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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chwee Kueh ( Steamed rice cakes with chopped radish )

Looks so innocently easy to do

I am on a chwee kueh trail. So far, I did three trails, 2 were huge failures but the last one got me to where I wanted to.

The earlier batches were total disasters. Anyone looking at it will be hard pressed to even remotely identify what I made. ( reasons : unsuitable utensils and high heat caused blisters on the cakes, overly salty radish topping ,  cake so mushy it could not hold its shape )

The ratio of the 3 kinds of flours   ( rice, corn, wheat starch ) is critical if you are picky with the texture of the rice cake.  These, I took great pains to experiment. It was a stroke of luck that  I ‘mistook’ my hand for a measuring spoon and scooped more wheat starch than planned. What an eureka moment because the rice cakes turned out perfect – soft to the bite but firm enough to handle !

I steamed the chwee kueh in the hollow of the cupcake baking tray , 4 inches above a pot of water that did not fit very well. Another eureka moment again because the medium heat gave the rice cakes a nice shiny finish !  

If there is anything to improve , it would be to soak the chopped radish more to reduce the salt. Even so, I polished off 5 of the cakes before remembering to serve them.

Makes 24 kuehs, cupcake size.

Credits : rumblingtummy

Ingredients ( batter ) :

75g rice flour
10g corn flour
10g wheat flour
360ml water
a pinch of salt
1 tsp canola oil

Ingredients ( radish topping ) :

1 cup chopped radish, soaked and rinsed 3 times until it is no longer salty. Drain.
2 cloves of garlic, minced and pressed.
3 tsp gula Melaka
2 tsp oil

Method ( rice cake ) :

Prepare a cupcake tray and a steamer with 1 cm of water. Oil the cupcake depressions.

In a pot, combine all the ingredients for the batter.

Cook over medium low heat under the batter is about to thicken, stirring constantly. The batter should NOT congeal or thicken but remain liquid.

Put the batter over the prepared tray.

Steam the batter over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until the batter changes from white to translucent, covered.

Allow it to cool as it is, about 15 minutes.

Remove the steamer cover and cool further. Remove the rice cakes with a toothpick.

( Radish topping ) :

Fry the garlic in oil under it is soft but not brown.

Add the chopped radish and gula Melaka. Add a tsp of water if needed.

Fry until the gula is melted and caramelized.

Serve with the rice cake / chwee kueh.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Oyster mushroom and chestnut pasties

Not quite a cornish pastie, which is 'patented' by Cornwall and its ingredients has to be raw before baking.

One thing I like about Jamie Oliver’s cooking show is that his recipes are so robust  that he estimates most of the ingredients for his dishes. While one needs a certain degree of accuracy in the ways of the kitchen, I think some guesswork can be fun sometimes.  

So today, I pretend to be a Jamie Oliver and use mostly my hands to work out the main component of this pastie. I am rather careful with what does into the dough for repeatability purposes but otherwise I used my handy fingers to crush the chestnuts and potato. If I were Edward ScissorHands, I will use my fingers to cut the onions as well.

The sensation of butter, flour and floury bits of chestnut and potato is something to get used too. It is like playing in the mud, a no-no, but the sensation is , Ooh!

This concoction has a rather dry filling because I worry how a soggier version will work with the dough. The only bugbear is that it needs some effort to make the mass come together, which is where my ‘nimble’ fingers come in. The hot water dough is a dream to work with, because it is springy and pliable.

Goes well with Scarlet Division’s ‘Shooting Star’.

Credits : The Guardian with adaptations

3 big pasties.

Ingredients :

Pastie case :
65g cold butter butter
125g plain flour
30ml boiling water
1 egg, lightly beaten and salted,  as eggwash glaze

filling :
2 small onions, chopped
2 cups oyster mushroom, coarsely chopped
2 cups boiled chestnuts, partically crushed 
1 small potato, boiled, peeled and partially crushed
1 Tbsp of cream
salt and pepper to taste

Method :
To make pastie case, grate the cold butter over the plain flour. Rub butter into flour lightly to make crumbs.
Pour 30ml of hot water over the crumbs. Stir with a fork.
Knead until the dough comes together and becomes pliable and smooth, about 10 minutes. Dust your hand lighlty if the dough is too sticky to manage.
Make out 3 portions and set aside, covered.

To make the filling, saute onions, mushroom until onion is translucent and mushroom wilted.
Toss in chestnuts and potato. Combine with cream.
Season to taste. Leave it to cool.

Assembly :
Knead each individual portioned out dough for 1 minute.
Flatten it to a disc, about 1 handspan wide.
Spoon 1/3 of the filling onto the disc.
Fold the disc and encased the filling by sealing the edges of the paste.
Transfer to a greased pan.
Repeat for the other 2 pasties.

Baking :
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Apply eggwash on the pasties.
Bake the pasties at 200C for 20-25 minutes, until  the pasties are golden brown.
Serve hot with greens and chowder.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Raspberry molten chocolate cupcake

Fudge and tart is the perfect taste for a lava mini
In my life, some difficulties are real and some are perceived. Whichever the case, they are a big part of my life and I think I will spend a lifetime overcoming them.  

When I was a student faced with having to jump over hurdles ( during my PE lessons ), I felt that the pesky structures were an emotional challenge as well as a physical one. The hurdles loom large as I raced towards them but I managed to jump over them half the time. Of course there was the occasional injury. Even so, scars eventually heal but the glee of clearing those cumbersome hurdles never left me.

During this exam season, I would like to encourage those who face stress, coping with all kinds of expectations to do their best. Now almost half a century old and with so many cobwebs in my foggy head, I have again hit the ‘books’ to appreciate how the little one is coping. There’s only this much tricks you can teach an old dog but struggling to move on makes me feel more alive than staying where I am.

For a very long time, I always thought lava cakes or such should be left to the experts. I have always been thrifty and paying top dollars for such an item never fails to make me flinch.

To cut a long story short, I build upon my basic baking skills and crafted this in my kitchen. My heart swells with happiness knowing that days of costly lava cakes is over. I can now eat fresh. As for my friends who are not in the things of whisks and measuring cups, I am going to dazzle them with my newest works.

Between you and I, shall we keep it a secret that it is not as hard as it seems?

Makes 17 mini barely sweet cupcakes

Ingredients :

85g butter, softened
¼ cup fine sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
300 g plain chocolate, melted and left to cool
½ cup flour
¼ tsp baking powder
pinch of fine salt

Method :

Preheat oven to 200C.
Cream butter and sugar until it is pale and fluffy, medium speed.
Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Batter will appear watery. It is fine if butter clumps at this stage.
Whisk in melted chocolate, in 3 portions, until batter is velvety smooth.
Sift in flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk until all components are well mixed and batter appears glossy.
Spoon ¾ Tbsp of batter to the cup liner, add 2 whole raspberries, and cover with another spoonful of batter.
Bake at 200C for 9 minutes. Eat warm with ice cream.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Soft rolls ( straight dough ) with bratwurst sausage

Sausage rolls with onion soup

From flour to finished product, these rolls took less than half an afternoon to make. What I like about this recipe is that I get to do a dozen and one things while waiting, even if the shiny, soft rolls look like they take forever to make.

I am not going to let it be known that the dozen and one things were a couple of episodes of K-drama and a tea break in between.

Makes 12 rolls.

Ingredients :
A :
Full cream milk + 2 eggs to make up 474g

765g Bread flour         
74 g Fine sugar                                                   
7g Salt                                                                
6g Instant yeast                                              

74 g Softened butter                                        
Egg wash
Water ( in a bottle mister )
12 big uncooked bratwurst sausages

Method :
In bowl A, light combined 2 eggs and milk to make up 474g. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and yeast.
Add liquid from bowl A. Mix until dough forms clumps.
Add butter. Knead for 15 minutes unless dough comes together and gluten forms.
Leave to ferment, covered, in a warm place.

(after fermentation)
When dough doubles in bulk , transfer to a floured worktop.
Fold the risen dough to a tight roll.
Make out 12 portions. Rest 5 minutes.

Roll out each portion into a long rope.
Wrap the dough around the sausage. Tuck the ends of the dough to prevent it from unraveling.
Leave the bun to rise a second time on a greased tray, covered, for  60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 240 C with a raised rack. Place a shallow bowl of water under the rack.
Just before baking, eggwash the buns. Mist over them.
Mist the hot oven to create steam.
Put in the buns and bake at 190 C for 18 minutes.
Cool well before eating.

Verdict :
Allow sufficient time to rest and the baked roll is soft and moist with the juice of the sausage. Leftovers were foiled and baked at 180C for about 20minutes ( cold oven ).

The 3 of us polished off 6 rolls and finished off the rest the next day.