Tuesday, October 21, 2014

xiamen minced meat rice 厦门肉酱伴饭

I was thinking of either making katsu don or bibimbap for dinner.

Something easy. Preferably a one-bowl dinner so I could pretend to do a Nigella (Lawson) and curl on on the sofa in front of the TV to eat my dinner.

Never mind that I don't eat dinner on my sofa, or that we don't have a TV in front of the sofa. It is one of those things I'd fantasize about doing once in a blue moon.
Anyway, I digress. So I ran out of chicken - yep it does happen once in a while - and the LAM is not a fan of Korean food in general, so I had to think of something else I could cook.

It so happened that I was flipping through my copy of "A Trip Down Memory Lane: Signature Dishes from the Tan Family" by David Tan Sek Yin and there was a recipe for this minced meat rice bowl.

The dish has meat, and loads of vegetables and egg (love!) and it was something the LAM would happily eat, so it was a no-brainer.

And, I did have some minced pork in the freezer, so I guess it was fated that I made this for dinner? :P

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make this dish.

Start by marinating the mince with five spice powder, white pepper, sugar, corn starch and light soy sauce. Give it a good stir and set it aside.
Cut the potatoes into small cubes.
Deep fry the potato cubes until they turn golden brown. Place the potato on kitchen towels to drain.
In a hot wok, add vegetable oil. Stir fry the shallots until they turn soft and translucent.
Add the garlic, give it a quick stir, then add the meat.
When the meat was about 75% cooked, add the potato cubes, oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine and water.
 Stir to combine before covering the wok with a lid to simmer for a minute.
Add the frozen vegetables, dark soy sauce and fried shallots.
Continue stirring until the liquid reduces. Season with salt and turn off the heat.
Place some rice in a bowl, top with the meat sauce and a fried egg.
Find a sofa if you must. Turn on the TV, fold your legs under you and tuck in!

RECIPE
Xiamen Minced Meat Rice 厦门肉酱伴饭 (Serves 4-6)
Adapted from "A Trip Down Memory Lane: Signature Dishes from the Tan Family" by David Tan Sek Yin

Ingredients:
400g minced meat (pork, chicken, beef or lamb)
200g frozen vegetables
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
250ml water
100g shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large onion, diced - I omitted this
4 cloves garlic, minced
*4 eggs, fried sunny side up
*2 cups rice, cooked
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
4-5 tablespoons fried shallots
salt, to taste

Marinade for the minced meat:
1 teaspoon five spice powder
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon sugar - I used 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon corn flour
2 tablespoon light soy sauce

Method:
1. Start by marinating the mince with five spice powder, white pepper, sugar, corn starch and light soy sauce. Give it a good stir and set it aside.
2. Cut the potatoes into small cubes. Deep fry the potato cubes until they turn golden brown. Place the potato on kitchen towels to drain.
3. In a hot wok, add vegetable oil. Stir fry the shallots until they turn soft and translucent.
4. Add the garlic, give it a quick stir, then add the meat.
5. When the meat was about 75% cooked, add the potato cubes, oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine and water.
6.  Stir to combine before covering the wok with a lid to simmer for a minute.
7. Add the frozen vegetables, dark soy sauce and fried shallots.
8. Continue stirring until the liquid reduces. Season with salt and turn off the heat.
9. Place some rice in a bowl, top with the meat sauce and a fried egg.

I went to Ikea the other day to get a bed for my little girl and Christmas decorations are already being sold! Yes! It is THAT TIME OF THE YEAR to eat, drink and be merry! Are you getting excited? :)

Are you planning to cook anything special for this Christmas???  Or maybe start baking batches of delicious Christmas goodies? For Christmas 2014, Yen from Eat your heart out, Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids and yours truly, Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe and  are cooking and celebrating for the whole month of December 2014 starting on 1st December. Join us and remember to link your post with us if you are cooking something special for your Christmas celebration.


Monday, October 20, 2014

sour cream cake with vanilla glaze and caramel sauce

This is my last bake from Carole Walter's "Great Cakes". The Cake Slice Bakers will be moving on to our new book from next month and I really cannot wait to start!

I have total admiration for Carole Walter and her Absolute the Best Yellow Cake will be on my list of favorites for years and years to come.

I guess I am just ready to move on to something different, and that is what our new baking book is. So do come back on the 20th of next month to take a look at whose book we shall be baking from for the year to come!
Okay, back to my last cake from "Great Cakes". I was given the freedom to choose which ever cake I like from the book and bake it. So since I've had great success with this Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt, and I wanted to play with my new Bundt pan, I thought I would go for a Sour Cream Cake.

Sour cream cakes are lovely. They are seldom dry, and the cakes are almost always tender. I topped my cake with a quick vanilla glaze as well as some caramel that I had made.
Here's how to make this deliciously moist cake.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until the mixture turns light and fluffy. This will take about 4-5 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time and mix until incorporated.
The mixture will appear curdled. No matter how many times I bake, I still cannot stand the sight of a curdled mixture. EEK.
Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and the sour cream in the sequence flour-sour cream- flour-sour cream-flour, mixing until just incorporated after each addition.
The resulting batter is smooth and creamy.
Transfer the batter into a greased (and floured - I don't flour my Bundt pans but you may want to do so) Bundt pan and smooth the top as best as you can.
Bake at 175°C for 45-55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the deepest part emerges cleanly. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before inverting it very gently onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the vanilla glaze by placing the icing sugar, boiling water, corn syrup and vanilla extract in a bowl.
Whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Drizzle the vanilla glaze over the cake, along with the caramel sauce. The recipe for home made caramel sauce can be found here.
Cut yourself a (relatively) huge slice.
Go to your happy place and feel yourself getting happier!

RECIPE
Sour Cream Cake (Makes a 12-cup Bundt)
Adapted from "Great Cakes" by Carol Walter

Note: You can halve the recipe and bake in a 6-cup Bundt pan or a 9x5-inch loaf pan

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups (225g) cake flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (150g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups (125g) caster sugar - I reduced this by 50%
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5ml) vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups (320g) sour cream

Method:
1. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until the mixture turns light and fluffy. This will take about 4-5 minutes.
2. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix until incorporated. The mixture will appear curdled.
3. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and the sour cream in the sequence flour-sour cream- flour-sour cream-flour, mixing until just incorporated after each addition. The resulting batter is smooth and creamy.
4. Transfer the batter into a greased (and floured - I don't flour my Bundt pans but you may want to do so) Bundt pan and smooth the top as best as you can.
5. Bake at 175°C for 45-55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the deepest part emerges cleanly. 6. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before inverting it very gently onto a wire rack to cool completely.
7. Drizzle the vanilla glaze over the cake, along with the caramel sauce. The recipe for home made caramel sauce can be found here.

Vanilla Glaze (Makes enough for one 12-cup Bundt cake)
Adapted from "Great Cakes" by Carol Walter

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups (187.5g) icing sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons (30ml) boiling water
1 ½ teaspoons (7.5ml) corn syrup
¾ teaspoon (3.75ml) vanilla extract

Method:
1. Make the vanilla glaze by placing the icing sugar, boiling water, corn syrup and vanilla extract in a bowl.
2. Whisk until the mixture is smooth.

Always a pleasure to be baking with 



easy home made caramel sauce

I love caramel. Don't you?

When I was a kid I had to stop myself from eating tubes of Werther's Original. I adored them!!

Since I am now a (mostly) health-conscious adult, chomping on bags of caramel sweets is not exactly something I would should do. So I guess the next best thing to do is to drizzle caramel onto my bakes. In this way, I can still taste caramel (swoon) but at a much more reasonable quantity.

Because I am obsessed with everything home-made, I make my own caramel sauce. Caramel sauce is not difficult to make, and as long as you follow a few simple basic rules, you will end up with yummilicious caramel sauce every time.

Here's are the instructions (and tips) on how to make caramel sauce!

To start, melt butter in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium-low heat. It is important to use a heavy-bottom saucepan because this ensures even heating, which means that it conducts heat efficiently and will not lead to “hot spots” that can cause the butter to separate.
Once the butter has melted, add the brown sugar and heavy cream. Make sure that the temperature remains constant throughout the entire cooking process.
Whisk continuously until the sugar has completely melted.
It is very important to whisk constantly or you risk the butter separating later. Trust me, that will be a traumatizing experience.
Once the sugar has melted, stop whisking. Let the caramel come to a boil and continue to boil for 3 minutes. Use a stop-watch to time the process. Remember, boil for 3 minutes and no more than that!
Remove the saucepan from the heat.

Allow the caramel to cool and you can either use it immediately, or store it in the fridge until needed.

There! As you can see, caramel sauce is not at all hard to make, so why not give it a try when you have the time? :)

RECIPE
Easy Home Made Caramel Sauce (Make about 1 1/2 cups)
Adapted from lifeloveandsugar

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (113.5g) butter
1 cup (200g) light brown sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) heavy cream

Method:
1. To start, melt butter in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium-low heat. It is important to use a heavy-bottom saucepan because this ensures even heating, which means that it conducts heat efficiently and will not lead to “hot spots” that can cause the butter to separate.
2. Once the butter has melted, add the brown sugar and heavy cream. Make sure that the temperature remains constant throughout the entire cooking process.
3. Whisk continuously until the sugar has completely melted. It is very important to whisk constantly or you risk the butter separating later. Trust me, that will be a traumatizing experience.
4. Once the sugar has melted, stop whisking. Let the caramel come to a boil and continue to boil for 3 minutes. Use a stop-watch to time the process. Remember, boil for 3 minutes and no more than that!
5. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
6. Allow the caramel to cool and you can either use it immediately, or store it in the fridge until needed.

Friday, October 17, 2014

caramelized banana oat muffins

Don't ask.

My obsession with banana and oats is never-ending.

It's just such a yummy combination I wondered how many ways I can combine them in my bakes.
So today, I decided to try this recipe. Apart from the fact that it makes use of both wheat and oat flours (healthy!), it also calls for the bananas to be roasted before being added to the batter. Roasting the bananas brings out its natural sweetness. How intriguing!

AND! I got to use maple syrup instead of sugar.

So, in other words, this is a HEALTHY recipe with the inclusion of lots of fibre + fruit + no sugar.

I totally approve.

So I tried. I mixed, and I baked. And I am so glad I did.
The muffins are moist, and not at all sweet. In other words, if you are not as anti-sugar as I am, I recommend that you either add more maple syrup into the batter, or drizzle maple syrup over the muffin before serving it.

My kids were happy to eat it with extra maple syrup. It tasted sort of like a pancake muffin.

Delicious!

Here are the instructions on how to make these muffins.

Start by cutting the bananas into chunks. Place them on a baking tray that has been lined with aluminium foil AND is well-greased. Roast them at 200°C for 15-20 minutes, flipping once.

Note: The bananas could have been more brown but I ran out of time. :)
Transfer the bananas into a bowl and mash with a wooden spoon. Set this aside.
In a food processor, pulse the oats until a coarse flour forms.
Transfer this into a large bowl. Add wholemeal flour, baking powder cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix to combine. Set this aside.
In a medium bowl, add milk, eggs, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract and melted butter. Whisk to combine.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
Add the mashed bananas. Mix until the ingredients are just combined.
Dish the batter into a lined muffin pan.
Spoon the oat mixture onto the muffins.
Bake at 200°C for 15-18 minutes, until the muffins are slightly springy and spring back when you touch the tops.
I really like any bakes that involve bananas and oats.
So yummy.

RECIPE
Caramelized Banana Oat Muffins (Makes 12)
Loosely adapted from Pinch of Yum

Ingredients:
For the muffins:
4 bananas, peeled and sliced (NOT overly ripe)
1 cup (90g) oats, pulsed through a food processor until coarse flour forms - I used rolled oats
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (136g) whole wheat flour - I used wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon -
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup low-fat milk
¼ cup (60ml) Greek yogurt
2 eggs
5 tablespoons (70g) melted unsalted butter
2-3 tablespoons raw honey or real maple syrup - I used maple syrup
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract

For the topping:
⅓ cup (30g) oats - I used rolled oats
1 tablespoon (14g) melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon (10ml) raw honey or real maple syrup - I used maple syrup

Method:
1. Start by cutting the bananas into chunks. Place them on a baking tray that has been lined with aluminium foil AND is well-greased. Roast them at 200°C for 15-20 minutes, flipping once.
2. Transfer the bananas into a bowl and mash with a wooden spoon. Set this aside.
3. In a food processor, pulse the oats until a coarse flour forms.
4. Transfer this into a large bowl. Add wholemeal flour, baking powder cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix to combine. Set this aside.
5. In a medium bowl, add milk, eggs, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract and melted butter. Whisk to combine.
6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
7. Add the mashed bananas. Mix until the ingredients are just combined.
8. Dish the batter into a lined muffin pan. Spoon the oat mixture onto the muffins.
9. Bake at 200°C for 15-18 minutes, until the muffins are slightly springy and spring back when you touch the tops.
10. Cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Note: You may need to increase the quantity of maple syrup if you prefer muffins that are sweeter. Alternatively, drizzle maple syrup on the muffins just before serving.