Saturday, February 27, 2010

Caramel Popcorn

I had no idea popping popcorns is so easy! I love popcorns & never miss the opportunity to munch on them whenever I go to the movies. Silly me actually tought popcorns can only be made by popcorn machines. At one point I contemplated buying a mini one which cost about $80, no kidding! Thank goodness I didn't get it in the end coz I didn't think it's worth the while since it can only pop popcorns. Then a few days ago while surfing the net, I accidentaly came across this recipe. I tired it almost immediately. The homemade popcorns was really delicious and additive. The caramel coating is very fragrant and not too sweet or coying. I already made 2 batches of this & both batches didn't last 24 hrs. Fat cheeks was exhilarated to find the tubs of popcorn. She like me cannot resist popcorns. Got to go, fat cheeks & me got lots of munching to do. =)

- 1/2 cup dried corn kernels
(can be easily found in the dried goods section)
- 110g butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1) Popping popcorns:
- coat wok or pan with thin layer of oil
- heat pan till hot, add corn kernels & cover pan
(note: if you have a med size pan, divide corn kernels into 2 batches & pop twice)
- move pan to & fro constantly over fire as corn kernels start to pop
- off fire when popping stops but leave lid on for a couple more seconds
- when aIl popping stops, remove lid & transfer popcorns to a big deep oven tray
(I lined my tray with aluminin foil & coated it with a thin layer of oil. I tot of this so tat I didn't have to wash a sticky tray later. Just peel off foil & dump)

2) Caramel coating:
- preheat oven to 200deg c
- combine butter, sugar, corn syrup, water & a pinch of salt in a saucepan
- heat gently till sugar is dissolved
- bring to a boil & let it boil for a couple of minutes while stirring at the same time
- then add baking soda & vanilla essence, stir well
- remove from heat & drizzle sauce over popcorns (soak saucepan immediately with water for easy wash)
- stir popcorns gently to coat evenly
- bake popcorn in oven for approximately 10mins, stir twice inbetween (watch popcorns closely as they burn easily at this stage)
- once they turn golden brown, remove from oven & cool
- store cooled popcorns in air tight containers

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mee Rebus

Woke up early today and was feeling adventurous. Hubby's been working really hard lately. So I decided to surprise him with one of his fave dish for dinner; Mee Rebus! And this time I made it from a scratch. I was happy to learn that the ingredients weren't too difficuilt to gather & infact the gravy only took me an hour to make. The only thing I didn't like was preparing the beancurd coz have to fry. That would mean cleaning an oil splattered stove.
Nevertheless after all said & done, the labour was well worth it. Hubby was very impressed with the Mee Rebus. I thought it tasted pretty good too, even better than some I've tasted outside. Hehehe so shameless. =)

Here's the recipe from Zarina's Easy Cooking:

(enough to serve 3-4)
- 500g yellow noodles
- 200g bean sprouts

For gravy:
- 12 dried chillies (boil to soften)
- 8 shallots, chopped
- 2cm pc of galangal, chopped
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, slice root end
- 2 tbsp dried silver fish or tiny shrimps
* Grind all above ingredients into a fine paste

- 2 tbsp tauceo, grind coarsely
- 1 tbsp meat curry powder
- 150g sweet potatoes, boil till soft, peel then mash
- 2tbsp sugar
- salt to taste
- 500g shrimp, washed & peel (keep heads & shells for stock)
(Note: I didn't use fresh shrimp coz hubby don't like it. I replaced it with 40g dried tiny prawns, the smaller thinner kind with its head still intact)
- 4tbsp oil
**For stock, boil 1 litre water with shrimp and shell (or like me boil it with tiny prawns)

- hardboil eggs, sliced
- green chilli (I used red chilli), sliced
- chinese celery, chopped
- beancurd, deep fried & cut into cubes
- fried shallots
- lime

- Heat oil, add grounded ingredients* & taucheo
- fry till fragrant then add curry powder, sugar & salt
- continue frying till sugar dissolves
- add stock** (I added my stock including the tiny prawns)
- bring to boil & cook for 10mins
- add mashed sweet potato
- keep stirring till gravy thickens
- add shrimp & cook for 5 mins (I skipped this)

To serve:
- blanch noodles & bean sprouts
- pour gravy over & garnish

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Potato and Leek Soup

I went to IMM today. Hubby was going to Jurong for a meeting & I tong pang his car to IMM. Why IMM? coz it has the biggest Daiso there! Call me an aunty if you like, but it's like heaven there for me. I can spend hours without realising it. The Japanese are just so innovative; their products pretty & clever...all for just $2. Brings out all the auntyness in me. =)

We had heavy lunch, so for dinner I made this one meal soup & served it with toasts. It's really easy and delicious. Leeks are so sweet. Yumz.

(enough to serve 4)
- 3 big potatos, skinned & grated
- 3 stalks of leeks, minced
- 3 tsbp butter
- 2 tbsp of all purpose flour
- 4 cups of chicken stock (I have a batch I made, if not canned stock is fine but taste before adding salt)
- 3 tbsp of cream (I used Nestle canned cream)
- salt & pepper to taste

- melt butter in stock pot over low fire
- add leeks, stir & cook till soft over medium fire
- sprinkle flour over leeks & stir well for about a minute
- add stock then grated potato
- simmer over low fire for half an hour (once again I used my nifty thermal cooker & left it for a couple of hours)
- add cream, season with salt & pepper before serving.
- Note: if you like your soup smooth, you can blend it in the blender & reheat before serving. I like mine with little chunks here & there for texture.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mee Siam

I had craving for mee siam today...must eat mee siam! There are no hawker selling mee siam near my place so I have to make my own. I went to the supermaket & found this ready made spice. Looks easy, so I decided to try it out. Turns out it's really not bad, quite yummy infact. Hubby polished off 2 big plates. =)
Here's what I did:

Ingredients as per packaging:
- 1 packet of mee siam spice
- 250g vermicelli (I used brown rice vermicelli) soak in water till soft
- 100g tamarind mixed with 300ml of water & strained
- 100g sugar (I used one big lump of rock sugar)
- 700ml water
- handful each of chives & beansprouts

Optional (Ingredients I added on my own)
- handful of dried shrimps (washed & soaked in water for a couple of hours then drain)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4-5 bulbs of shallots, sliced thinly
- cooked fishcakes, sliced
- hardboiled egg, cut into wedges

- in wok, heat 2 tbsp of oil, fry soaked dried shrimps over small fire till fragrant
- add shallots, let them brown a little then add garlic
- add whole packet of spice & fry over low fire
- once spice is fragrant, spoon out half of spice into bowl for later use in gravy
- add vermicelli, beansprouts & chives into wok
- if too dry, add a few tbsp of water & stir well
- keep vermicelli warm
- in another pot, boil 700ml of water
- add the spice, tamarind water & rock sugar
- bring to boil, mix well
- to serve, place vermicelli onto plate, pour gravy over, garnish with fishcakes & hard boiled eggs.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sweet Papaya with White Fungus Dessert

The weather is so hot these days. Hubby & fat cheeks is nursing a cough; me sore throat. Partly due to the weather and more probably coz we've been shoving yummy not to mention heaty treats down our throats since cny. To smooth our throat & lungs, I made this simple and very refreshing dessert. No need to say...ofcourse I used my new toy the thermal cooker. I made it last night before I slept & left it in the thermal cooker. It was still smoking hot when I lifted the lid this morn! =)

(for my 5 litre pot)
- 1 not so ripe papaya (approx 1kg), de-seeded & cut into cubes
- 10 stoned red dates
- 4tbsp sweet almonds
- 2 handful of white fungus, soaked till soft
- rock sugar to taste

- put all ingredients into the pot & fill up to 3/4 full
- boil for 10mins
- leave in thermal cooker for a couple of hours
- can be served hot or cold
- Note: if using normal pot, simmer for 1-2hrs

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chicken Porridge

Happy Lunar New Year everyone! 祝大家 新年快乐 在新的一年 大吉大利!

It's been a pretty busy new year with me trying my hand at some cny goodies. They turned out ok but there's lots of room for improvement. I wanted to make more to share with my friends but time is just too scarce. Sorry girls I couldn't make them in time!

So after a few days of stuffing my face with rich food, something simple would be nice. I decided to make chicken porridge today with my new toy. I bought a thermal pot! It's the same as berryfood's except mine is the smaller 5 liter one. It is indeed very easy to use. Just add ingredients, boil & leave it in the thermal pot. A couple of hours later, perfectly cooked piping hot porridge. =)

For my stock, I used half a chicken, a handful of dried white bait, 2 garlic cloves & 2 carrots. I let the stock boil for about 10mins then I added my rice grains. Bring it to boil again then remove from stove & put into thermal pot. I left it for a couple of hours while I went about doing my stuff. Then just before serving, I season with salt, pepper & added a handful of edamame into the pot.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cornflake Cookies

It's been a fullfilling weekend. My bro, sis in law as well as my nieces & nephew were here from Melbourne. It's so wonderful to spend time with them. Family bonding is so special...we probably see eachother only once every few years, but the closeness is always there. They left yesterday and I am missing them much already. My heart tugged & tears threatened as we waved our goodbyes at the airport. Anyways, I'm quite determined to visit them especially now I know fat cheeks travels pretty well. I will plan & see them at Melbourne soon!!! =)

Today, I'm back at baking. Something really simple, fast & yummy. While shopping for the ingredients, Fat cheeks actually suggested I use the colourful fruity cornflakes. I normally use the plain ones only, now with the addition of the colourful fruity conflakes, the cookies look so festive! However, do note that the fruity conflakes are sugar coated, so must be careful when adding honey, too much will make it too sweet.

Here's what I did:

- 50g butter, melted
- 2tbsp honey (please taste honey 1st & add according to your liking)
- 2 cups plain cornflakes
- 1 cup fruity colourful cornflakes
- 100g almond slices
- 1 tbsp of flour (this helps to bind the cornflakes)

- preheat oven to 170 deg c
- mix honey to melted butter
- add flour & beat gently with hand whisk till well combined
- in a big bowl, mix all cornflakes & almond slices
- pour melted butter & honey mixture bit by bit over cornflakes & mix gently
- the cornflakes should be lighty coated with honey butter
- Note: avoid pouring too much honey butter, if not it will be too oily
- spoon coated cornflakes into paper cups
- bake for 5-8mins, once they turn light golden brown, remove fm oven too cool
- when competely cooled, the cornflakes will bind together & is ready for storing

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Kueh Bangkit

I've gathered up the courage to try this. Been doing a bit of reading up on Kueh Bangkit. The ingredients & method looks easy but apprently not so. Firstly, the flour must be "dry fried" over the wok with pandan leaves. This proves to be messy coz the flour gets lighter as it gets drier & can potentially turn the kitchen into "winter wonderland". Secondly, the liquid to flour measurement is very important. Too little liquid, u'll get crumbly dough which is very difficuilt to handle. Too much, the dough will turn into a watery goo. So to overcome these probs, I baked my flour with pandan leaves while stiring them every few mins. Still a bit of mess but at least confined to my oven. As for the liquid, I added it bit by bit, kneading my dough throughly each time before adding more. The final product is not too bad being my 1st try. It's crisp when you bite into it but melts in your mouth once it crumbles. However, it wasn't as fragrant as I would like it to be. Maybe next time can add Santan/coconut powder to up the fragrance factor. Still, I'm happy with the results.

- 450g tapioca flour
- 8pcs pandan leaves
- 60g butter
- 110g icing sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 150-180ml coconut milk
- 1-2 drops of pandan paste (optional: I added this to give it a little green colouring)

- bake flour with pandan leaves at 160deg c for half an hr, stiring every few mins
- remove leaves & allow to cool
- cream butter, sugar & yolk
- add coconut milk & pandan paste, mix well
- add coconut mixture to flour
- mix till well combined & knead with hands
- roll out dough on surface dusted with tapioca flour & cut out cookies
- baked on tray lined with baking sheet at 170deg c for 20-25mins
- cool competely before storing in jar

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pineapple Tarts

Pineapple tarts! A CNY must have! I came across this recipe on Little Teochew's blog here. They look so pretty, must try. =) The pineapple jam is store bought...too much effort to make from a scratch. I used to make these tarts with my mum in law. Now, it's too tiring for her so I'm trying to make them on my own. Unfortunately, it never tastes as nice as the ones my mum in law makes. My mum in law does not have a fixed recipe. She just eyeballs her ingredients & tadah...delicious tarts. I'm still far from that level. Hopefully, these will met her standards.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Kueh Makmur (Peanut Ghee Ball Cookies)

Can't believe CNY is just round the corner!! We just returned from a wonderful holiday & I'm still too lazy to start any serious spring cleaning. I'll start with baking 1st. =) I've always wanted to try my hand at cny goodies & now's the best time to have fun! Kueh Makmur is one of my favourites. I remember loading on these in my younger days. Now I've got to watch it...just can't afford the calories (especially now that I know goes into these). I made the effort to fry & de-skin the peanuts myself. It really does make a difference. The cookies are very fragrant & it melts in your mouth. Hope my In-laws will like them too.

- 500g cake flour
- 350g peanuts
- 250g ghee, melted & cooled
- 100g sugar
- 1tsp salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- approx 1 cup of icing sugar for coating

- fry flour over slow fire till its dry, light & does not stick to the side of wok, leave aside to cool
- fry peanuts over slow fire till fragrant, de-skin, cool then grind into fine powder
- combine flours, peanuts, salt & sugar, mix well
- add eggs & ghee
- combine till dough forms
- shape into balls
- bake at 180 deg c for 10-15mins
- leave to cool on tray for another 15-20mins
- lastly, coat with icing sugar