Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Green Tea Macarons

macarons

My Macarons journey started in late December 2010...when I was given Secrets of Making Macarons by Jose Marechal  as a Christmas present by my sweetie pie, E.
The book became my night read for a couple of months... I would read and re-read... trying to visualize in my head the art of making and baking macarons... day dreaming


All equipment and ingredients were purchased ...and yet no sign of macarons. Kids and H were waiting patiently... waiting
When I finally found my courage... my first attempt was to try out Italian meringue. I followed the 'step by step' stated in the book... they looked good during the drying time 'croutage'... but... Lady Luck was not on my side!!
My first batch was a failure ~ they turned out lopsided...just like a car having 2 of its tyres punctured! The second batch came out from the oven with similar fate...
Devastated... frustrated...  not giving up ...

I was determined and desperate to bake macarons successfully. I left few comments on some blogs... citing the problem I encountered...
Xiaolu of 6Bittersweets and Rima of Bisous A Toi... responded to my SOS.
Xiaolu walked me through her experiences in macarons baking... as well as suggested a few links for further reading by successful macarons bloggers ... 
Rima suggested that I adapt Swiss Meringue... less temperamental than French or Italian meringue.
Thank you Xiaolu and Rima....rose


3rd attempt... back to Italian Meringue. Taking in Xiaolu's advice on the oven hotspot, baking tray and baking sheets...I was getting better results... no more lopsided macarons... except that my mix was not fully incorporated, hence the 'peak'.
4th attempt ~ French Meringue... this time, I over mix the macronage... ripples appeared during baking... visble upon close scrutiny on the photo bottom right hand side...

5th Attempt ~ based on my little 'victory' above...I decided to take up Rima's suggestion of Swiss Meringue and I remembered reading an article Demystifying Macarons from Helene of Tartelette ... not to exceed more than 50 strokes when mixing.

Finally... sweet SUCCESS.... was mine....
my First


Green Tea Macaronsdancing


Phew.... this Macarons making ... reminded me of my first job working under the guidance of Dr Ting, a renown specialist Engineer in KL...  He often reminded us... the nerdy, ambitious young fresh graduatesnerd to be Precise, Concise and Consistent... in our work.  
The same anology could be applied here... well at least the Precise and Consistent ...

Green Tea Macarons for Elphaba...
Well...to conclude:
It was a good week... I successfully made my first batch of Macarons, we celebrated our 19th Anniversary and enjoyed Wicked the Musical... Wicked is playing in Perth now... if you have the chance... dont miss it... it was brilliant!!  

Recipe (makes about 32 macarons shells)
(Recipe adapted from Bisous A Toi; Fillings from  Macaroons by Love Food)
Macronage
80g egg white~room temperature
65g castor sugar
80g almond meal
140g icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon of green tea powder
1/8 teaspoon of green food colouring paste
Filling
55g unsalted butter ~ softened
3 teaspoon of lemon juice
3 tablespoon of green tea powder
115g icing sugar
Preparation ~ 3 days before making macarons ~ separate egg white from yolk. Refrigerate.

  1. Egg white at room temperature
  2. Pulse Almond meal with icicng sugar for 5 minutes. Sieve. Set aside.
  3. Mix the egg white and castor sugar in a heatproof bowl.
  4. Making sure that the bowl will snuggly fit the pot, bring the water to boil then lower the heat to a gentle simmer.
  5. Place the bowl on top of the pot, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the simmering water... aka double boil method.
  6. Whisk the egg white mixture until the sugar is dissolved and the temperature reads 50-55C on the sugar thermometer.
  7. Transfer the egg mixture into the mixing bowl with the balloon attachment.
  8. Add lemon juice.
  9. Whisk on medium speed until soft peak or 'shaving foam' consistency.
  10. Add in food colouring.
  11. Using a flexible silicon spatula, fold in sieved almond and green tea powder into the meringue one third at a time. And start counting the strokes.
  12. Continue to fold until all dry ingredients are fully incorporated and it forms a shiny batter with a thick, ribbon like consistency...
  13. Pour the mixture into a piping bag fitted with 10mm nozzle, and pipe onto prepared baking sheets.
  14. Leave the tray at room temperature for 30 minutes or more until the macarons surface are 'drier' to touch.
  15. Pre heat oven to 150C and bake each tray for 15-20 minutes depending on the oven.
  16. Cool for 10 minutes then carefully peel off the baking sheet.
  17. Leave to cool completely before piping in the filling
  18. Filling~ beat butter, lemon juice until light and fluffy, then add icing sugar and green tea powder.Piped the filling onto the shells.
  19. Macarons tasted better...after an overnight refrigeration

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Apple Fritters with Ice-Cream


What will you do when you have green apples and can't be bothered to whipped up apple pie?
On my lazy days... fritters will be the answer... only upon request from either D or E or H, then I would roll up my sleeves and start making apple pie.winking

I am not keen on deep frying food, first ~ the deep fried food tend to splatter and I have a whole stove to clean plus the floor ... and secondly, its not good for health...
Occasionally... I will not say no to fritters either...

My late father, GOD bless his soul.praying.. on his pay day every month, would come home with 2 bags of goodies... 1 bag of banana fritters and 1 mixed bag of sweet potatoes fritters, tapioca fritters and yam fritters. I loved them all. Sometimes he would come home with Goreng Sukun or Breadfruit fritters (seasonal).

The fritters were fried to perfection... golden colour, crunchy on the outside. And I loved the crunchy fried batter too... My siblings and I used to 'fight' over the crunchy loose bits.... until my dad had enough of our 'uncivilised' behaviour... he would asked from the vendors for an extra bags of just the crunchy loose bits .... called kerak in Malay. Kerak ~ 'droplets' or excess batter, that goes into the hot frying oil, hence deep fried along with the fritters.

Then I moved out from my hometown, Alor Setar to Kuala Lumpur, the fritters weren't the same anymore... sad

What's the secret ingredient in the Batter from Alor Setar?...


The batter is made of rice flour, water with salt added. But the 1 teaspoonful of air kapur or slaked lime water will give the batter its extra crunch...
Kapur or slaked lime or Calcium Hydroxide is used in the cooking...and that is the secret...big grin  click here to find out more.

The price of banana has skyrocket, and sweet potatoes are equally expensive in winter... there's no way that I would buy them now. My alternative is to use Granny Smiths apples, supplies are abundant and much... much cheaper in price  ...
And since the batter uses rice flour instead of plain flour.... makes these gorgeous little delights... gluten -free fritters too.thumbs up..

These golden Apple Fritters are excellent as afternoon tea... even in our cold Perth wintertongue

Recipe
2 Granny Smiths Apples
1 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon air kapur or slaked lime water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water (add 1 tablespoon if it is too thick)
juice of 1 lemon
oil for deep frying
Vanilla Icecream
Crunchy Bar chocolate
icing sugar
ground cinnamon
  1. Squeeze some lemon juice into a bowl of water.
  2. Peel and slice the granny smith into thick slices. Soak the slices in lemon water for few minutes.
  3. Mix the rice flour, air kapur or slaked lime water, water and salt into a thick batter.
  4. Heat up oil to 190C on sugar thermometer.
  5. Pat dry the apple slices and dip into batter and straight into the smoking hot pot.
  6. Deep fry until golden in colour
  7. Dish out onto the kitchen paper.
  8. To serve ~ Either sprinkle some icing sugar and ground cinnamon or top up with a scoop of store bought Vanilla Icecream and sprinkle some crushed Crunchy Bar.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Flu Tea


herbal-tea

We look forward to read the column called 'The Tuckerbox' in the newsletter 'Health, Safety and Environmental Magazine'...issued monthly by the company where H works.  'Tuckerbox' always featured health related or healthy recipes...
I guess it is design to educate its employees to eat better hence better health therefore increase productivity... winking

H came home one day, with June issue... and casually mentioned about the featured recipe for the month... 
H~  this is interesting...
Me~ what is, luv?
H~ this month recipe...
Me ~ a-ha...what is it about?
H ~ Flu tea
Me~ 'still blur'... Oh Ok! what's in the fRuitty?
H~ garlic, ginger...bla..bla...
Me~ 'confused state of mind'confused... errr...  with 'blank look on my face'
At this stage... my brain keep thinking of fRuitty... and for a second I thought H has lost his ability to pronounce letter R and replaced it with letter L... you know sometimes it happened~ the case of slurring, lazy tongue!! it happened to me all the times...hence the word came out as
fLuitty instead of fRuittyworried 

Me~ you meant... fRuitty?
H~ No... Flu Tea... as in Flu...sniffle... sniffle...
Me~ Ohhh!!! Flu Tea....whew!phew!!! that was really confusing...
And I was presented with this Flu Tea a week after our 'confusion' tete-a-tete ... I had runny nose...for 2 consecutive weekends... the body and mind needed pampering and required a lot of attention... as we said it in Malay... 'Manja' time...aka TLC hee hee


This Flu tea was excellent...
The ingredients used such as honey, lemon, garlic and ginger... all has healing factor....
Garlic, ginger and chilli have natural heating effect... that quickly warmed up my tummy.
Thyme was added to help with respiratory...
The taste of garlic...phew... not even dracula would want to kiss me after my first cup...batting eyelashes

Last but not least...I would love to hear ....
  • how do you combat flu, cold? what herbal ingredients, or grandmother's recipe would you resort to?...
drop me a line... it will be interesting to share.... 

Recipe (adapted from Liza Oates ~ Food as Medicine)
2 large garlic cloves or 4 small cloves- crushed
2cm ginger - peeled and chopped
1 red chilli
3 cups of water
sprigs of thyme
lemon
honey (preferably Manuka or Jarrah)
  1. Simmer garlic, ginger and chilli in 3 cups of water for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add a sprigs of Lemon thyme.
  3. Leave it to steep for another 5 minutes.
  4. Strain into a cup.
  5. Squeeze 1/2 a lemon and add a teaspoon of honey into the cup.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gomoku Yakisoba / Five Flavours Noodles

five-flavours-noodles

Yakisoba takes me back to my 'rat race' days... The days that I would be less domesticated... the days that we would often eat out or ordered take aways... the days that I piled on kilos sad...

Japanese restaurants were the 'in-thing' in the gastonomical Kuala Lumpur... almost everywhere... we were able to find Japanese Restaurants.
Some were classier and posh than the rest... Some restaurants were decorated with little Japanese trimmings and yet called themself Japanese Restaurant.winking

Our favourite Japanese joint at that time...was Kiri-Te... We would frequent this restaurant, at least, once a month. Kiri-Te was busy during weekdays with office workers, business lunches and so forth. It was less crowded after office hours... and even less patrons during weekends... except for a few Japanese expats... having their quiet dinner, catching up with news from Japan or  youngsters keeping abreast with Japanese fashions... or kids engrossed with their Manga series...
The food was reasonably priced ... D and E loved it there... Unfortunately, it didnot survive the economic downturn and had since closed its doors ...

Udon and katsuo-bushi
I would order a plate of Yakisoba or Japanese Fried Noodles... almost everytime we ate at Kiri-Te.
It's one of my favourite Japanese noodles. I crave for Yakisoba over any other noodles for its subtle flavours... everything seems to blend harmoniously.

And other attraction is Katsuo-bushi  or bonito flakes used as garnishing... Sprinkle some onto the piping hot Yakisoba and watch these very thin flakes 'dance'... fun to watch ...big grin
Kids will be enchanted by the flakes .... and they will be more than happy to slurp every single noodle strand  ...with the hope that katsuo-bushi would still be 'dancing' in their tummy ...

Try making some Gomoku Yakisoba or Five Flavours Japanese Fried Noodles ... experience the flavours ... and the dancing flakes winking

Recipe (adapted from Masaki Ko)
1 packet of udon
200g chicken breast - thinly sliced
4 1/2 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of ground garlic
1 1/2 cup thinly sliced cabbage
1/2 cup beansprout
1 yellow capsicum - cut into thin strips
1 red capsicum -cut into thin strips
salt and pepper
bonito flakes or katsuo-bushi
seasoning
4 tablespoon Worcester sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Cook the udon as per packet instruction.
  2. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a wok and stir fry the chicken until it is just cooked. Remove from wok.
  3. Wipe the wok with absorbent kitchen paper. 
  4. Add the remaining oil to the hot wok, add garlic, ginger and cabbage. Stir fry for 1 minute.
  5. Add beansprout, stir for another minute then add red and yellow capsicum. And stir fry for another minute.
  6. Return the chicken to the wok.
  7. Add noodles and seasoning.
  8. Season to taste.
  9. Stir-fry until all heated through.
  10. Serve immediately and sprinkle with black pepper and garnish with bonito flakes.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Seasalt Chocolate Marshmallow Swirls


Yay... Time to celebrate and do my boogie-woogie dance...  tongue...

Winter
is here...
Cold nights and mornings... few days in a row, sent the thermometer dipping down to 1 degree Celcius... making the house feels like ONE BIG giant refrigerator.

The coldest part of the day ~ when the sun is about to rise... and that is the gorgeous time to capture the sunrise on camera... cold heavy air... everything basking in shimmering ... golden sunlight... 

Beauty....
Taken at 7.20 am ... in front of our house, as the sun emerge from the horizon...
Hmm... I wonder how King's Park would look like around this time... nah!!! I will not entertain the idea for the moment... prefer my warm comfy bed... on cold mornings...raised eyebrows

And winter is the time to indulge in little pleasures in life....

Hot Chocolate....rock on!

Winter and Hot Chocolate is like marriage made in Heaven... top with marshmallows.... and observe the marshmallow oozes....oooh Heavenly...love struck

It was fun making marshmallows... not that difficult either.... be warn .... it is a very... very... STICKY business.
I had to resort to Rachel Allen's cornflour and icing sugar mix to reduce 'sticky-ness' when handling...
Kids were so impatient...waiting wanting to try homemade marshmallows.... keep checking every now and then ~ 'Is it done yet?' ... and 'Can we eat now?'.

After leaving the tray to set overnight....
voila!!!
my homemade
Marshmallow...
yum
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I have another good news to share...
drum roll.......please...

I am the second place winner for 'Does My Blog Looks Good In This' or abbreviated to DMBLGIT for the month of June 2011.... hop over to Charline's Cuisine to view other winners too...



and this is the badge that I will proudly display on the side bar....
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Recipe (adapted from Donna Hay-issue 57 and Rachel Allen's)
1 1/2 tablespoon gelatine
125ml water
385g caster sugar
160ml light corn syrup
60ml water - extra
50g Lindt Seasalt Dark Chocolate - melted
extra ~ 2 tablespoon of corn flour mix with 2 tablespoon of icing sugar
  1. Mix the gelatine and 125ml water in the mixing bowl. Stir to combine and leave it for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Add sugar, 60ml water and light corn syrup in a heavy base saucepan over high heat. Keep stirring until sugar dissolve.
  3. Start and keep the mixer running on low.
  4. Place sugar thermometer and bring to boil and cook until the temperature reaches 120C.
  5. Gently pour the syrup to the gelatine mixture.
  6. Increase the speed and whisk for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is light, fluffy, meringue like.
  7. When the mixture starts to cool, pour into a 20cm by 20cm baking tray, lined with non-stick baking paper.  
  8. Top with melted dark chocolate and use a skewer to make swirls...
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it to cool at room temperature for at least 5 hours or until set.
  10. Dust the knife with cornflour mixture and cut into squares. 
  11. And dust your fingers with cornflour to coat the sides of marshmallow (it is a very sticky business!!)
Enjoy with a cup of Hot Chocolate....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hakka Bamboo Dumplings/ Soon Pan


soon-pan
Have you tried or heard of Soon Pan (pronounced as soon pun) or Bamboo Dumplings?

We haven't.... and my Hakka man, H, haven't heard or tasted these dumplings before... 
There can be one explanation why my Hakka man has zero knowledge of his 'clan' dish ~ his late mom was from different clan ~Teochew, and obviously  she would have prepared mostly Teochew meals for her family.
Needless to say that H is more familiar with Teochew dishes than Hakka...
take note kids!!! the hand that rocked the craddle~ shape the future and rule the world...hee hee I am refering to me....OK!

~ there are many Chinese clans around the world... dialect, food preparation....  even traditions and customs are different from one clan to another... well ... China is a such a huge country... right?

This is our first time making and tasting Soon Pan  or Hakka Bamboo dumplings
Bamboo dumplings may looked like gyoza or pot sticker... but taste nothing like gyoza.
The skin is chewy... reminded me of the Chinese New Year dish ~ yam abacus beads...happy


on different note: I thought of sharing some good news with everyone by posting this post over the weekend... but then nasty cold took over ... and I had no choice but to stay warm under my doona ... dozing on and off ... the medicine didn't let me stay awake for long either...sad

What was all the excitement about???

Well.....it was about
a new food website ... It was launched on Thursday 30 June...click here to experience Gojee ... and the good news is... you can find me and my recipes there... and many other recipes by other foodies too... Happy Browsing on Gojee.com !!big grin

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I am sending this post to Test with Skewer hosted by Shaz for Muhibbah Malaysian Monday #13

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Recipe (adapted from Agnes Chang)
Filling
4 tablespoon of oil
1 chopped garlic
75g of fresh prawns - deveined, shelled and chopped
1/2 tablespoon of miso paste
200g chicken breast - finely chopped
8 pieces of chinese dried mushrooms - soaked and diced
300 g of bamboo shoots- finely chopped
1 tablespoon of light soy
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
1 chicken stock cube
white pepper
250ml water
Dough for Skin
600g yam -steam and mashed
300g tapioca flour
salt
some boiling water to mix (if necessary)
  1. Prepare the steamer.
  2. Filling ~Heat oil in a wok and saute the garlic and prawns until fragrant. Add miso paste, chicken, mushrooms and fry until the chicken is cooked and fragrant. Add  bamboo shoots and add seasonings. Cook until the mix is slightly on the dry side. Leave it to cool.
  3. For the skin ~ Combine the mashed yam and flour and knead into a soft pliable dough. Roll the dough into a 3mm thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut into a round shape.
  4. Place the filling and wrap to seal it up.
  5. Place on a greased banana leave and steam for 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the dumplings.
  6. Remove and brush with oil.
  7. Serve with chilli sauce.
note : best to cover the dough with damp cloth...the dough will 'dried up' and turns cakey... due to the tapioca flour...