Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nutella Brownies

Brownies

Brownies



Adapted from Completely Delicious


Ingredients:

170g dark chocolate, chopped
8g cocoa powder
2g instant coffee granules
130g butter
175g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 tsp salt
95g plain flour
85g pecans, chopped
100g Nutella



  • Preheat oven to 180 deg C.  Line a 20.5 cm square pan with baking paper.
  • Melt the chocolate, cocoa powder, coffee granules and butter in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth.  Remove bowl from heat and let cool for a few minutes.  
  • Add in sugar and vanilla extract, stir to combine.  
  • Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add in salt and flour and stir until well combined.  Fold in pecans.  
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and use a spatula to spread evenly.  Drop spoonfuls of Nutella onto the batter, about 4 cm apart, then use a toothpick to swirl the Nutella into the batter.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the edges appeared crispy but a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with moist crumbs.  
  • Remove pan from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.
  • Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days or in the fridge for a week.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dulce de Leche Banana Cake


Dulce de Leche
Can you see spots of Dulce de Leche in the cake?  
Dulce de Leche


Yes, another banana cake; but this time with the addition of homemade dulce de leche (pronounced "DOOL-say day Lay-chay," is a Spanish term for a thick caramel sauce popular in Latin America).  Turning a can of sweetened condensed milk into sticky and gooey dulce de leche is not that complicated.  All you need is, of course, a can of condensed milk and a pot of boiling water.  Then put your feet up with your favourite book for the next 3 to 4 hours but make sure the water doesn't boil dry.  One word of caution, do not open the can until it is cooled.  

Hop over to Wendy's blog to see how she made her dulce-de-leche.  


Ingredients:

60g sour cream
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
70g caster sugar
80g rice bran oil
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
250g self-raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup mashed bananas

  • Preheat oven to 170 deg C.  Grease and line a 22.5 x 12.5 x 7 cm loaf pan (or a 9" round pan).
  • Sift flour with flour; set aside.
  • Combine bicarbonate of soda with sour cream; set aside.
  • With an electric mixer, beat eggs until frothy (about 1 min),  gradually add in sugar and beat until thick and pale (about 5 mins).
  • Pour in oil in a steady stream while beating.  Add in vanilla paste.  
  • Add in dulce de leche and beat to just combined.
  • Fold in flour, mashed bananas and sour cream.  
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake for about 55 mins or until cake is done.
  • After 5 mins remove the cake from the pan and cool on a wire rack.














Sunday, September 7, 2014

Crispy Coffee-Custard Mooncakes

Custard Mooncakes

Custard Mooncakes

Mooncakes


I truly enjoyed looking at the different creations of mooncakes made by fellow bloggers, they were so beautiful.  I didn't plan to make any mooncakes until I saw this delicious looking Baked Custard Mooncakes shared by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids (Thank you very much, Zoe). This is my second attempt at baking these mooncakes.  However, this time I decided to make coffee custard instead and I doubled the recipe with some slight changes.  Since I didn't have any custard powder, I replaced it with cornstarch and added some vanilla paste.  If you are a coffee lover, I am sure you'd love these.

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a  Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, 中秋节快乐!


Coffee Custard Filling (Yields 436g)

(A)
40g butter, softened 
120g palm sugar, grated
20g caster sugar 
6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla paste

(B)  Mix together to combine:
40g condensed milk
80ml thickened cream 
120ml coconut milk 

(C)  Sift together:
40g plain flour
30g corn starch (to replace custard powder)
20g tapioca flour
2 tsp coffee granules

  • Cream butter and sugars until light.  Beat in egg yolks, one at a time; beat until combined.  Then beat in vanilla paste.
  • Pour in ingredients (B) and beat to combine.
  • Add in ingredients (C) and mix well.  
  • Pour the mixture into a heat resistance plate and steam over medium heat for 25 minutes; stirring constantly.  Set aside to cool.
  • Knead mixture until smooth and wrap custard in cling wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill until required.  (I chilled my custard overnight).

Mooncake Pastry (Yields 1024g)

(A)
200g butter, softened
30g rice bran oil
180g icing sugar, sifted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla paste

(B)  Sift together:
440g plain flour
70g cornstarch (to replace custard powder)
1/2 tsp baking powder

  • Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Then beat in oil.
  • Gradually add in eggs; beat until well combined.  Beat in vanilla paste.
  • Add in sifted flours and beat until incorporated and the mixture begins to hold together. Bring the dough together with your hands.  Wrap dough with cling wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for an hour.

Shaping the coffee custard filling

about 30g desiccated coconut

  • Divide the filling into 15g each and roll them into balls.  
  • Coat the balls of filling with desiccated coconut and set aside.

Shaping the mooncakes

Mooncakes
Egg wash:  1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp milk

  • Divide the pastry dough into 36g each and roll them into balls.
  • Take a ball of pastry and place it in between two pieces of cling wrap or baking paper, then flatten into a flat and round circle.  Place a ball of custard filling in the middle of the dough and wrap into a ball.  
  • Lightly flour the ball and place it into the mooncake mould and press out the mooncake.
  • Place the mooncakes on a baking tray which has been lined with baking paper.  Cover the mooncakes with cling wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking.
  • Preheat oven to 160°C fan forced.  
  • Brush a thin layer of egg wash over the mooncakes and bake for about 25 - 30 minutes.  
  • Cool the mooncakes on the tray for about 10 minutes before transferring them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Stir-fry Potato Strips ( 炒土豆丝)



Sichuan Stir-fry Potato Strips ( 炒土豆丝)




Ingredients:

4 (about 300g) potatoes, cut into thin strips
60g carrot, cut into thin strips
50g Sichuan preserved vegetable, cut into thin strips
65g red capsicum, cut into thin strips
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 shallots, chopped finely
2 dried chilli, cut into half and soaked to soften 
1/2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 sprig of coriander leaves,cut into 2 cm lengths

Seasoning:
1 tbsp black vinegar or to taste
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
salt & pepper to taste

  • Soak potato strips in a bowl of cold water for about 5 - 10 minutes and rinse to wash away the starch.  Repeat three times.  Drain well.
  • Heat oil in a wok until hot, toss in the Sichuan peppercorns.  Discard the peppercorns immediately once they smell aromatic.  Toss in the dried chillies and chopped garlic and shallots and fry under medium-low heat until fragrant. 
  • Add in potato and  carrot strips together with Sichuan preserved vegetable and stir fry on high heat for about 5 minutes.  If they begin to stick to the wok, add a little water. Add in seasoning  and keep frying until the potato strips no longer taste raw but still a little crunchy.  Lastly toss in the red capsicum strips and drizzle in sesame oil.  
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Before serving, sprinkle some toasted sesame over the potato strips.

Black Beans Pork Spare Ribs

Fermented Black Beans Pork Spare Ribs


Ingredients:

350g pork spare ribs
2 tbsp dried fermented black beans, rinsed and mashed a little
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 shallot, chopped finely
small knob of ginger, chopped finely
1 dried chilli, soak to soften, cut into big chunks
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
pepper
1 tbsp cooking oil
spring onions, garnishing
1/2 tbsp cornflour + 1 tbsp water, to thicken sauce

Marinade:
1/2 tsp cornflour
1/2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
pepper

  • Wash and pat dry the pork ribs, add in the marinade and mix well.  Set aside for at least 1 hour. 
  • Heat oil in a wok and saute chopped ginger, shallot, garlic and dried chilli until aromatic.  Toss in fermented black beans and fry for about a minute.
  • Add in pork ribs and fry until light brown. Add in dark and light soy sauces and sugar.   Pour enough water to cover the ribs.  Bring to the boil and lower heat to simmer until ribs are tender. Add in pepper.  
  • Thicken sauce with cornflour mixture, stir well.
  • Garnish with chopped spring onions.  
  • Serve hot with steamed rice.




Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hakka Yong Tau Fu (客家酿豆腐)

Stuffed Tofu  (客家酿豆腐)


Although I am a Hakka, I don't really know very many Hakka dishes, so when asked to name one Hakka dish, no doubt the classic Hakka Yong Tau Fu instantly comes to mind.  The Hakka versions of Yong Tau Fu has more depth of flavour with the addition of minced pork and salted fish or dried shrimps as well as minced garlic - which distinguishes  Hakka Yong Tau Fu from the Cantonese version which only uses fish paste as filling.   I am sure every family, Hakka or not, has their own version of Yong Tau Fu.  

I  like  to use  semi-soft tofu which are often too soft and delicate to cut into triangles and stuffed with filling.  So I adopted the 'open-face' method - which I scooped out a little cavity in the tofu and stuff with filling. The stuffed tofu is then pan-fried until slightly crispy on the outside but still maintain its softness on the inside; and then braised.  Besides tofu, a variety of vegetables can be stuffed with the fish and meat paste, eg okra, bitter gourd, eggplant, chillies, tofu puff, etc.  


It is indeed time consuming to make this laborious Yong Tau Fu dish but is well worth the effort.   

The 5 steps to making Hakka Yong Tau Fu from scratch: 
  1. Prepare  fish paste
  2. Prepare  Hakka Yong Tau Fu stuffing (fish & minced pork paste)
  3. Stuff  tofu 
  4. Cook the stuffed tofu (pan-fried and then braised)

1.  Prepare fish paste:  
1 Spanish mackerel tail  (yield about 800g flesh)
1 egg white
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp tapioca starch
4 tbsp cold water

  • Fillet the fish.  Using a metal spoon scrape the flesh from the skin of the fillet as well as from the fish bones.  
  • Place the flesh and all the ingredients except water into the food processor and PULSE until fine, adding water gradually.  Process until the fish paste comes together and turns light colour.
  • With wet hands gather the fish paste together and keep 'throwing' it onto the chopping board until it becomes firm and shiny (wet your hands so that the paste won't stick). 
 [At this stage, you can make fish balls or stuff the paste into tofu or vegetables].

2.  Prepare Hakka Yong Tau Fu stuffing (fish & meat paste) :
800g fish paste
500g minced pork
70g dried shrimps, finely chopped or processed in the food processor
50g garlic, finely minced
3 tsp pepper
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
3 tsp salt 
1/2 tbsp tapioca starch

  • Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
  • Throw the fish & meat paste onto the chopping board until it is firm. 
  • The paste is then ready to be stuffed into tofu (or any vegetables you prefer).
[Leftover fish & meat paste can be frozen]






3.  Stuff tofu
  • Use a sharp paring knife to cut a square on the tofu (do not cut too deep).  Use a teaspoon to carve out the tofu to make a crater-like hole and fill the hole with the fish and meat paste; smooth the surface with wet hands.  (Reserve discarded tofu for later **)





4.  Cook the stuffed tofu:

Ingredients for sauce:
3 cloves garlic, minced finely
2 shallots, minced finely
1 tbsp fermented soy bean paste
1 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp light soy sauce
sugar & salt (adjust to individual taste)
2 cups of chicken stock or water (approx)
1 tbsp cornstarch + 1 1/2 tbsp water - for thickening of the gravy
coriander leaves - for garnishing

  • In a frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.   Place the stuffed tofu with the stuffing side down and fry in batches until brown and crisped (about 2 minutes on each side).  Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain the oil.
  • With a little oil in the pan, saute garlic and shallots until aromatic.  Add in the fermented soy bean paste and sugar, stir quickly before adding chicken stock, oyster sauce and soy sauce.  
  • Arrange all the stuffed tofu  in a frying pan and pour in sauce.   Cover and let simmer  under medium heat for about 10 minutes (do not over cook the tofu).
  • Thicken sauce with cornstarch mixture.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.




Yong Tau Fu



 **  Mashed tofu with fish and meat paste:


  • Mash the discarded tofu chunks.  Add in fish and meat paste and combine well.  
  • Make the paste into small patties and fry in hot oil.
  • Patties can be braised together with the Yong Tau Fu or eat it on its own with chilli sauce.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Homemade Meat Floss (肉松)



Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica Root)



Ingredients:  (Made 220g pork floss)

550g pork neck, cut into 4 cm cubes, blanched with boiling water
1 slice Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica Root)
2 slices ginger
1 1/2 cup water 
salt
2 tbsp oil

Seasonings: ( Adjust according to personal preference)
1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
Salt & pepper, to taste
3 tbsp raw sugar, or to taste
dash of five-spiced powder

  • Cook the meat with until tender (add more water if it dries up).  Drain well and discard the dang gui.
  • Put the cooled cooked meat into a resealable plastic bag and using a pestle, flatten the meat.  
  • Transfer the meat onto a plate and use two forks to tease them apart.  Then put the meat into a wok together with 1 tbsp of oil and mix well.  Add in all the seasonings and fry over low heat until meat is completely dry and flossy (about 45 minutes).  Add the remaining oil and continue to fry for another 2 minutes.
  • Cool the meat floss and store in air-tight containers



Thursday, August 7, 2014

Oats-Wholemeal Bread

Wholemeal Bread

Wholemeal Bread

Do you know that the aroma of freshly-baked bread has more than just the power to make your mouth watered, it can also make you kinder to strangers? According to a study on the effects of delectable aromas and social interaction, the French researchers found 'spontaneous help was triggered by pleasant ambient smells'.  When volunteers dropped items outside a bakery giving off the sweet scent of baking bread, 77% of passers-by stopped and helped.  While other studies have made a connection between pleasant smells to better moods, the new study sought to make a concrete tie between aromas and good deeds.  Isn't that interesting?  


Adapted from Carol's  湯種100%全麥吐司


Ingredients:

(A) Tang Zhong Dough (mix together and chill overnight in the fridge)
50ml scalded milk
50g organic wholemeal bread flour

(B) Main Dough
100g Tang Zhong
200g organic wholemeal bread flour
50g rolled oats
1 egg (50g)
1 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
30g honey
90g cold milk

30g olive oil

extra rolled oats for topping


  • In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all ingredients (B) except oil together.  Then add in (A), knead until well combined.  Gradually add in olive oil and continue to knead until dough is smooth and elastic. 
  • Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with clingwrap.  Place it in a warm place to allow the dough to rise until at least doubled in volume.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and divide into two equal portions.  Shape into balls.  Cover and rest for 20 minutes. 
  • Flatten the dough into rectangular shape and roll them up like swiss rolls.
  • Place the two rolls  into a greased loaf pan; cover and let it proof again until almost doubled or 90%.  Spritz the dough with water and sprinkle with rolled oats.
  • Bake in a preheated oven (175 deg C) for about 40 minutes or until brown.
  • Remove the bread from the pan immediately.




This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up organised by Bake for Happy Kids and My Little Favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from the Domestic Goddess Wannabe

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