Sunday, 29 November 2009

The perfect egg.

I had lunch that looked more like breakfast to most people. Did not feel like baking because I doubt I could actually eat anything I bake right now.

So I prepared for myself a simple salad for lunch today. Bought these lovely tomatoes yesterday, and I could simple just have tomatoes that are lightly salted any time of the day.

Tomatoes, Lettuce, Black olives and Cucumber. Tossed together with balsamic vinegar dressing.

As Dean Martin sings 'How do you like your eggs in the morning?'

I absolutely love mine half boiled! Runny egg yolk is something I simply can't resist! What would I do without the egg cooker!
Life is good :)

Saturday, 28 November 2009

New York Cheesecake

Have been down with a sore throat for almost the entire week and that throat of mine does not seem to be recovering as it should be. My mum would reckon that the cause of my sore throat is due to my baking and eating the food straight out of the oven. Oh well I will still bake with a sore throat!

Its been almost a month since I baked sweet stuff and today I crave for something light and simply. With three packet of cream cheese sitting in my fridge. Cheesecake is just perfect!

No dramas, No fancy dressing. Just simply Cheesecake.

The best recipe I found has to be this recipe from allrecipes.

Ingredient ( I halved the recipe)

15 Pieces of Wholemeal biscuit ( I used Leibniz biscuit)
2 Tbs Butter

425g cream cheese
3/4C white sugar
1/4C and 2 Tbs Milk
2 Eggs
1/2 C Sour cream ( I used 1/2C yoghurt + 1.5 Tsp baking powder)
1.5 Tsp Vanilla extract
2 Tbs All-purpose flour  

1) Preheat oven to 175 degree C. Grease a 9 inch springfoam pan.

2) In a medium bowl, mix biscuit crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan.

3) In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in yoghurt, baking powder, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.

4) Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour ( Mine took only 40mins because its only half the ingredients). Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 2-3 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving.
( I tried it while its warm, and it tasted great too! )

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Friday, 27 November 2009

Baked Schnitzel . Cool Cucumber Salad . Rosemary Potato .

Whats on the menu for dinner tonight?

I haven't really appreciated public holiday until I started working. Waking up any time of the day, without having to dress up for work and without having to stand like packed sardines in the morning train. Just simply opening your eyes and thinking what to do for fun is FUN.

I had actually been planning to bake this all week, because its the first time I am preparing dinner, with proper food. Or rather with raw meat. Went grocery shopping with Sister Tan this morning and if the temperature had not be so cold in the supermarket, I would have stayed there the whole morning, stocking up the kitchen.

So dinner for tonight is Cool Cucumber Salad. Well The first time I had really good cucumber Salad was at ah huat's grandma's place. I honestly did not know this simply vegetable could taste that good! So I was searching for a nice simple recipe and found this chive cucumber salad recipe. I've modified a little because I prefer using dill instead of chives.

2 Large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 C Yogurt
1.5 Tbs Fresh dill
1 Tbs vinegar
1/4 Tsp Garlic powder
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Pepper

Salad: Mix all the ingredients and Store it in the fridge till ready to serve.

Afraid that the food might not be enough for the three of us, I decided to bake some herb potato which is super simple to make!

1 Bag New potatoes, scrubbed and diced. ( The potatoes were small enough for me to just halve them.)
Pepper ( for taste)
1 Tbs Rosemary
1 Tbs Garlic
2 Tbs Olive Oil

1) Preheat oven to 219 degree C.
2) Coat the base of your baking pan with olive oil
3) Mix the ingredients together with the potato, ensure that every potato is coated with the seasoning.
4) Place seasoned potato in the pan and drizzle some olive oil before baking for 20-25 mins.
The star for tonight is the Schnitzel of course! Its definitely not the typical wiener schnitzel!

2/3 Chicken Breast ( Depending on number of servings)
1 C Breadcrumbs
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
1/4 C Flour
1-2 Eggs ( Depending on quantity and size of meat)
1 Tbs Oregano
1/2 Tsp salt/ Pepper

1) Preheat oven to 218 degree C. On one plate combine flour, salt, pepper. On another plate Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan and oregano and in a bowl scramble the egg.
2) Place chicken breast in a bag and pound them. In assembly line fashion, dredge your meat in the flour first. Shake off any excess. Move on to the eggs and then to the breadcrumbs. Place on a baking sheet, coated with thin layer of oil.
3) Depending on how thin your meat is, bake for about 20mins. Tadah! Dinner is ready to serve!

The schnitzel was moist on the inside and not too oily on the outside. Serve it with a slice of lemon and mustard!  Together with the Refreshing cucumber salad and herb potato!

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Saturday, 21 November 2009

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Onion . Hamcups .

Brussels sprout is a vegetable i've alway liked but did not get much chance to eat them, because over here its not a common dish during meal. I love the texture and crunchiness of brussels sprouts. Had wanted to try it out last week but could not find it in the supermarket ( Fairprice does not have brussels sprouts!). So i've finally got my hands on these lovely green brussels sprouts.

I found the extremely simple recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen and skipped some of the ingredients because I was planning to bake Hamcups as well and did not want my parents get an overdose of cheese.  So here goes, my adapted version!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 Packet of brussels sprouts ( I can't remember how much, but just enough for your family/ friends should be good! ) Trimmed and halfed
1 Onion
1.5 Tbs Olive oil
1 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar ( I used balsamic vinegar salad dressing, which worked well!)
1/2 Tsp Rosemary
Salt and pepper for taste ( because I used balsamic dressing, could do without if using balsamic vinegar)

1) Preheat oven to 220 degree C. Trim Brussels Sprouts, remove any discoloured leaves and cut into halves. Cut Onions. Put Sprouts in mixing bowl and toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, pepper, salt.

2) Covering roasting pan with foil if desired, and spray with non-stick spray if needed. Arrange sprouts and onions in a single layer on roasting pan, and roast 20 mins. turning occasionally or until sprouts are slightly crisp and golden brown on the edges.

* I did not manage to take any pictures of the roasted Brussels sprouts because I was too busy eating them!
Apart from the brussels sprouts, I baked hamcups as well. You might be wondering, huh?! Whats hamcups. Ah haut first saw this recipe and said that I should try it, and indeed its really worth trying! Its simple and taste very good! I found this recipe from Hail's Kitchen

4 slices ham
4 eggs
1 onion, diced
2 tbs sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tbs thyme, minced (or any herb you like, I used oregano)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (whatever you like, parmesan, cheddar, gouda, I used a mixture for pizza)
1 tbs olive oil or butter or both
salt/pepper to taste

* I did not have mushrooms, but the result was just as great!

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with the ham slices. Be careful not to rip the slice, as it will be the 'cup' for you egg. 

2) Heat a saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil or butter. (If you add the butter and olive oil you can turn the heat up higher without the concern of your butter burning). Add the shallots to the pan and saute until transparent, then add the mushrooms. Once the mushrooms are browned, season with salt and pepper and stir in the sour cream and thyme. 

3) Spoon the mushroom mixture into the bottom of the ham. Carefully crack an egg into the ham cup. Sprinkle with cheese, salt and pepper. Bake 10-15 minutes or until the egg is to your desired consistency.

Looking and tasting good!

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Saturday, 14 November 2009

Spinach Olive Pizza

After beer bread for breakfast, which turned out to be a big hit in the family, my dad suggested I should  bake something for lunch. So I turned to food porn again on Tastespotting. The first thing I saw was pizza!

So lets trace back the first time I had good pizza. It might come as a surprise, but its actually Germany! While I was there for immersion about a year ago, pizza could be readily bought and most taste pretty good and cheap! Most of us lived with a host family within Münster itself, but a couple of my friends lived further out, in a village. So one day, after class we decided to check out the village. Since its a village and the train comes every hour, we stayed for dinner. With the guidance of Mel and Celeste's host father we made pizza!

Pizza is simple to make with the help of ready made dough. All you need is the toppings of your choice! Of course the star ingredient is spinach and garlic!

Ingredient ( 3 personal size pizza)

Ready made pizza base ( I don't know the exact size)
3 Tbs Tomato Paste
1 1/2 C Spinach
1/2 C Black Olives
1/2 C Pizza cheese ( Mixture of Mozzarella, Parmasan, Chedder)
Garlic ( as much as you like)
Sprinkle Oregano
Salt and pepper
Drizzle of Olive oil

1) Preheat oven at 220 Degrees.

2) Spread the tomato paste and place all the ingredients on the pizza.

3) Drizzle Olive oil before baking for about 15-20 mins or until crust turns slightly brown.

*4) Crack an egg before placing it in the oven and Tadah you have Pizza alla Bismark!

Oh yes, I sliced the beer bread from yesterday and added Butter, Parmesan, pepper and garlic and toasted it for about 8min. A nice hearty breakfast!

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Herb Beer bread.

Sometimes, food for me is like a journal. The taste of certain food evokes a distinct feeling, a memory or simply captures the scene at that moment. I guess I like baking also because it momentarily brings me away to the time when I was traveling. Wondering along the streets and finding little surprises. The unpredictability of things!

Everyone remembers Köln for the Dom. Its never ending spiral stairs and of course the shopping!

But my first memory of Köln was walking in the rainy city with my friends, searching for something I can't quite remember. Feeling hungry and sad because we could not quite find what we were searching for and ended up at a bakery ( which happens to be a really good bakery, because about one year later I landed up there again to have lunch!). What caught my eye there was beer bread! In the cold rainy weather, feeling low and empty, beer bread came to the rescue, alright maybe I am dramatizing a little but I had really fantastic beer bread for the first time in my life. ( And I honestly thought it was beer flavored bread, well it isn't surprising to have this sort of stuff since we were in germany, where Beer is dirt cheap! )

And so today, I decided to recapture that memory. Its also partly because sister tan is complaining that I am baking too much sweet stuff and odd to quit sugar for once. Little did she know that I don't really like baking healthy stuff. hahaha!

I found a couple of beer bread recipe and decided to modify a little,

Adapted from Recipezaar


3 C Flour (Sifted. Very important step!)
3 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Salt
1/4 C Sugar
1 Tsp Garlic
1 Tsp Oregano
1/2 C Parmesan
1 (12 ounce) can Beer
1/4 C melted butter

1) Preheat oven to 178 degrees

2) Mix dry ingredients and beer

3) Pour into a greased loaf pan

4) Pour melted butter over mixture

5) Bake 1 hour, remove from pan and cool.

Its so simple, smells fantastic and taste even better than it looks!

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Sunday, 8 November 2009

Green Tea Shortbread.

Its sunday and for once the sun is out and shinning today. No surprise I am baking yet again. I've decided to bake for my colleagues, and I figured, lets try with something that I could bring to work more easily and not as filling. Hence Shortbread! There aren't many variations in Green tea shortbread, so I decided to use the one I found from Here.

I love baking with jazz music. If I have a kitchen of my own, I'll definitely have a good music player and a huge oven of course! Nothing beats that! Ah, jazz (Stacy Kent is my favorite singer!) is something I totally indulge in. All the romantic ideals, forgetting about the fast pace city life, enjoying and soaking up the music. Helps make the world a beautiful place to live.

For easy reference, I shall post the recipe here as well.

1/2 C Confectioners sugar
5oz ( about 147g) Unsalted Butter
1 3/4 C Flour
3 Egg yolks
1.5 Tbs Matcha powder
1/2 C Granulated sugar (for coating)

1) Whisk confectioner's sugar and green tea together in a bowl

2) Add the butter and green tea/sugar mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until smooth and light in colour ( I used my spatular to mix)

3) Add the flour and mix until well combined

4) Add the egg yolks and mix just until eggs are fully incorporated and a mass forms.

5) Form the dough into a disk and chill in the refrigerator until firm ( about 30 mins)

6) Prehear the oven to 177 degree C. Line a sheet pan with baking paper

7) Roll the dough out to 1/2" thickness

8) Cut the dough with cookie cutter

9) Toss each cut cookie in a bowl of granulated sugar to coat

10) Place the sugar-coated cookie on the baking paper lined pan. Bake for 12-15mins or until slightly golden around the edges.

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Saturday, 7 November 2009

Japanese Cheesecake.

This week was a rather unusual week, many highs and many lows. Perhaps its the weather perhaps its hormones. At the end of the day we still have to live each day as it is. We can neither turn back time nor fast forward. We could look back and pause and think about all the silly, foolish and happy moments in our lives. Reflect at how complicated and tiring it all seems while we were in that moment, yet when we look back at it again, everything seem so simple. Every single moment makes us all wiser and smarter. Now why am I going on about life when I am posting a food entry. Well I think baking is very much like life. All the different steps needed to bake something, some easy some complicate, at the end, we get  the reward of tasting the delights we make.

I am sure everyone has a list of things to bake and this japanese cheesecake has been on my list ever since I can remember, I know I say this for almost every other thing I bake, oh well there are too many things I would like to bake! I did not bake this cheesecake in the past because I did not have the equipment and ingredients to do so. But I finally got down to buying the stuff. Tadah! here it is.

What I like about japanese cheesecake is its light, fluffy and soft texture. Much lighter than the American cheesecakes. I must admit this cheesecake had some a missing ingredient, so I was not able to try the recipe proper. But I must say, I think the lemon in this recipe plays a big roll! Never underestimate that few drops of lemon juice! I thought there was something missing..

So after searching high and low for the perfect recipe, I concluded with This recipe as most people use the same recipe to bake japanese cheesecake. The plus point is, even though there are a number of steps to baking the cheesecake, its really not that complicated!

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