Monthly Archives: February 2012

Tangzhong method Hokkaido Milk Toast

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This as you might know is my second attempt at making bread. It’s definitely something that I’m not used to making yet. I have not really understood and mastered it yet. But this is a good attempt at making bread.

I found this Hokkaido Milk Toast  recipe from Kirbie Craving’s blog. I don’t have a bread machine or a powerful stand mixture so I had to knead by hand. My dough didn’t look as smooth as the one shown on her blog at all but it think it came out pretty well anyway. =) I used up all the tangzhong made with the recipe in her link, which is really great. I wouldn’t know what to do with the leftovers.

I separated the dough into two to knead as it was too much dough for me to handle. When putting the cylindrical rolls into my pan, I found it didn’t really fill up with only 3 rolls so I put in 4 anyway.

Like in the recipe, I divided the dough into 6 portions. I have 2 portions left and I decided to try making buns with them. But I found out that it wasn’t the right thing to do because loaf recipes and bun recipes are NOT THE SAME. I called my mum and told her about me making bread and buns out of the same dough and she has informed me that I can’t do that. lol.

funny shaped buns

However, the buns were all eaten up on the day itself. =D They weren’t too bad just not that good.

I fount out anyway when I tried the buns. The buns I made were dense and not soft and fluffy as I have imagined. The loaf however was really delicious. It was soft, fluffy and smelt really good.

Loaf of Hokkaido Milk Toast

I ate one portion of the bread with nutella. 😀 So yummy!

I am definitely going to try making more bread. So stay tune to see what disasters I’ll encounter. 😀

Panko-battered chicken with Teriyaki Sauce

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This weekend, I decided to try making fried chicken with panko which is basically Japanese breadcrumbs. They are supposed to be crispier than regular bread crumbs but I’ve never used breadcrumbs, regular or Japanese, so I can’t really tell if that’s true.

Lunch is served!

Panko-battered chicken

Ingredients

250g boneless chicken thighs (I used 2 pieces)

1/2 cup flour
salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste
paprika, to taste

1 egg, beaten

1 cup panko


Instructions

Slice the chicken into strips, about 1cm thick. Then, mix the flour, salt and pepper together. Cover each strip of chicken in the flour mixture and let it marinade for a few hours.

When ready to cook, beat an egg. Dip the strips of marinated chicken into the egg and then cover in panko. Leave chicken to sit for about 15-20 minutes before frying. Put about 1cm of oil into a frying pan.

Let the oil heat up before putting chicken in. When the oil is hot enough, fry the chicken in batches. Make sure the temperature does not get too high.

I made my own teriyaki sauce as well which is not hard. I used 1/2 of this recipe and added a little bit of corn flour to thicken the sauce.

The chicken is crispy and goes really well with the teriyaki sauce. I will definitely try the batter recipe with prawns to make ebi-furai in the not so distant future. =)

Sort-of-red Velvet Cupcakes

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Been itching to try baking red velvet cake. I’ve never baked or eaten red velvet before but it seems to have a good presence and reputation, so they should be good right??

I made my cupcakes according to this recipe. I didn’t use red colouring, just because I didn’t have any and didn’t want to get any. I kind of reasoned that since food colouring only affects the appearance and not the taste it wasn’t really too necessary. Some will beg to differ I’m sure. Instead of food colouring, colouring from beets are usually used to dye the cake red. I just wanted an easy and relaxing after work baking experience, so no colouring, artificial or otherwise.

I don’t think buttermilk is available in Australia but I honestly wouldn’t bother getting it even if its available just to use half a cup. Substituted by mixing 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar (or you can use lemon juice) in 1/2  cup of milk and letting it stand for a few minutes.

Freshly baked

I tried a little bit of the cupcake after it came out of the oven. I could taste the ‘vinegar’ in the cake while it was hot but after having another one after icing it, it just tasted like a nice and moist chocolate cake. I divided the batter into 11 cupcake cups instead of 12 and that’s probably why the cupcakes rose a bit too much and cracked. Somehow I never manage to the surface of the cupcakes I make smooth and even but that’s because I never manage to divide the batter correctly.

For the frosting, I halved the amount of ingredients used. But when I was making  it, I was somehow under the impression I was quartering it. So I ended up using about 250g of mascarpone (in place of cream cheese) and 1/4 cups of icing sugar (I think I was possed by the I-can’t-do-math ghost or something, that’s actually 1/8 of the original recipe!). The mascarpone was left over from making the tiramisu chocolate mousse on Valentine’s. Based on my extensive watching of the foodwishes youtube channel, mascarpone is a richer (read: more fat) cream cheese, so definitely okay to substitute.  I ‘sprinkled’ some cocoa powder on top of the iced cupcakes. 😀

They are absolutely divine. Really delicious!! I managed to ice 8.5 cupcakes generously. 0.5 because I kind of got the first one wrong. I left my absolutely new piping bags out of my luggage when I came back, so I had to improvise. I used a zip lock bag and cut an opening in one of the corners. Didn’t turn out too bad. =) Was never really good at errr… artsy stuff. So I think it’s not bad for my standards.

 

Will definitely make these again in the future and I might even try using some beetroot to make real RED velvet cake. They tasted really good and the little calculation mishap wasn’t really a bad thing. The frosting tasted just right and really complimented the moist chocolate cake.

I’m eager to try making this pandan chiffon cake recipe this weekend. Hopefully I’ll manage to find some pandan extract.

Soba & Miso Dinner

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Today I had to cook dinner for myself only. I almost resorted to going to a McDonald’s drive-through but then I remembered I had some Soba in the pantry. So I decided to make a simple meal out of what I’ve got in the pantry and fridge.

Soba noodles & Miso soup

The soup for Soba was made with just dashi granules, soy sauce and mirin! I mixed the ingredients in a small bowl first with a little bit of warm water and then added more water and heated it up on the stove. I also added some dumplings. The dumplings are the frozen type that you can get from Asian groceries.

I get hungry really quickly lately. The protein from miso will keep me full a little bit longer until bed time and I read that having some protein before turning in can actually help me sleep better. So miso it is! 😀

I really love making miso because it’s so easy. I made the soup with the dashi granules and some red miso paste. I think its really convenient having the dashi granules around. It’s not as healthy I guess but it makes cooking so much easier. =) Sometimes I add vegetables in the miso to add that extra serving of vegetable, like zucchini. Zucchini in soup is delicious!

First attempt at Bread

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So I’ve never baked bread before. I was quite intimidated about making bread because it always felt like I needed large and fancy equipment (bread machine) and it really put me off. That was until I saw bread recipes and I was itching to try making something.

I decided to try a recipe that is simple and easy (or so I thought)…

My bread was marginally successful, it was passable but not a success in my opinion. I actually failed in my first attempt because the dough didn’t rise. =(

First time I did it, I followed instructions to a tee. Because I started making bread after dinner, when I finally accepted the reality that my dough was never gonna rise, it was quite late at night already. I committed yeast genocide when I put the dough into a too hot oven (> 28 degrees Celcius) to proof. I wasted half a kilo of flour and 1 bottle of beer! >.< But being adamant about having freshly baked bread to eat the next morning I decided to start over at around 2am at night.

This time I skipped making the sponge and used cider instead of beer because that was all I got. I left the dough to rise for a few hours (about 5) and proofed it the second time in the morning.

It turned out okay, looked really nice after it came out of the oven. I was pretty excited about it. It looks like bread!

 However, there’s a difference between bread that looks like bread and bread that tastes like bread. It was okay but not the best bread I’ve had or anything like that. It tasted a bit bland, so if I made it again I would add a little bit more salt and the bread was quite dense, probably because I skipped making the sponge. It also tasted quite alcoholic! lol.

But we finished the bread in a day. 😀 I think it wouldn’t have tasted  even weirder if it was left longer.

Brekkie~

To commemorate my first attempt at bread making and pure greediness, I made bacon and eggs for breakfast! That morning was also the first time I poached eggs. 😀 it was a day of many firsts (actually just two…). Not exactly the healthiest thing to eat for breakfast but I really wanted to have the greasy goodness of bacon and yummy sauteed mushrooms.

I’m definitely gonna try making bread again. =) hopefully the next time will be more successful than this.

Happy Valentine’s!

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Happy Valentine’s everyone. =)

Many will say Valentine’s is just a ploy to sell things to the masses (my colleagues) and it’s probably true. But instead of buying expensive things and going out for an expensive dinner, I decided to cook and make something special instead. The main course I made is actually something very simple that I’ve done many times before because it’s so easy.

My Valentine's Gift

I’ve always wanted to get these heart-shaped chocolate lolis as gifts when I first set eyes on them in Koko Black . So with Valentine’s as an excuse I made my boyfriend give them to me. =) And I got 2 as well! Was really delighted.

For dinner, I made roasted chicken thighs with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies.

Main course

 The chicken thighs were seasoned with Keen’s curry powder, paprika, a pinch of chilli powder and ground pepper. I’ve always made roasted chicken parts like this and they’ve always turned out well. Roast at around 200 degrees Celcius for about 35-40 minutes.

For the mashed potatoes, I used my thermal cooker to help save cooking time . I cut up the potatoes the night before and soaked them in water. In the morning, I replaced the water, salted it and boil the potatoes. Then returned it to the thermal cooker to continue cooking while I go to work. After the potatoes have softened, to make the mash, I added butter, milk, salt and pepper and mash until soft and fluffy. No measurements because its all to taste. To make the mash fluffier, add milk until it’s the right degree of fluffiness. The gravy is made with Gravox Traditional gravy mix. I added the jus from the roasting chicken and some cream because I had some at hand and simmered to thicken.

Carrots and brocolli are the staples in my diet because I love the crunch and sweetness of both vegetables. Just steamed them over boiling water in my colander because I didn’t have a steamer.

Our Valentine's Dinner

And dessert is Tiramisu Chocolate Mousse from Chef John’s blog. I started off with the espresso, butter and chocolate, left it over the double boiler as instructed but when I started stirring it all together, it became a lumpy, grainy mess and not the silky mixture that Chef John got. Happened to me before when I made chocolate truffles a few years ago. Since then, I’ve researched and I think it’s caused by moisture in the chocolate but by adding more water it sorts out the problem. So I added a few tablespoons of water and it indeed sorted the problem, my chocolate mixture became silkier. =)

Both of us only manage to finish one of the bowls (the recipe was for 4 servings anyways). It wasn’t too sweet and tasted pretty good but I felt it wasn’t light enough which I think is caused by my over beating the cream. For a first try, it was a pass and it’s was actually really easy to make. I always thought that making mousse is complicated and tricky but thanks to the video (which is linked above), it gave me the confidence to try it myself. And below is the money shot. =)

Tiramisu Chocolate Mousse

Hope everyone has had a great Valentine’s. =) I’m going to try making some bread this weekend to have with bacon and eggs, butter and jam and just on its own. Check out Chef John’s youtube channel, many great videos and easy to make recipes.

Green Tea, Vanilla & Chocolate Cheesecake

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Adapted the recipe in the previous post to make this 3 layered Green Tea, Vanilla & Chocolate Cheesecake. A friend made a similar 3 layered cheesecake for a birthday before so I decided to try making it myself since I had the ingredients I needed.

Green Tea, Vanilla & Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients
Crust

1 1/2 cups digestive biscuit crumbs
80g melted butter

Cheesecake

500g of Cream cheese, softened
3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
5 tablespoons sour cream/Greek yogurt
2 eggs
50g of melted chocolate
1 1/2 tablespoons Green tea powder

Grease a 9″ springform pan with either butter or oil. Line the bottom of the pan with baking paper, line the sides as well if you like. By greasing the sides, the baking paper will stick to the pan easily.

A regular cake tin can be used as well. Line instead with aluminium foil and leave excess foil at the sides so that the cake can be lifted out of the tin. If lining with aluminium foil, the pan does not need to be greased beforehand.

Melt butter in a microwave oven and mix with crumbs. Mix until the crumbs get darker (wet) and is mixed evenly. If the mixture feels dry, add more melted butter. Pour mixture onto the lined springform pan and compress the crumbs. I used an excess piece of baking paper and pressed the crumbs down with my hand.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

Cream softened cream cheese with sugar. Add in sour cream/yogurt and vanilla essense. Cream until the mixture is well mixed. Add in eggs one and a time and just mix until the egg and existing mixture is combined; avoid overbeating.

Melt chocolate either in the microwave or double boiling. I melted the chocolate in a large ceramic bowl and added 1/3 of the cheesecake mixture into the bowl. Mix well and pour first layer into the cake tin. Shake the cake tin gently and make sure the mixture is spread out evenly.

Next, scoop out 1/3 of the plain (vanilla) cream cheese mixture on to the pan, ensuring it is spread out evenly as well. Then add the green tea powder into the rest of the cream cheese mixture. Mix well and pour into the tin.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cake is set. Let the cake cool before putting it into the refrigerator. Refrigerate the cake for at least 4 hours before serving. Use a butter knife or something similar to go through the sides of springform pan before opening the springform. It will prevent the cake from cracking from the opening of the springform.

 

It really tasted divine. There were some small cracks in the cake but it don’t matter when the cakes so delicious. I used leftover milk chocolate chips and the richness of the the chocolate really did wonders. The cake actually didn’t adhere to the crust that well as you can see from the photo; the cake is crustless. However, after removing more slices out of the tin, the crust came out with the rest of the cake.