Friday, December 31, 2010

31 Dec 10 (Fri) - Steamed Egg Custard (炖蛋) and Chocolate Flake Crisp

It's the last day of 2010. Other people would be out on the street shopping or partying while I chose to stay home to spend it quietly and doing the thing I enjoyed most, cooking. Earlier this week, I reflected on what I had done for the past one year. I made a resolution to attend at least one cooking class this year and I did, in fact, I attended more than one and even did some creative cookings on my own, be it main course, desserts, Chinese, Western, Japanese or Korea.

For the coming year, I intend to refine my cooking skills and focus on cooking Chinese desserts with the possibility of exploring Japanese and Korean desserts. With this in mind, I surfed the Internet for recipes on a few Cantonese desserts such as red bean soup with lotus seeds, steamed egg custard (炖蛋), steamed milk custard (炖奶) and so on.

Had wanted to try them out slowly next year but being the impatient type, I decided to try the simplest ones today. So went to NTUC after work to get the ingredients and hurry home. Set the laundry to wash and started with the easiest which was the steamed egg custard.

Looked at the few recipes I had found on the Internet and modified their steps for my version. Just when I was ready to steam the egg, I realised that I had used up the aluminium foil so I used cling wrap instead. It was after a few minutes when I opened the cover to let out some steam that I found out that the cling wrap was torn. Hence quickly removed it and continued with the steaming process. Off the heat after 12mins and the surface of the steamed egg custard (炖蛋) was not as smooth as it was supposed to be and the sides were starting to dry.

Brought it out of the pot and took a few photos before tasting my creation. It wasn't as bad as I thought. The taste was just right and as for the texture... It wasn't watery but yet it wasn't very solid either. I couldn't remember how the texture of steamed egg custard should be like. Anyway, it was my first attempt and I was thinking that perhaps if I had used aluminium foil while steaming, it probably would have turned out right. Shall do that in my next attempt of the steamed egg custard (炖蛋).

Steamed Egg Custard (炖蛋)

1 egg
150ml milk
20g sugar

1.  Beat the egg in a bowl
2.  Warm the milk in the microwave but do not boil it
3.  Add the warm milk into the beaten egg then add sugar and mix well with a fork
4.  Use a spoon to remove the foam on the surface of the egg mixture
5.  Cover the mixture with foil
6.  Steam it for 12mins in a pot with a lid on using medium-high heat
7.  Lift the lid up a bit to release some steam every 4mins
8.  Off the heat after 12mins and serve hot or chilled

After I was done eating, started on the second recipe which was steamed milk custard (炖奶). I found a couple of versions and being lazy, I tried the simplest one that only uses milk and sugar. Followed every step and at the end of it, the recipe said the milk should set after 5-10mins. So while waiting, I tried another recipe on chocolate flakes crisp.

Last month, my younger niece, Lyn, borrowed a cookbook for beginners and we tried one of the recipes in it which was called chocolate flakes crisp. It wasn't successful coz we when we were about to attempt the cooking, we realised that we had run out of maple syrup. We tried to improved by adding sugar instead but it didn't work.

Wasn't happy with the failed attempt so googled for similar recipes on the Internet and modified the steps that I saw from Lyn's cookbook. Instead of first melting the chocolate directly on a saucepan then add margarine and maple syrup, I put the chocolate, margarine and maple syrup in a heatproof bowl and placed it over a saucepan with hot water. The heat from the hot water melted the ingredients nicely and after that, added in the crushed cornflakes and mixed well. Finally, scooped the mixture into cake cases and waited for them to cool before putting them into the fridge.

NTUC Corn Flakes and
Mountain Valley Maple Flavoured Syrup

Van Houten Chocolate Buttons,
Planta Margarine and Cake Cases

Chocolate Flakes Crisp

110g chocolate
25g margarine
1.5 tbsp maple syrup
70g cornflakes

1.  Place chocolate, margarine and maple syrup in a heatproof bowl
2.  Place the bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch the water)
3.  Melt the chocolate, margarine and maple syrup and stir well until smooth
4.  Remove the bowl from the heat and add the cornflakes, 1 handful at a time, stirring until they are thoroughly coated
5.  Place a heaped tablespoon of mixture into each cake case and refrigerate until set

Returned to check on the steamed milk custard (炖奶), it didn't set as stated in the recipe so drank the milk and washed all the stuff before hanging my laundry and settling down to blog about my afternoon. I guess the next attempt on the steamed milk custard, I would have to make use of egg whites as stated in the other two recipes.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

26 Dec 10 (Sun) - Red Bean Soup with Lotus Seed (红豆莲子汤)

Went to sis's place on Christmas Eve to spend the weekend. It was fun and enjoyable. I got to open up the presents from my friends at work and from my sis as well as eating Christmas Dinner that consisted of Roasted Beef and Ham with my sis and her family.

Found the remaining of the red beans that I used for the Osmanthus Red Bean Pudding previously and decided to finish it by cooking Red Bean Soup. Soaked the red beans with water overnight and started cooking around 9+am on Boxing Day.

I was told that it takes a very long time to cook the red beans and I didn't know how much water to add to the red beans so cooked them using two cups of water on low heat. Stirred the content on and off and after about one hour, added another cup of water to the pot to make sure that the red beans were covered with just enough water all the time.

After another hour, added another cup of water and at the same time pressed the beans to try to make it into paste like. Dug around my sis's kitchen cabinet and found a packet of ready-to-eat sweet lotus seeds so added that into the red bean soup and let it cook for another 20mins.

Finally when the red beans were soften, added sugar to taste. Again I didn't know how much sugar to add so I had to use my taste bud to gauge. When it was about right, turned off the heat before taking my lunch. Ate quickly, then scooped a bowl of the red bean soup with lotus seeds, took a few photos before eating it. Though it wasn't exactly the same as those served in restaurants during wedding dinners, it was close enough.

Red Bean Soup with Lotus Seeds (红豆沙莲子汤)

80g red beans
800ml water
40g fine sugar (or amount to your preference)
80g ready-to-eat sweet lotus seeds

1.  Soak red beans overnight.
2.  Add two cups of water to the red beans and cook for one hour stirring the content occasionally
3.  Add another cup of water to the pot (depends on how much water is left in the pot)
4.  Cook for another one hour, stirring the content occasionally and press the beans
5.  Add another cup of water (depend on how much water is left in the pot), add the lotus seeds
6.  Stir and press the beans for another 20mins, add the sugar and stir till dissolve
7.  Off the heat and served

Saturday, December 18, 2010

18 Dec 10 (Sat) - Rosti

Went for dinner at Marche in Vivo last Sunday with sis and her family. Wanted to order rosti and BIL was already in the queue. He said that he would be ordering two plates to share, therefore I went on to order the Spanish Rice to share with sis. After he got back with the two plates of rosti, one plate went to Ry and the other was left aside coz he needed to go collect other food that he had ordered. So ate some rosti while eating the rice. After BIL came back with more food, he took the plate of rosti and placed it between Lyn and himself which was beyond my reach so didn't get to eat that anymore.

Throughout the week, I was thinking about rosti and how silly it would look if I were to go back to Marche just to eat rosti. Hence, the next alternative would be to try cooking it myself. Surfed the Internet on Monday to look for the recipe and found a few. I like sour cream to go with my rosti so went to hunt for sour cream during lunch the following day at the NTUC but couldn't find it. Googled on where I may be able to find sour cream in Singapore and saw a forum post that mentioned Cold Storage and Market Place.

The following day I was to meet with SWT for a movie at Plaza Singapura and so decided to go check out Carrefour to see if I can find the sour cream. Was so happy to find it and decided to try cooking rosti this weekend. Bought the US Russet Potatoes from NTUC during lunch on Friday, parboiled and peeled one of them at night to be used the following morning.

Bulla Light Sour Cream

Woke up, ate breakfast and started preparing the ingredients. It didn't take very long to prepare coz the only ingredient was just the potato which just needed to be grated. The cooking didn't take very long either, probably about 10mins per rosti.

After I was done cooking, arranged the rosti on a plate, added a scoop of sour cream and took a couple of photos of my creation. Then started eating it and it tasted just like the Marche rosti which I didn't get to eat much last Sunday. While eating, I was thinking if rosti can be modified to be a dessert instead. Probably will require some experimenting.

Rosti with Sour Cream

1 US russet potato
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp sour cream

1.  Boil potato in salt water for 15mins or until tender
2.  Placed potato in cold water, peel the skin and put in the fridge overnight
3.  Grate the potato coarsely into a bowl, add salt and pepper and mix it through
4.  Heat 1 tbsp of oil in frying pan, press the potato into the pan and cover with lid
5.  Cook for 5mins or until the edges are golden
6.  Invert pan onto a plate, add 1 tbsp of oil to the pan then slide rosti back to pan to cook the other side
7.  Cover the lid, cook for another 5mins and turn off the heat
8.  Serve rosti with sour cream

Saturday, December 11, 2010

11 Dec 10 (Sun) - Classic Chocolate Cake

Bought a box of Green's classic chocolate cake mix a couple of weeks ago intending to bake it at my sis's place during my previous visit. However, that weekend, my BIL bought the Xbox Kinect and we were all playing with that. Hence, only baked the cake this weekend.

Front View of the Cake Mix 

Back View of the Cake Mix with Instructions 

Borrowed the electric mixer, the 20cm cake tin and baking paper from sis's SIL in the morning and only started baking around 2+pm. Followed the instructions on the box closely such as adding 150ml milk, 60g butter, 2 eggs to the cake mix powder in a mixing bowl, used low power to mix the ingredients for 30secs before turing it to medium power to beat the ingredients for 2mins.

After that, poured the batter into the cake tin and put it into the preheated over to bake at 180 degrees for 45mins. Watched my BIL played Kinect and after about 30mins, went to check on the cake. The top of the cake cracked and quickly used a satay stick to test the middle part which turned out to be still wet. So reduced the temperature of the oven and let it baked till the end of the 45mins.

Took the cake out of the oven and then put it on the cooling rack to cool down while preparing the icing. According to the instructions, I added 20ml milk, 40g butter to the powder and beat it for 2mins before spreading it over the cake. It was a disaster. The icing turned out runny and wouldn't stick on the cake and that reminded me of the same result I had when doing the Steam Moist Chocolate Cake back in February.

Classic Chocolate Cake (Whole)

Sis suggested putting the cake into the fridge and so I did. After a couple of hours, we took it out and still the icing didn't quite stick. Sis cut the cake and it turned out that the cake itself tasted not bad but the icing was rather sweet. Headed out to East Coast Food Center for dinner and then when we came back, sis, sis's SIL and me had a piece of the cake each. Sis commented that it wasn't bad just that icing was a bit too sweet. Her SIL commented that the cake was a bit hard, perhaps was a little too dry. For me, I had the same opinion as my sis. Lyn saw us eating the cake and she asked for a piece and she later asked for another.

Classic Chocolate Cake (Slice)

I guessed I can't say that it was a total success and neither can I conclude that it was a total failure. At least it was edible and the most heartening thing was that even the most fussy gal, Lyn, ate two pieces of the cake.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

5 Dec 10 (Sun) - Poached Salmon Steak and Vegetables in White Wine with Potato Salad

There was one last piece of salmon steak in the fridge which I had saved to cook as my lunch on Monday. Decided to cook it using the simple, fuss-free method and that was to poach it with white wine coz I had to go watch The Chronicles of Narnia 3: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 3D with SWT in Bugis in the afternoon.

Went to the market early as usual, ate breakfast and went on to start preparing the ingredients for cooking. Cut the carrot, asparagus, shitake mushrooms, lemon, shallots and garlic. Then made some cuts on the salmon steak, placed it in a pot together with shallots, garlic and a few slices of lemon and then filled the pot with water and white wine till it covered half the steak.

Turned on low heat, let it cooked for a few minutes before turning the steak over and cooked for another few minutes. Once the salmon steak was cooked, I drained and placed it on a plate. Threw the other vegetables into the pot and topped it up with more water to poach. After they were cooked, drained and arranged them on the plate with the salmon steak.

Then used the same pot of water to poach the potato. Prepared a bowl of ice water and once the potato was cooked, placed it into the ice water and peeled the skin off. Cut it into pieces, put into a mixing bowl, added salt, pepper and mayonnaise before mixing them up. Arranged them onto the same plate and then took a photo of my creation before packing them into my lunch box.

Soon it was time to go out and got to Bugis 15mins before the meeting time. The movie started at 1:50pm and ended about 4pm. The movie was funny but not as good as the previous two installments. Perhaps because Peter and Susan were no longer in the movie, Edmund and Lucy had grown up, there were no battle scenes and the last straw was that Prince Caspian was spotted with a goatee. Anyway, it was still a good movie overall.

Went to Tiong Bahru Plaza to get some stuff before heading home for the day, rest and get ready for the week ahead.

Poached Salmon Steak and Vegetables in White Wine with Potato Salad

Ingredients A:
1 piece salmon steak
1 local potatoe
1/2 carrot
1 asparagus
3 shitake mushrooms
Poaching Ingredients:
1 shallots, thinly sliced
1 garlic, thinly sliced
1-2 slices lemon
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
A dash of salt and pepper

1.  Combine all poaching ingredients in a pan
2.  Put the salmon steak so it is half covered
3.  Bring to boil and reduce heat
4.  After 3-4mins, turn the salmon steak over
5.  After 3-4mins, off the heat and set aside
6.  Boil the carrot, asparagus and shitake mushrooms till cooked and set aside
7.  Cook the potato, skinned it and cut into bite size
8.  Toss the potato with salt, pepper and mayonnaise
9.  Arrange all ingredients on plate and serve

Saturday, December 4, 2010

4 Dec 10 (Sat) - Sukiyaki

Was given two big pieces of salmon steaks last Monday and only get the chance to cook today. Since I had tried Poached Salmon Steak in White Wine & Pan-fried Salmon Steak with Homemade Teriyaki Sauce before so decided to cook something different this time.

Flipped through my recipes and decided to try out the Sukiyaki recipe that I learnt from the SoEZ Cooking Class. Went to the market and bought the vegetables, came back, ate my breakfast, prepared the ingredients and started cooking.

When it was time to eat, heated up the soup and then added in the sliced salmon to the hot soup to cook. Once the salmon slices were cooked, turned off the heat and ready to serve.

Sukiyaki - Sliced Salmon with Vegetables in Soy-based Soup
Ingredients (Sauce):
60ml Mirin
60ml Soyu
60ml Cooking Sake
360ml Water

1.  Put all the ingredients together in a pot and let it cook for 5mins.

1/2 carrot
2 asparagus
5 shitake mushrooms
1/2 canned button mushrooms
1 fresh salmon steak (sliced thinly)

1.  Wash all the vegetables and mushrooms and cut into pieces
2.  Placed all the washed ingredients into a pot
3.  Pour the cooked sauce into the pot
4.  Let it boil
5.  After the ingredients are cooked, placed the sliced salmon in to cook
6.  Off the fire after the salmon slices are cooked