasn't discernable visually, but looked absolutely homogenous with the sponge. Sigh.... but nontheless, everybody enjoyed the cake.

With the next shot, the filling is slightly discernable from the cake

I will make this cake again, if ever it gets requested, and I will definately not do the same sponge again.


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