Date and walnut loaf

August 26th, 2006

Preparation time:
2 and a half hours
Makes around 18 slices of date and walnut loaf with the following recipe.

225g wholemeal flour
225g plain flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground mixed spice
1 teaspoon of salt
50g caster sugar
75g margarine
175g finely chopped stoned dates
50g finely chopped walnuts
2 beaten eggs
150 ml skimmed milk
125 ml warmed black treacle

Heat oven to 180C, grease and line a 900-g loaf tin. Sift flours, backing powder, salt and spices into a large, warmed mixing bowl and the rub in the chopped margarine until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.

Stir in the sugar, dates and walnuts and add the beaten eggs and milk. Add the warmed treacle a spoonful at a time until the mixutre is soft and consistent.

Scrape the mixture into the loaf tin and smooth the top.

Bake it for 2 hours and when removed from the oven, leave it in tin for 5 minutes. Then turn it onto a wire rack, peel off the lining, leave it to cool and its ready to serve.

Useful Tips On Making Soup

August 22nd, 2006
  • Scald meat and bone ingredients in boiling water first before rinsing them in water to remove any froth and blood. This removes stench and gives a clearer soup.
  • When making soup, first bring it to a boil over high heat. Then immediately switch to lower heat and allow it to simmer gently. Maintain small bubbles on the surface of the soup. While too low a heat may inhibit the release of proteins in the ingredients, heating at too high a temperature will cloud the soup and make it murky.
  • Add ingredients only when the water has come to a boil and do not add any more cold water in the midst of cooking. This is to ensure that the quality of the soup is not affected and that the ingredients will not stick to the bottom of the pot easily.
  • Do not lift the lid unnecessarily to ensure a constant temperature within the pot for a naturally rich and fragrant soup.
  • Avoid adding salt too early as salt has a permeable effect that infiltrates food easily, releases moisture and thus speeding up the solidification of protein which will affect the taste of the soup.
  • Controlling the amount of water needed is also essential to making good soup. Determinant of the amount of water needed is based on the type of ingredients in use. For ingredients like beans, grains, dried food and medicinal products, more water is needed while for ingredients like vegetables and fruits, that gives out water when stewed, lesser is required. The exact knowledge on the amount needed will easier as you gain more and more experience over time.

Recipe for salad sauces

August 22nd, 2006

For serving up to 10 persons, various salad sauces and their ingredients.

Thousand Island Dressing

Following ingredients to be chopped;

100 gms Green pepper
100 gms Red pepper
50 gms Stuffed olives
3 nos Hard boiled eggs
3 liters Mayonnaise
Mix well and add adjust following seasoning according;

4 drops of Tabasco sauce,
2 teaspoon of horse radish,
2 teaspoon of brandy or adjust according to taste

French Dressing

30 gms Chopped garlic
1 nos Chopped onion
2 teaspoon French mustard
2 liters Corn oil
1/2 liters White vinegar

Mix all ingredients gradually and adjust salt and pepper according to taste.

Vinaigrette Dressing

1/4 liter Red vinegar
1/4 liter White vinegar
2 liters Corn oil
50 gms Stuffed olives (chopped)
10 gms Spring onion (chopped)
1 nos Chopping onion
50 gms Chopped capers
50 gms Chopped parsley
50 gms Chopped gherkins
Mix all ingredients gradually, add salt and pepper to taste.

Food for toddlers

August 9th, 2006

Here are some recipes for toddlers, easy to prepare, no fuss and delicious!

1. Baked custard

Preheat oven to 180 C. Whisk together 300ml milk, 2 eggs , 1tbsp sugar. Pour into 2 ramekins. Stand the ramekin in an oven tray. Fill the tray with water till halfway up the side of the dish. Bake for 15-20 mins.

2. Veggie puffs

Boil some mixed vegetables and chopped brocoli in a small saucepan until soft. Drain and mix vegetables with some grated cheese.

Preheat oven to 220 C. Roll 2 sheets of puff pastry and cut each into half. Spread equally the vegetable mixture onto each of the 4 sheets of puff pastry along the long side of each piece. Roll up the pastry to form sausage shapes, brush edges with milk and press to seal.

Place the rolls seam side down on a lightly greased baking tray. Make a few small slits along the rolls. Lightly brush the rolls with milk to glaze and then bake for 10 mins or until crisp and golden. Cut each roll into 6 even sized pieces.

3.Macaroni Cheese

For this recipe, you will need, 1\2 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp flour, 1 cup milk, 1\2 cup grated cheese and 2 cups cooked macaroni.

Melt butter in a small saucepan, blend in flour, then milk . Cook until sauce boil and thickens. Simmer for 3 mins, season with salt and pepper. Mix the macaroni through the sauce and serve with tomato wedges.

Durian Cream Cake

July 30th, 2006

Durian is my favourite fruit. To many, like my husband, they wonder why. They find it smelly and soft and some durian is even bitter. But for durian lovers, they will surely love this durian cake recipe. Please try to choose sweet durians so that you don’t have to add sugar to the durian puree.

One 9″ vanilla sponge cake

Ingredients for cream:

1 cup of durian puree (Remove flesh from pulp and place in the blender and blend until smooth. Add sugar if it is not sweet enough.)

600ml whipping cream

Just whip the cream and when it is firm and can hold its shape, add the durian puree and mix well.

Cut the sponge cake into three horizontally. Spread cream in each layer and cover the whole cake with the delicious durian cream.

*During durian season when durians are abundant, cheap and good, I will use 2 1/2 cups of durian puree and between the layers of sponge cake, I will just spread about 1 cups of the durian puree so as to maximize the durian taste. I will use about 300 ml of whip cream, whip it and then mix with the remaining durian pureee and cream the sides and top of cake.
duriancake.jpg

Black forest cake

July 30th, 2006

Make a basic 9″ chocolate sponge cake.

Ingredients:

1 can black pitted cherries
20 gm cornstarch
60ml (4tbsp) kirsch
600 ml whipping cream
100 gm chocolate rasp or curls to decorate

Method:

Strain the syrup from the pitted cherries. Boil the syrup with the cornstarch until thick. Set aside to cool. Add kirsch. Place the cherries back into the syrup to coat the cherries with the kirsch syrup.
done 2.jpg Cut the cake into three horizontally.

Place a layer on a turn-table or a flat plate. Spoon some syrup onto the cake layer. Be careful not to put too much syrup as the sponge may turn soggy.

Whip the cream until firm and can hold its shape. This is important because if the cream is not whip till firm, it will be hard to cream the cake as the cream cannot hold its shape. If it is over-whipped, the cream will turn into butter. (Always chill the bowl and whisk attachment before whipping the cream.)

1stlayer.jpgSpread a thin layer on top of the soaked sponge. Place 1/3 of the cherries on top of the cream.

2ndlayer.jpgRepeat with the layers of sponge, syrup and cream.

3rdlayer.jpgTop with the third cake round and spoon over some kirsch syrup. Please make sure the sponge is not too moist or it may become soggy.
Spread a thin layerof whipped cream around the sides and top of the cake. Press some chocolate curls on the sides of the cake and sprinkle some in the middle of the cake. Decorate the top of the cake by placing some cherries around the top of the cake.
The picture below is a cake I have made but instead of placing whipped cream around the sides and top of the cake, I put chocolate coating on it as my husband and I are chocolate lovers.

choccake.jpgaslice.jpg

To make the chocolate coating, Chop 125gm of bittersweet chocolate and place in a stainless steel bowl. In a small saucepan, heat up 15gm butter with 90ml thickened cream. When it boils, pour over the chocolate. With a handheld whisk, stir until incorporated. Put the cake on a wire rack and place some baking paper under the wire rack to catch any chocolate dripping down the cake. Pour the chocolate coating onto the center of the cake and using a large spatula, spread all over the cake and creat a even coating. Transfer the cake to a serving platter and chill at least 4 hours.

Basic sponge cake / Basic chocolate sponge cake

July 30th, 2006

To make a delicious cream cake, I have always feel that the sponge cake make the difference. Everything else can be right but if the sponge is too dry or hard, it spoils the whole cake.

To make the perfect sponge, you need the right recipe. You also need to know your oven well so that the cake is not too dry or too wet. Please also use the right cake pan. The folding in of flour and butter is very important so that the cake won’t be flat.

My journey in looking for ways to make the perfect sponge has been quite trying. I don’t really like premix as I don’t like the texture and flavour. The only brand of premix that I find satisfactory is Prima. I tried many sponge recipe and they are just not right. Some instructions are so vague that the cake just don’t turn out right.

The following sponge recipe is my favourite and quite easy to make. I have taken some pictures so that you can visualize the process better. Once you master the perfect sponge, you can check out my different cream cake recipes so that you can decorate and make different types of cake. They are delicious.
The following is the recipe for vanilla sponge cake. If you want a chocolate sponge cake, just reduce the quantity of plain flour by 50gm and replace with 50gm of cocoa powder.

Ingredients:

100g (4oz) butter melted
6 eggs, room temperature
225g (8oz) caster sugar
125g (5oz) plain flour
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Method:

Grease a 9 inch (23 cm) cake pan. Line with greaseproof paper. Preheat oven to 180C.
Put the eggs and sugar into a large bowl and whisk until thick enough to leave a trail on the surface when the whisk is lifted. Usually with an electric mixer, it takes about 5 - 7 mins.

egg.jpg

Sift the flour. Gently fold half the flour into the egg mixture. When it is well incorporated, fold in the other half. Add the vanilla essence and fold into the mixture.

Place 1 cup of the batter into a bowl with the butter and using a handheld whisk, whisk the mixture to lighten the butter. After that, fold the butter mixture into the batter.
cakepan.jpg Turn the mixture into the prepared tin.

Bake for about 40 mins or until a toothpick is inserted in the middle will come out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and remove greaseproof paper.

done1.jpg When removed from oven.

coolcake.jpg When cooled, it looks a little wrinkled.

done 2.jpg Invert the cake so that now the top becomes bottom. Slice the cake horizontally to cream it.

*The pictures features a chocolate cake.

Pork ribs with honey marinade

July 27th, 2006

Ingredients:

4 racks of American-style pork spare ribs 1.5kg

Honey marinade:
1\4 cup (90g) honey
1\2 cup (125g) Kecap Manis
2 tsp sesame oil
2 star anise
3 cm fresh ginger grated finely
1 clove garlic crushed

Method:

Make honey marinade by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl.

Pour 2\3 of the marinade into a large shallow dish or large resealable bag. Add pork spare ribs and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

Preheat oven to 150C.

Drain ribs from marinade, discard marinade. Line 2 baking dishes with foil to prevent the honey mixture from burning onto baking dishes. Place wire racks in each dish. Place pork ribs in a single layer on the racks. Roast uncovered about 45 mins, turning halfway through and brush it with the remaining 1\3 marinade until well browned and cooked.

Cut racks into individual ribs before serving.

Serves 6.

ribs.jpg

Rosemary Potatoes

July 25th, 2006

This is a healthy accompaniment.

5 large potatoes

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves

Preheat oven to 180 C. Make 1 cm cut in each potato, slicing about 3 quarters of the way through. Combine potato with oil in a large baking dish , sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 1 hour, increase oven temperatue to 200 C and bake for another 15 mins or until potatoes are tender and browned. Sprinkle with rosemary.

p

Glazed pork and veal apple meatloaf

July 25th, 2006

This meatloaf is yummy. In Singapore, it can be hard to find minced veal so you can simply use minced pork. Fresh sage is also hard to get so I substitute it with 1 tsp of dry rosemary or thyme. The jelly glaze for this recipe is very important as it add sweetness to the loaf and also improve the look of the dish. Try it and your family will love it!

Ingredient:

2 tsp olive oil
1 small brown onion 80g, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic chopped finely
1 trimmed celery stalk 100g chopped finely
1 medium green apple grated coarsely
500g por and veal mince mixture
1 cup (70g) stale breadcrumbs
1 tbsp fresh sage chopped coarsely
1 egg lightly beaten
10 thin streaky bacon rashers
1 small green apple cored and sliced thinly
2 tbsp apple or redcurrant jelly
Method:

Heat oil and fry onion, garlic and celery. Cook, stirring until onion is soft. Add grated apple and cook until mixture becomes dry.

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Combine onion mixture, mince, breadcrumbs, sage and egg in a large bowl. Mix well.

Transfer mince mixture onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Use wrap to roll mixture into a 8cm x 24cm log. Discard wrap. Wrap bacon around log, alternating extra apple slices with bacon.

Place meatloaf onto an oiled oven tray. Brush all over with half the warmed jelly. Roast, uncovered, in moderate oven about 45 mins, brushing with the remaining jelly halfway through cooking. Meatloaf should be cooked through and bacon browned and crisp. Serve with mustard.

Serves 4

meatloaf