Monday, 28 February 2011

Steamed Chicken WIth Garlic and Pandan Leaves

Remember last week I have shared a post with you our Yuan Xiao Jie(元宵节) dinner and here is the second dish that we had apart from that “Stir-Fry Leek with Firm Beancurd”. I got the idea of this “Steamed Chicken With Garlic and Pandan Leaves” from my 3rd Aunt who cooked this during one of Chinese New Year gathering over at her place (her version HERE).

After chit chatting with her in the kitchen while she was preparing the food, I managed to note down some of the key ingredients and steps on making this dish. So here is how I managed to get my favourite dish done from her descriptions.

Depending on the number of people you have, you can choose different sizes of chicken range from small (800g) to big(1.8kg) but the cooking time will have to be adjusted accordingly too.

Ingredients: (serves 2 - 4)
1 Kampong Chicken, about 1kg
6 Slices of Ginger
4 Small Garlic Bulbs, lightly pound
1 Stalk of Spring Onion, cut into half
2 Bundles of Pandan Leaves

Salt and Sesame Oil

~ To further enhance the chicken with garlic fragrant, lightly pound the garlic bulbs before stuffing into the cavity.

~ You can also use the chicken broth collected from the plate use for steamed chicken to cook chicken rice or throw in some shredded cabbage leaves to make soup.

~ Remember, do not over cooked the chicken or else the meat will be tough.

According to the chicken stall owner,s either Kampong or Sakura Chicken will be great to use in any steaming recipes as their taste much sweeter and fragrant compare to the rest.

1. Clean, trim and rinse the chicken thoroughly, pat dry with kitchen paper towels.
2. Place chicken(breast side facing up) on deep steaming plate and rub ½ teaspoon of salt all over the chicken.
3. Stuff cavity with garlic bulbs, 3-4 ginger slices, 1 bundle of pandan leaves and half portion of spring onion and scatter the rest of the ingredients on the sides and bottom of the chicken..
4. Steam in a covered pot/wok over medium high heat for 10 minutes, flip the chicken over on another side and continue to steam for another 15 – 20 minutes. (Remember to take note of the water in the pot and add in more hot water if necessary to avoid it from evaporating)
5. To test if the chicken is cooked, insert a chopstick into the thigh area if the liquid run out clear, it is cooked.
6. Remove the chicken from pot to another plate(refer to Notes on chicken broth), quickly rub 1 teaspoon of sesame oil all over it and let it rest for 5 – 10 minutes before cutting the chicken into bite size pieces and serve.

After resting the steamed chicken for about 5 minutes, I managed to cut it nicely into bite size portions and serve with some tomato wedges. This steamed chicken dish is infused with the aroma and fragrant from the Pandan Leaves and garlics that makes you crave for more. As for dipping sauce we prefer to have dark soya sauce with cut chilies instead of the usual Hainanese Chinese Rice Chilies.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Eggless Dark Chocolate Ice-Cream

I have never thought of one day I could also churn up my very own Homemade Ice-cream even without using an ice-cream maker. In the past even though I have read up some really yummy ice-cream recipes, but yet still not a single one has lift up my motivation as I always thought it is a must to have an ice-cream maker before I could achieve those commercial like ice-cream texture.

I am sure most of us would like to have something sweet for after meal dessert or some frozen dessert to quench thirst during hot summer afternoon. No matter which is your choice I am sure either the refreshing Orange Sorbet or creamy Chocolate Ice-Cream will make some good rewards.

If you look at most of the ice-cream recipes, they usually called for "egg yolks" which are something that I always try to avoid while making dessert for my kid. But "Jess's" version( HERE) of recipe is definitely a keeper as it does not require any egg yolks in the ingredients. And to our surprised the end result taste just as rich and good as commerical ice-cream.

Ingredients (serves 4 - 6)
20g Dutch Process Cocoa Powder, sieved
90g Valrhona 70% Dark Chocolate
* 50g - 70g of Caster Sugar
1 Cup(200ml) Whipping Cream
125ml Fresh Milk
1 Tablespoon Kahlua / Tia Maria, optional

~ The amount of sugar added will depend on the type of chocolate used and your sweetness preference. (I used 50g for my 70% Dark Chocolate which can be purchased from either SunLik or Shermay Cooking School)

~ For creamy texture, you can replace whipping cream with thick cream.

~ To make chocolate sauce: Melt 30g Chocolate in microwave safe bowl on High Powder for 2 minutes with 30 second interval, stir the mixture between each interval to have a sauce like consistency.

1. In a medium saucepan combine cream, cocoa powder, sugar and whisk it over medium heat till combined and sugar melts.
2. Bring mixture to a gentle boil, stirring often, remove from heat and immediately whisk in chocolate until completely melted.
3. Next whisk in milk till mixture is glossy and well mixed before adding liquor if using.
4. Sieved the mixture through fine strainer into the loaf pan/tray, cool to room temperature.
5. Churn above mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions or alternatively, if you don't have an ice cream maker, freeze it for at least 2 hours or until firm.
6. Use a fork/spoon break out mixture and process it in blender (or whisk it using hand-held beater) for a few second till creamy. You might need to repeat the process at least twice if you prefer a smoother texture.
7. Return mixture to pan, freeze for another 3 hours or until firm. (I freeze it overnight)
8. Serve scoops of ice-cream with extra chocolate sauce and topping in cones or cups.

Are you ready for a scoop or two of this Homemade Dark Chocolate Ice-Cream.

Finally after a day of whisking, freezing and waiting..... here is our very first Homemade Chocolate Ice-cream. Each scoop is filled with rich and creamy texture that melts our heart with its semi-bittersweet chocolate taste.  And most importantly we get to choose the quality of ingredients used such as low fat milk/cream ad etc. So which is your choice? Cone or Cup?

For better presentation and finishing taste, you can drizzle some melt chocolate sauce(see notes above) together with your flavour chopped nuts or sprinkles topping on it. Enjoy!!! Have a great weekend everyone.

Eggless Dark Chocolate Ice-Cream

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Orange Cinnamon Sorbet

It has being ages since my last post on Sorbet which was around May 2006 where Tracy shared with me her encounter on making "Mango Kaffir Lime Sorbet". (you can check out the recipe HERE) And from there I also modify a similar recipe to make some "Durian Sorbet" which my family loves.

To beat the recent heat craze and hot waves, let's take a step to prepare some really cold and refreshing dessert for the family to cool down the heat.........

But for this post I will be sharing the recipe on Orange Cinnamon Sorbet instead of Durian because now it is the peak season where you can get really huge and sweet oranges to make yummy dessert.

Some of us might tends to get confuse with Sorbet and Granita which somehow or rather look similar in a way. But if you notice carefully sorbet has a smoother texture and it is make with fresh fruit comparing to Granita, which has a coarser and crystalline texture that often makes from flavouring water and sugar.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)
300ml Freshly Squeeze Orange Juice, about 3 1/2 Oranges
30ml Water
2cm Cinnamon Stick
*30 - 50g Caster Sugar
*Shredded Rind of 1 Orange
1/2 Orange, sliced into Segments

~ The amount of sugar use will depend on the taste of the fresh orange juice and individual preference.
~ You can refer to the read-up on "How to shred and grate orange rind" at this link HERE.

1. In a small saucepan bring sugar, 30ml of water, cinnamon stick and shredded orange rind to boil over medium heat.
2. When the mixture comes to boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 3 - 5 minutes by stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
3. Next remove the pan away from heat and leave the mixture to cool to room temperature.
4. Before mixing the orange juice with the sugar syrup till combined, remove the cooked orange rind and reserved it as garnish together with 1 teaspoon of sugar syrup in a small container.
5. Pour the orange juice mixture into a loaf pan, freeze for 3 hours or until firm.
6. Working quickly, use a metal spoon to break up sorbet and blend it until changed in colour and smooth.
7. Return mixture to pan, freeze it for another 2 hours or till firm.
8. Serve scoops of sorbet with some fresh orange segments and reserved candied orange peels.

Don't worry about whether this sorbet is being strongly infused with cinnamon taste. I can guarantee you that it’s only a very mild fragrant that act as a finishing touch to balance the citrus taste. But by all means if you just want a pure orange sorbet you can always omit the cinnamon stick.

More Heat Cooler Coming Up!

For ice-cream lovers do look out for this space on the next upcoming recipe which I will  feature the "Eggless Homemade Dark Chocolate Ice Cream". If you are interested, do stay tune!!!!!

Orange Cinnamon Sorbet on FoodistaOrange Cinnamon Sorbet

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

New Hobby @ Lower Peirce Reservoir

Last weekend we have a great time catching up with our new hobby at the Lower Peirce Reservoir together with some of the families there. Despite of the cloudy weather and passing-shower when we arrived, we still have a great warm-up session observing others and put it to practise on how to find, lure and catch our very first pet Yabby.

"Lower Peirce Reservoir - 贝雅士蓄水池下段" is one of the oldest reservoirs in Singapore. It is located near the MacRitchie Reservoir and the Upper Peirce Reservoir which is near Upper Thomson Road.

During most weekends or public holiday, the park will be filled with family with kids or love ones to set up picnics as well as to enjoy the scenery or walking trails through the rainforest for some exciting encounters with the amazing wildlife. Last weekend was our 2nd vist to this park and we saw most of the families are enjoying their family time catching little shrimps, crabs or fish with the kids.

As we did not get to spend more time like the rest of those families who enjoys this new prawning hobby due to the passing by shower on Saturday evening, we decided to go back again on Sunday. This round we managed to get very close encounter with those park monkey who are over friendly that they even snatched away our prawning baits.

This is a very interesting hobby that requires "Patience", "Time" and "Co-ordination Skills" where you use just simple bait like "Bread" to attract these little smart Yabby.

On the 1st day we only managed to caught one Yabby as we are still very new with the tactic to handle and lure these yabbies compare to the rest of the expert there. But on Sunday, as we are more prepared we managed to caught 3 and my boy really enjoys every moment of this new hobby. And before going home, we also spotted two huge Yabby which is around palm size with big claws but too bad we are not skillful enough to catch it.

Beautiful sunset that you might not have a chance to see often during your daily busy working days so perhaps sometime life will be more meaningful if you can spare some time, stop your pace, lift up your head and enjoy those beautiful sunset that is created by God.

Since we have a total of four yabbies now, we decided to buy a big container and stone shelter for these new pets. I guess sometime it's good to have some easy to handle pet for the kids to take up self responsibility on keeping these cute buddies.

Other than those yabbies above  we also have another cute little pet hamster known as "Milo" which is given to us by our neighbour. She is a very gentle and intelligence pet that is always amused us with her cute acts.

For more photos on our New Hobby @ Lower Peirce Reservoir, you can refer to the link HERE at Cuisine Paradise Facebook Page.