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Saturday, 28 February 2009

Chocolate Valentino - Co-hosting the DB Challenge

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
They have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

What’s that? Did it say that I was co-hosting! Yes, Indeed! Cant you tell how excited I am!!! Now please sit back and watch the opening credits:

Location: A house somewhere in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia sometime in September 2008.

Camera focuses on a bedroom door. Pan back to reveal the door opening. An unshaven (but terribly good looking!) man walks out, rubbing his eyes. He makes his way to the bookshelf and moves a cookbook. A panel opens up revealing a small DVD player. Camera focuses on the screen and then shows the reflection of the (extremely good looking) man’s face as a voice over says….

Good morning, Mr. Navaratnam. My name is Wendy. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves co-hosting the February Daring Bakers challenge with me. You and I need to select a recipe, any recipe, but it should include Chocolate and Ice-Cream. That’s what I think anyway. You have forty-eight hours to help me choose and decide on a recipe. Once we have decided on the recipes, you will need to test it out and then compare notes with me. We will then have to inform Director Ivonne and Commissioner Lis, the founders of the DBs on our choice of recipe. As always, should you mess up the recipe, be caught or be killed, we will all disavow any knowledge of your actions – or even your existence.

And Mr. Navaratnam, the next time you come out of your room, please be good enough to wear a shirt. This message will self-destruct in five seconds.

Camera pans back. Man covers his face as the DVD screen blows up.

And that in a nutshell is how I came to co-host this February Challenge of the Daring Bakers – with a little bit of literary and artistic licence of course!

In all seriousness, it was way back in September 2008 that I got an email from Wendy asking me if I would like to co-host the February Daring Baker’s Challenge with her. I was really thrilled that Wendy had asked me and without any hesitation, I said yes! Can you believe that we actually started planning all this way back in September?

Both of us knew we wanted to do something with chocolate. After tossing up various ideas, we both decided on a Flourless Chocolate Cake paired with Ice Cream. Wendy liked the idea of using a recipe from someone in this part of the world and that’s when we decided we would use the recipe from Chef Wan. For all Malaysian’s and those who are fortunate enough to get to watch the Asian Food Channel, I am sure you have heard of Chef Wan from Malaysia who claims to be “Asia’s most flamboyant food ambassador”. For those of you that have never heard of him, trust me when I say he is an extremely entertaining person to watch and his recipes are firm favourites in this part of the world and especially in my household!

February’s challenge is a Chocolate Valentino, inspired by Chef Wan’s Recipe from his book Sweet Treats.

The thing that I really liked about this recipe was that it was very straightforward but gave lots of room for interpretation. We decided that we would give the Daring Baker’s lots of room for variation by not limiting them to the chocolate they would use. We also decided to let them pair it with any kind of ice-cream or whipped cream or any topping they so desired actually! We provided two ice cream recipes too.

So this is my take on this months Challenge.

I felt the cake wasn’t really all that difficult to do. I think the trick was in getting the egg whites to beat up nice and stiff and then to not let them collapse too much while folding into the chocolate mixture.

I made the cake in a Heart Shaped pan just as a Valentino is supposed to be. I also made a few smaller cakes in ramekins just to keep the Lovely Wife and the Kids happy. They were so eager to have a taste of the cake before it was served later that night for a few friends. I also did that so that I could test how baking individual cakes would turn out. You see, hosting a challenge means you need to test these things out!

Both the heart cake and the mini cakes turned out superb! The texture of the cake was very dense and rather fudgy.

Next of course came the ice cream. I DO have an Ice Cream maker but I decided NOT to use the ice cream maker for two reasons. First, I wanted to simulate how people without ice cream machines would handle this and secondly, my ice cream maker requires overnight freezing prior to use and of course I didn’t do that!!

I think the hardest part in making a custard based ice cream is in getting the custard just right.

After making the custard, I had to let it cool. I decided to take some fancy pictures using the recipe book as a prop!

The next hardest thing is making ice cream without a machine. For this, I had to whip cream till it was nice and thick and then fold it into the custard mixture.

Doesn't that look all creamy and delicious?

Then it was time to pour the cream into containers and freeze them.

I took the freezing ice cream out of the freezer a number of times and whipped it lightly. This is important and also can be a little tricky as if you don’t beat the mixture often enough, it will form lots of ice crystals and then the ice cream will be really hard and icy.

As I mentioned earlier, the kids couldn't wait to eat the cake and so I served one of the ramekins to them - complete with ice cream and a fresh cherry!

You can see that my official tasters really enjoyed this cake with ice cream!

Later that night, I served the cake at a dinner party and the guests all loved it. The vanilla ice cream went really well with the dark chocolate and the flavours were really delightful. One of our friends said it was the best chocolate cake she had ever eaten! This recipe is definitely one to be made many, many times. The only trouble is that with the amount of chocolate in it, this will be an expensive cake to make. I would also advice anyone who makes this to use only the Best Quality Chocolate - and use eating chocolate and not baking chocolate!

Although I tested the cake and ice cream recipes, Wendy went a step further and tested the cake 4 times and also provided a more detailed version of the recipe based on her experience. It’s a good thing she did because that alleviated a lot of the questions that would definitely have arisen had we only provided the recipe as is. Here, I provide for you the original unedited recipe exactly as it is in Chef Wan’s Sweet Treats. I also provide the Ice Cream recipe just as it is in the book - just so you can see how much more of a challenge it could have been!!

I really hope all of you Daring Bakers enjoyed this challenge. I must say it was a load of fun choosing and testing this recipe as Co-Host. It was also a lot of fun answering questions on the Forum and I'm sorry if I wasn't able to answer questions to any ones satisfaction. Finally, a big hug and another word of thanks to Wendy for asking me to co-host with her on this challenge!!

Here are the unabridged, unadulterated recipes.

Chocolate Valentino by Chef Wan from his book, Sweet Treats
453 grams of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
140 grams butter
5 eggs separated


Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth. Cool
Grease a 22cm spring form pan. Beat egg yolks and stir into cooled chocolate
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold on quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining egg whites
Pour batter into a pan and bake for 25 minutes at 190C/375F or till done. Cool.

Chefs note: The Valentino is a heart-shaped version of this cake. Bake a Valentino in a heart-shaped pan. This is a very dense chocolate cake.

Classic Vanilla Ice Cream
Recipe comes from the Ice Cream Book by Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis

1 Vanilla Pod
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Semi Skimmed Milk
4 large egg yolks
75g / 3oz / 6 tbsp caster sugar
5ml / 1 tsp corn flour
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Double Cream

1. Using a small knife slit the vanilla pod lengthways. Pour the milk into a heavy based saucepan, add the vanilla pod and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and leave for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse
Lift the vanilla pod up. Holding it over the pan, scrape the black seeds out of the pod with a small knife so that they fall back into the milk. SET the vanilla pod aside and bring the milk back to the boil.
2. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and corn-flour in a bowl until the mixture is thick and foamy.
3. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a gentle hear, stirring all the time
4. When the custard thickens and is smooth, pour it back into the bowl. Cool it then chill.
5. By Hand: Whip the cream until it has thickened but still falls from a spoon. Fold it into the custard and pour into a plastic tub or similar freeze-proof container. Freeze for 6 hours or until firm enough to scoop, beating it twice

By Using and Ice Cream Maker: Stir the cream into the custard and churn the mixture until thick (follow instructions on your ice cream maker)

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Spicy Pork Patties and 'The Look'

I have to admit that both The Lovely Wife and I both love cookbooks. I'm more partial toward dessert cookbooks while The Lovely Wife likes them any which way. I did put on a sour face and a scowl however, when she insisted on buying this particular book - an Indian Cookbook. I looked at her and gave her The (well perfected) Look. It's the kind of look where I kind of either frown or raise my eyebrows. My face takes on a really dumbfounded cum haughty expression and if you look hard enough, you can see steam coming out of my fairly large nostrils. If you cant picture it, just think of it as a "you really, seriously, must be joking" kind of look.
I mean seriously, why on earth would either of us need an Indian cookbook? I think we both cook Indian food bloody well!

Despite being on the receiving end of 'The Look', The Lovely Wife still bought the book and later that night I thumbed through it and hummed and hawed that there was nothing really special in there that neither of us couldn't do. The Lovely Wife tried to defend herself and said that it was a nice book nonetheless and there WERE some nice recipes in there and it didn't matter if we could already make some or even all of the dishes. There was nothing wrong in getting a fresh take on recipes. In a final attempt at justifying her purchase, she said that at the very least the book had some nice pictures and maybe I could learn a thing or two about taking nice food shots... okay, not said in such a vicious manner but that was kind of the point. I'll remind her of that the next time I get my hands on a Playboy Magazine...

Anyway, one day she decided to follow one of the recipes from the book and made these Spicy Pork Patties. I tell you, they were delicious! They were so delicious that The Lovely Wife decided to make them again when we hosted Naomi for lunch back in August last year. Everyone thought they were delicious too!

The recipe comes from 30-minute Indian by Suni Vijayakar, a book The Lovely Wife found at one of our local bookstores (either MPH or Borders, can't quite remember). This is the recipe

450g minced pork
3 tsps hot curry paste (she used a mix of curry powder and chilli powder instead)
3 Tbs fresh bradcrumbs
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 Tbs lime juice
2 Tbs finely chopped coriander leaves
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 tsp brown sugar
salt and pepper

Put the pork, curry paste, breadcrumbs, onion, lime juice, coriander, chilli and sugar in a large bowl and, using your hands, mix until thoroughly blended. Season with salt and pepper. cover and chill for 30mins or until ready to cook

Divide the mixture into 12 portions and shape each one into a flat, round patty.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick fryingpan and cook the patties over a medium heat for 3-4 minuts on each side or until cooked through.

These patties make excellent appetisers and are great with drinks too! The Lovely Wife usually bakes these instead of frying them and they are equally delicious that way.

So maybe it's not such a bad idea having an Indian cookbook in our collection after all....

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Celebrating her Fifth Birthday!

My little Princess turned 5 on the 17th of February. However, since it was a Tuesday, we only celebrated it yesterday with a small party attended by the family - the Grandparents, Uncles and their families and her Godparents. Sarah wasn't sure what cake she wanted although she had mentioned that she liked both Ben Ten as well as Dibo the Dragon. Knowing how much she also liked Lego, I gave her the option of a Lego Cake - she seemed to like that and so the decision was made!

My first thought, when deciding how to make the Lego cake, was to make just one large Lego brick. The idea here was to make a rectangular cake and then make 6 cupcakes. I would then place the cupcakes on top of the cake and ice it to make a super big Lego brick.

The more I thought about it though, the more I realised that it wouldn't have enough 'oomph' for a 5 year old. I mean, one Lego brick wouldn't get her very excited would it? That's when I decided to make a series of bricks and colour them all differently.

What I did was to make one large rectangular cake that I cut up into different sized blocks. I then baked a thin cake in a Swiss Roll (Jelly Roll) Pan and used a round cookie cutter to cut out the 'nobs'. I iced the blocks in different colours of red, white, blue and green and I have to admit that it was rather cumbersome getting the icing smooth with the nobs sticking out of the blocks.

I teased Sarah by placing some of the Toy Bricks beside the cake. I asked her to have some fun and play with all the bricks. She gave me one of her 'looks' and said "Daddy, the cake bricks are for eating and not for playing." Ahhh... sometimes I long for the days when she thought that everything I said was still Gospel!

We placed candles all over the bricks so Sarah had a hard time blowing them all out at once!

The Lovely Wife made a whole heap of Fried Noodles and also some of her Breaded Chicken strips with Lemon sauce. I made some Spicy Sausages and also some Caramel Custard. Sarah also asked for some 'Shivering Jelly' - she calls it that because the gelatinous dessert 'shivers' when its placed on a serving dish and you shake it!

Another succesful Birthday Cake and birthday Party. The kids seem to be growing up so fast and I have to admit the old bones are finding it harder to keep up with throwing these birthday parties. Still, even with the aching feet and back at the end of the day, the smile on my princess's face and the memories we will all have are definitely worth it!

Happy Birthday Sarah!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

This cake was made way back in August 2008 when my good friend Naomi visited for lunch. This was the dessert that I served that day and in all honesty, I have never seen a cake disappear so fast! Aside from my family, there were 4 other adults so in total that made 6 adults and 2 kids. The cake was fairly large and also rather rich and I really thought there would be plenty left over - especially since The Lovely Wife insists that I serve small slices - so people can take second serves if they like and not be forced to stuff their faces with too much cake, and end up not enjoying it. I can see some logic in her idea but to me, theres nothing wrong with a large slice of cake!!

The plan with this cake actually turned a little awry. Nonetheless, it still turned out pretty good.

This is what I did.

I made my sponge cake recipe from the Australian Women's Weekly New Cookbook (1978)which is the same recipe used for theOrange Choc Sponge Cake and also the Reverse Black Forest Cake. This sponge cake is very, very light and is great with mousse. I split the cake into four layers and then I then made two ganache 'mousses' - one with milk chocolate and the other with dark chocolate. This was done by mixing equal parts chocolate and cream and then whipping the mixture up till it became thick.

This is where the plan went awry. I wanted to cover the whole cake with a dark choc ganache but realised I had very little dark chocolate left over. So what I did was to mix a little cream with chocolate, some icing sugar and cocoa as well as some butter and I got this buttercream-ish sort of topping.
So.. one layer of sponge cake, brushed with some sugar syrup, then a layer of dark chocolate 'mousse', another layer of sponge, followed by the milk chocolate 'mousse' yet another layer of cake topped with dark choc 'mousse' and the final layer of cake on top. I then spread the icing over the cake and placed it in the fridge.

The cake cut really well although it was a little hard to keep the slices standing up since the sponge was so light. What I did was to serve the cake on its side. Not as nice as an upright slice, but as long as the cake tasted good - right?

See? The cake was finished in one sitting. I've never had a cake that disappeared so fast. Maybe the guests were really hungry or they needed a lot of dessert to douse the fire from my Fiery Chicken Curry or maybe, just maybe, this cake was a real winner!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

A National Heritage...definitely a cultural exchange!

Yesterday, 14th of February 2008 2009, I was fortunate to have witnessed the ceremony where my Alma Mater, the great Victoria Institution was declared a National Heritage by the Minister of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage, Malaysia. The ceremony was held at none other than the Victoria Institution School Hall!

10 pre-war buildings were among 172 items listed as national heritage, including collections from the National Archives, archaeological artifacts, traditional delicacies and art. The school, founded in 1893 is one of Malaysia's best known, premier and prestigious schools - if not THE BEST School in Malaysia!! During the war, the school was taken over by the Japanese and used as their headquarters. when the Japanese finally surrendered, the surrender was actually signed in the School Hall.

I was in the VI from 1980 to 1984 and the occasion of VI being declared a National Heritage was indeed a very proud day for me. What was even better was that it was declared that the official name of the School would revert to Victoria Institution - now that is has gained national heritage status. Although everyone knows and refers to the school as Victoria Institution, or VI for short, the official name was changed to Sekolah Menangah Victoria (Victoria Secondary School) in keeping with the official Bahasa Malaysia (Malaysian National Language) method of naming schools.

This is the slide that appeared when the announcement was made

The Minister, in his speech, called for for the school’s heritage to be conserved as each characteristic “be it a wall, a window, balcony, roof, tower or its field has its own story.” He also said that every building in the VI, even building 206, would be conserved as a National Heritage. This was received with raucous applause as building 206 is infamous to all Victorians as the boys toilet!!

The plaque that was quickly affixed to the main entrance just outside the hall and under the clock tower.

I went to the function with a good friend of mine, Ramesh, and we met a few other old schoolmates there as well. After the declaration, we spent a lot of time walking around the school, taking lots of pictures and meeting some of our old teachers. We met Mr. Jeyaretna, Mrs Chong, Mrs Vaz and Mr Teh Mun Heng. We also spent some time talking to some of the present students and it was good to see that although there are definitely some changes in the school since we left more than 20 years ago, the School traditions and the School Spirit is still very much intact - so there is some truth to the last line of the School Song

That the New Victorians, match with Old Victorians!.

The famous clock tower where the 4 faces of the clock have always shown a different time. It has always been too costly to fix the complicated mechanism of the old clock and now hopefully with Heritage status, the clock tower may yet be fixed!

I'm very proud to be a Victorian and I leave you with the School Motto - Be Yet Wiser - that comes from Proverbs. Give a Wise Man instruction and he will BE YET WISER.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Fried Mee Hoon or Chow Mien for PPN 100!!

Firstly, congratulations to my dear friend Ruth over at Once Upon a Feast who celebrates her 100th Presto Pasta Nights this Friday. Hooray!!!

What I'm bringing to this 100th Feast of Pasta is a very Malaysian noodle dish that The Lovely Wife made for my son's birthday back in November last year. See? Keeping old posts sometimes has its benefits!!

Now whats a lovely dish without a good story to go with it right?

Chow Mien is the generic Chinese name for any fried noodles. I've known this for a long time. How long I've known this has a point - it really does!

Now have you noticed that in a lot of American movies, every time they order Chinese, they will order Chicken Chowww Meeean? I changed the spelling to how I would hear it pronounced. Oddly enough though, I never knew they were talking about Fried Noodles with Chicken and I always wondered what this exotic Chinese dish was that we could never get in Malaysia.

One day, the Lovely Wife and I were watching some movie on telly and the lady in the movie asked the man to make sure he got some Chicken Chowwww Meeean for takeaway. The Lovely Wife remarked that she would love to try this Chicken Chowww Meeean and suddenly I felt like I had been hit by a bolt of lightning and bells started going of in my head. Quick as a flash I realised it was Chicken Chow Mien!

Without blinking an eye, I raised my eyebrows at her and replied rather haughtily (with a 'don't you know anything' look) - "Noodles with chicken! Chow Mien! You know, Fried Noodles" - as if I had known all along. The Lovely Wife felt rather sheepish and so I confessed that "Yes, I only just realised it, I too wondered what it was for many years." See, I'm really not that bad a person....

So anyway, this lovely Fried Mee Hoon (Mee Hoon is thin noodles or vermicelli) was made by The Lovely Wife and this is what she does:

1 packet Mee Hoon (sorry, dont know the weight or size)
6 dried chillies
5 cloves garlic - chopped
1 chicken breast - cut into strips
10 dried taufoo (bean curd) - cut into strips
2 firm taufoo - cubed
1/2 cabbage - cut into strips
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1/2 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
3 Eggs

Blend the chillies with a little oil to form a paste. Fry this paste with the garlic until fragrant. Add in the chicken and cook well. Add in the taufoo and allow to simmer. Throw in the cabbage and mix well and then add in the Soy Sauces. Stir in the noodles until well coated. Add more sauce to taste if required.

Whisk the eggs together until smooth and then fry like an omellete. Cut the egg into strips and sprinkle over the noodles.

These noodles go really well with Birds Eye chillies in a little soy sauce - that is a typical Malaysian 'additive' to fried noodles and fried rice!

This dish is so versatile that you can use prawns, beef or any other meat as an ingredient. Throwing in some beansprouts or other vegetables would also go really well!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

RFJ Winner - Most Unique Interpretation!

I almost missed taking part in the February Challenge and it's a good thing I got my act together and made these Fusion Vol-au-Vents. Why? Because I won a prize at the Royal Foodie Joust hosted by Jenn, the Leftover Queen!

Our Queen introduced some new rules and from now on, there are THREE chances to win at the Joust. The three categories are: Best Overall Entry, Best Photo and Most Unique Interpretation of ingredients.

I'm very honoured to have won under this category and I have to thank all the members of the Royal Foodie Joust who voted for me. For full details of the ingredients involved and how I made this original creation, check out my post on Fusion Vol-au-Vents

Thanks again Queen Jenn for initiating this very fun contest reknowned amongst the Food Blogging community as the Iron Chef of the food blogs!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Ikea Daim Cake - Take 3 and Success!

This is the third time I am trying to replicate the Ikea Daim Cake. For those of you that have yet to try it, this cake is also known as the Almondy Cake and is very decadent and delicious. The link shows you how the real Almondy is supposed to look and I must admit that as far as looks go, my attempt is far from pretty. Taste wise however, I do think mine gives the original a run for its money!

I made this cake for a dinner that we hosted for a few of our good friends - friends of the Lovely Wife's dating back to her school days! I decided to improve on this cake again since Lynn, who had heard about my Ikea Daim Cake attempts had mentioned that she wanted to try it.

In my previous attempt, I had used a joconde recipe for the base but felt that it was too thick. This time, I decided to go with my Almond Meringue base. I also use Dark Toblerone instead of Daim chocolate since Daim is extremely expensive on this side of the world. I also decided to make some almond praline to replicate the caramel in the Daim.

I also decided to make my Pastry Cream with a little ground almonds rather than using almond essence. I think that worked out better than the almond essence as the almond taste was not so pronounced.

So this is what I did.

Almond Biscuit
3 Egg whites
125 g sugar
160g almonds

line two 8" pans with parchment or nonstick paper. Whisk egg whites and sugar till stiff. Fold in almonds till nicely incorporated. Spread evenly into the two pans and bake in a 190C oven for about 20 mins. Remove paper and let cool.

300ml thickened cream
2x100g bar Dark Toblerone
100g Dark Chocolate

Heat Cream till boiling and then pour over Toblerone and Dark Chocolate, stirring till melted and smooth. Set aside.

6 heaped tsps sugar
a little water
about 50g almond slices (2 handfuls)

Make Caramel by melting sugar with a little water and boiling till mixture turns a nice amber colour. Quickly add in the almond slices and mix thoroughly ensuring nuts are coated. Pour out on to a greaseproof lined baking tray and let set.

Pastry Cream
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) milk
2 Tbsp ground almonds
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 grams) caster sugar
1/8 cup (20 grams) all-purpose flour
Scant 3 tablespoons (20 grams) cornstarch
50g butter
35 tbsp icing sugar

In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl, mix the caster sugar and egg yolks together with a wooden spoon. (Never let the mixture sit too long or you will get pieces of egg forming.) Sift the flour and cornstarch together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste. Set aside.

Meanwhile in a saucepan heat the milk on medium heat until boiling. (The milk will foam up to the top of pan when done, so watch carefully.) Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. (If you get a few pieces of egg (curdling) in the mixture, pour through a strainer.)

Place the egg mixture back into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 - 60 seconds until it becomes very thick and it is hard to stir.

Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the butter and ground almonds. Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool. Beat with icing sugar before using to firm it up a little more and get rid of any lumps that may have formed.

Spread a thin Layer of Almond Pastry Cream over one layer of the Almond Meringue. Cover with the second layer and spead with another thin layer of Pastry Cream. Place in fridge to chill for a while. Cover with chopped praline and spread melted chocolate over the top and sides.

One mistake I made was to let the chocolate cool for too long. I actually put it in the fridge to set up a little so that I had to spread the chocolate over the cake resulting in a rather thick layer of chocolate. Nothing wrong with that really but I think the next time I make this, I should pour a thin layer of chocolate over the pastry cream before layering the second layer of almond meringue.

Taste wise, this was really lovely and the almond praline made a big difference. Our guests loved it as did the Lovely Wife and kids - and that is why I reckon that this effort was the most succesful! I think I have almost perfected the Ikea Daim Cake and I just need to try and make the layers a little thinner and more beautiful...

Friday, 6 February 2009

Pear Pudding with Caramel Sauce

One thing about food blogging is that sometimes, you make something, take all the pictures but just keep delaying posting about it. This is one of those times and although this was made more than 6 months ago, I just failed to post it!

Good thing I had uploaded the photos though as my PC has been on the blink for the past week. I have a backup 'ol dinosaur' pc which I am using to update this post but would you know, the 'ol dino' is giving some problems as well... So that kind of explains my silence. I'm really struggling without my home PC but I guess I'm getting by with a little help form 'Ol Dino'!

This recipe comes from an old cookbook I own called Indulgence Food. The recipe is actually for a Steamed Pear Pudding with Caramel Sauce but I baked it instead. This is how the recipe goes with my modification of baking:

3 pears
125ml water
1.5 tbsp sugar
45g butter
3 tbsps caster sugar
2 eggs
90g self raising flour
4 tbsp milk

Caramel Sauce
185g sugar
3 tbsp water
45 g butter
155 ml whipping cream

Peel, core and finely chop the pears. Place pears, water and sugar in a pan and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes or till pears are just tender. Set aside.
Cream butter and caster sugar till pale and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Sift flour over mixtrue and fold in with milk.
Strain pears and fold into puidding mixture. Pour into a 9" srpingform pan. Bake in a preheated 180C oven for about an hour or till done.
Make the caramel sauce by placing sugar and water in a saucepan. Cook until sugar dissolves and then caramelsies into a deep amber culler. Remove from heat. Add in butter a little at a time. Return to heat, add in cream and contiunue cooking till smooth.

One of my son's favourite desserts is Caramelised Pears (not sure if I've posted about these...) so he absolutely loved this cake! I served it with Ice Cream and it was quite a lovely dessert!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Savoury Glutinous Rice

This recipe was featured in the food section of one of our local newspapers and The Lovely Wife wanted to try it. The recipe is from Amy Beh - one of Malaysia's well known cooks and author of many cookbooks.

The Lovely Wife made two versions of this - one with Chicken and one with Pork. It turned out really well indeed and tasted a little like the Fried Rice in Lotus Leaf that is served at Chinese Restaurants - especially during Weddings. It also tasted very much like Loh Ma Kai! That's why I photographed it just like how Loh Ma Kai is served.

This is the recipe as per Amy Beh.

400g glutinous rice, soaked overnight and drained dry
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp chopped shallots
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp dried prawns, soaked and chopped
150g pork belly, diced
3 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked and shredded

2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
Salt to taste
1 tbsp sugar
1½ tbsp thick soy sauce
½ tsp pepper
80-90ml water

Some fried shallot crisps

Wash and drain glutinous rice, then steam for 35-40 minutes.
Heat oil and sesame oil in a wok. Fry shallots, garlic and dried prawns until fragrant. Add pork belly and mushrooms and fry well.
Add the steamed glutinous rice and seasoning to mix. Toss and fry until the rice is dry. Dish out and serve with a sprinkling of shallot crisps.

The Lovely Wife's parents came over when we served this and no one could believe that it was home made. I wouldn't have either if I hadn't had seen her make it herself - it was that good!

This is now a favourite of The Lovely Wife's to make and of course a favourite of ours to all enjoy!


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