Thursday, May 22, 2014

Overnight Oat - Good for your Soul!

I love oat... something I learnt to enjoy years back when i was first diagnosed with high cholesterol.  I turned to oats for easy breakfast - just add milk to oat in a mug and few minutes in the microwave gave me a quick and cheap breakfast back in those days when money was tight.  LOL.  

I can't say that the oat diet alone normalised the cholesterol level as I did make a conscious effort to avoid the not-so-cholesterol-friendly food like prata and char kway teow.  I also hit the gym at least 3 times a week back then.  Having said, it never hurt to know that there are some food "better" than others. 

For all the benefits of oat, check out this site.

Back to this overnight oat... I didn't know what take me so long to discover this... if not for my blogger friend, Ann.   Believe me - there's nothing, absoutely nothing, easier to prepare yet contains so much goodness!

The basic ingredients are just milk and rolled oat.  Just mix these 2 in a sealable container, and leave it overnight.  For added flavour and nutrients, add whatever you fancy: think yogurt, fresh/dried fruits and honey. 

I added raisin, dried cranberries, chia seed, mangoes and pistachio nuts as these are what I have in the stash.  What would you add to yours?

Overnight Oat
taken from Ann

6 tbsps Organic Rolled Oats
1/2 cup Fresh Milk
1/2 cup Plain or Greek Yoghurt
1 tbsp Chia seeds
some blackberries, blueberries, strawberries(halved), (rinse with water and pat dry with a kitchen paper)
Orange segment from one orange
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
some honey

  • Using a clean sterilized glass jar, add rolled oats, chia seeds and yoghurt.
  • Pour in milk, drop in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and gently stir the mixture with a clean spoon to loosen the oats at the bottom of the jar. Add a little more milk if the mixture is too thick.
  • Lastly add in berries and orange, give a few stirs.
  • Cover the jar and leave the mixture overnight in the fridge.
  • In the morning, before having your oats, drizzle some honey to sweeten the taste.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Lao Ban Beancurd copy-cat version (老伴豆花)

I have been wanting to make this for a long time cos my niece likes this new style beancurd.  I am abit old fashion who rather have the beancurd (my fav is Rochor Beancurd) which is made with gypsum powder (shi gao).  Having said, i can't make imagine making the traditional tou huay at home - too much hard work soaking, grinding and de-skin the soy before cooking it.  I helped my mum to make soy bean drink when i was younger, so I do know a few things huh.

Anyway, I digress.  

I have been reading so much about this copy cat recipe which is 99% (or 98.99%, but who cares) similar to the famous 老伴豆花 at old airport road market.  The important thing is that it is really easy to make... all the stuff easier avail at the supermarket and Phoon Huat.  Granted I have some grieve trying to get the "secret ingredient" from Phoon Huat but I guess that's still easier than to traveling from Jurong to Old Airport Road Market!

I made 1 starter batch last Friday, and my sister and niece raved about it.  I always think that behind every good cook, there's a hungry family! :-)


Lao Ban Beancurd  (copy-cat version)
source: dejiki

What you need:

For detailed and step by step instruction, pls see Dejiki - I really don't see the value of reinventing the wheel.

My modifications were:

1) My family has never been a big fan of sweet stuff so although 20g is not so sweet, I still have to do a token reduction to 18g.  

2) I like the wobbly type of beancurd, so again, I cut the jelly powder by a little (1g).  This gives really really soft beancurd - it sort of melts in your mouth which is perfect for me but I would nonetheless try making it with 13g to see the difference next time.

3) The 2 types of soy powder - Pollency & Unisoy - are high in protein.  What I find is that protein dissolves better in cold water.  So I actually mix the 2 types of soy powder in cold water and sieved before heating it up.  

4) Once the mixture is hot enough (but not boiling yet), sugar, coffeemate and jelly powder went in. Stir then off fire.

5) Because the mixture has been sieved before, I directly used the Magic Oil Sieve when pouring the liquid into the plastic containers and had no problem with slow flow. 

I got B to be my little Ratatouille Chef to do the mixing and stiring for me... and I thought he's the next best thing to the new Kenwood Cooking Chef which comes with the induction function.  Hmm, no open fire, and stiring to mess up my life... Oh well, let's just save that for the next investment!!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Snowskin Mooncake - good soft skin!

A basic snowskin dough is made with kou-fen (fried glutionous rice flour), shortening and water.  If you have made them before, you will know that it is not difficult all all.  If you haven't, then its time to get started.   

Anyway, what i meant to say, the challenge of making a good snowskin mooncake is finding a recipe that gives you soft smooth skin that will withstand the test of time in fridge until it gets eaten.  

I started with this which is very simple but would often struggle to get smooth skin.  Then I found Aunty Yochana's Ice Cream Soda Snowskin Mooncake ... I was rewarded with smooth nice skin, and 490g of tang mien flour to contribute to the landwaste.  Yet, on the 2nd day, while the skin is still soft and pliable i could see the remarkable difference in its texture. 

they say imitation is the most sincere compliment!
Goto Ann's blog to see step-by-step instruction.

I also read from some blogs whose claimed the skin stayed soft for upto a week but I compared the recipe and found the only difference is the slightly higher proportion of liquid to flour.  If you add more liquid to the flour, it gets sticky and chances are you will compensate the stickiness with some kou-fen so that it becomes manageable. Hmm, so you are back to square one ya?

This year I found Ann's recipe - it uses a combination of koufen & snowskin premix and a different method where the shortening and liquid is boiled together before adding to the flours.  I made it on Sunday, and really pleased to report that the skin is still very smooth, soft and tasty when I tried some after dinner just now! 

I am really happy with this skin - its "toink toink" like the Hada Lada ad!

It was really generous for her to share her recipe.  Strangely, she published her recipe 2 years ago... I wondered how I could have missed this!!!

Ann's Snowskin Mooncake

50g    Kao fen (糕粉-cooked glutinous rice flour)
230g  Snowskin flour ( KCT Pinpe Premix Powder ) - do not sift
50g    Icing sugar (I reduce to 25g)
46g    Crisco/shortening
300g Water (boil 500g water with 4 pandan leaves, leave to cool) and measure 300g water.  see note 1
some extra kao fen for dusting

  • Combine kao fen and snowskin flour (KWT Pinpe Premix Powder) in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • In a pot, add 4 pandan leaves (knotted) water with icing sugar and shortening together and bring them to boil until shortening melted, stir with a hand whisk.
  • Pour the hot liquid mixture to the flour and use spatula to stir mixture to soft dough and leave dough to cool (you'll find the dough is quite oily at this time) then knead dough again to smooth, add more kao fen to it if the dough is still too sticky.
  • Add different colour dough for different type of filling.
  • Measure dough to 21g and wrap in 25g lotus paste or any other filling you prefer.
  • Roll it into a ball and dust with some kao fen (kao fen 糕粉) and press firmly into mould ~ unmould it and store in an airtight container.
  • Chill snowskin mooncakes before consuming. 
Note 1 :  Boiling water with pandan leaves is a natural way to add frangrance.  But if it is not avail, replace with some flavouring (e.g. banana, orange etc)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Jamie Oliver Chicken in Milk

Whenever I need to feed a big group of people and do not want to spend too much time in the kitchen, I go to this recipe.  It is very easy to make, the only work involves pan frying the chicken, and some cutting.  Everything else is then poured into  oven-safe casserole and bake till you are ready to serve.

Who knows that milk and chicken can give you such satisfaction.

The only thing to take note is frying the chicken.  The last time I gave my sis this recipe verbally, I told her to pan-fry till it brown.  So she skipped this step at her discretion.  It ended up her dish has a thick layer of yellow liquid floating on top.  Quizz her further than realised that's the chicken fat that should have been take off after pan-frying.

The photo was taken during my recent vacation in UK, cooking for my friend's family. The original recipe uses whole chicken but I used thigh which is relatively cheaper there!  :-)

Also, I added vegetables (whatever I can find in the fridge which happen to be carrot and fresh mushrooms) to make the meal complete.

Chicken in Milk

1.5 kg chicken parts
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
½ stick cinnamon
1 good handful fresh sage, leaves picked
zest of 2 lemons
10 cloves garlic, skin left on
565 ml milk

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5.

2. Marinate chicken with black pepper and fry it in a little olive oil, turning the chicken to get an even colour all over, until golden. Remove from the heat, put the chicken on a plate, and throw away the oil left in the pot. This will leave you with tasty sticky goodness at the bottom of the pan which will give you a lovely caramel flavour later on.

3. Put your chicken back in the pot/casserole with the rest of the ingredients (including vege if you are using), and cook in the preheated oven for 60min. The lemon zest will sort of split the milk, making a sauce  which is absolutely fantastic.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Braised Balsamic Chicken

I always enjoy eating my lighted toasted bread with olive oil and balsamic mix.  Each time very little balsamic is used up that a bottle will easily last me a year.  I still remember the last bottle (a very good one *sob*)I had ended in the bin cos it was more than 2 years old.  My mum used to tell me that vinegar, like salt and sugar, has an infinite shelf life but i just felt a little funny knowingly consume something so "ancient".

Anyway, now that I found this recipe shared by Wendy at Table for 2, I am sure no balsamic vinegar will ever go to waste.  Not only for the sake of consumption, this dish has a very balanced taste of sourness and sweetness making it a hit with B.

I served it with rice and some accompanying vegetables as my family must have rice. 

Just a word on cookware.  Personally, I felt that when cooking with acidic liquid like balsamic, it is best to use a non-reactive cookware such as enameled cast iron (e.g. Le Crueset) or stainless steel.  Aluminum cookware will colour acidic foods with a grey tinge while cast iron (the one with enamel coating) will have acidic food leach iron from the pot.  Though you can argue that this is one way of getting your douse of iron that your body need!

Below is my version:

Braised Balsamic Chicken
3 pieces of chicken leg (1 for each diner)
Some salt and black pepper to taste.
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup water

2 tbsp honey
1 tsp dried italian herbs

Some corn flour & water for thickening

1. Marinade the chicken with black pepper, preferably overnight.
2. Heat up a non-reactive pot, and add some olive oil.  Fry chicken leg with skin side down until it brown.  This will remove some fats.

3.  Remove excess oil, and keep about 1 tbsp to cook the onion and garlic.  It is ready when onion turned translucent.

4.  Add all the rest of the ingredients (except corn flour) and cover the pot until chicken is cooked through, about 20min.  Also check the taste, and add more salt/pepper/honey when necessary.  I used more honey.

5.  Take out the chicken and thicken sauce by adding corn flour/water mixture.  Though Wendy said this is optional, I find that thickened sauce will enable the sauce to "stick" to the chicken better.

6. Serve the chicken with steamed rice and vegetables, drizzling the thickened sauce over the chicken.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cooking for one: vegetarian mee sua

Last Sunday was my mum's 100th day and also my dad's lunar birthday.  It must be a big bag of mixed feelings for him!

Late ma used to make Mee Sua for every one of us on our lunar birthday.  I just thought that my dad would like one too... But due to the tight schedule that day, I didn't get to serve him the mee sua soup. 

Since all the stuff were already in fridge, I made them for my work day lunch instead.

Simple stuff like tow gey, choy sim, hard boiled egg (it may look like fishball, but its egg) and mock mini sausages served with mee sua, but to me, this is the taste of our family tradition.

What's your family tradition?


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A deep dark secret... an almost Awfully Chocolate Cake

"Almost Awfully Chocolate..." was what attracted me to this recipe shared by Jamie, celebrity and owner of Twelve Cupcake
Indeed it is - very moist, deep and dark chocolate that I haven't had for a long time.  The cake turned out to be a hit even though I mistakenly used Valrhona cocoa powder (which is dutch-processed) when the recipe call for "not dutch processed" in the original source.

The cake is really so dark - almost like black!

Double Chocolate Cake

Here's what I did:

85gm semi sweet chocolate (i used 60% choc)
1 cup brewed coffee (I used Nespresso :-))
- Combine both.  There were enough heat from the freshly brewed coffee to melt the chocolate.

2 eggs
1/2 cup veg oil
1 cup buttermilk (add 1 tbsp lemonjuice to 1 cup milk if you dont have buttermilk. let it stand for at least 10mins)
1/2 tsp Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract (or vanilla extract/essence)
- these are the wet ingredients

1 and 1/2 cup sugar
1 and 2/3 cup self rising flour
1 cup natural cocoa powder (e.g. Hershey)
1 and 1/3 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
- sift the above dry ingredients together


(preheat oven to 180deg celsius - for cupcake, and 160C for big cake)
1. beat eggs (on speed 2 for about 3mins on my Kenwood mixer) till fluffy.
2. add all the wet ingredients (including coffee and choco mixture) and combine well. that’s really quick with the mixer.
3. add all the dry ingredients which you’ve already sifted and mixed together.
4. combine it well with the mixer. that’s quite quick too.
5. pour batter into cupcake liners or cake tins (line the bottom with baking paper so it’s easy to remove cake later)
6. bake for ~21 min (for cupcake) or ~50mins (for cake) or until the skewer/satay stick comes out clean when you poke the center of the cake with it.
7. let cake cool completely before frosting.

Frosting - I halved Jamie's recipe:
100ml whipping cream
20g butter
200g semisweet chocolate

1. microwave above and stir til it’s a smooth mix.
2. cool the mixture cos it might be too watery to spread before that.
3. Pipe the frosting when cupcake is cool.

The cake stores very well - it is soft even when just taken out from the fridge!