Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Greetings..

Have a wonderful festive holiday and stay safe .......

Till we meet again in 2010

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Choux Pastry

I've been wanting to try my hands on... choux the same time... was a little 'apprehensive' that it may not turn out well as I expected...Watching Laura Calder on TV, making her various 'French' pastry ie choux pastry, chocolate eclair etc... she made everything seems so 'easy'...manage to write down her recipe... but still I was holding back....afraid that it might not 'puff'...
Coincidently... the very same the West Australian Saturday newspaper .... there was this article on one French Pastry chef living in Perth ~Emmanuelle Mollois... gave out his version of choux pastry (recipe below)... literally.. 'pulled' myself together (including my courage... before it decided to chicken out on me again!!)...and the result was ~tremendously puffed... and I was chuffed!!!

  • 120g plain flour - sifted
  • 90g butter
  • 200ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 eggs
In a saucepan, mix milk, butter, salt and sugar. Bring to boil..... Remove from heat and mix in the flour. With a wooden spatula, mix well. Return the saucepan to the stove, and keep stirring the mix until it formed into a ball.

Add egg one at a time. Using a hand held mixer or benchtop mixer, keep mixing the egg and the pastry until the dough is shiny.....

Either use a tablespoon and drop into a dollop on a baking tray or use a piping nozzle (1 inch).

Bake at 200C for 10 minutes, then lower to 180C for another 15 minutes or golden brown.

Cool the hollow choux pastry ... split into 2 and fill the pastry with either cream or custard!!.

Choux Pastry

Monday, December 14, 2009

Gingerbread House...

Miss E and I decided to do something different this Christmas... we took upon ourselves a challenge to do a Gingerbread House... sound ambitious?? was...

So last weekend, we started our Mega project... I baked the components to build the gingerbread house on Friday...hahaha alas...some 'engineering' required in my kitchen....never thought, it'll be of any use... after many years of 'not working and hiding my career' in the closet!!
My first mix for the gingerbread house (adapted from Fun Cakes by Ann Nicol) was a disaster... it shrunk after the fourth 'house component'... hence... my gingerbread house will sure 'tumble' or be like leaning Tower of Pisa....

Oh dear!!.. panic and frantic...I have no other choice but to look for another alternative mix... which luckily I found in the old Super Food Idea magazine...Otherwise... Miss E will be very disappointed....
I adapted its recipe with a little change in the ingredients and the 'size' of the house...

We did the decorations on Saturday....Mr H was expecting ~ "kitchen will ended up like a 'combat zone' with the 2 ladies arguing...."Good to note that there was no 'difference of opinions' ie arguing and nagging...between mother and daughter... it was a good team effort....
After all the hardwork.... I am happy just to look at the house rather than eating.....

For the gingerbread house:
  • 3 1/2 cups of self raising flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 185g butter-chopped
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
Combine flour. ginger cinnamon. sugar and butter in a food processor. Process until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Whisk syrup and eggs together in a jug. Add egg mixture until dough just comes together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth. Cut the dough into two and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or well chilled.

Roll the dough, 1 portion at a time..between 2 sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick. Using the cardboard cut-outs as a guidecut into shapes...Place the gingerbread in a single layer on trays and freeze for 15 minutes or until firm.
Preheat oven to 180C. Bake for 15 minutes. Repeat with the rest. Leave it to completely cool before starting to assemble...

Tip: do check the 'baked' house components against the cardboard cut-outs... carefully trim to size when the 'components' are still warm.... Otherwise the house will not fit!!! (due to expansion)

For Royal Icing:
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 cups of pure icing sugar
Using electric mixer....Beat eggwhites until soft peak form. Gradually add in icing sugar, beating constantly until thick.

To Assemble: Use piping bag.... join walls together. Use unopened cans as support...Leave it to dry before decorating ...

Cardboard cut-outs:

  1. Roof ~ 16.5cm by 20cm (qty -2 )
  2. Side ~ 10cm by 16cm (qty - 2)
  3. Front and back ~ base 18cm, height 10cm with another 10cm high gables (qty-2). Total height - 20cm
  4. small windows - cut out 3cm by3cm
  5. big windows ~ cut out 4.5cm by 4.5 cm
  6. door ~ 8cm by 5cm
  7. chimneys~ 2 trapeziums base 2cm x height 4cm x 2cm; Rectangle 2cmx4cm; square 2cmx2cm

Gingerbread house will keep up to a week.....

Note : All are edible except for my three cute buddies..Mr Penguin, Mr Santa and Mr Snowman.... They are happy to pose with our house!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

raspberry eton mess

Miss E has been asking me..."Mom, when are you going to publish my raspberry eton mess?.. Its been awhile since I made them..."

Yes... sweetie, your mom has been 'sleeping on her job'!! I meant to publish this much earlier but somehow ... kind of miss my 'attention'...sorry my dearest dessert queen... promise to do better next time...

made and decorated by Miss E...isn't she creative? like her mom...hahaha
  • 225g fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 450g strawberries
  • 150ml thick cream
  • 150ml Greek yoghurt
  • 4 meringue nests
Place raspberries and sugar in a saucepan over low heat for 5 minutes until the juices strat to flow, then leave to cool.
Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Pass through the sieve, discarding the solids. Place strawberries in a bowl with the puree raspberries, cream, yoghurt and the meringue. Fold everything together until combine. Spoon into 4 glasses and serve immediately.
~delicious 2003

Friday, December 11, 2009

Prawn Fritters or Cucur Udang

Prawn Fritters... they are so yum to have in the afternoon with kopi O (Malaysian local coffee..)... my mum would serve the prawn fritters with peanut sauce (just like satay sauce)... Prawn fritters sold in the food stall has lost its 'identity' over the years.... there are less prawns used, more flour....

  • 2 cups of Plain flour
  • 400g fresh prawns - roughly chopped
  • 30 cooked prawns - de-vein and shelled
  • 1/2 cup of fresh chives - chopped
  • 2 handful of beansprout
  • 1 teaspoon of tumeric powder
  • salt
  • Sweet Chilli sauce to serve
Mix everything in a mixing bowl... add water adequately to make a smooth batter. Shallow fry in a large frying pan using canola oil. Drop in 2 serving spoonful of the batter into the hot frying pan... top with the cooked prawn. Turn the fritters over once the bottom side is cooked and golden brown in colour. Repeat with the other side... Serve with sweet chilli sauce.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Moroccan Apricot Chicken

Couscous again!!! my kids will be sighing... eventhough I tried to explain to them's pasta.. that comes in different shapes... nobody buys the idea... its just like parmesan or blue cheese... you have to acquire the taste and the smell!! in my kids' case... the shape...fussypots..
They'll finish their dinner .. no doubt...but later they'll be ranscaking the pantry for other so called 'REAL FOOD' according to the two fussypots...

  • 4 chicken breast - trimmed
  • 1 brown onion - thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic - crushed
  • 1 canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 canned chickpeas
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup dried apricot - sliced
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon moroccan seasoning
Using 1 tablespoon olive oil, heat up the frying pan and cook the chicken for 2 minutes on each side or until slightly brown. Transfer to a plate.
Saute onion until soft. Add garlic and seasoning, stir until fragrant. Add honey and tomato paste. Then stir in the diced tomatoes, stock, chickpea and apricot. Bring to boil... then add the chicken, simmer for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Serve with couscous or rice. ~sfi

Monday, December 7, 2009

teriyaki beef noodle salad

Summer is officially here....The sun rises earlier and earlier... it was almost 'hot' by 11 am and all it takes was 2 hours for my washing to be bone dry on the washing line ... Australian sun can be harsh...My kitchen will be less 'smoking' during these long hot summer days...

Nothing beats the nice cool crisps salad on any hot days..yummm....

  • 300g beef steak - marinate with teriyaki sauce overnight
  • packet salad
  • a packet of thin Hokkien noodle (yellow noodle)
Pan fry the beef steak and cut into thin strips. Cook the noodle as per packet instruction. Mix all the ingredients in a salad bowl. salt to taste.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

meringue lemon curd

Browsing through my new cookbook, Mr H Jr wanted to try... to make this dessert. And since I have all the ingredients needed... plus the lemoncurd... I was ecstatic!!.... that my teenage-stuck with computer in his room-son wanted to make some dessert!!! woohoo!!!

Wish that he would be out doing something else more... rather than glued to his computer!! sigh.....

We tried using meringue recipe from Ms Janelle's book but somehow it did not turn out well... its a bit chewy and moist... so its best to adopt the meringue from Donna Hay....

The rest as follows:

Drop the meringue onto a greased baking tray... using a small teaspoon to make a indentation at at the top.
Reduce the oven temperature to 100C and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or more until the meringue is dry to touch....
Spoon a small amount of lemon curd into the indentation and top with raspberry.
Tip: to have a 'drier' meringue... bake longer.....

Friday, December 4, 2009

Debbie's Remedy

Debbie made this 'concoction' drink last winter. As she had just returned from her European Summer holiday and was having a 'tingly' throat... she made this and brought to work... and I had the pleasure of 'tasting' her remedy. It was soothing .... and the ginger quickly warmed up my tummy!! Good for winter and must remember to have this warm ginger drink every winter... and since I am having a 'sniffle'... could do with a cuppa!!!

  • a handful of red dates
  • 4 or 5 honey dates
  • 2 inches of ginger - thinly sliced
  • some rock sugar
  • 4 or 5 chinese rice bowls of water
Everything in a slow cooker, and cook for 4 hours on LOW. Adjust the rock sugar to the level of 'sweetness' to your liking.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chicken, Mushroom, Sundried Tomato Quiche

Its quite easy to make if shortcrust pastry is within reach in the freezer .... Easy... Lazy meal ....

  • 1 cup cooked chicken - shredded
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomato - thinly sliced
  • 200g mushroom - sliced
  • few fresh basil leaves
  • 2 shortcrust pastry - partially thawed
  • 1/2 cup cooking cream
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
Pre heat the oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Using the springform quiche or tart dish, cut up the shortcrust pastry to fit. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Blind bake the pie casing for 10 minutes then carefully remove the beans and continue to bake for another 10 minutes.

In a jug, mix the eggs, parmesan cheese, cream, salt and pepper. Cook the mushroom for 4 minutes, then add cooked chicken, sundried tomatoes and shredded fresh basil leave.

Arrange the mushroom mix in the pie casing, pour in the egg mix carefully...not to over spill. Bake at 180C for another 40-45 minutes .....
Note: I cooked mini quiches for the kids lunch box...using muffin pan...