Thursday, July 31, 2008

Virgin Baker

Cereal Cookies!! I actually made cereal cookies!!

I have never baked in my life! I looked thru some recipes trying to figure out the ingredients which are all new to me. For eg. What is the difference between baking powder or baking soda? Anyway, I still don't know, so for baking, I will just follow the recipe. No guess work. No agak agak unlike my normal Chinese cooking.
With my new mixer waiting to be used, I was figuring out what would be my first virgin bake. Why cereal cookies? The only reason is that I have a half bag of low fat cereal (which taste yucky btw) and I thot it would be a great idea to use it to bake my virgin cookies so I don't have to eat it plain for breakfast!

Simple ingredients-
1. 110gm butter
2. 110gm sugar
3.1/2 lemon - juiced.
4. 1/2 tsp vanilla
5. 1 egg yolk
6. 100gm corn flakes
7. 125gm self raising flour
8. 1 tsp baking powder
9. 1 cup of vege oil

Simple steps -
1) First, I pound the cereal with my strong fist!!

2. In the mixer, I put the butter, sugar and vanilla. Whisk it away till blended. Then add the egg yolk and lemon juice and mix.

3. Next, put in the flour and cornflakes. Mix it all together. This was when I was wondering, how come the mixture is so dry. How do I combine to make cookies? Ok check check ingredients again!! Ohhh!! I need to put in some cornoil. So 1 cup of corn-oil into this mix!

This is how the mix looks like. Now for cookie time.

4. So, I took a palm-full of dough and roll it on palm to form a ball and then press it down. Put it in baking tray and then into oven at 325'F. Guess what I did wrong???!!!

Ooppps too close together and so as it was baking, it grew and stuck to each other. Panic! Panic!

Ok ...ok...learned my lesson, next, make much smaller cookies and put further apart! :)

Voila, after 15 minutes, the cookies are ready. Wow! I am de-virgined :) The bigger cookies are lighter in color and the smaller ones are a bit darker but both Ready to Eat! Yummy!

I am proud!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hakka Mee

Inspiration - is not authentic but conceptually it probably works. I don't know where Hakka Mee originated from, but as long as I can remember the most authentic is from Seremban cos in my opinion nothing in KL comes close to the ones from Seremban. People from Seremban would know of the popular shop (near market, opposite post office) that sells only Hakka Mee - the worst service you have ever seen, the most unfriendly husband and wife who ignores you and pulls a black face and the slowest service ever. Yet people still go for their Hakka Mee. Almost everytime I go there, I remind myself don't ever come back but then once in a while the temptation for the Hakka Mee weakens me. And I know it is tasty likely due to pork lard :), yet I go. But really, their combination of homemade noodles and pork gravy is yummy.

Since my recipe is not really Hakka Mee but more like a replica, but it is quite simple.

Simple Ingredients-
1) Minced pork gravy. Marinated in soy sauce, salt and pepper. Stirfry in some oil, add water, then add seasoning of dark soy salt, salt, a bit of oyster sauce and a bit of corn starch to thicken the sauce. I usually make this when I cook dinner, keep in fridge and can use it for the noodles if I am having it for breakfast.

2) For the noodles, I just use dried wan tan noodles. Fast and easy, like cook maggie mee.
3) And a bit of taugeh but this is really optional. Any vegetables you prefer.

Simple Steps -
1) Boil the Dried Wan Tan Noodles. Seriously the fresh ones are way tastier but No choice since I only had the dried ones, I had to use it. But I made sure that I boil it in more water to remove some of the noodle taste.

After boiling, I put it in cold water to rinse further.

And then back to hot water again. Tip - best to have another pot of water boiling so that after the cold water you can put back into a 2nd hot boiling water. Usually I only use one pot (cos I lazy to wash). So after I remove the first hot water, I throw the water away and I need to put in fresh water to boil. This takes sometime and the process to soak in cold water is quite fast which the 2nd pot of boiling water is not ready. If I dump the noodles in the not so boiling water and wait for it to boil again, the noodles would have soak too long and becomes a little soggy. So best to have 2 pots of boiling water.......(unless you lazy like me)

Anyway, drain noodles from the hot water. Put on plate/bowl. Pour the minced pork gravy on top and toss. Voila. Ready to eat!
To make it tastier you can also add fried shallots oil or if you have pork lard. Sure tasty wan! :)

Rosemary Lemon Roast Chicken

Inspiration -I discovered it is so easy to roast a chicken. Just marinate, throw it in the oven and pretty quickly you have dinner ready. Since this is just my 2nd roast chicken, I decided that I need to spice it up. Click here for my previous entry on Roast Chicken.

This time, I have four ingredients - chicken, potato, rosemary and lemon thus Rosemary Lemon Chicken!

Simple ingredients -
1) Fresh sprigs of rosemary
2) One lemon - use the zest of lemon and also lemon juice
3) Potatoes - quartered - marinade with some salt, lemon juice and pepper.
4) 2 piece of chicken thighs - marinade with salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice and rosemary.

Simple steps -
1) Just put the marinated chicken and potatoes in a baking tray.

2) Pre-heat oven to 350'C. Put the tray of chicken and bake for 30 mins. I covered it with aluminium foil to retain the heat inside. After 30 mins, I remove the foil and bake for another 10 mins to get a crispy brown skin on the chicken.

3) Voila! Ready to eat! Yum yum!

Friday, July 25, 2008

My first MIXER........

For many cook experts and even non cook experts, I know this is nothing but for me...yooohooo!! This is my first baby.......I never owned an electric mixer before and never baked in my life. I've always wanted to and now I can look at baking recipes and hopefully bake some cookies, cakes, breads etc. Hubby-D found this great Kitchen Aid deal on the internet and I was just thrilled when it arrived.
It was kinda heavy...which is great...I think mixers should be heavy, right. Anyway, I am just super happy that I own a mixer. This was 2 months ago.......and since then I have made quite a few successful baking recipes and some not so successful ones :(. Even not so successful, but we have eaten every single thing and nothing have been thrown out yet.
I will be sharing with you soon on my simple baking journey and I discovered it is not that hard after all. Yeah I can't agak-agak on the ingredients when it comes to baking but I think once you get the basics it is quite easy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Custard Pudding Mix

Inspirations - I usually would not buy nor cook this but BH brought this over and asked me to try. I am sure this has been stored in his house for sometime oredi and he would not be cooking it and probably just wants me to cook this for him. Anyway, it looked easy enough since it is instant mix. All you need is milk and just add the mixture.

In a pan, put in the milk and bring it up to a boil.

Add the pudding mixture in and stir.

Bring it up to a boil again. Remember to continue to stir.

Once ready, put the mixture into small bowls. I decided to use my tea-cups since it fits to exactly 3 cups. Put into fridge to chill.

After 20 minutes, it is ready to be eaten....Voila! Ready to eat! Yum yum! Easy right?

Potato and Pork

Inspiration - Now, this is definitely a home-cooked dish. Again, a regular feature by my grandma and now my mom and now myself! I don't find it in many restaurants in Malaysia but I know in PJ Seapark, there is this restaurant that serves this. I can't remember the name of the restaurant but some of their other signature dishes include the deep fried fish (with soy sauce as base) and also their steamed 3 eggs. Anyway, this is a lovely dish and goes well with rice.

Simple Ingredients-
1) Potato - 2 large potatoes
2) Sliced Pork - marinated with salt, pepper, soy sauce and flour.
3) Sauce - soy sauce, a drop of dark soy sauce and oyster sauce.

Simple steps -

1) Slice the potato to thin slices. Also, dry it with a paper towel to remove the moisture.

2) Fill the pan/wok with oil for deep frying. This is an important step. If the potato slices are not a bit crispy, you may end up with a lumpy potatoes. Therefore, stir-fry till half crispy. Remove and drain the oil.

3) Next, in the same wok (remove access oil), put in the marinate pork slices. Stir-fry together with the sauce. Add water for the sauce base. When the pork is cooked and the sauce is boiling, put in the fried potato slices. Just mix together to ensure all the potato get soaked in the sauce and you can dish up to plate.

4) And there you have it. Potato and pork dish! Voila! Ready to eat! Trust me... it is yum yum!

Pan Mee

Inspiration - For as long as I can remember, this dish is called "min fun keuh"(cantonese) or "mee hun ker"(hokkien). I grew up with my grandma cooking this dish so I thot this was only made by my grandma. He he he, of course when I enter the whole of hawker food, I realized this dish is widely available and called "pan mee". I don't know why it is called pan mee (cos maybe they make the dough to noodles-like!! - I like mine the traditional hand pulled way) but I think the min fun kueh translation is more accurate. It translates directly to mean - flour noodles! which is exactly what this dish is made of. I started making this dish myself a couple of months ago...I never attempt it myself cos either my mom or grandma would cook this and I just eat. my 2 fears on making this dish - 1) I dread the kneading of the flour dough and 2) can't really master making it to thin slices. But I love this dish and it is not difficult if you can get over the two fears I mentioned :)

Simple ingredient -
1) Flour - all purpose flour - mixed with water and knead to form dough
2) Soup - ikan bilis (anchovies) boiled
3) Condiments - pork slices, fish ball/pork balls, vege - choy sum or that leafy vege - can't remember the name, fried ikan bilis, fried shallots - as desired.

Simple steps -
1) First the dough! Get ready for some abs training :)
It's easy - mix flour with some water and a bit of oil/salt and start kneading. continue to knead, add flour and water as required. A smooth dough should be formed. To know if dough is ready, make sure dough is not sticky on yr fingers. If yes, just add more flour and continue to knead. When dough is formed and ready, just cover with a piece of damp cloth and let it set for a while.
My grandma use to add one egg to the dough (to make the dough more fragrant) but I don't cos I think a bit of oil does the trick to make the dough really smooth /elastic and easy to pull to thin slices.

2) The soup is simple for me - ikan bilis soup. I usually put a bit of oil, and then stirfry the ikan bilis for a while and then add water. close the lid and let it boil for 20 mins and you will have a lovely soup base. Of course, you can use other soup base eg, pork ribs, chicken etc.

3) Other condiments - vegetables - I just use choy sum cos I can't get the other vege that is usually put into the soup....errr it is called "kau kei". hmmm I don't know.
I have some pork/fish balls so I am throwing that in. And to make the soup sweeter, I marinate some sliced pork with just salt, soy sauce, pepper and corn-flour.

4) Now the action start, when the soup is ready......lower down the fire, wash yr hands and get to work. Ok this, I really can't tell you how to do it, you just have to practise and eventually, hopefully you will get it. I will take a small piece of dough and with my thumb and finger start stretching it till it gets to a thin slice. Then I will pinch the slices into the soup.

5) errr.... can or not? Next time, I will try to tape the process and maybe it will be clearer. I am still learning to be an expert like my grandma, her hands are so mobile, it's like a automated machine and each piece comes out nicely. Mine still has holes in them sometimes - ha ha ha but eat at home, never mind la.
Once you have pulled all the dough into soup, you can turn up the fire, add all the condiments (pork slices, pork balls, vege etc) into the soup and let it boil for another 5-10 mins. Add salt of required.

6) It's that easy and voila! Ready to eat my "Min fun kueh"! Yum yum!