Monday, 7 August 2006

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Can you "Guess What Is This Cloud Like" thing in the picture? I bet you can't right, you might think that is the cooked egg white or some over whipped cream. Actually this is my 1st Homemade Ricotta Cheese which is introduce by Tracy base of her research on some blog sites.

Ricotta is an Italian cheese made from the whey which results when making cheeses such as mozzarella or provolone. The name "ricotta" means "cooked again" in Italian, referring to the second processing of the liquid to produce the cheese. Ricotta is similar in texture to cottage cheese though considerably lighter and is a key ingredient in cheesecake, lasagna and many cannolis. It is often served mixed with sugar, cinnamon and occasionally chocolate shavings as a dessert in Italian household

For those who is interested in trying out, you might take some reference from these blogs Lex Culinaria blog, Fias Co Farm, Ricotta Making. For my case, after some simple conversion and calculation, I starts trying on using small amount of milk and I made two different batches of ricotta cheese by using buttermilk and lemon juice separately. The finally result from using lemon juice is much finer and smooth compare to the buttermilk.

Ingredients: (make about 125g ricotta cheese)
120ml Buttermilk/55ml Fresh Lemon Juice
480ml Fresh Whole Milk

1. In a small milk saucepan, simmer the fresh whole milk over low heat until around 90 - 95 degree.(you need to have a themometer that reads up to 100 degrees or more, if not you have to estimate the timing when you saw a lot of steam rising and it's almost going to boil)
2. Slowly add in the buttermilk or lemon juice and give it a gentle stir.(do not over stir it or you will break up the large ricotta pieces)
3. You will see very tiny white particles floating in the whey.
4. Remove the pot from the heat and set it aside, covered to rest undisturbed for about 15 minutes.
5. Line a big container or mixing bowl with muslin/cheese cloth.
6. Slowly pour the whole whey mixture into the prepared bowl and drained until the no liquid left on the cloth.(the more milk you used, the longer it will take to drain)
7. When it has drained, place the ricotta in a clean contain and you can keep it in the fridge for up to one week.

You can season the ricotta with either salt or salt depending what you wanted to used it as.

You can use it for pizza filling, crepes or making ricotta cheese cake or muffin. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 2 August 2006

Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins

Em.... After seeing Evan making all sorts of muffins, I also having this mood of making some with reyon. So this morning, we made this for our breakfast. These mini muffins include some cream cheese, blueberry jam as a stuffing inside. So you can taste some extra cheesy and it's moist in texture because of some extra jam fillings.

It's really very easy to prepare muffins, but for this cream cheese muffin you need to do abit more of the wash-up. This recipe stated below can make 12 mini size muffins.

145g Self-Raising Flour, sifted
50g Caster Sugar
50g Butter, melted and cooled
85ml Fresh Milk
1 Egg, lightly whisked
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
75g Fresh/Frozen Blueberries
30g Cream Cheese, cut into small cubes
Some Blueberry Jam

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degree, grease mini muffin pan or use disposable muffin cups.
2. Combine flour and sugar in a bowl, make a well in the center.
3. Whisk butter, milk, egg and vanilla essence in a jar or bowl.
4. Pour butter mixture into flour mixture, add blueberries and gently fold until just combined.(Do not over-mixed and there should be no trace of any dried ingredients)
5. Half fill muffin holes with mixture, top with cream cheese, 1/2 teaspoon jam, cover with some batter about slightly more than 3/4 full.
6. Bake for about 20 minutes, remove from oven and let it rest on tray for 5 minutes.
7. Remove and serve warm. Posted by Picasa

Assorted Hakka Abacus Seeds

This Hakka Abacus Seeds dish, where mashed yam is mixed with flour and shaped into round pellets that look like abacus seeds. The beads are usually stir fried with a simple sauce of minced garlic, shallot pork, dried shrimps, firm beancurd and shitake mushrooms.

My mother-in-law is a Hakka and she used to make this dish for us at least once a month. And after eating her version of abacus seeds, actually I had wanted to try it out very long ago. So after seeing the Pumpkin Abacus Seeds from MyCoffee blog. I decided to give this dish a try by making two different types of flavour in one go.

So for my Assorted Abacus Seeds, I had the traditional Hakka Yam beads as well as the Pumpkin beads from MyCoffee's blog. As for the side ingredients, I had include those that my mother-in-law used to put in. Finally, I had my own version of Assorted Hakka Abacus Seeds from Cuisine Paradise Kitchen......It tastes very Q and Spongy which my mum and hubby loves.....

Ingredients For Yam Abacus Seeds:(make about 30-35)
300g Yam, cut into small slices
100g - 150g Tapioca Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
A Pot Of Ice Water

1. Steam the yam slices until soft then mash it while still hot.
2. Slowly stir in tapioca flour till combined(you might not need all the flour, it all depend on the wetness of the mashed yam) then add in the rest of the seasoning and oil and knead into a smooth dough.
3. From small round balls and make a dent in each one with your thumb to from the abacus seed shape(about 2cm wide) and set aside.
4. Bring half pot of water to boil then cook the beads until float, remove and plunge into the pot of iced water(this is to stop the cooking process of the beads and make it more Q and spongy) for 1 - 2 minutes then drained and set aside.

Do not put too many beads into the boiling water at one time, allow some room for them to float around.

Used the same ingredients and methods for the Pumpkin beads, replace the yam slices with pumpkin slices and you might need more tapicoa flour(about 200g-250g) because mashed pumpkin contains more moisture than the yam.

Ingredients For Side Fillings: (enough for 50-60 beads)
300g Pork Mince/Belly Pork
2 Pieces Of Small Firm Beancurds, shredded
4 Dried Mushroom, soaked till soften
50g Black Fungs, soaked till soften
50g Dried Shrimps, soaked till soften
5 Cloves Garlics, finely chopped
4 Shallots, finely sliced
100ml Of Water, from soaking mushroom
1/2 Teaspoon Chicken Stock Granules
1/2 Teaspoon Dark Soy Sauce
For Garnish:
1 Stalk Spring Onion, finely chopped
3-4 Small Chillies, finely sliced
1 Tablespoon Dried Shallot
Some Pepper

1. Marinate the pork minced with 1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce, 1/2 Tablespoon Sesame Oil, 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper and 1 Teaspoon cornstarch, set aside in the fridge to marinate for about 30 minutes or more.
2. Shredded the soaked mushroom(reserved the water), black fungus and lightly pound the dried shrimp and set aside.
3. Preheat the pan with some oil then saute the shredded beancurd until golden brown, drained and set aside.
4. Add about 2 Tablespoons Of Oil in a pan, add in the sliced shallots and saute until slightly golden brown, add in garlic and pork mince.
5. Saute the pork until almost cooked then add in mushroom, black fungs, dried shrimp and continue to stir until fragrant and cooked through.
6. Next add in the beancurd and sauce upon boiling add in the cooked abacus beads and simmer for another 2 minutes on low heat.
7. Serve hot with garnish. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 1 August 2006

Hot & Fragrant Snapper

This is a very fragrant and appetizing dish that Tracy had introduce to us. It taste sort of like those Thai dishes because of the lime, kaffir lime leave and fish sauce. You need to blend all the ingredients to create a marinade sauce for the fish and allow it to marinate for a while before grilling it.

For my case, I used White Snapper fish and place it on some banana leaves and grilled until done. You had to serve this dish hot so that the aroma of the marinate will be great on the fish.

2 Large Fresh Chillies, Roughly Chopped
5 Shallots, Peeled
5 Garlic Cloves, Peeled
2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Thai Fish Sauce
1 Tablespoon Palm Sugar Or Molasses
4 - 6 Kaffir Lime Leaves, Rolled Into Cigarette Shapes And Finely Sliced
1 Trout, About 450g Each, Cleaned

1. Wrap the chillies, shallots and garlic cloves in a foil package.
2. Place under a hot grill for 10 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.
3. As soon as the foil package is cool enough to handle, unwrap it and tip the contents into food process.
4. Mix the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and lime leaves together.
5. Add 1 - 2 teaspoon of the lime juice mixture to the chilli mixture and blend till a paste.
6. Remove the chilli paste and stir well with the rest of the lime juice mixture.
7. With a teaspoon, stuff this paste inside the fish. Smear a little on the skin too.
8. Grill the fish for about 8 minutes on each side, until just cooked through.(the timing depends on the size and the thickness of the fish.)
9. Carefully lift the fish onto a platter. Serve with rice.

I used 1 red and two green chilliles.(It all depend whether u want it to be hot or mild)
You can used any type of fish that you prefer like Seabass, Seabream or Snapper. Posted by Picasa