Monday, May 16, 2016

Frasier Choux: Traditional cake in choux pastry form

This is another recipe tried from Daily Delicious Blog.  I doubled the quantity and made a ring and a few individual choux pastry.  My young son as usual was hovering round the desserts while waiting for it to be served after the photo taking.  Daily Delicious has published a detailed step by step on making choux pastry.  Making this needed quite a bit of effort, other than the choux and cookie dough, the pastry cream and butter cream had to be made.  I simplified 1 step by using store bought non dairy whipping cream instead of making buttercream.  The end product should be equally good.  I asked one of the tasters if the pastry would still be good if only pastry cream was used.  His opinion was the whipping cream added to the texture of the puff and should not be left out.  

These are the single serving choux puffs which were easier to serve instead of a ring one.   I have made both the strawberry and longan version.  The strawberries are a bit tart, and helps to reduce the sweetness and also gives a prettier effect to the puff.  The longan version would be much preferred for those who do not fancy strawberries,  I personally prefer the longan version of this.  

Layered Crepe Cake and White Chocolate Mousse with Mixed Berries

It was a baking frenzy last weekend, making a total of 3 desserts.  It was the side effect from reading Daily Delicious blog. Without hesitation, I tried the Whiite Chocolate Mousse with Mixed Berries.  I shall not re-write the recipe here.  Instead pop over to Daily Delicious blog for the details.  The mix berries goes well with the white chocolate mousse.  Its tangy taste helped to make the white chocolate mousse less "jela" though some tasters preferred to do without the berries.  The white chocolate mousse makes you think of condensed milk.  I made a slight mistake and ended up putting half the portion of gelatin but the mousse was still quite all right while eaten cold.

I made the Mille Crepe Cake using the recipe from The Food Fairy Blog.  I made the cream using pastry cream and ready bought non dairy whipping cream.  The taste of the pastry cream mixed with non dairy was fragrant.  I even added some longan bits in the cake.  I cut the quantity of sugar used by half for the pastry cream as the non dairy whipping cream was already sweetened.  The end product of the cake was a mildly sweetened crepe cake which I will be making for my dad's upcoming birthday celebration next weekend. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

I wanted to try the Tangzhong Method, but decided to use something from an old recipe book I have instead.  The book had 3 methods, straight dough, quick mix and sponge and dough method.

Time is the critical factor in making soft bread.  

Sponge and Dough Method Recipe  (From The World of Bread Making - Alex Goh)

(A) Sponge Dough
2 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp water
420g bread flour
1/2 tbsp sugar
220 ml cold water

(B) Main Dough
120g plain flour
60g bread flour
1 tsp instant yeast
110g sugar
10g salt
20g milk powder
40ml cold water
1 egg
60g butter

Method :
Mix instant yeast and water and set aside for 10 minutes.  (You should see bubbles in the mix after 10mins.  This means the yeast is active.  If after 10 minutes no bubbles seen, the mix should be discarded and try again with new yeast)

Add the rest of the ingredients in (A), knead to form a dough.

Cover the dough with clear film and let it prove for 2 1/2 hours.

Then add the sugar, salt and egg from (B).  Mix till well blended.  The mixture would be sticky and wet.

Add the flour, instant yeast, milk powder and water.  Mix all ingredients till well blended.  Knead to form a dough.

Lastly, add the butter and knead to form a smooth and elastic dough.

Cover with clear film  and prove for 10 minutes.

The dough is now ready for use.

Filling can be of individual preference.

After adding the filling, let the buns rest for 45 minutes or till double the size.

Brush with egg wash before baking at 170C for 15 minutes or till golden brown.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Chicken Pies with Ready Made Puff Pastry

Image result for puff pastry sheets

Mother's Day was spent making Chicken Pies and Sausage bread with my son.  

I used Pampas Puff Pastry for the skin instead of making my own as it is very time consuming.

Chicken Pie Filling Recipe
100g boneless chicken, diced
2 potatoes, diced
50g frozen diced carrots and peas
l onion, diced
1 tsp chicken granules
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
60g cream of chicken
50ml water
Salt and pepper to taste. 

1. Blanch all vegetables and chicken.
2. Heat up 1 tbsp butter, add 1 tbsp flour and cook under low fire for 3 mins to make the roux.  
3. Add blanched chicken and vegetables into roux, stir to mix.
3. Add 50ml water and 60g cream of chicken.  
4.  Add chicken granules, salt and pepper to taste. 

Add some water if the mixture is too thick.  As you do not want the puff to be soggy, the filling should be thick.

Chicken and vegetable portion can be adjusted to individual preference.  More meat can be added if preferred. 

The chicken pies are baked at 180C for about 20 mins or till the pastry of golden brown. 

French Macarons Italian Meringue

After 3 attempts of making macrons using the french method and with frustrations as every batch came out different, with unpredictable outcome, like uneven surface, cracked surface and feetless macron,  I decided to give the Italian Meringue method a try despite the initial hesitation as the Italian Meringue method needed to to boil sugar into a syrup before adding it into the beaten egg white.  

I searched through the internet and decided on this recipe from which gave a quite detail explanation on how to go about making the macrons as well as using the microwave to make the sugar syrup.  I did not use this method as I was not sure how many walts my microwave was.  

I decided to boil the syrup over the stove, though I did not have a cooking thermometer at home, thus I wondered if I would be able to be successful with my attempt.  I read from a website that the sugar syrup is about 118C if you see the pot of syrup bubbling all over and it was also advised not to stir the syrup as it may result in crystallization.  (I guess I did not really need a thermometer afterall)

I was glad that I made this attempt and true to what some bloggers claimed, the Italian meringue method was extremely stable.  I made 3 batches and all came out equally good beautiful.  On top of that I did not have to put up with temperamental macrons.

It is critical to use a very fine sieve to sieve the almond powder and icing sugar.  The superfine grade of almond powder that you can purchase from Phoon Huat is for macrons, but it is a must to sieve the powder through a fine sieve which took me quite a fair bit of time to sieve though 3 batches of almond flour.  I find this the most time consuming part of making macrons. 

I made 3 fillings - Rose Syrup (to replicate the local Bandung flavour, Salted Gula Melaka, and Bittersweet Chocoate Ganache.   

Will I make it again? - Yes, I would want to try out other fillings that will balance out the sweetness from the shell.  

Monday, April 18, 2016

Swiss Mushroom Pork Burger Recipe

Pork Patty Recipe
300g minced pork
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk of coriander, chopped
1/2 tsp chicken powder
1/4 tsp sugar
Salt, pepper to taste

Mix the above well, divide into 2 to 3 patties, chill for 30 mins.
Heat 2 tbsp oil, pan fry patties under low heat till cooked on both sides.

Stir Fried Mushroom
1 box of brown button mushroom, sliced
1 tsp chopped garlic.
2 tsp oyster sauce

- Stir fry garlic to fragrant.
- Add mushroom and oyster sauce, stir fry till cooked

* Thicken the mushroom with a bit if corn starch solution to thicken the gravy of the stir fried mushroom

To Assemble the Burger
* Slice burger buns into half, spread with some butter and toast till slightly brown.
* Place a slice of cheese on top of the pork patty immediately after it is cooked.
* Top with stir fried mushroom and sliced tomatoes or lettuce if preferred

Baked Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
* Drizzle olive oil and some salt and pepper on potatoes
* Drizzle only oil on sweet potatoes
* Bake for 35 mins at 180 degrees
* Serve with burgers

1 for 1 Buffet @ Atrium Holiday Inn

Went for this 1 for 1 buffet last Saturday at Holiday Inn Atrium which is located at Outram Road. The restaurant was renovated last year.  The place had tall big windows which made the restaurant very bright and cheery.   Though it was under the 1 for 1 promotion, the food was of good standard.   The daylight brightness through the windows made the food look appetizing as well. 
There was quite a few selections at the chilled seafood counter such as cold prawns, crabs, mussels, scallops and some snails.   The items were placed sparingly giving it a clean presentation.  The items were topped up regularly.  There were also a few dips such as thai chilli, vinegar, Tabasco sauce to go with these seafood.

The salad counter was quite small but sufficient as most people would not really eat salads at a buffet. There were also a few dressings to go with them.  A variety of sushi was also available as well as cold soba noodles.  They served fresh tuna and salmon slices as well which the chef will serve you upon request to ensure the freshness of the fish.

There were also a few mixed salads such as Achar, jelly fish, smoked duck salad, fruit salad and some variety of hams and pepperoni.  I tried the smoked duck salad which was quite good.  However, I did find the jelly fish not crunch enough.

They even served roasted pork and roast chicken last Saturday.  The roast pork was good as it was not too salty.  The roast chicken looks good too though I did not manage to try.

There were about 6 hot dishes at the buffet like the above.  I tried the pasta which was quite good with some Parmesan cheese.   There were also mini burger patty and stir fried beef which tasted average, but the rendang beef was quite good.  Besides the hot dishes, there were also chicken porridge, broccoli soup and a small selection of dim sum. They served chicken and mutton satay which was freshly grilled upon request.  The satay meat was cooked till just right, two thumbs up for the satay.

There was a hot sour noodle but I thought would be better if the restaurant served some local noodles like mee siam, laksa or mee rebus.  

There was also a small section at the buffet for children as well as plastic plates for children.  The selection of pizza was placed at a lightly lower level counter so that children could help themselves. 

The fruits and pastries spread was not huge but sufficient.  There was also a small chocolate fondue that you dip strawberries and marshmallows into.  The Yuzu jelly with pomelo was refreshing though I found the Pandan Panna Cotta a bit too hard, a little less gelatin would have made it better.

The manager assisted to arrange something for us to sing a birthday song for my son since this meal was meant to celebrate his birthday.  

More Details on the buffet can be found at the Holiday Inn Atrium website.
Weekends High Tea (Sat and Sun) is served from 12pm to 3.30pm at $50++.
For 1 for 1, the spread is considered acceptable.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Charcoal Grill Seafood @ JB Bukit Indah

Visited this place over last weekend.  Seems like eating tiered steamed seafood is the current trend now.  It was something new to see all the food steamed in a tall 9 tier steamer.  The seafood are steamed with minimal or no seasoning.  The whole idea is to taste the freshness of the seafood.  They provided a few simple dipping sauce made of fish sauce or just chilli padi with soya sauce.   There was a oily sauce that tasted like some BBQ dripping.   All the steamed seafood dripping would drip down to the bottom last tier which consists of a soup with some cabbage and tung hoon. Perhaps due to the multiple layers of seafood, the soup had an overwhelming fishy taste.  

The 9 tier seafood costs RM495.  We ordered some other times like fried chicken wings which in my son's opinion was kind of tasteless.  I found the chilli paste on the grilled stingray quite spicy.  The roast chicken tasted normal.  We also ordered sambal balachan fried rice which is not in the photos. That was quite fragrant.  Total damage - RM 650.  Not cheap and I would prefer to eat something nicer if I was paying that price. 

Address found below:
Charcoal Grill Seafood 
18 Jalan Bestari 3/2 81300, Taman Nuss Bestari, Johor Skudai, Johor Malaysia

It is opposite Tesco Bukit Indah, at one of the shophouses on the right of Giant supermarket.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Diamond Kitchen @ Science Park Drive

I would call this a high class zhi cha eating place with air condition.  Visited this place last Sunday for dinner.   The Pumpkin Tofu was quite unique.  People who loves pumpkins may love this.  I prefer Crispy Fried Bean Curd with Chicken Floss.  The salted egg squid was quite usuall. I found the chef recommendation Champagne Pork Ribs was a bit dry.  

I did not try the Sauna Prawn but apparently is just to appreciate the freshness of the prawns. Stir Fry Nai Bai with Bacon was quite unique though, something different to eat vegetables with fried bacon. My personal favourite was the Beehoon La La.  I usually do not like Hokkien Noodles as some places tends to overcooks the noodles and they become soggy.  The Hokkien Noodle here to my surprise did not have the super strong 'ki' taste and the noodles were cooked just right.  

Have a look at their website here Diamond Kitchen for their menu and prices as well as their contact. Reservations recommended as it seems like a popular place.  They provide free valet parking as well. 

Little Diner @ Bukit Timah

Visited this cafe a few weeks back after reading some positive reviews from the Internet.  The place is quite small, thus would be better to make reservations before visiting. 

We tried the Oreo Milkshake, Wild Mushroom Soup which has truffle oil added in the soup.  I did see some oil on the soup but did not really taste much of the truffle.  We tried the Rosario’s Fried Risotto Balls which was good.  It came with a cheese filling which the children loved.  

The American Buttermilk Fried Chicken was good as well.  It was served with handcut fries and maple syrup.  Do not expect the crispiness of the usual fries though.  The XXX Baconator! burger was quite good as well though a bit on the small side.  The meal was ended with Homemade Apple Crumble which was topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Overall experience was good.  I would want to try their Brunch menu some time in future.

You can visit them at The Diners with their menu and prices online as well.