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Archive for September, 2007


strawberry jelly mooncake, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

strawberry jelly mooncake, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

 

 

I thought Mid-Autumn Festival (also commonly known as Mooncake Festival in Malaysia) is tomorrow. As I didn’t have a Chinese calendar, I relied on the date CY gave me but we all got our days mixed up and invited people over tomorrow night for dinner! Oh well… For those of you who do not know, Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated by Asians – especially Chinese all over the world on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the Chinese calendar. People gather together and celebrate the event by eating mooncakes and pomelo, playing lanterns, burning incense etc. There are many different mooncake flavours: lotus paste (with single or double yolk/ without yolk), mixed nuts, red bean etc. In recent years, people are getting more creative by coming up with ice-cream mooncakes, mooncake jellies etc.

When I was younger, I didn’t enjoy mooncakes. Maybe it was because my dad used to get lots from clients etc and we were forced to eat it for 2-3 meals a day for months, hence I grew really sick of it. However, I loved mooncake festival because of the lanterns. I remember running around with the kids in my neighbourhood: each of us with our own lantern in different shapes and colour. Some are paper lanterns while others are wired ones shaped in various shapes and lined with coloured glass paper. As I grew older, the tradition was still practiced and we would go out with friends to the parks around our housing estate, as a lot of the housing estate committee organise family events at some parks to celebrate the festival. Sadly, I’ve not done this for 5 years – since coming to Tassie. :(

I only started to like mooncake as I grew older. My favourite is the white lotus paste with double yolk. Actually, I only want the yolk..hehe… :)! I’ve tried a couple of times to make some homemade ones but I’ve not succeeded up till today. Last year, I managed to make Snowy Mooncake (Bing Pei Mooncake). This year, while surfing Kuali.com, I came across this jelly mooncake recipe. It looked really pretty so I decided to give it a go. The jelly on its own without the custard filling was a bit overwhelming. But with the custard filling, it turned out pretty nice.

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 55g water
  • 125ml fresh milk
  • 55g sugar
  • 5g agar-agar powder
  • 55g double cream

Strawberry jelly skin:

  • 250ml water
  • 80g castor sugar
  • 11g agar-agar powder
  • 100g strawberry, hulled
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tbsp evaporated milk
  • 3 tbsp thick coconut milk
  • 1/8 tsp red food colouring
  • 1 tsp basil seeds, soaked to soften

Method:

  • Bring water, sugar, milk and agar-agar powder to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer until sugar and agar-agar have dissolved. Stir in double cream and whisk continuously.
  • Remove from flame and continue to stir to prevent lumps from forming.
  • Pour into tart moulds and leave to cool. Chill in refrigerator till set.
  • Put strawberries and 150ml water in a blender. Blend until fine, then set aside.
  • Bring water, sugar and agar-agar powder to a boil. Reduce the heat and add strawberry mixture, evaporated milk, coconut milk and basil seeds. Cook over a gentle heat until mixture comes to almost a boil again, then turn off the heat.
  • Fill the mooncake mould half full with the strawberry mixture. Leave it to cool until almost set then put one piece of the custard filling in the middle.
  • Use a fork and lightly scratch the surface of the filling and fill up with the strawberry agar-agar mixture again and let it set completely before chilling in the refrigerator.
  • Lightly knock it out of the mould and serve chilled.

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Sunday Brunch, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

poached eggs, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

A good friend brought us to this cafe in South Hobart for breakfast once and since then it’s become one of our favourite breakfast joints. Alan loves the poached eggs on toast there and we’ve been wondering how they do it. While blog surfing, Krystal introduced me to Cooking is My Passion blog and I found a recipe for poached eggs there. So, we decided to try it for ourselves for Sunday brunch.

Alan and I did it together and that in itself spelled disaster with a capital D! :) We are 2 people from 2 different worlds and the way we do things are different. We started arguing about how to scoop the egg up and drain the water at the same time. With Alan protesting in the back, I used a pasta ladle and “ploop” it dropped right through the hole back into the pan. Alan was like “I told you so!”. We couldn’t use a spoon as it wasn’t big enough and we were afraid it’d burst the egg. In the end, we used a soup ladle. For first timers, it didn’t turn out too bad. But I’ll have to figure out a way to scoop the egg up and drain off the excess water – wet egg on toast is not the ideal breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • Eggs
  • White wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tomatoes
  • Button mushrooms
  • Bacon
  • Mixed herbs
  • Butter

Method:

  • Bring a kettle to boil. Add boiled water to a big and deep frying pan. Add a couple of drops of white vinegar. Use a wooden ladle to swirl water in the pan. Crack the egg in the middle of the swirling water and allow it set. Once egg white has set, scoop the egg up.
  • Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top and serve with toast.
  • Cut tomatoes in half, sprinkle with salt, pepper and mixed herbs. Slice mushrooms to thin slices.
  • Heat frying pan with butter on medium heat.
  • Pan fry mushrooms with mixed herbs, salt and pepper. Sear tomatoes till brown. Pan fry bacon till lightly brown.
  • Serve together with eggs and toast.

Note:

  • You’ll lose some egg white while cooking, but don’t fret. Don’t add too much vinegar or it might ruin the taste of the eggs.

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french toast with a twist, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

I came across this recipe on someone’s blog. It sounded really cool…french toast with alcohol. So I thought I’d give it a go and see how it goes. The effect was not too bad, especially if you are an alcoholic :) ! I served it with blueberries compote which I made from some leftover blueberries. I would add a bit more alcohol the next time. My suggestion – use either a coffee based alcohol or something like rum.

Ingredients:

  • Bread
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Alcohol
  • Butter

Blueberry Compote:

  • Blueberries
  • Lemon juice
  • Sugar
  • Corn flour mixture

Method:

  • Lightly beat an egg in a bowl. Pour it into a big, flat dish, mix in the milk, alcohol, sugar and salt. Adjust the taste accordingly.
  • Heat a frying pan with butter on medium heat.
  • Soak bread in egg mixture. Pan fry till medium brown in colour.
  • Serve with blueberry compote/cream/ice cream.
  • Place ingredients for blueberry compote in a saucepan. Heat till sugar dissolves. Add in corn flour mixture to thicken it. Squeeze in approximately 1 tbsp of lemon juice and stir well. Refrigerate and serve with other things.

 

 

 

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blueberry cupcake, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

blueberry cupcake with cream cheese frosting, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

Krystal enjoys surfing food blogs in her free time. She’ll go from one blog onto another and so on and so forth. Then she’ll come tell me how good the food looks and bug me to make. Recently, she had this thing for cupcakes. So, we made this batch during the weekend.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsps vanilla essence
  • Blueberries

Frosting:

  • 250 gm cream cheese
  • Icing sugar, according to taste
  • Double cream

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Beat butter with electric beater. Add sugar gradually. Beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time.
  • Sieve flour, baking powder and salt together.
  • Slowly mix into egg mixture. Add milk and vanilla essence. Fold blueberries in lightly. Mix well.
  • Spoon into cupcake papers. Bake until set. Remove from oven and leave to cool.
  • Whisk cream cheese with icing sugar. Add double cream bit by bit to form smooth cream cheese frosting.

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passionfruit souffle, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.A friend told me soufflé was really hard to make so I thought being a “first-time-failure” mine would flop. I got really excited when I saw mine rise nicely – exactly as described in the recipe. But because I wasn’t done decorating the serving plates, I turned the oven heat down as I didn’t want it to burn. The next thing I know, my soufflé had sunk! I was so disappointed…. :(Anyway, I attempted it a second time when we went to a friend’s place for dinner. I brought all my gear there and made it there on the spot. This time, learning from my first failure, I prepared my serving plates and all when I saw the soufflé start to rise. Just when it’s reached the right look, I removed it and voila – perfect rising – no sunken soufflé anymore! :pIngredients:

  • 1/3 cup passionfruit pulp
  • 1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 1/2 tsp water
  • 3 egg whites
  • Icing sugar
  • Vanilla ice cream

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease 4 ramekins with butter and place on a baking tray.
  • Place the passionfruit pulp, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
  • Combine cornflour and water and mix to form a smooth paste. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cornflour mixture.
  • Return to the heat and whisk for a further 30 seconds. Refrigerate it until cold.
  • Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat until glossy.
  • Gently fold the egg white through the passionfruit mixture.
  • Spoon into ramekins and bake till it rises and turns golden.
  • When the soufflé has risen and is golden, scoop ice cream onto serving plates. Remove ramekins from oven, dust the soufflé with icing sugar and serve immediately with ice cream.

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prawns & scallop sambal, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

Nasi Lemak is CY’s favourite dish. This sambal recipe is the product of my experiment and has since become a favourite of CY. I use the same base for all my sambals and modify the taste accordingly. Whenever I make this, I’ll make a lot and bottle them up. Hence all I need is open the fridge and we can have sambal whenever we want some.

Ingredients:

  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Red chillies
  • Chilli padi (baby chillies)
  • Belacan (shrimp paste)
  • Lime juice
  • A pinch of salt
  • Prawns, remove the shells
  • Scallops
  • Red onion, sliced thinly

Method:

  • Peel and halve ingredients. Blend them together with a food processor or if you have a mortar you can pound them to form a paste.
  • Heat a pan with oil. Add a spoonful of the ingredients and fry till fragrant, then add the sliced red onions.
  • Add in prawns and scallops. Be careful not to overcook the seafood. Adjust taste accordingly with sugar and salt. Add in a little bit of water to give it a bit of gravy.
  • Dish up and serve with plain rice or nasi lemak (coconut rice).

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yong tau foo, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

yong tau foo 2, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

Yong Tau Foo, which means stuffed tofu/bean curd, is a Chinese soup dish. It started as tofu stuffed with fish and pork, but nowadays, it includes other vegetables such as ladyfingers (okra), bean curd puffs, chillies, bittergourd, brinjal (eggplant) etc. The most famous place for Yong Tau Foo in KL is in Ampang. I remember as a kid, my parents used to bring us there for lunches on Sundays and the place was always packed full. In order to grab a table, you need to strategically place family members/friends around the restaurant so that you grab the first available table before someone else does. Every table was covered in a plastic cover and when the table is done, someone comes and just wraps up the plastic sheet with the cutlery, bowls and plates etc in it and replaces it with a new sheet. That was your cue to leave. :)

This dish is most commonly served with a clear broth/soup, either with stuffed veges in it or with the soup in a separate bowl. I was never a fan of fish, and the only fish dish my mum could get me to eat was fish balls or yong tau foo. She’d often make her own fish paste and stuff different vege with it. Since I’m not a fan of fish, I was quite hesitant to attempt to make my own fish paste. Remembering my first attempt to be a failure, I did a little more research this round. The fish paste was a success and I had fun stuffing various vege with it. Due to time constraint, I couldn’t boil a soup base to accompany it, hence decided on my mum’s bean curd sauce base. To my surprise, no one in my house had ever had yong tau foo like this. According to Krys’s mum, it’s a cantonese style, guess that explains why I grew up eating it that way cause my mum is a cantonese. :)

Ingredients:

  • Firm tofu/bean curd
  • Bean curd puffs
  • Fresh chillies
  • Ladyfingers/okra
  • Fish paste

Soup base:

  • Ikan bilis/anchovies
  • Soy beans
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  • Bring a pot of water to boil. Add ikan bilis (anchovies), soy beans, salt and pepper. Allow soup to simmer over low heat.
  • Cut tofu into squares, slit red chillies and the ladyfingers (okra) down the middle and remove the seeds, cut bean curd puffs into halves and remove the interior “cottony” part.
  • Bring a wok with water to boil.
  • Stuff the vege with fish paste and place on steamer. Steam over rapidly boiling water till fish paste is cook.
  • Remove from steamer. Heat a frying pan with oil.
  • Pan fry the stuffed vege till lightly brown, then set aside.
  • To serve: Place stuffed vege in a bowl and pour soup over it; or serve with the soup in a separate bowl.

Note:

  • If you want to serve it my mum’s way, just mince some garlic. Heat a pan with oil, fry garlic till fragrant and add bean curd paste, water and corn flour mixture and simmer till thicken. Add in the rest of the vege and mix well. Dish up and serve.
  • If you want the soup to be sweeter, add other vege such as carrots, onions, sweet corn, tomatoes.

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