Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

Often Easter isn't complete without eating some warm hot cross buns straight from the oven. So for this coming Easter, perhaps you would like to give this recipe a try and bake a batch of your own. I saw this recipe from one of the Australia best selling Food Magazine known as "Super Food Idea". I am a big fan of this magazine during my stay in Australia a few years back and today all thanks to my dear friend, Quinn who stays in Adelaide. With her help on getting this magazine for us, we are able to try out this wonderful Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Bun. She is so sweet and helpful that she even take photo of the recipes and email to me in case we don't received the book before Easter.

This recipe is great for those who prefer a lighter version of hot cross bun which is without adding any "ground cinnamon, mixed spices or sultanas" in it. I am sure the kids will love this Chocolate Chip version which is more to their preference compare to the traditional ingredients used. From the above picture, you can roughly have an idea on how to prepare the "yeast mixture", mixture the flour with the yeast mixture, proofing the dough and as well as rolling.

Source : Australian Super Food Idea Magazine
Ingredients: (make 12, 55g dough)
1 Teaspoon Active Dried Yeast
190ml Luke Warm Milk
30g Caster Sugar
300g Plain Flour
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder, about 30g
30g Butter, cubes
1/2 Egg, lightly beaten
40g Chocolate Chips

1. Grease a 8" square cake pan, set aside.
2. Place yeast, milk and 1/2 tablespoon sugar(from the 30g above) in a bowl. Whisk to dissolve yeast, cover and set aside in a warm place for 10 minutes or until foamy.
3. Sift flour and cocoa powder in a bowl. Rub in butter till mixture resemble breadcrumbs.
4. Make a well in the center, add yeast mixture, egg and remaining sugar.
5. Stir the mixture till combine.
6. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead for 1 minutes then transfer to a oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. (I placed the dough inside the microwave, door closed, with a cup of boiling water so that the heat from the boiling water will keep the area warm)
7. When the dough is ready(refer to the 1st picture on the 3rd row shown on the above picture, when you press the dough with a finger it will show a clear indent mark means the dough is ready), punch down dough, knead for another 5 minutes or until smooth.
8. Add chocolate bits, knead till combined, divide the dough into 12 balls or 55g each.
9. Placed them in the prepared oiled pan, cover and set aside in a warm place for another 30 minutes or until slightly risen.

~ The milk should not be too hot or else it will killed the yeast when they are added to the milk.
~ The temperate for Luke Warm is about 36 - 40 Celsius.
~ The yeast mixture should begin to bubble up within 30 second to 1 minute if not, check the milk temperature or maybe replace the yeast.

Finally after about 1.5 hours of proofing, rolling and waiting time. You can prepare the flour mixture to pipe crosses over the dough and bake till done before brushing a layer of glacing. Although this recipe might seems to have a lot of procedure and waiting time(for the proofing of dough) but it really worth to give it a try for coming Easter or even bake it as weekend snack.

Flour Paste:
20g Plain Flour
1 Teaspoon Caster Sugar
1.5 Tablespoon Cold Water

For Glacing:
1/2 Teaspoon Gelatine
1/2 Tablespoon Boiling Water

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree and make the flour paste.
2. Combine flour, sugar and water in a small cup, spoon mixture into a snap lock bag/plastic bag.
3. Snip 1 corner from bag, pipe crosses onto the buns, bake for 10 minutes.
4. Reduce the temperature to 160 degree and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
5. Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatine over boiling water in a heatproof cup, stir with a fork/spoon till dissolve.
6. Brush top of the bake hot cross bun with gelatine mixture for the extra glacing.

So after about 2 hours of preparing, waiting and baking time, it's time to sit down and enjoy our labour with a cup of hot coffee/tea. Once again, I would like to give thanks to Quinnfor her kind effort and thought to get us this recipe/book. Thank you so much pal, wish you and Aaron a Happy coming Easter Sunday too....Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Nested Easter

Today is exactly 1 more week to Easter Sunday. Christians celebrate Easter Sunday because they believed Jesus rose from death. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the fundamental principles and beliefs of Christianity and they celebrate Easter Sunday because they believe, Jesus died for their sin on the Cross-on Good Friday, buried and rose from death on Sunday.

Look at this awesome volcano like toasted bun that consists of runny soft boiled egg and topped with some extra fried bacon bits. How will this feel like when you peel off the outer crust of the bun and dipped it in the runny egg yolk and served together with a bed of shredded cucumber and mixed dried fruits.

So today I will share with you a very simple and interesting Easter Breakfast that you can prepare together with your kids on this coming Easter Sunday. I am sure the kids will be overwhelm in getting their apron on to whip up this cute and colourful Breakfast with Daddy/Mummy. Come, let's get our ingredients ready and start making this nutritious breakfast with Wholemeal Bun, Egg, Bacon, Mixed Dried Fruit and Shredded Cucumber.

Ingredients: (serves 2)
2 Medium Size Wholemeal Bun
4 Kampong Chicken Egg
2 Japanese Cucumber, shredded
2 Strips of Streaky Bacon, cut into small pieces
1/4 Mixed Dried Fruit of your choice
Some Easter Chocolate Egg, optional

1. Carefully, cut a well out from the center of the buns. Be-careful not to cut too deep or it will cut through the base.
2. Place the buns in an toaster oven and bake it for about 5 minutes, turn it over once or twice. Remove and set aside to cool.(this step is to make a crispy inner crust before baking the egg in it)
3. Pan-fry the bacon pieces with some oil till crispy and fragrant then set aside.
4. Crack two eggs into each bun, pop them into the toaster oven(or you can place the bun in the same pot where you pan-fried your bacon and covered and simmer the egg till your preference of liking) for about 5 minutes or so till an opaque layer form on top of the egg.
5. Remove the buns from the toaster, place it on a serving plate, arrange some shredded cucumber along the side of the bun like what shown on the photo above.
6. Top the egg with some crispy bacon bits then scatter the remaining together with some mixed dried fruit on to the shredded cucumber.
7. Before serving, place a few Easter chocolate egg on the side of the plate as special treats.

~ I bought mine from Breadtalk latest Spring/Collection - "Wholemeal Azuki Bean Bun".
~ If you cannot find any kampong Chicken Egg, replace i t with extra small size egg.

The shredded cucumber served like some twigs/grass "nest" for this Giant Bread Egg. And it goes well with that crispy streaky bacon and mixed fruit too. This will be another great ideas to get kid polishing up their vegetables. I also purposely choose some dried apricot with the mixed fruit to give it an "orange" egg yolk effective.

Guess kids will be very excited towards the end of this breakfast to open up their Easter Egg Treats - Chocolate Egg. So if you are having some Easter pretty, perhaps you can use this idea to surprised your kiddy.Posted by Picasa

Friday, 26 March 2010

Double-Boiled Fresh Lily Bulbs Soup

Recently a lot of my son's classmates as well as a few members in our family are suffering for dry cough/sore throat due to the hot and humid weather. And while chatting with one of my son's classmate parent, she has shared with me some remedies for smoothing throat as well as cough which they practice way back in her hometown, in China. Although the ingredients that they used are rather simple and inexpensive, but the result is so effective and some of it can also be treated as one of the summer cooling dessert too.....

Lily bulbs taste slightly sweet and is slightly Cold in nature. It benefits the Lungs and Heart as well as nourishes the Lungs, stops cough and calms the nerves. It has certain effects on cough and helps with anxiety and insomnia. Lily Bulbs are rich in proteins, phosphorous and carbohydrates which is one of the good body tonifying and nerve calming Chinese medicine for those suffering from cough due to coldness and loose stools should not eat. Fresh Lily bulbs are rich in glucose that promotes digestion and they are commonly used in cooking and desserts.

Ginkgo nourishes the lungs and relieves asthma but this cannot be taken too much at a time.

Ingredients: (serves 2)
2 - 3 Medium Size Fresh Lily Bulbs(鲜百合)
8 - 10 Fresh Ginkgo Nuts
500ml Boiling Water
Rock Sugar to Taste
2 Pandan Leaves, optional

1. Rinse, clean and remove the petals from the bulbs, soak in water for a few seconds to remove dirt.
2. Wash and clean the pandan leave then tie it into a knot and set aside.
3. Bring 500ml of water to boil, add in the fresh ginkgo nuts, lily bulbs petals and pandan leave and bring it to boil.
4. Transfer the mixture to a double-boiler and place it in a slow cooker set on AUTO mode and cook for about 1.5 hour on HIGH.
5. Or alternatively, you can simmer on low heat over the stove for about 30 minutes.
6. Sweeten it with rock sugar and serve warm.

~ You can purchase Fresh Lily Bulbs and Ginkgo Nuts is most local supermarket at the vegetable chiller section.

This is a very tasty sweet soup that is suitable for all members of the family. And if you are towards the healthy or weight-watching side, perhaps you can omit the adding of rock sugar and consume this soup on base on it's natural sweetness and fragrance that is being released from the lily bulbs petals. My son loves the taste of this soup and also due to the long hour of simmering/double-boiled, the lily petals will be soften with the melt -in your mouth texture. Posted by Picasa

Monday, 22 March 2010

Beetroot & Sweet Corn Soup

I have very limited encounter with "Beetroot" as I only ate it as one of the ingredients found in some sandwiches. Although I have heard/saw a lot of interesting recipes using "Beetroot" as one of their ingredients, I have never thought of using it till today. And to my surprised this can really blend well into our Asian soup too.....

Beetroot can consider to be a very versatile ingredient that can be in many area of cooking. For eg:- in salad, sandwiches, bakes, cakes, dessert and even soup. Sometime it can also be use as a dye to replace artificial colouring. So today's soup of the day, we will try this together with corn and carrot which will add in extra sweetness to the soup.

Ingredients:- (serves 4)
500g Pork Ribs
2 Medium Size Beetroots
1 Sweet Corn, cut into section
1 Medium Carrot, cut into 1" slices
6-8 Red Dates
1/2 Tablespoon Wolfberries, optional
1.5 Liter of Boiling Water

1. Rinse, clean and place the pork ribs in boiling water for about 3 minutes, remove and rinse well. Set aside for later use.
2. Rinse the beetroot, peel of the outer skin with a vegetable peeler. Cut it into big cubes or wedges.
3. Remove the husk and leaves of the corn, rinse and cut it into 3 sections.
4. Bring 1.5 Litre of water to boil in a medium soup pot, add in all the above ingredients except wolfberries.
5. When the mixture comes to boil again, lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes or alternatively you can transfer the soup to a slow cooker and cook it on AUTO for about 2.5 hours or so. (add in wolfberries 15 minutes before cooking time)

This soup is so sweet and full of flavour that it don't even require any extra seasoning. The sweetness comes naturally from all the ingredients used and the colour of the soup look so gorgeous. From the glance of it, it looks just like any red wine/red currant juice. Em... but just a little sharing, although the soup might give a little "Rooty" flavour but this is indeed a very nutritious soup for kids. We ate all the ingredients except the "beetroot" because it has a very odd taste which my boy feedback that it taste like "roots/wood" :p Posted by Picasa

Friday, 19 March 2010

New Menu @ Sakae Sushi

I didn't know that Sakae has a branch located at Icon Village around 12 Gopeng Street which is within less than 10 minutes walk from "Tanjong Pager MRT - 丹戎巴葛地铁站". Since we are all at Mum's new place at Pinnacle Duxton, rey suggests that he wanted to have sushi for lunch at Sakae which Uncle Daniel bought him once before.

Because of the lunch hour crowds we managed to get a place at the conveyor belt table after some "not so good" incidents happened. But after all the 5 of us are still very excited to try out those new items on their New Menu.

Rey was too hungry and busy with his usual "Tamago Sushi" that he has starts his meal without waiting for us. I was impressed by their new menu which is bright and colourful and it gives us a very classy outlook.

There are about 5 new salad items on the new menu for you to select from. Actually I am looking at the "Maguro Tataki Salad" which is not available at that branch according to the Manager. So we will have to go for the 2nd choice which is this "Wafu Salad". We must compliment that their ingredients are very fresh and it goes well with their sweet salad dressing.

Mum suggest that she would like to have something hot and soupy so I introduce her this new "Chicken Sukiyaki" which is like a mini hotpot that consists of toufu, negi(type of green onion), vegetables, chicken, mushroom and jelly noodles in a pot of sweet broth. Rather than using the Raw Egg as a dipping sauce, mum prefer to add it into the hot soup to give it more flavour. Em... while eating this Sukiyaki, I found a special Fried tofu pouch that contain so mochi like fillings in it. Other than we all agreed that the soup is more towards the sweet side of our preference, the taste and ingredients are all worth to give this a go.

With the new menu, they have this S$3.99 pink plates which consists of some worth trying items. Here I will share with you 4 of the items that we select from the menu. 1st let's look at this "Unagi Tamgo Sushi" which they add another layer of Tamago on top of the usual Unagi Sushi to enhance the sweetness of this dish.

This "Soft Shell Crab Sushi" seems to look good which half portion of the crab stick to a piece of sushi rice. Aunty comments that the crab is not crispy enough and it's kind of oily too. So perhaps this will not be on our list again :)

"Ebi with Kanifumi" consits of rice stuffed in the fried tofu pouch and top with ingredients like prawn, crabmeat and tamago. This stuff will be great for those who loves seafood without extra sauce combination.

"Ni Hotate with Tobiko" captures my attention while flipping through the ordering menu because I love the vibrant colour of this dish. Furthermore, the toppings are one of my aunty and mother-in-law's favourite.

Here comes the "Butterfly Mentai" that we are all very disappointed with. The colour of the prawns seems to be over-cooked and the colour of the Mentai topping look so huge different from the one showing on the menu. Although the taste is quite good but the appearance won't bring it for another ordering. Perhaps I should give it a second chance to try at another Sakae branch to compare the end-result :p

Avocado is always one of our favourite fruit on sushi toppings, whatever sushi or side dish that include avocado will definitely be in our considering list. "Unagi Avocado Maki" is another new item found on their Special Makimono section.

Talk about tofu in Sakae, our favourite used to be their "Fried Tofu" or "Agadasi Tofu" but now, we have another choice:- "Lobster Salad Tofu" @ S$7.99. If you are craving for some cold appetiser like lobster salad, this will be a great dish for you. The tofu taste great with their special dressing and everyone of us feel so refreshing with this dish.

Finally, it's dessert time again!!!! I have being aiming for this "Matcha Cheesecake - S$5.99" long before they release on the branch from Sakae facebook updates. We were all very impress by their new serving of this cheesecake which consists of 3 layer of plain cheese, red bean filling and matcha flavour cheese filling. In the end, we all agreed that this taste more like ice-cream cake rather than cheesecake :)

Lastly, I must highly recommend this "Matcha Ice Cream with Warabi Mochi" which cost S$3.99. The Matcha ice-cream is so full of flavour that we all fell in love with it. This ice-cream has a very fragrant Azuki Bean taste in it and the texture is so creamy and smooth with a refreshing matcha scent. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Hot Cross Buns & Roasted Strawberries

Easter Sunday will be coming in about 3 more weeks time and even now you can find all sort of Easter goodies available in local supermarkets such as Easter Bunny/Egg chocolate. Other than Easter Egg, Hot Cross Bun is also another popular snack to be consumed during Good Friday. It is a type of sweet spiced bun made with currants or raisins and leavened with yeast that has has a cross marked on the top.

Today, rather than the usual way of eating the Hot Cross Bun, we will spread it with some nutella and top it with roasted strawberries and plain yogurt. The roasted strawberries gave this bread and an extra sweet and sour jam like texture that goes very well with the smooth and creamy yogurt.

Ingredients: (serves 2)
10 Strawberries, hulled, halved
1 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon/Mixed Spices
2 Hot Cross Bun, Sliced crossways into halves
Some Nutella
200ml Plain Yogurt

1. Toast the bun slices in toaster oven for 1 or 2 minutes each side until slight golden in colour.
2. Cool it off slightly before spreading 1 side of each slice with Nutella.
3. Meanwhile, place the strawberries in a small baking dish, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, toss to coat well.
4. Roast in a toaster oven for about 5 - 7 minutes until strawberries collapse and syrup forms. (stir on and off to coat the sugar syrup with the strawberries)
5. Place 1 bun slice on the serving plate, top with some roasted strawberries, then place another bun slice over it and repeat with another layer of roasted strawberries.
6. Before serving, place a dollop of yogurt beside the toast and drizzle some syrup from the baking dish over the strawberries and yogurt.

~ I personally preferred "Farmers Union Brand - Greek Style Natural Yogurt" which is thicker and creamy in texture.
~ If you cannot get hold of Hot Cross Bun, you can replace it with any raisin bun.

This will be a great afternoon tea-snack that your guests will ask for more serving :) The combination of Chocolate, Roasted Strawberries, Syrup and Yogurt makes this simple snack a perfect dessert for both adults and kids this coming Good Friday gathering. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Jalan Sultan Prawn Mee

Off Geylang Lorong 1, at a coffee shop opposite Kallang MRT there is this famous "Jalan Sultan Prawn Mee" that is always crowded with people especially during lunch peak hours. This coffee shop has about more than 30 over tables with 3 stalls selling beverage, prawn noodles and wu xiang.

It has being about 4 years since my last visit till now, and I am admit that their soup base is still as good as before. We ordered the "Pork Ribs" with "Prawn Noodles" which I think is worth its cost. I personally believed that, a bowl of good prawn noodles lies on it's soup. The soup here is full of flavour, sweetness and a kind of special taste that you would want to finish off the whole bowl of soup. Other than pork ribs and prawn, it also comes with some lean meat and vegetables.

For those who prefer dry version of this prawn noodles, they only have 3 types of noodles for your selection which is the "yellow noodles - 黄面", "thick vermicelli - 粗米粉" and "thin rice noodle - 河粉". We think their chilli sauce for the dry version is not as good as the soup use for the soup version unless you are those who prefer dried prawn noodles. Posted by Picasa

Lerk Thai @ Woodland Civic Centre

There are a lot of Thai Restaurants in Singapore for those who fancy hot and spicy Thai cuisine that range from budget to high-end spending. But no matter which type you are targeting for, I am each restaurant will have some of their special dish that will capture your taste bubs. Today we will be trying this Open-concept style Thai restaurant that is located on the ground of Woodland Civic Centre which is known as Lerk Thai.

The 1st appetiser to be served is this Vietnam Spring Roll which is accompany with their special "peanut dipping sauce". These spring roll are stuffed with “rice vermicelli - 米粉”, “assorted vegetables” , “cooked prawns” and etc and it is wrapped with a layer of Rice Paper wrapper. It is a very light dish which can be served as appetizer or finger food.

Next to come is this “Yam Som OPomelo Salad with Shrimps & Peanut” which is a very popular appetizer amongst the Thai Kampong Folks. I was attracted to the presentation of this appetizer where the chef used the orange peel as a “serving cup” for this dish to give it an extra critic flavour. This appetizer is rather towards a bit of salty dish due to the adding of "Fish Sauce - 魚露" and I find the adding of small onion(shallot) has actually overpower the taste of this dish.

This “clear” seafood Tom Yum Soup comes with a generous amount of assorted seafood like fish, prawn and squid together with some straw mushroom. Although the soup look clear without any chilli oil or so, but it does taste hot and spicy with a light critic fragrance which makes it absolutely refreshing. You can either have it with some steam rice or you can order this soup to be served with rice noodles.

Here comes my favourite “Deep-fried Pandan Leaf Chicken” which is a popular dish in Bangkok. The Pandan leaf is used to keep the juices of the chicken in a parcel so that you will still able to taste the tender & juicy fried chicken.

"Pad Thai - Thai Style Fried Kway Teow" is one of my favourite noodle dish on the ordering dish. I love the texture of these thin rice noodles and the combination of the side ingredients such as lime wedges, peanuts and chilli powder. This is very different compare to the usual "Char Kway Teow" that we have in Singapore which is stir-fried over very high heat with light and dark soy sauce, chilli, belachan, tamarind juice, prawns/deshelled cockles, bean sprouts and chinese sausage.

After a hearty meal, it is time for some sweet refreshments. From the list of desserts that they have in the menu, we select these "Colourful Mini Dumplings" which is cooked Tapioca dumplings served in coconut milk. But we are kind of disappointed as the dumpling is hard and not chewy and it seems rather tasteless too.

As for the "Mango Pomelo Sago", the mango cream looks dull and it seems to be lack of the mango taste which compare to those that we have tried in other restaurants. Personally, we don't find the these two dessert worth to try on, perhaps their "Mango & Glutinous Rice with Coconut Milk" is much more worth it than these two. Posted by Picasa


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