Tuesday, October 30, 2012


With a bowl of cake scraps and some butter cream left after making my Cinderella Fondant Cake, I decided to make some 棒棒蛋糕 or cake pops, as more commonly known here.  Just like how I cook, I went "free and easy" on the amount of cake scraps and butter cream.  Mistake!  The mashed-up cake was too soft.  I added too much cream.  Though the cake pops hardened up nicely after popping them into the fridge, you need to eat them straight out from the fridge.  Else, the centre will turn “心太软” ...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cinderella Fondant Cake

This Cinderella cake is for my neighbour's little girl, who is celebrating her fourth birthday today.  We always called her, mei mei,  as she is the youngest in her family.  mei mei is a sweet and petite little girl.  She can really melt your heart with her bright lovely eyes and naturally wavy hair.  When she was around 2 years old, she looked just like a doll, running about with her rag doll and precious pillow.  

This is my second princess fondant cake.   With the experience of making my first princess fondant cake, this cake is comparatively easier to handle.  But, I am still pretty nervous when comes to fondant cake.  The rolling part is fine, but when comes to covering the fragile fondant over the cake and the finishing touch, it's still pretty much of a trial and error attempt.  

For the cake itself, it is a combination of vanilla butter cake with mixed berries butter cream.  If you noticed the "hole" in the centre of the cake, yes, that's where I will slide the doll in.  If you intend to make your doll cake, here are briefly the preparation steps:

1) Bake the cakes, preferably one day ahead.  Freshly baked cakes are soft and not so easy to handle.  Given the weight of fondant, cream and layer of cakes, I prefer butter cakes to sponge cake.

2) Prepare your butter cream fillings in advance and keep chill in the fridge.  To use, remove butter cream from fridge, let it rest at room temperature.  Beat to smooth again before spreading in between cake layers.

3) Get ready your fondant (store-bought or home-made) and prepare the required amount in their various colours.  Wrap the fondant with plastic wraps till ready for use.  If making fondant flowers, ribbons, bows etc, make them a few days in advance, so that they will dry up and stay in shape.

4) Slice the cake, apply cream between layers.  Place in fridge to chill for about 30 minutes for the butter cream to set.  Remove, trim the cake to shape like a gown.  Then apply a thin layer of butter cream all over the cake (this will act as the glue to hold the fondant in place).  Chill in fridge again for about 30 minutes.
[Note:  To make trimming easier, I stack the cakes from biggest to smallest rounds]

5) Roll out your fondant (remember to dust with icing sugar frequently to prevent sticking) and wrap the fondant around the cake.  For our wet and humid weather, it is easier to work your fondant in air-conditioned room. 

Happy Birthday, mei mei.  Hope you have a wonderful day celebrating your birthday!  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Okonomiyaki ~ Japanese Savory Pancake

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake, where you add "whatever ingredients you want" in the pancake.  The main ingredients include shredded cabbage, grated yam, which are combined together in a batter using flour, egg and water/or dashi stock.  Optional ingredients can be bacon, pork belly, octopus, prawns, cheese etc.... or okonomi, i.e. "what you want".  After cooking, the okonomi sauce, a sweetened brown sauce is spread on the pancake, followed with a sprinkle of bonito flakes and/or seaweed and Japanese mayonnaise.

My few simple ingredients

I prepared this okonomiyaki for lunch.  It was a last minute decision to cook this, as I was running out of ideas of what to prepare for lunch.  While I browsed through the few items left in my fridge (I was clearing out stock before shopping), an idea came to my mind - using whatever I had in fridge for a Japanese pancake which my girl loves to eat (and that costs over S$10 in a restaurant!!).  I gathered a few cabbage leaves, half a grated carrot, two pieces of leftover ngoh hiang (fried meat rolls) from my previous night's dinner, a small handful of sakura ebi (樱花虾), two eggs and some chopped spring onions.  I had a small bottle of sauce from a Japanese restaurant (for my previous takeaway Katsu meal), which is just prefect for the okonomiyaki. 

To prepare, combine the flour, egg, water (or dashi stock) and stir in the ingredients till you have a thick batter.  Pan fry the batter on both sides till golden brown and serve hot with your favorite toppings.  If using bacon or pork belly, pan fry separately till nice and crispy before pouring in the vegetable batter.  I added a fried egg for my okonomiyaki, since I did not have much "other ingredients" in the pancake.  I did not have any grated yam on hand, so I omitted that as well.  

(serves 2)

4 to 5 small round cabbage leaves, thinly shredded
1/2 carrot, grated
1 tsp grated ginger
Your choice of "other ingredients"
( I used sakura ebi~lightly toasted, ngoh hiang~sliced, chopped spring onion)
1/2 cup plain flour
80 to 90ml water or dashi stock (I used water + 1 tsp dashi stock powder)
1 egg
Salt/pepper to taste

1 egg, beaten
Okonomi sauce - enough to spread on pancake
Japanese mayonnaise
Bonito flakes
Spring onion, chopped

1) In a bowl, whisk together the flour, egg and water (or dashi stock).  Stir in the shredded cabbages, grated carrot, grated ginger, some chopped spring onion and sakura ebi.  Season with a little salt/pepper. 
(Note:  Keep some chopped spring onion and sakura ebi as garnish.)

2) Heat up a frying pan over medium heat and add a little oil to the pan.  Pour in the prepared batter and flatten to form a round thick pancake ~ about 1.5cm thick.  Arrange the sliced ngoh hiang on the pancake.  Cover and cook the pancake for about 2 minutes.  Remove cover and shake the pan a little.  As you shake the pan, listen for a crispy sound at the bottom of the cooked side and check that the batter has set.  Flip over the pancake, cover and cook the other side till golden brown.
(Note:  If you flip the pancake before the batter has set properly, it may break into pieces.)

3) Slide the pancake onto a plate.  With the remaining oil in the pan (or add a little more oil, if necessary), pour in the beaten egg.  Quickly slide the pancake back into the pan, so that the fried egg will stick nicely on the pancake.  Cover and cook for about another minute.  When you remove the cover, the pancake will be nice and thick.  Flip the pancake over again, so that the fried egg is on top.

4) Spread the okonomi sauce on the pancake.  Next, squeeze mayonnaise, sprinkle bonito flakes and the remaining chopped spring onion and sakura ebi over the pancake.  Serve the pancake immediately.

Enjoy your okonomiyaki while you watch the dancing bonito flakes!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hearty Vegetable Lasagna

Look at these beautiful colours!

I love a variety of vegetables and the beautiful colours they add to a dish. This lasagna tastes so good and yummy that you will not know that it is actually a meatless lasagna!  No MSG added, just season with a little salt and pepper ^_^

Bell peppers, carrots, onion, brinjal,  king oyster mushroom, celery

The first step in preparing this vegetable lasagna is to cook the tomato based sauce.  As it takes a fair bit of work to chop up the vegetables and to cook the sauce, I will usually cook a big pot and freeze the remaining sauce in small tubs for future meals.  

Chunky Tomato Based Sauce

A few extra steps for a rich and tasty tomato-based sauce:

1) Add a few olive oil-soaked sun-dried tomatoes (about 3 to 4).  Sun-dried tomatoes adds a rich and intense flavour to the sauce.  Cut into thin slices before adding to the sauce.

2) Grill the vegetables to bring out their sweetness and full flavour.  I usually grill bell peppers, zucchini, brinjal etc before adding to the sauce.

3) Add fresh or dried herbs.  Instead of getting a variety of herbs, for simplicity, I just keep a handy bottle of Italian mixed dried herbs in the fridge.

Vegetables, as shown in above picture
450g whole tomatoes and juice, canned
200g tomato sauce or puree, canned
4 sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 to 5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
1 cup of water or less

To prepare the tomato sauce:
1) Cut carrots, celery, onions, king oyster mushroom into small cubes.  
2) Cut the bell peppers into halves.  Remove and discard the seeds.  Place bell peppers on baking dish and brush with a little oil and a pinch of salt.  Grill the peppers in preheated oven at 200C till skin is charred.  Remove and wrap the bell peppers loosely with foil (or cover with another baking dish).  After 10 minutes, peel off the charred skin and cut into small cubes (Note: covering the bell pepper after grilling allows the skin to peel off easily).
3) Heat up a sauce pot, add some olive oil.  Cook the chopped carrots and celery over medium-low heat.  Cover and stir frequently.   Cook  for about 5 minutes to soften the vegetables.  Remove and set aside.
4) Add a little more olive oil to the sauce pot and adjust to medium heat.  Add in the chopped onion.  When it turns translucent, add the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and herbs.  When aromatic, add the king oyster mushrooms.  Once the mushroom softens a little, add in the grilled peppers and cooked carrots/celery.  Stir in the canned tomatoes/sauce and a little water.
5) Cover, bring to boil and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Note: I used about half the sauce for this lasagna and freeze the rest in small tubs.

Pan-grill the brinjal before adding to the lasagna

To assemble lasagna:
(makes one 8" square dish, serves about 3 to 4 persons)

Tomato-based sauce (see above)
White sauce (see below)
8 no-boil lasagna sheets
1 to 2 medium-sized brinjal, thinly sliced & pan-grilled
80g feta cheese, crumbled
50g shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella etc)
50g grated Parmesan cheese 

1) Grease the baking dish.
2) Spread 1/4 of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.  Place a layer of the lasagna sheets (I used 2 sheets per layer to fit my baking dish).  Spread a little white sauce (about 1/5 portion) over the lasagna sheets.  Place a layer of grilled brinjal on the white sauce and sprinkle some crumbled feta cheese over it.  Repeat to make 3 more layers, ending with remaining white sauce on top to fully cover the lasagna sheets.  Sprinkle the shredded cheese and grated Parmesan cheese on top.
3) Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven at 200C for about 30 minutes.  Remove oil and bake in oven at 180C for another 15 minutes or till top is golden brown.
4) Remove from oven and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. 

To prepare white sauce:

2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp oil
600ml milk
100g shredded cheese
Salt/pepper to taste

1) Heat a sauce pot over low heat, place butter and oil.  Get ready a small balloon whisk.  Once butter has melted, add in the plain flour.  Whisk the flour to combine with the melted butter and cook for about a minute. 
2) Add in the milk, a little at a time.  Whisk the mixture to prevent the flour from getting lumpy.  Add in all the milk and simmer the sauce for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Stir in-between cooking.  Add in the shredded cheese and stir till the cheese melts into the sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Turkish Figs Buns

Fresh and dried figs, dried apricots and cranberries, pecan nuts and pumpkin seeds

I bought home a big bag of dried figs during my last holiday trip to Turkey.  Turkish figs are moist, sweet and tasty as a healthy snack.  It is huge in comparison to the usual dried figs (无花果) used for making Chinese soup.  For these buns, I used both the dried and fresh figs, plus a handful of healthy dried fruits and nuts.  

Recently, Fairprice supermarket (or NTUC as commonly known) brought in many fresh figs from Turkey.  At S$5.20 for a small pack of four fresh figs, the price is relatively high compared to a wide variety of fresh fruits available. But considering that fresh figs are hardly seen in Singapore, I was so excited that I bought one pack immediately (and another pack few days later!).  These fresh figs are sweet and tasty!   I used two figs for making Figs and Grilled Chicken Salad and the remaining two for these buns.

I decorated the buns with sliced figs and a pecan halves.  Unless you make a deeper cut at the top of the buns, the sliced figs and pecan tend to slide down from the top during baking.  Perhaps, next time I will just chop the pecan nuts and sprinkle on top, instead of keeping them whole.  

(makes 8 buns)

250g bread flour
50g plain flour (or wholemeal flour for a healthier version)
5g instant dried yeast
1 egg
40g fine sugar
100ml milk
40ml dairy cream (or replaced with all milk)
30g salted butter

Fillings: A variety of dried fruits and nuts, chopped
(Note:  For nuts, roast them in oven at 160C for about 10 minutes.  For dried fruits, I soaked the chopped cranberries and apricots with a little orange juice.

1) Combine all bread dough ingredients into mixer (except butter) and knead to a soft dough.  Add in butter and continue to knead to a soft and elastic dough.  Cover and rest the dough for about 45 minutes till doubled in size. 

2) Divide the dough into 8 portions.  Roll out each portion into a rectangular shape.  Sprinkle chopped dried fruits and nuts over the dough.  Roll up the dough and pinch the end.  Cover and let the buns rest for another 40 to 45 minutes.

3) Grease the blade of a small knife with a little oil.  Gently make a cut at the top of each bun by sliding the knife across the surface of the bun.  Place sliced fresh figs and pecan halves on the buns.

4) Bake in preheated oven of 190C for about 12 minutes.  Remove buns from oven, cool slightly and transfer to rack to cool completely.

I was at Phoon Huat, Clementi Branch and saw some Turkish dried figs (kept in fridge), S$18 for a one kilogram pack.  So if you are interested in getting some Turkish dried figs, you know where to source for it ;)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Fong's Kitchen!

Fong's Kitchen turns 2 today!   To mark this occasion, I especially bake and decorate this underwater theme fondant cake.  As I was out since early morning till late afternoon, it was quite a rush to decorate the cake.    Phew.... this must be my fastest-to-complete fondant cake to date ....  I completed it by late evening before taking a break for dinner.

This is a light vanilla butter cake with wild berries butter cream.  I baked the cake and prepared the butter cream the day before and kept them in the fridge.  So if you're thinking why the fondant seems a little wet, yes... it is the condensation from the chilled butter cake.  Well never mind, the wet-look makes the blue sea looks more realistic, yeah ;)

For the decorative details, I used seashell and starfish moulds to make those cute little shells.  Love the pastel colours combination.  The green and orange seaweeds were royal icing which I piped using round tip #2.  The white "waves" at the bottom border is again royal icing with star nozzle #21.  The "sands" were crushed digestive biscuits.

Since my first post on 20 October 2010, Fong Kitchen has posted a total of 377 posts.  The highest page views to-date is my Princess Barbie Doll Cake, followed by Pandan Kaya Cake and Soon Kueh.  Thank you for dropping by my blog and leaving me your valuable comments.  Recipes that I posted here are mostly hours of experimenting in my humble kitchen.  I truly enjoy cooking and baking, and glad to share this passion through Fong's Kitchen.  Every new creation gives me joy and motivation for the next creation.

Why an underwater theme for my 2nd blog anniversary?  Cos' I just went to Underwater World, Sentosa this afternoon!  Here are some lovely shots taken today:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fig & Grilled Chicken Salad w/ Honey Citron Dressing

Fig and Grilled Chicken Salad

My weekday dinner is usually light and simple, preferably meals that could be prepared within an hour.  Soup with a meat, vegetable, fish or tofu dish is the norm.  Simmering soups take longer to cook, but the actual preparation time is very short, plus there's not much cleaning to do after cooking.  This fig salad dinner took me the whole day from mid-morning till evening to prepare ..... with many breaks taken in-between ;)

Salad goes with soup, and soup goes well with bread.... so, the first thing I did is to bake my bread.  By noon, my Pumpkin and Honey Citron Bread was out from the oven.  With the extra roasted pumpkin, I made my creamy pumpkin soup.  I did not follow exact recipe for the pumpkin soup, but preparation is similar to here.  

By afternoon, my bread and soup were ready:

Pumpkin soup with pumpkin citron bread

The delicious salad is very easy to prepare.  The only cooking that you need to do is to grill the chicken (which I pan-grilled for that lovely grilled mark).    For a vegetarian version, just omit the chicken.  The natural sweetness from the figs compliment nicely with the grilled chicken, salad leaves and slight tang citron dressing.  Here's the greens and my bottle of honey citron:

Salad leaves, cherry tomatoes, parsley, fresh figs

(serves 2 to 3)

1 chicken breast
2 to 3 figs, cut into quarter
Handful of cherry tomatoes, cut into quarter
Salad leaves, washed and tear into bite-sized pieces
Small bunch of parsley, chopped
80g feta cheese, crumbled
Handful of lightly toasted nuts, chopped (I omit)

Dressing ~ stir together:
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 to 3 tbsp honey citron
4 to 5 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp soy sauce

1) Marinate chicken breast with light soy sauce, pepper, a little sesame oil and cooking wine.  Keep in fridge to marinate for at least an hour.

2) Heat the grill pan on high heat.  Grill the chicken breast on both sides for a few minutes each till cooked (Note: Cover the pan during grilling helps to cook the chicken faster and locks in the meat juice).  Leave it aside to cool slightly, before cutting the chicken breast into thin slices.

3) While waiting for the chicken to cool after grilling, toss the salad leaves, cherry tomatoes and parsley with half the salad dressing.  Place salad on serving dish.

4) Arrange the sliced chicken, figs, toasted nuts and crumbled the feta cheese over the salad.  Pour the remaining salad dressing over and serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin and Honey Citron Bread

Golden pumpkin bread rolls just out from the oven

I have a habit of cooking or baking with whatever that's available in the kitchen/fridge.  I enjoy the occasional "surprise"  in creating something which I did not plan for.  I still have half a bottle of Korean honey citron in the fridge, some leftover pumpkin seeds (a small pack that I bought for making mooncake) and half a pumpkin left in the fridge.  With these ingredients, I baked these pumpkin bread rolls for dinner and next day's breakfast.

Ready for second proofing

This bread roll recipe is not my usual sweet bun recipe.  I adapted the recipe from Carol's The Second Book of Baking for Beginners, 蜜薯乳酪面包.  I replaced mashed sweet potato with baked mashed pumpkin,  plain honey with honey citron and adjusted the quantity of ingredients used.  Adding mashed pumpkin makes the bread soft and slight chewy.

(makes 8 to 10 bread rolls)

100g pumpkin, baked and mashed - weigh 100g
250g bread flour
50g plain flour or wholemeal flour
1 egg (55g)
5g instant dry yeast
80g cream cheese, room temperature
40g honey citron
1/8 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 tbsp olive oil
70ml water (may not need all the liquid, depends on water content in pumpkin)

Topping: Handful of pumpkin seeds

1) Cut pumpkin into large chunks, remove seeds.  Drizzle a little oil and a pinch of salt over the pumpkin.  Cover lightly with foil and bake in oven at 200C for about 60 minutes or till soft.  Remove, cool and mash the pumpkin.  Use 100g mashed pumpkin for the recipe.
[Note: I roasted more pumpkins than required in the recipe and store the rest.  Alternatively, can steam the pumpkin instead of baking.  But steaming will have more water in the mashed pumpkin]

2) Put all the ingredients in the mixer bowl and knead to a smooth and elastic dough (do not add all the water at one go.  Keep some and add a little if the dough is dry).  Cover and rest the dough till doubled in size (takes about 35 minutes, depending on day temperature).

3) Divide and round the dough into 8 portions (about 80g each).  Place the round buns on lined baking pans.  Brush each bun with a little water and press some pumpkin seeds on each bun.  Let the buns rest for another 30 to 40 minutes, till doubled in size (I keep the buns in closed-door oven or microwave).

4) Bake in preheated oven of 180C for about 15 minutes.

Soft and chewy texture

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wild Berries Citron Crumble Slice

The moment I saw Ann's Raspberry Slice, I knew I wanted to bake it.  And I meant to bake it immediately! I quickly scribbled down the recipe, did some minor adjustment to add a crumble topping and to fit the recipe for my 8" square pan.  Voila... my Wild Berries Citron Crumble Slice, all within 2 hours!

This cake is soft, moist and bursting with flavour from the wild berries, citron and a hint of cinnamon.  Thanks Ann, this is one simple and delicious recipe!  Love this with a cup of tea for a leisurely afternoon treat.

Recipe - for one 8" square pan
(adapted from Anncoo Journal)

120g frozen wild berries (defrost) - can replaced with fresh berries or canned peaches
100g butter, softened slightly
80g fine sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp sour cream
2 eggs (55g each)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp honey citron (or replace with lemon zest)
135g plain flour + 1 tsp baking powder (sift together)
50g milk

Crumble toppings:
4 tbsp brown sugar
5 tbsp plain flour
3 tbsp cold butter
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1) Using a handheld mixer, cream butter, sugar and salt together for a few minutes till light and fluffy.  Add sour cream and beat to combine.  Add in eggs, one at at time.  Mix in vanilla extract and honey citron.

2) Add flour and milk, alternately to butter mixture, mixing well after each addition.  Fold in the wild berries.  Pour into greased and lined baking pan.

3) Rub crumble toppings ingredients together till it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  Sprinkle toppings over the cake mixture.

4) Bake in preheated oven of 180C for about 40 to 45 minutes.  Remove from oven, set to cool for a few minutes before unmould.  Leave it to cool completely before cutting into slices.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Terengganu Braised Chicken

This is the first time I prepare this dish and I am very certain that I will be making it very often from now.  What I love about this dish is the warm homely taste it gives ... 很有家的味道.  This is a dish where the whole family will enjoy ... some may prefer the chicken wings, some may go for the pork belly or perhaps the richly-flavoured hard-boiled eggs.    Me?  I love the dark rich sauce the best.... when drizzle over my bowl of hot steamed rice.  

I made some minor adjustment to the original recipe to suit to my own preference.  Thanks Phong Hong, your grandma's recipe is awesome!

(A) Main ingredients
5 chicken wings (cut into drumlets and mid-joints)
1 piece of pork belly (approx 300g, cut into 1/2" thick pieces)
4 hard-boiled eggs (or more if you prefer)

(B) Blend together into a paste:
12 shallots
3 cloves garlic
1.5 tbsp preserved bean paste (taucheow)

(C) Other spices/seasonings
3 to 4 slices of ginger
2 tbsp kecap manis (dark sweet soy sauce)
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 star anise
500ml water (or more if you like more gravy)


1) Heat up the wok on high heat and add a little oil just to grease the wok lightly.  Add in the sliced pork and ginger slices.  Stir fry briefly for about a minute.  Dish and set aside (this step is not in the original recipe,  but I prefer to wok-fry the pork belly with ginger first for that added aroma).

2) Lower to medium heat.  Add a little more oil to the wok and stir fry the blended paste till fragrant.  Add in the pork belly from step 1 and continue to stir fry till mixture dries up a little.  Add in kecap manis, dark soy sauce, sugar, star anise and water.  Cover, bring to boil and simmer for about 30 minutes.

3) Add in the hard-boiled eggs and chicken wings.  Simmer for another 20 minutes or till chicken is tender.

5) Cover and let the dish rest for another hour before serving.

A quick and easy cabbage stir fry to go with the braised chicken

 I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest , Terengganu Month hosted by Lena of frozen wings .

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Light as a Feather Raspberry Chocolate Tart

I love raspberries, especially with cakes and pastries.  They lent an aromatic tangy flavour to the sweet dessert, making the overall taste light and refreshing.  For this chocolate tart, the lightness does not come from the raspberries, surprisingly ... it is the chocolate mousse and whipped cream!

This chocolate tart recipe was adapted from Angela's lighter chocolate tart (BBC Good Food, Asian Edition, Sep 2012).  Recently, I was hooked on Good Food magazine... love the layout, beautiful pictures, and lots of recipes, tips and ideas.  And so while flipping through the pages, this chocolate tart recipe caught my attention.  The original is a calories/fat-reduced chocolate tart, without any whipped cream or raspberries toppings.  But since I have two punnets of fresh raspberries sitting in my fridge for a few days then, I better clear them out quickly.

Makes one 8" round tart (loose-bottomed pan)

Pastry base:
150g plain flour
70g butter
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp corn oil
1 medium egg yolk
1 tsp rum extract

100g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces 
50ml whipping cream
2 tbsp orange liquor
2 medium egg whites
40g fine brown sugar (can also use fine sugar)
1/4 portion of whipped cream from (B)

Whisk cream and sugar till soft peak, add in melted gelatin and whisk till stiff:
200ml whipping cream + 1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp gelatin powder + 1 tbsp water - combined, warm up till gelatin melts

Fresh raspberries

1) Rub flour and butter together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Sift in cocoa powder and icing sugar.  Mix well before stirring in the corn oil, followed by egg yolk and rum, until the dough comes together.  If the mixture is too dry, add 1 tablespoon cold water.  Wrap the dough in cling wrap and chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
[Note:  Do not over-mix or knead the dough.  Quickly combine all the pastry ingredient together to form a dough]

2) Roll out the dough into a thin sheet (bigger than the tart pan) and cover the dough sheet over the tart pan.  Fit and trim the pastry, prick the base with a fork and chill for 15 minutes in fridge.

3) Blind bake the pastry base for 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 190C.  Remove cover foil/beans and bake further for 10 minutes or till base is cooked.  Set aside to cool.

4) Filling:  Warm up the whipping cream and pour over the dark chocolate.  Stir till chocolate is completely melted.  Set aside to cool before mixing in the orange liquor.  Fold 1/4 portion of whipped cream in (B) to the chocolate (keep remaining whipped cream in fridge till ready to use).

5) Combine egg whites and brown sugar in a bowl and place over a pot of simmering water (without touching the base of the bowl).  Beat the egg whites gently for about 1 to 2 minutes (careful not to cook it!).  Remove the bowl from the hot water and whisk the egg whites to stiff peak.
[Note: You can skip the step of placing the bowl of egg whites over the simmering water if you are comfortable with consuming raw eggs]

6) Fold 1/3 of the whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining whites.

7) Spoon the chocolate filling into the tart shell.  Chill in the fridge for an hour to partially set the chocolate.  Remove the tart from fridge, spoon or pipe the whipped cream over the chocolate mixture and top with fresh raspberries.  Chill in the fridge for another two hours before serving.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Salmon Fish Head Papaya Soup

If you have never used green papaya or unripe papaya in soup, let me assured you that this is a very tasty and nutritious soup.  Some will think of it as a confinement dish for the mummy to boost her supply of breast milk.  I look at it as a beauty soup for ladies - snow fungus, almond kernels, papaya, fish collagen - health food for ladies.  I prepared it for my weekend family meal and everyone loves it!  Cost-wise, it is also very affordable - I spent less than S$6 to prepare this soup for 9 persons.

Salmon fish heads, unripe papaya, almond kernels, snow fungus, honey dates, ginger, red dates

To prepare:
Pan-fry the salmon fish head on both sides in a lightly-oiled wok till light brown.  Bring a pot of water (about 1.5 to 2 litres) to boil.  Add in all the ingredients, bring to boil and then simmer for at least 90 minutes.

Note: Pan-frying the salmon heads removes the fishy smell, keep the fish intact during long cooking and gives that lovely white stock.

Where to buy salmon fish head:
I noticed that Japanese supermarkets sell fresh salmon heads at very affordable price (cheaper than NTUC) and is very fresh.  I bought mine at Isetan Scotts for S$1.40 per fish head (w/o fins), so these salmon heads cost S$2.80.  The fins are sold separately.  For the fish soup, the valuable parts are the bones and the rich fatty tissues that will yield rich tasty soup.

Other dishes for the weekend dinner:

A traditional Cantonese vegetarian dish - braised vegetables with fermented red bean curd sauce (南乳焖斋).

Ingredients used:  Chinese long cabbage, carrot, mung bean noodles (粉丝), baby corns, Chinese dried mushrooms, Enoki mushrooms, button mushrooms, fresh wood ears, green peas, sweet bean sticks (甜竹), bean curd puffs.  

Red Cooked Chicken - this is one of my favorite Malay's dish.   Thanks to Wendy for sharing this yummy recipe.  

Ingredients for making red cooked chicken

Steamed egg - thinly sliced tofu, minced pork and century egg stacked up and pour in egg mixture.  Steam and top with pork floss and spring onion.  Simple and healthy dish.

To prepare:
Marinate minced pork with soy sauce, sesame oil etc.  Brush a thin layer of oil on the steamed plate (to avoid the egg from sticking on it).  Place thinly sliced tofu on the plate (one box of tofu).  Next spread a thin layer of marinated minced pork on the tofu.  Next sprinkle chopped preserved century egg on top.  Beat two eggs, add a little water (not too much as the tofu will release water during steaming) and a pinch of salt.  Steam over medium heat for about 8 minutes.  Sprinkle top with pork floss and spring onion.

My weekend family menu:

Friday, October 5, 2012

Apple, Carrot & Cranberry Tea Bread

It has been more than a year since I lasted baked a tea bread - Zucchini Cranberry Tea Bread.  Tea bread is not really bread, i.e. it has no yeast no bread flour.  I would say it's more like a muffin baked in a loaf pan, since the method of making tea bread is the same as making muffins.  Measure the dry and wet ingredients and combine them together.  Tea bread makes for a filling breakfast and of course, a good snack during tea-break!

Grated apple and carrot for the tea bread

(makes one loaf 5" x 9")

400g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

3 eggs (55g each)
70g brown sugar
70g fine sugar
120ml melted butter/corn oil (I used half butter half corn oil)
120ml milk  + dried cranberries (combined together while gathering the ingredients)
1 tsp vanilla extract

(C) 1 cup grated carrot + 1 cup grated apple

1) Combine ingredients (A) together in a mixing bowl
2) Combine ingredients (B) together in a bowl or measuring jug (I briefly whisked the eggs and sugar together, then add in the rest of the ingredients).
3) Pour combined (B) into (A) and give a few stir to briefly combine the wet and dry ingredients together.  Add in (C) and give a few quick stir.
4) Pour in lined loaf pan and bake in preheated oven at 160C for about 60 minutes.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cactus Snow Fungus Chicken Soup (仙人掌煲鸡汤)

Have you tried this fresh cactus before?  I have seen this on sale in supermarkets for months, but was not convinced enough to make a purchase.  Main concern:  Will the food or soup cooked with the cactus taste weird?  If that's your concern too, I can tell you now:  Cactus soup is tasty with no strange or weird taste at all!  The cactus is bland and the greenish skin does not impart any smell or taste to the soup either.   

When you buy the cactus, there's a simple recipe on the package: Cook the cactus with chicken and honey dates.  I added some snow fungus to it.  To prepare, you need to wash and cut the cactus into big chunks (no need to peel the skin).  Blanch the chicken meat/bones with boiling water.  Bring a pot of water to boil and add all the ingredients.  Bring to boil again and simmer for about 90 minutes.  Add seasoning and it's ready.

For a complete meal, I prepared stir-fry spinach with beech mushroom and yam rice.

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