Saturday, May 09, 2009

My Saturday Lunch

I received the letter today on my exam result (I spoke about my exam here). With trembling hands, I opened the envelope & to my surprise, I passed !!! Whew !!! To reward myself & also to strive & prepare more home-made meals for my family before I start work on Monday (that ends my 'holiday'), I decided to prepare a wholesome Saturday Lunch for them - Mini Teriyaki Chicken Burger with Mash Potato & Waldorf Salad. Sounds sumptuous right?
It took me quite a while as I had to juggle between the preparation & the photo-taking. Eventually, I gave up taking photos on the ingredients along the way & concentrate on the cooking cos I figured at the rate I'm going, it won't be ready for lunch but dinner. I'll try to persist through the next time & hopefully, it wouldn't be 虎头蛇尾 like this round. (^.^) Lucky I still managed to get a few great shots of the finished products.

First, preparation for the Mini Teriyaki Chicken Burger condiments.
Shred, slice, chop, dice ... get the spread. The ingredients were really fresh :)

Next, ingredients for making the Teriyaki Chicken Burger meat patties.

Then I moved on to prepare the Waldorf Salad & kept it refrigerated. This is where I stopped taking the photos so I'll just list the ingredients I used. I had iceberg lettuce, Fuji red apple, celery, tomato, raisins and toasted walnuts mixed with mayonaise & thousand island dressing. I did not state the quantity used as the amount of ingredients & dressings used in this salad is really versatile and can vary according to individual preference. You can easily add more apples or raisins for sweetness or celery for extra crunch. Green apples or a mix can be used too instead of just red.

Next is my home-made mash potato with gravy. I boiled some potatoes in salted water & mash with a ricer as I like mine with tiny bits of potato inside. I added some butter, fresh milk, nutmeg powder, salt & pepper to enhance the flavor. Again, the amount used depends on individual. If you prefer a richer & creamier texture, more butter can be added and cream can be used instead of fresh milk. For the gravy, I had a pack of ready-made Caramelised Onion with Red Wine Finishing Sauce by MasterFoods lying on my shelf for quite a while. Though it's meant to be used on grilled red meat, I decided to be lazy for once & used this as the gravy to substitute my usual brown vegetable gravy, which I normally make when I serve mash potato.

Returning to the burger, the meat patties were pan-fried with Teriyaki Sauce made by myself till nice & golden. As I had bought mini-sized burger buns, my meat patties were shaped smaller in size to fit the bun but still power-packed as they were at least 1" thick.
For the final ensemble of the burger - bun, lettuce, tomato, cheese & meat patty.
Stack it up & Voila !!!

For Him. For Her.
And now for the grand finale - Mama mia !!!
My hubby was all smile when he saw our lunch.
It was a REAL satisfying meal. And can you believe after all these, we still went to Iceskimo at Sin Ming Center for ice-cream (Bburrppp) ? & the air-con. (^_^)

Friday, May 08, 2009

These Buns Rock ...

I had a rare chance of having ONE WEEK BREAK before I start on my new job & it was great !!! I can sleep in & wake up later than usual, not having to rush for work, have the time to prepare lunch (for myself) & dinner (for my family) & best of all ... had the whole day to myself baking, cooking, experimenting, messing around in my kitchen & trying out recipes I've been dying to do a LONG LONG TIME AGO. It was simply blissful being 1 week of home-maker. (^-^)

After baking the Gateau Au Chocolat (recipe here), I had some time to kill before fixing dinner & decide to do something quick & simple. I chanced upon this recipe accidentally in one of those entertainment magazine & it's really easy plus nostalgic to me. I find it nostalgic as I remembered we used to bake this in Home Economics class during my Secondary School days. It didn't seemed easy to me at that time ... in fact, I hated Home Econs lessons & always wondered why we have to learn about cooking, sewing & all. The preparations, baking & cooking for the exams were nightmares to me but now I actually enjoy & love spending time in the kitchen. People do change, I guess.

According to the recipe. these rock buns uses more butter, resulting in a more fragant & scone-like version. I could have baked mine a tad too long (though I'm quite sure I sticked to the recommended baking time of 15 mins & checked that my oven temp is 180 degC), it was nice & crunchy when fresh out from the oven but turned rather hard when cooled. Mine were a little dry on the inside and not scone-like, different from what I expected.

However, I would still give this recipe a second chance as it's really easy & simple. Something I would do again to satisfy my baking itch when pressed for time. And I think these would serve as very good tea-time snack. But I'll make sure to reduce my baking time or temp or both the next round.

Almost Rock Buns
Ingredients (Yields 16 pieces for me)

100g flour, sifted (type of flour not stated. I use plain flour)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
60g unsalted butter, diced
50g caster sugar
salt to taste (to omit if using salted butter)
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup mixed fruit or chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degC. Grease baking pan.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt & butter in a mixing bowl. Using your fingertips, gently rub butter into flour till it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Stir in the sugar, fruits & chips. (I use dried cranberries & mini chocolate chips)
  4. Stir in the egg & vanilla essence; beat till it becomes a soft dough.
  5. Using a tablespoon or ice-cream scoop, spoon the dough onto greased baking pan, leaving some space in between each for expanding.
  6. Bake at 180 degC for approx. 15-20 mins or until golden brown.

It collasped ... & cracked !!!

This chocolate cake recipe is something I photocopied from a food magazine (if I remembered correctly) 'thousand years ago' & didn't had the chance to try. It's interesting to know that while I'm usually so afraid of seeing my cakes sink/crack (so does my heart), this recipe actually states that if the cake collaspe in the center & cracked, it means the baking is successful. I'm confused (-.-?) & I wondered "So what can get worse? That it doesn't sink & cracked?" With that, I tried.

It's a rather dense chocolate cake as it uses quite a lot of chocolate, cocoa powder. butter with NO flour. Though the end result is supposed to collaspe & crack, it still calls for careful mixing to work the egg white mixture into the batter (rather ironic, don't you think). And while it was baking in the oven, it rises nicely just like any other chocolate cake & I was thinking "oh no ..." but the moment it was done & took out of the oven to cool, IT happened.

See the crack here? And there?

It was like a slow motion movie but it happened. I watched with excitement as the center start to sink slowly ... the sides start developing cracks as the center pulls away & collaspe. Hoo-ray !!! (^o^)

It was a success.

The taste? Ummm simply irresistible. A really dense & moist texture with a rich chocolatey taste. I would suggest using really good chocolate here & if you have a sweeter tooth than me, you can use milk chocolate (I prefer dark chocolate) as the cocoa powder will also add a hint of bitterness.

Served plain w/ strawberries

Or dusted w/ icing sugar & vanilla ice-cream

Now you see it ... next you don't!

For those who loves chocolate &/or rich, dense cake, I would highly recommend this ... and it's best eaten with vanilla ice cream or berries to complement & balance out the sweet yet bitter chocolate taste. I'm pretty sure your family & friends will be so impressed if you serve this dessert that they'll lick their plates clean.

Hahaha ... I did. Clean, isn't it?

Gateau Au Chocolat (Chocolate Cake)
Ingredients (Yields 1 24-cm or 9" round cake)

123g chocolate converture buttons (I used dark chocolate)
123g butter, cut into cubes
36g cocoa powder, sifted
4 eggs
138g caster sugar
icing powder, ice-cream, berries to serve (optional; own choice)

  1. Preheat oven to 160degC. Line the baking pan with parchment paper. Separate the egg yolks & the egg white.
  2. Add the yolks & 1/2 amount of the sugar in a clean, dry mixing bowl. Beat at high speed till the mixture is thick & fluffy and turns pale yellow in colour.
  3. Place the chocolate converture & butter in a clean, dry metal bowl. Using the double boiler method, melt the chocolate & butter over a pot of simmering water till well combined.
  4. Add the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk batter from step 2. Mix well.
  5. Whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry mixing bowl using an electric whisk till it's foamy. Add in the remaining 1/2 amount of sugar slowly bit by bit, beat at medium-high speed till stiff peaks form.
  6. Fold the egg white icing into the batter from step 4, gently in 2 -3 separate additions. Do not overmix as this will cause the air bubbles to burst.
  7. Lastly, add in the sifted cocoa powder & mix till well blended. Bake at 160degC for approx. 40 mins or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Leave the cake to cool in the pan. If the center collaspe with some cracks, this means the baking is succesful.
  9. Dust with some icing sugar, served with vanilla ice-cream & strawberries, as desired.

Recipe from: Unknown source

Baking 101 - When melting chocolate converture over a pot of simmering water (double boiler method), make sure the bowl does not touch the water. Do not overheat as this will cause the oil to separate (油水分离) & affect the texture of the chocolate.

Monday, May 04, 2009

A Labour Day Gift to All - Lemon-man Cookies

Past 2 weeks have been crazy for me as there were a lot of sudden changes. I haven't had the time to do any baking (-.-) nor post any blogs. In case you wondered what happened, I have resigned and will be moving on to a new job soon. Last week was rather hectic clearing up my work & handing over. Finally, I had some time this week before I start on my new post to resume my baking routine & blog posting ... I sure hope I do not have to break for too long when I start my new job (keep my fingers crossed).

Over the weekend, I decided to try out a cookie recipe from a recipe book I bought during my recent KL trip. It's a mould-cut lemon cookie that calls for simple & basic ingredients - just lemon, flour, sugar, butter, egg & almond powder.

And instead of using a normal flower-shaped cookie cutter, I happily used the gingerbread-man cookie cutter which is also newly bought from Phoon Huat. Then I thought those little 'men' looked really plain and started decorating them with buttons, eyes & mouths. Don't they look fabulous? (^_^)

Sad to say, while the look is colorful & cute, the taste in my opinion is simply 'so-so'. Thus, I won't be posting the recipe here but thought that I would still share the decoration idea & pictures here. It's also a tribute to all in celebration of Labour Day - I wish all Happy Belated Labour Day. Let's give ourselves a pat on our shoulders for jobs well done !!! Keep it up !!!