Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sago Gula Melaka

Posted by Quinn at Wednesday, June 30, 2010 13 comments Links to this post


It's been ages since I last ate Sago Gula Melaka. Or Sago Gula Melaka Dulce de Leche to be exact. The last time I had it, it was in Changkat Bukit Bintang, it's called Nyonya Wok I think. For just sago, coconut milk and gula melaka (also known as palm sugar in English), we paid RM14 just for it and I kid you not, Sago Gula Melaka does not even require any skills in making them.

Don't believe me? Bring a large pot of water to boil and rinse as much sago as you like (I'd say 4 tbsp per person) under running tap water and drain them. When the water is boiling, pour in the sago and stir to prevent clumping. Cook them until they turn almost transparent. You need a large pot of water for small quantity of sago as the water gets really starchy later on.

While that is happening, crack open a can of coconut cream and lightly salt them and set aside. Chop up some Gula Melaka or spoon a few tablespoon of the thick and luscious Dulce de Leche, one or two knotted Pandan Leaves and a splash of water and bring it to boil over the stove. When it is all dissolved, pour them into a spouted jug and chill until very very cold and viscous. Do the same to the coconut milk as well.

Lightly whisk one egg white until foamy. When all the sago turn transparent, pour them into a large sieve and wash them under runny tap water until they are all separated from each other. Dribble in as much egg white just to bind and stir them in one direction until they are slightly gluey. Pour them into individual serving mould and chill in the fridge.

After dinner and when dishes are done, tip the sago pudding out on a plate and pass around gula melaka syrup and coconut milk so people can pour in as much or as little of each as they like.

And that's it. Miraculously easy and I can serve 20 people for less than RM14. Don't ask my why rinse them under tap water and then use egg white and bind them again. The answer is because my grandma said so. Sometimes, things that happen in life, they happen for a reason, you just don't question them. If doing it this way works, then I'll stick to it. It doesn't cost me anything. Yes, feel free to experiment but I am feeling very comfortable doing it the old Nana's way. I know many of you just drain the sago and plonk it into the mould and the starch will bind them together. Never try that before but if you're comfortable doing that, stick to it.

How this taste with Dulce de Leche instead of Gula Melaka? Distinct, special, not weird, yummy but not a big fan of it if you ask me. I like Dulce de Leche but no, I don't think they should find their way in my sago pudding next time. It's a matter of preference. Only I don't like it. Others love it. See?

Sago Gula Melaka. For merely sago, santan and gula melaka, why pay so much outside?

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Talam Serimuka Telang

Posted by Quinn at Sunday, June 27, 2010 13 comments Links to this post


I made these 'Talam Serimuka Telang' sometime back when I hosted a Nasi Lemak Lunch Party for a few good friends. I cut them into random shapes and serve them on a plate with a Pandan leaf on it, just so they get the idea of what goes in and what's Pandan. I tinted the glutinous rice with Bunga Telang given by Sonia. The original recipe was from the book 'Steamed Cakes' by Zubaidah Bt. Chepa. I got it when I was in Malaysia. It's called 'Talam Serimuka Batik' where the author uses a mixture of black and white glutinous rice but I decided to go blue naturally.


I cut the recipe in half and steam it in a 7'' round tray. The height was just right and it cuts up into two plate full of triangles, just enough and perfect as an after meal dessert for 6-8 people. Here's what Ive used:

Talam Serimuka Telang

200g white glutinous rice
Bunga Telang, a good handful
100g coconut cream
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 Pandan Leaves, knotted (optional)

Wash the glutinous rice under running water tap until no longer cloudy. Mix water with Bunga Telang and rub and squeeze it to extract a deep dark blue hue. Strain it and mix the water with the glutinous rice and soak it overnight. Drain it well and mix it with the coconut cream and salt. Pour into a greased pan and place the knotted Pandan leaves over and steam it over high heat for 25 minutes.

Make the custard now:

125g coconut cream
100g coconut milk
1.5 eggs (I use two small eggs)
1/2 cup sugar (I use just 5 tbsp of it)
50g plain flour
1/2 tsp applee green colouring (I use Pandan paste)

Mix all the ingredients for custard in a bowl and strain it once. When the rice is done, fluff it up with a fork and compress it into a greased pan (I use the same pan). Use a banana leaves or a glass covered with foil to compress well. Pour over the strained custard and cover the whole pan with foil tightly. Steam it over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.



Cool completely before slicing into diamonds or triangles. The book traced it out with a flower shaped cookie cutter but make sure you oil your cutter well. And use a plastic knife, lightly greased to slice them. It helps in getting neat cuts and they don't stick to the plastic knife.

This is a typical Malaysian Style Kuih you could easily get from wet markets. The Bunga Telang is solely optional but it does lend a nice fragrant to the rice. The Pandan leaves and paste was my addition but the book didn't say you need it. If your custard has bubbles in it, use a blow torch and run it across the surface and the bubbles will all magically disappear.

Try making it, it's easy and looks fantastic!

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Create your own cheesecake: Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

Posted by Quinn at Monday, June 21, 2010 20 comments Links to this post


Made Dulce de Leche Cheesecakes for housemates and landlord to share. Unlike other recipe, this recipe has very prominent flavour of Dulce de Leche. Instead of chocolate wafers, I use Oreo cookies because I like it better.

I piped more Dulce de Leche (thinned down with milk and whipped until smooth, combined and fluffy) on the plate and serve it like that. My dark chocolate topping was very bitter, it's 85% cocoa content so the whole thing wasn't really sweet, though I did cut down more sugar and replace it with Dulce de Leche.

The recipe, create your own flavour at Finecooking.com!!!! It's so much fun. I bake it into several 7'' round pan and the resulting slice of cheesecake is smaller and cuter.


Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

8 oz. chocolate wafers, finely crushed (2 cups of crumbs)
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
7 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup dulce de leche
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
Table salt
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3 oz. chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
5 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. light corn syrup
Whipped cream, for garnish


Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the chocolate wafer crumbs and 3 Tbs. granulated sugar. Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moist and clump together slightly. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan (to press, use plastic wrap or a flat-bottom measuring cup). Bake until the crust is fragrant and slightly darkened, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, dulce de leche, flour, and a pinch of table salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure the cheese has no lumps. Add the 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth.

Add the vanilla and beat until blended, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until blended. (Don’t overbeat once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much and crack as it cools.) Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.

Bake at 300°F until the center jiggles like Jell-O when nudged, 55 to 65 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges, and the center will still look moist. Set on a rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. The cake can also be frozen at this point for up to 1 month. (To freeze, put the unmolded, cooled cake on a rimmed baking sheet in the freezer, uncovered, until the top is cold and firm; then wrap it in two layers of plastic and one layer of foil. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.)

In a small bowl, melt the 3 oz. chopped chocolate and the butter. Add the corn syrup and whisk until smooth. Unclasp and remove the side of the springform pan and run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust of the cheesecake. Carefully slide the cake onto a flat serving plate. Pour the ganache on the cheesecake and spread evenly.

Garnish with whipped cream and serve immediately. To cut, run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the cake into slices, heating and wiping the knife after every slice.

(Serves 10 to 12)

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Cantonese Egg Tarts

Posted by Quinn at Friday, June 18, 2010 31 comments Links to this post


This is another reason we fight. We fight for the last piece of egg tart. It is that good!!!! The filling is oh-so-yummy and oh-so-silky, it's wobbly, it's smooth and it's custardy.... The crust was flaky and buttery. Absolutely love it! The moment I sank my teeth into the first one, I told myself this is the one. So good!!!!

It's Cantonese Egg Tarts and I think no one knows better than Christine. After all, I always have thought egg tarts originate from Hong Kong anyway, they're the pioneer to all sorts of egg tarts. Those flaky ones you have in Dim Sum restaurant and also these lovely babies. A lot easier to make and equally tasty.... I halved the recipe and made 6 tarts with this one and the diameter of my mould, measured from the wider end, rim to rim is 8.5cm. You can check out the step-by-step of how to make this in Christine's blog but I'm just gonna post up the recipe that I have changed to my own liking.

After bread kneading, this is the second most therapeutic thing to me, rolling them out. It's a breeze with this dough. The sweetness is just right for me. Feel free to add another tablespoon if you like it sweeter.


Cantonese Egg Tarts

(makes 6 tarts)

Filling:
1 whole egg
1 egg white
3 tbsp castor sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) boiling hot water
3 tbsp (45ml) evaporated milk

Dissolve the sugar in the boiling water and cool it until just warm to touch. Add in the remaining ingredients and whisk lightly, thoroughly combined but not foamy. Strain it twice into a spouted jug.

Pastry:
1 cup (110g) plain flour
60g butter, cubed
2 tbsp icing sugar
Small dash of vanilla extract
1 egg yolk

Pulse everything except the egg yolk in a food processor until crumbly and that the largest piece of butter is the size of a green pea. Add in the yolk and pulse a while until crumbly and combined a little. Pour them out into a large bowl and Mix with your finger tip to gather them. Dribble in a little of the filling mixture as you go and stop when everything is combined and you get a soft dough.

You can chill it at this stage but I find it unnecessary. Roll them out on a flour-dusted surface to just 5mm thick. I find a Margarita glass fits perfectly since I don't have a proper cookie ring/cutter. Press the circles into the fluted mould and set aside and repeat. For the last mould, I gather everything together and form a ball, lightly flatten it and press it into the tart mould as even as possible.

Pour the filling over and bake it in a preheated oven of 200°C. When you pop the tart in, turn the heat down to 180°C and bake until it is just slightly wobbling at the centre. Remove it from the oven and it will continue cooking. When you unmould it while it is warm, the filling sets just right.

Serve warm. Whoever that invented deserve my praise, they're the best but for now, Christine is my new Goddess of Egg Tarts. Thanks for the recipe, we all absolutely love it. I regretted I procrastinated so long to make them even though Ive bookmarked it ages back!

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dulce De Leche...a bitter or a sweet affair?

Posted by Quinn at Wednesday, June 16, 2010 Links to this post

As I am typing this, I am sitting next to a freak, a soccer freak that yelled non-stop...words like Offside, Foul, Walao!!! kept popping nonstop through out the 90 minutes. "I think [insert any team that is his favourite] will win, I support them"..... There you go and you get the idea.... it surprises me how much I can do for him and how willing I am. I don't like football really but for him, I learn so much in 3 days, what is offside, how foul works, referees and linesmen and so forth.... And little did I know, I grew to love football even more everyday... It gets pretty boring watching alone so I wanna be there for him and complete with enough layerings for winter and cold beer, we are good to go.

Unfortunately, in a relationship, it is never fair and there is no such thing as payback. I don't remember a time he accompanied me bake something in the kitchen. The only time he did it was an American Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting for my birthday. Hell yeah, it was very edible! He even made his own stencil and place it over the cake and dusted cocoa powder over it.

The problem is, the cake was warm and he slathered a good cream cheese frosting over a warm cake. And dusted cocoa powder over it with stencil. When the whole thing reaches me, it was nothing more than a pile of mush, ugly but very very sweet. It was an 'awwwww....' at the first mouhthful he fed me. It was an even better 'awwww....' at the second bite where he pull me close to his shoulder pecked me on my forehead and whispered 'Happy Birthday Sweetheart' into my left ear. Rest is history.

I hate Aaron. He doesn't remember all these stuffs really. He is just your typical average guy...he doesn't even know I am upset with him now. You see, the problem all started with nothing more than a can of condensed milk that soon ended up being turned into a can of Dulce De Leche, magically like how a frog can become a prince.

It was all fine, I made the Dulce De Leche yesterday while we watched both matches and stayed in the dining room for long hours. Good time really to make something so time consuming that needs constant checking (not really, I'll show you my way later). So I left it to cool overnight and wanted to have all the excitement and rubbings of hands in glee as we go through my journey of making Dulce De Leche and popping open that can. And we have 2 cameras. Remember the one that Aaron got me? The problem is, if given a choice and he is not using it, I prefer to use his camera, simply because it is a better point-and-shoot. Better resolution, you can adjust the exposure and shutter speed and etc.... but with mine you can't. It's better off for something you would wanna bring along for a long vacation, cheap but very practical.

So what happen was, when I pull out his camera, I realised the battery died on me. I spent a good 45 minutes hunting for the charger and still not able to find it. It was not until I got into his room that I realise the basket of shirts that I've nicely washed, ironed and folded for him are all still in the laundry basket. He practically never even unpack his luggage ever since coming back from Perth. See, that's another problem because I have issues with being neat, tidy and very very clean, and he knows it.

I hate how he doesn't appreciate my effort in doing things and cleaning his room entirely for him just so he comes home to a sweet home and be very comfortable. I hate how he always stress to me to put things in its original position so we could easily know where to find things later on and he is not doing so. I hate how he squeeze such a pathetic dollop of toothpaste onto his toothbrush and insisted it's enough when even my neighbour's 5-years-old boy know it is an insufficient amount. I hate it when he took off his shirt to go to bed just because he doesn't like sleeping in shirts because he felt like something is pulling on him every time he makes a turn and he ended up getting blocked and stuffy nose the next morning. I hate how stubborn he is. I hate how he never listens to me.

I know...I sound so demanding... I hate to have to get upset with him over the fact that I can't take good photos but you see, that is secondary. The primary one is he doesn't know I am upset and doesn't put things where they should be. You're probably wondering how can I praise my man from head to toe and the very next minute, bring him down to hell. Talk about birthday cake, Aaron is my heaven and also my hell! Anyway, the charger is now found and the lighting now is bad because it's getting late and because I cannot wait till tomorrow to share and pop the can with you and because I already dug my spoon in it and am in heaven.

He is still one happy man and he doesn't know I am mad and I'm no longer mad anymore anyway now that the sweet Dulce De Leche make up for his bitter unintentional mistakes. So Dulce De Leche, it's easy. One ingredient is all you need and that is a can of sweetened condensed milk. I am a bit risky, I do what all olden days mothers would do, heating the condensed milk in its can, and it's a pull-ring can! Also note that it's sweetened condensed milk. Do not use unsweetened condensed milk because in some parts of the world, unsweetened condensed milk is the same as evaporated milk.

For those who said you've never seen Nestle having a pull-ring can (there is this dude in the forum that really lives out in the sticks!), yes they do exist here Down Under. And the label clearly says ' Caution: Do not heat in can'. Anyway, I went ahead and do it. I don't wanna encourage anyone to do it but yeah...I still live to tell you the story.

Simply bring a very deep pot with heavy lid filled with water and drop that can in there. Make sure you remove the paper label from the can else you get a pile of mushy paper fit for recycle centre. Make sure your water is 2 inches high from the top of the can and you will never need to refill and add more water. Place over the glass lid and crank up the heat. It took a good 15 minutes for my water to boil. Lower the heat to barely simmering, the lowest your stove can get and go watch your football, though I did open up the lid and check every hour or so. I did mine for 4 hours or maybe 4.5 hours but feel free to stop at say 3 hours.

Just remember that the longer you simmer them, the more viscous it gets and you can thin them down with milk or even water later on if you find them too thick to your liking. The first picture in this post is thinned down with a splash of milk and coated on a spoon with a drizzle of good pink salt so I can just eat them like lollipop. Yes, that's my teeth mark! My glass lid has one small hole that allows steam to escape at a slow rate. I cannot stress enough to you that the very moment the water is not covering the can, the whole thing will explode and you get Dulce De Leche all over your kitchen walls and ceiling, it is so gooey and messy it is not funny.

I was so excited when I pull the ring just like that and a lil brownish stuffs showed a little through the yet-to-be-opened-lid. It excites me and to know if this stuff works is just a pull away!!!

When time is up, turn off the heat and place the whole pot of water under running tap water to bring down the temperature gradually. If you take them out directly and attempt to open it, there is a chance it might explode and you'll ruin your pretty face for life. The can might look like it bulged a little simply because it is pressurised but never mind that. Dry the can and place it on your kitchen counter and let it sit overnight.

The next day, open up that can and at first it will look like it is separated and that water seeps in. Give it a very good stir and soon, everything will give way and what you get is a luscious, thick, creamy, goeey, sweet and easy Dulce De Leche. There you have it, homemade Dulce De Leche for a million use, to drizzle over unsweetened ice cream, to make cheesecake with it, to top your fruits and to make Banoffee Pie. Endless way to use it and because of its high sugar content, it will last for a while in your fridge so make good use of it.

Comments disallowed for this post. Any questions regarding Dulce De Leche, please email me. No, I am fine. Really. Words of comfort will be entertained but any words on how to maintain a relationship and how to be patient with your partner/spouse and yada yada... will absolutely not be tolerated. I know Aaron better, trust me and don't judge us, pretty please. Thanks.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Revive with Meatball Baguette & Live on Australia!

Posted by Quinn at Sunday, June 13, 2010 11 comments Links to this post

This is what I've made for our supper tonight. I'm just gonna pop that in the grilled for a couple of minutes and it's gonna be ready by 4 AM. Yes, Germany vs. Australia at 4 freaking AM! Despite it being winter now and it's gonna be really cold, there will be a lot of pubs jam-packed with Aussies watching Socceroos. We've chose to stay indoor in our comfort zone watching the match. Germany is pretty good, I have to admit but I'm pretty sure the Aussies will give Germans a tough fight. I reckon we could get a draw out of this, but a win would be perfecto! Go Aussie Go!!!


Below is a the official World Cup Song for Year 2010, it's called Waving Flag just to boost the football spirit in us a bit. It's a pretty good song really, click it!



There is no particular reason why I made these. I wanted to make something that represents Aussie and Aaron wanted something savoury. I could only think of lamingtons and meat pie but meat pie was too much of a work. Passed by Subway and saw them promoting their foot long meatball rolls. I straight away knew this would be it. I got around making Tessa Kiros's meatballs (recipe later on!). I made a large batch, some for spaghetti with meatballs and some for this foot long baguette. I throw in some Bega cheese slices, onion rings and stuffed the top and bottom with alfalfa sprouts. That gooey orange sauce you see is Perinaise bought from Nando's. It's a sweet and spicy mayonnaise, infused with Peri-peri and Nando's goodness. Absolutely love it!


Yeah..so that's about it. Before I sign off, here is another clip. It's called 'I Still Call Australia Home'. Probably the most expensive 2 minutes advertisement ever made in Australia, summing up to USD3 Mil but it's worth it. It's meaningful, it's rejoicing and it's gathering all Aussies from all walks of like to reunite. It's my all time favourite and I hope you'll like it too!



Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi! Go Socceroos, go!!!



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Friday, June 11, 2010

The Art of Quenelling and a Deconstructed Caramelized Banana Tart

Posted by Quinn at Friday, June 11, 2010 12 comments Links to this post


I have been to restaurant many times and being served food, especially desserts in the form of a beautiful dollop. It's not any dollop, but a very clean, neat and crisp dollop that resembles the shape of a football. This, my dear readers, is called a Quenelle. It is achieved with nothing more than a spoon. All you need is hot water with a spoon in it, a spatula to scrap down the sides of whatever you are going to
Quenelle and of course, what you want to Quenelle. In this case, I quenelled whipped cream.


There is no one thing such as
Quenelle spoon and you can form Quenelle with anything from a teaspoon to a spoon, though I do have a favourite spoon for quenelling. You can do it with whipped cream, any type of mousses, ice creams and sorbets and even mashed potatoes. I've tried with all and I am a little confident in posting this.


I don't want to say this is the right way to form Quenelle but this is what I was taught by chef. It is all in the wrist and the swift movements and I cannot stress enough that there is no shortcut in achieving this. Some things just take a lot of practice and quenelling is one of them, but once you pick it up, you'll have it for a lifetime. I am okay, but I still could improve.

video

I've posted a video here as well. It's not a top-notch quality but it's good enough to show you how I did it. I used whipped cream here and I use one spoon. There is a quenelling technique that uses two spoons but I only know the one spoon Quenelle technique and it is easier than using two spoons in my opinion.

If the
Quenelle is stuck to the spoon and refuse to be released to the serving plate nicely, gently warm the back of your spoon by pressing it against your palm and it should come right off. This shouldn't happen as long as you are quenelling with a hot and wet spoon. Hot tap water is fine, boiling water is too hot and will melt the things you're quenelling.

For every time you finish one
Quenelle, scrap down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to smooth it out before beginning quenelling again. It is best to practice with mashed potatoes because they don't melt so easily but if you do it with whipped cream, you'll get to see how much pressure you need to apply and you improve faster.


Here's a dessert, deconstructed caramelized banana tart with dark chocolate mousse Quenelle and Chantilly cream Quenelle. If you've mastered the art of quenelling, you'll realise food can be presented in a more elegant way and it really does taste better!

The steps to form
Quenelle are as shown in the video. Just scoop a hot wet spoon into the cream towards you, with the initial angle of the spoon almost perpendicular to your eyes. Scoop it towards you in one swift motion so that it curls up naturally. Drop it back in there and wet and clean your spoon and drain off excess water but don't wipe it. Scoop the dollop that you've dropped back and press it against the side of the bowl and all the way in an upward stroke. Immediately place it on a serving plate. If it refuse to release nicely, warm the back of the spoon on your palm and try releasing again.


For the deconstructed caramelized banana tart, make a batch of the sugar cookie tart crust. Use a cookie ring and press out four large rounds with it and crumble up the rest finely. Make a batch of chocolate mousse and whipped up some chantilly cream and flavour it with vanilla bean paste.

For the caramelized banana, melt some butter and EVOO in a pan and chopped up two bananas. You can coin it like me or slice it lengthwise so you get long strands. Toss them into coarse sugar and dust off excess sugar. Place them on the pan. Let it sizzle and caramelize away, checking frequent if it's browning nicely. Flip over and cook a while until the bananas are softened, but not mushy.


To assemble, place one tart ring each on a serving plate. Place a Quenelle of chocolate mousse on each of them. Scatter with more tart crumbs on the Quenelle and place another tart ring on top or just by the side. Arrange the caramelized bananas around it and finish off with a final touch of chantilly cream Quenelle.

Serve immediately. I love the warm bananas texture paired with the cold chocolate mousse. The bitter mousse and the warm sweet bananas are to die for! I basically love all sorts of cooked fruits so don't take my word for it. Try it for yourself!!!!

What's with all the rave about football and World Cup today? I'm no football fan but I promised Aaron I'll stay up and watch football with him any time he wants and I'll just sit down next to him with a large bowl of mashed potatoes and practice my football shaping skills! Australia is in World Cup!!!! For once, almost all the matches are aired through national channels. I didn't know Aussies can play football really. They're famous for their footies though, some crappy football in my opinion with crazy rules!

6 packs of beers, checked! Assorted salted nuts, checked! Popcorns, checked! Mashed potatoes, checked! We're both all geared up for a little football celebration and quenelling session! World Cup, here we come!!!

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

German Vanilla Pudding with Mandarins

Posted by Quinn at Tuesday, June 08, 2010 15 comments Links to this post


Aaron is back! He got another job offer, he must be really headache now! Anyway, we ate this dessert and it was easy and simply good. It's German Vanilla Pudding served with macerated mandarin segments, butterscotch sauce and some leftover toasted pistachio nuts and walnut crumble from my previous attempt on Baklava Ice Cream.

This one contains no gelatine nor agar-agar. It is thickened with cornstarch and you pour it into a wet mould. It also unmoulds beautifully. I let a little macerated mandarin syrup dribble down the sides of the mould just like unmoulding Panna Cotta.

I also smeared some leftover butterscotch sauce from making sticky date pudding on the plate. All the elements on the plate complimented each other beautifully. You omit the mandarin curls since it is just there purely for decoration. You can eat it but I don't, it's simply too strong to my liking.

I adapted this recipe from Mowie of Mowielicious. I didn't have strawberries and let's face it, it is winter here now. Strawberries are long gone from market. I make do with what I have. This is easy and any macerated fruits will pair along beautifully. I make enough to serve just the two of us and cut down the sugar a bit because of the butterscoth sauce. Feel free to add more if you like.

German Vanilla Pudding
(makes enough to serve one as an after meal dessert)

For the pudding:

1 tbsp castor sugar
2.5 tbsp cornflour
1 cup cold milk
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste

Have ready a one cup capacity mould or just 2 ramekins of 1/2 cup capacity each. Make sure it is slightly wet inside. Place it into the fridge while you make the pudding. Place 3 tbsp milk from the 1 cup of milk into a small bowl and whisk in the sugar, cornflour and vanilla paste into a smooth slurry.

Pour the remaining milk into a wetted milk pot and gently bring to a boil. Once the milk in the pan starts to bubble, remove from the heat, and whisk in the vanilla paste mixture. It should thicken immediately. Place pan back onto the heat and keep whisking. Allow to bubble for 1 minute then remove from heat and pour into the cold bowl set aside earlier. Allow to cool at room temperature first before refrigerating. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.You can choose to refrigerate it with a layer of plastic wrap touching the surface but I didn't quite bother. I like it with skin formation for easy removal.

While the pudding is cooling, segment the mandarin oranges and add a couple of tablespoons of castor sugar and a splash of Grand Marnier to it. Mix everything around well and let it sit in the fridge until the pudding is ready to serve. Make sure you stir the macerated mandarins once in a while.

To serve, place a serving plate over a bowl of pudding and turn it upside down in one quick motion. The pudding should easily slide onto the plate, maintaining it's shape. If it is not coming out, dribble a little macerated mandarin juice on the pudding and let it stand 5 mins before flipping. Serve with the garnishes or any other elements you prefer.


Garnish:
Butterscotch sauce
Macerated Mandarin Syrup and Segments (see above)
Toasted pistachios, roughly chopped
Toasted walnuts, crumbled

I am so happy Aaron is back and a little sweet dessert goes a long way. We had a fun day out today, he accompanied me and we bought some stuffs for myself. He sighed when he saw me bought yet another plate and he asked what's this for this time? It's an awesome looking black plate. Also bought a pair of black leather boots and a large wool quilt to keep me warm through the winter.

I am one happy girl now and I wish life would be so good every single day!


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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Churros

Posted by Quinn at Saturday, June 05, 2010 10 comments Links to this post

These churros are adapted from Tessa Kiros's fourth book, Piri Piri Starfish. As from the title, one could deduce that this whole book is about Portuguese cooking and I know, the first question everyone pops to me, aren't these Spanish?


According to Tessa, these are available in the north of Portugal at the funfair...everyone on the streets eating sugar-dusted churros from paper packets. These are perhaps more Spanish than Portuguese, but you know how it is with your neigbours...you peep over the fence, are inspired by their flowers, and have all the same ingredients and climate so everything grows the same. Countries are just the same, peeping over borders and being inspired by what you'll find.

You'll need a piping bag with a large star-shaped nozzle to give this their lovely crispy ridges. I didn't have any and ended up using my largest one which unfortunately, is still very small in diameter. I have also experimented both ways. I've read some churros that requires piping on a baking sheet and freezing it for 20mins before it is fried to perfection. Others require the churros to be piped straight into the hot oil. I tried both and I can tell you if you pipe it straight into the hot oil, the shape holds and is more prominent. But however, you couldn't get cute little hearts like that if you pipe it directly into the oil can you?

Well, maybe you can if you're an expert but I'm no expert and I in fact very much hate deep-frying at home. Shallow fry is enough to cause havoc let alone deep-fry but the stingy side in me refuse to pay even a dollar for nothing more than just dough.

Eggs, butter, flour and sugar....that's practically what you need to make these. That's my man standing at the back willingly posing for me. We did this together last week because he couldn't bear the thoughts of having oil splattered over me. I made the dough and he deep-fried it to perfection. We kept eating as we go along and it was gone in no time.

This one will make about 10 if you use a 1cm star-shaped nozzle though I'd say they'll look best when they're piped put from larger nozzles. For the dusting, I've used one part of cinnamon powder to 3 parts of icing sugar and I think they are the best at this ratio. Feel free to try your own ratio.

Churros
(makes about 10)

50g unsalted butter
150ml water
3/4 cup plain flour (90g)
1.5 tbsp castor sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
1.5 eggs
Oil for frying
Icing sugar and cinnamon to serve

Put the water and the butter in a small heavy-based pan and heat until the butter has melted, then bring just to a boil. Meanwhile, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk the eggs. When the water comes to the boil, remove it from the heat, pour in the flour mixture and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until you have a soft pastry with no lumps. Return to the heat for a minute or two until the mixture forms a smooth ball. Tip the dough into a bowl and leave to cool a bit.

Using electric beaters, beat in the egg bit by bit until it is completely incorporated and the dough is smooth and glossy. Put into your pastry bag with a 1 cm star nozzle. Heat enough oil to cover the base of your frying pan. Squeeze 10-12 cm lengths of dough directly into the hot oil, nipping off the ends clearly with scissors or a sharp knife. Fry on both sides, turning when crisp and golden, and lift out onto kitchen paper to absorb the oil. Serve, sprinkled very generously with icing sugar and cinnamon.

We heart these churros and hope you will too!

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pumpkin Custard Buns

Posted by Quinn at Thursday, June 03, 2010 10 comments Links to this post

Can I start off this post by saying thank you for all the raves and wishes on Aaron's birthday. You all have no ideas how much the comments meant to me and Aaron. Having said that, we really appreciate silent readers and emails as well. Aaron is in Perth now as I am typing this. Left this morning, won't come back till next Monday. He's got an interview with Rio Tinto and he's there to meet a friend as well. He indeed has secured a job but he wants the free trip to Perth. He is one happy guy now. I'm happy too because I got the interview as well! I'll be flying end of this month and I really hope I'll secure a job this time!


Back to simple, back to bread. Or buns to be exact. This is adapted from Aunty Yochana. I The original recipe uses sweet potato but I've used butternut pumpkin instead. This recipe is so special because the filling calls for vanilla ice cream! You basically just combine everything and ice cream was part of it. This also calls for instant custard powder, something you might not necessarily have and can find if you're in Australia.

If you can get your hands on all the ingredients, then try this. I might cut down the sugar a little next time because the ice cream was a bit too sweet already since I use store-bought stuffs. I also changed the shaping method as you could see as I wanted something simple, just flatten and fill and pinch to seal and that's it. I probably still haven't got over the whole Heaven and Hell thingy.... The buns are very very very, very soft. It couldn't have been any softer for a simple sweet bun that doesn't call for water roux.

Pumpkin Custard Buns
(makes approximately 10 buns)


300 bread flour
2.5 tsp instant dry yeast
1/4 cup castor sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup milk powder
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh milk
40 gm. butter, softened
Pumpkin seeds for decoration

Whisk together the first 5 ingredients. Make a well and pour in the water and fresh milk. Knead until it forms a soft dough and add in the butter. Continue kneading until it is smooth, shiny, satiny and that all the butter is fully incorporated. I usually do 15-20 mins. Don't bother about the stretch test because if you knead by hand, it is almost impossible to achieve however the texture, I assure you, is not compromised. You gotta trust me on this one.

I knead on my clean wooden table. After 15mins, I use a heavy glass bowl and cover it. Yes, I proof it just like that. There's really no need for a new, clean, greased bowl and plastic wrap. Consider the environment. Let it rise/proof for 40mins or so or until double in size.

Knock down the dough with your knuckles and knead to form a smooth dough again. Weigh it into 60g portions. Cover with a damp tea towel and let it relax for 10mins or so. Now, roll it into a round ball and place a portion of the filling (recipe below) on it. Pinch the seams to seal very well and place it on a lined and greased baking tray, seam side down. Repeat with the rest of the buns and Let it rise one last time until double in size.

Almost there...now preheat your oven to 190°C and very gently glaze your buns.

I used to always overdo it because I don't know what to do with the remaining egg wash. Don't, please don't soak the buns. Just make an omelette or add to your fried rice but don't over glaze your buns....
Scatter some pumpkin seeds on them. Well, it's a pumpkin filled bun so of course you use pepitas! And I arranged them rather than scatter, simply because I'm such a freak in being perfect.

Bake them in a preheated oven until they're evenly browned, about 10mins would do. I am weird like this, I like my buns to have a salted taste to it. I always brush my buns with salted melted butter the moment they're out from the oven. It gives them a very nice saltiness when you sink your teeth into it. It also gives it the shine and glossy look you want like faux buns.

Filling

200g sweet potato/pumpkin (peeled, steamed and mashed)
125g vanilla ice-cream
1/4 cup castor sugar (I would use just 2 tbsp next time!)
50g instant custard powder

Place everything in a food processor and pulse until combined. Weigh into 10 portions and chill it well. Roll into a roundish ball and chill again until ready to use.

Cool slightly on wire rack and serve warm with tea....Yummmy! Okay, I'm gonna go do all my backlogs and post it up since I'm free these few days when Aaron is not around. That goes to show how much time I spent with him and it's been years and I'm not sick of him at all, not sure about him but yeah, we're very much attached, like glue.

This post have been submitted to Yeastspotting, a weekly bread showcase organized by Susan of Wild Yeast.

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