31 May 2013

Cranberry Almond Sticks

There is a funny story on this cookies cookbook that I want to share with you. Before I moved to Australia, I went for a cookbooks shopping trip to buy some Chinese version cookbooks from Popular bookshop, that day my son was with me. He picked up this book on 每天都是饼干日。175 人气手工饼干的创意魔法。安星美著。(Everyday is a cookies day, 175 creative magic cookies) and told me this is his book! He wants it! ....OMG! The cookies pictures are too tempting! Initially, I thought he will forget about the book after spending time browsing around the bookshop but I was wrong! He insisted and we have to buy the book ...story didn't end here, he wants the book to be ON his bookshelves and not on mine one :( 

Every time when I look at this book, I'll remember this story and really this is the energy to keep us going and this is the magic for us to be creative everyday. I didn't use ruler to measure and cut out the cookies as neat as in the book, but who care? Using bare hands and with a knife work the same wonder!

Cranberry Almond Sticks, a recipe which I strongly recommend for your little one, is crunchy, is flavourful and is healthy.  

Recipe from  每天都是饼干日。175 人气手工饼干的创意魔法。安星美著 p.115

110g cake flour
30g almond meal
60g fine sugar
0.5g salt
1/2 egg
60g unsalted butter
3g vanilla essence
40g cranberries
30g almond flakes

1.Bake the almond flakes in oven at 150C for 10 mins. Chop the cranberries into rough pieces. 
2. Using hand whisk, cream the soften butter, then add in sugar and salt. Whisk until creamy.
3. Add egg in two batches, mix well then add vanilla essence. 
4. Sieve in flour and almond meal, mix well to form a dough.
5. Add in cranberries and baked almond flakes, mix well.
6. Roll the dough between the cling wrap into a thin rectangle, with some thickness. Place the dough into freeze for about 1 hour to make it harden a bit and more workable.
7. Use knife to cut out the shape of the cookies. Place the cut cookies dough on to baking paper, and bake at 175C for 12 mins. 

29 May 2013

Salmon with Shredded Ginger

I think many of you must have tried this dish before. Initially pan-fry a fish to me is a scary task, I'm afraid of the boiling oil scalding my hands :) But it is totally a different story when I have...the Happycall pan! The Happycall pan is one of my saviour in the kitchen, I started to do more pan-fry on fish as no worries of oil splash around!

Salmon, a fish high with omega 3 fatty acids is not just good for development in kids brain but good for us as adult too. The omega 3 fatty acids in it help slow down cognitive problems such as Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. (refer to http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/lowcarbsuperfoods/a/salmonbenefits.htm) Haha...I think I urgently need Salmon :D

The original recipe from Mum's Favourite Dishes Cookbook (妈妈暧心菜), I forgot to coat the Salmon with cornstarch, and the ginger burnt a bit...Oops! Anyway, Gabriel loves this fish!

Recipe from Mum's Favourite Dishes Cookbook (妈妈暧心菜), p 85

1 piece salmon, season with 1 tbsp salt, wash and drain
5 slices of ginger, shredded or cut into thin
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp cooking oil

1. Heat up Happycall pan with 2 tbsp cooking oil. Pan-fry both sides of salmon over medium heat till golden brown. Remove salmon from pan.
2. Place shredded ginger in the pan, fry over medium heat for 2 mins or until ginger turned crispy.
3. Add light soy sauce, remove the ginger from heat. Pour the shredded ginger together with light soy sauce over fried salmon. Serve warm.

28 May 2013

Fried Dumplings

After migrating to Australia, I cook more because eating out is not so convenient as in Singapore. Finding the Asian food that we love and familiar with is especially difficult. To encourage Gabriel to eat more meat, I make these fried chicken prawn dumplings. It is a simple and quick one as I use the store bought dumpling skin. The trick here is to use the rolling pin and roll the thick dumpling skin (not sure why the dumpling skin selling here is super thick) to a thinner one. Then stuff the filling you like, sometimes I also cook the dumplings in soup. 

As my son prefer frying food, once in a while I'll fry these chicken prawn dumplings, the dumpling skin is crispy and the inner filling will be tender and juicy, I love to dip it in the Thai chili sauce with lime juicy. Is yummy!

Recipe from Ah Tze's kitchen play
(you can replace the minced chicken with pork or beef)
300g minced chicken
100g prawns, remove shell, wash and roughly chop
some coriander, chop
1 tbsp corn flour
2 tbsp oyster sauce 
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
a dash of pepper
A stack of store bought dumpling skin (from Asian Groceries Store)

1. Prepare the filling: In a bowl, place the minced chicken, and prawn. Add corn flour, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, salt and pepper. Add in the chopped coriander, use a pair of chopstick, stir and mix the mixture together. 

2. Wrapping: Roll the dumpling skin into a thinner piece, wrap in a spoonful of filling, seal the edge of dumpling skin with a bit of water using your finger tip. Pleat the edge of the dumpling skin by pressing together.

3. Deep-frying: Prepare a hot oil wok or a deep saucepan, when the oil is heated, lower the dumplings one or two at a time, lower the heat to medium. When the dumpling skin turn lightly brown, turn to another side and keep turning the dumpling to prevent burning. When the dumpling skin turned golden brown ~5 mins (depends on how hot the oil is) it is done. Take it out from the hot oil and dip dry on a piece of kitchen paper. Serve hot with chili dip. 

27 May 2013

Liu Sha Bao 流沙包 (Custard Bun)

I have tried making this Liu Sha Bao since last week and sadly to say I can't get the perfect bun texture for the Liu Sha Bao. I had changed to use the 水仙牌bao flour (there is limited brand available over here) How I wish I can get the Hong Kong Bao Flour here!

The challenge I faced on making the Liu Sha Bao are:
1. The liquid type of filling, which need to be frozen first.
2. Texture of the bun can't turn fluffy as I wish due to the liquid custard in it.
3. Shorter steaming time as not to burst the custard filling.

Anyway, there is still room to improve for the taste of this liquid type custard filling. If you got a good recipe on this Liu Sha Bao, please share with me, I would like to try :)

Recipe for filling and bun is taken from here.

25 May 2013

Sweet Congee

My family eating habit has changed a lot since we moved to Australia, we have never eat congee or porridge as breakfast when we were in Singapore but now this sweet congee is on our breakfast table at least three days in a week, especially weekdays. Why? because cooking sweet congee in the slow cooker the night before will allow me to have more time in the morning to make my son lunch box and ...lazy a bit on the bed instead :) yes, over here most of the kids bring their own lunch to school. 

Actually this sweet congee does a good job in warming up our tummy in the cold morning. With Millet (小米), Barley (意米), Black rice (黑米), Red bean (红豆)and rice (米), it does provide a good carbohydrate to fill up the hungry tummy and the sweet fragrant in the morning is so lovely!  

Recipe from Ah Tze's kitchen play (cup measurement, can add or omit the ingredients as you wish)
(Make 3 small bowls)
100g rice
2 tbsp millet
2 tbsp black rice
3 tbsp barley
3 tbsp red bean
2 tbsp sugarcane rock sugar
3~4 dried red dates 
600ml water (depends on how big your slow cooker is)

1. Place all the ingredients except the sugar in the slow cooker, wash and drain the grains. 
2. Place water in the slow cooker (depends on how thick you want the sweet congee to be), the water must not reach the top cover as the congee will overflow when cooked.
3. Place rock sugar in the slow cooker and cover.  Switch on the electricity to high mode. After 2.5 hours or when the grains started to boil, check whether the red bean has soften, if it is done, switch the slow cooker electricity to low mode。

The congee can be keep warm in the slow cooker until the next day. If the congee becomes too thick in the morning (actually my family love thick congee), you can add a bit of hot water to dilute the congee.   

22 May 2013

Oreo Cheesecake

One day while I was surfing the Internet I found a photo of an Oreo sitting on the bottom of cheesecake, I love it so much that I quickly swing into action to bake myself these cute lovely bite size Oreo cheesecake. Do you remember I bought a 2 kg cream cheese from Costco the other day? yes, I need to use up the cream cheese as soon as I can :) 

I love this type of baking, all cakes in an individual cupcake liners no worries of cutting an ugly slice of cake. Is good if this is for party too. Is easy peasy yet so tasty! 

I'm using my previous recipe on Green Tea Cheesecake, modified a bit to cater for the crushed Oreo cookies.

Recipe adapted from 幸福甜点81道, 星期天的烘焙时光 with modifications

12 pcs of Oreo cookies (remove cream)

Cake filling:
250g cream cheese
70g sugar 
1 egg
150ml thickened cream
100g butter, soften
15g corn flour
8 pcs of Oreo cookies, crushed (remove cream)

1. Place the cupcake liners in the cupcake pan and place Oreo cookies in each of the cupcake liners. 

2. Double boil the cream cheese and sugar in a big bowl, until the sugar is melted and mix well with cream cheese. Take the bowl away from the heat, add the egg. Mix well.
3. Gradually add in the thickened cream, stir well. Then butter and corn flour. Stir well. Add crushed Oreo cookies.
4. Scoop the cake batter into individual cupcake liners. 
5. Prepare the water bath, place the water bath at the bottom of oven. Place the cupcake pan on the middle rack. Steam bake at 120C for 25 mins.
6. When the cake is done, take out from the oven and let it cool down before put in the fridge. Dislodge the cake only when the cake is harden.

20 May 2013

Savoury Rice Dumplings (Bak Chang aka Zongzi 咸肉粽)

This is my second year of making these savoury rice dumplings or zongzi/bak chang. I know it seems still early to make these zongzi but it triggers me to make some when I saw a shop in Box Hill Market selling bamboo leaves and strong grass strands. Remember last year I couldn't find a good grass strands and it end up a few rice dumplings falling out while I boiled them in the water. 

This year with a strong grass strands it really make a difference. The task for wrapping the zongzi seems easier, and I have all the 30 pcs in whole after boiling in water! With some feedback from my old friends who had tasted my rice dumplings last year, this year I make some modifications to the recipe to make it more salty, as the flavour will dilute when it is cook in the boiling water. And because of the different price between cooked and uncooked salted duck eggs here, this year I'm using the cooked salted duck egg. (The price is double if I buy the uncooked salted duck eggs)  I don't dare to say it is the best, but at least my sister loves it and I think I have improved on my wrapping skills too :) By the way, over here some shops are selling zongzi (咸肉粽) a piece at a price tag of AUD $5~$5.50! so it is cheaper to make my own one :)

To make these zongzi, you have to wash and soak the bamboo leaves a day in advance, click here to see how to wash the bamboo leaves

1. buy the small shitake mushrooms, less work on cutting the mushrooms.
2. pork belly has to cut into smaller pieces, is easier to stuff more meat during the wrapping.
3. has to add some salt in the boiling water while cooking the zongzi.

(make 30 pieces)
1.5 kg pork belly, cut into bite size
50 pcs dried chestnuts (size uneven, soak and boil for 15 mins, remove membrane bits in slits)
30 salted duck egg yolks
60 dried shitake mushrooms (soak in water to soften and trim the stem)
2 bulbs of garlic (finely chopped)
150g dried shrimp (soak in water for 10 mins, roughly chopped)
1.5 kg glutinous rice (soak in water overnight, drain rice)
200ml cooking oil

Marinated pork belly:
1. Add 3 tbsp sugar, 5 tbsp dark soy sauce, 5 tbsp light soy sauce, 5 tbsp five spice powder, a pinch of pepper. Mix well and marinate overnight in fridge.

1. To prepare filling: heat oil in wok, stir fry marinated pork for 5 mins, add mushrooms and dried chestnuts. Add 150ml water and let it simmer for another 15 mins. Set aside.

2. To prepare glutinous rice: add 200ml oil into the wok used in (1). Add garlic and dried shrimp, stir-fry until fragrant. Add glutinous rice, mix well. Sufficient oil added will ensure the rice wouldn't stick on the bamboo leave later. Add 4 tbsp light soy sauce and 4 tbsp dark soy sauce. (Depends on how dark and salty you want the rice dumpling to be)

3. To assemble: Overlap two pieces of bamboo leaves, make a cone shape and press in a spoonful of rice, top with filling and cover with rice again, spoon some gravy from the filling onto the rice, wrap up the rice dumplings and tie with grass strands. 

4. To Boil: Prepare a big pot of water, add 2 tbsp of salt, when water boiled, lower down the rice dumplings, boil for at least 1 hour. The water level has to be always above the rice dumplings. Take out the rice dumplings while it is done, dip dry the rice dumplings by hanging. 

I'm linking this post to Little Thumbs Up event, hosted by Joyce, kitchen flavours, organized by Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids and Doreen for my little favourite D.I.Y.

15 May 2013

Steamed Custard Bun (Nai Huang Bao 奶黄包)

I have been busy travelling between my house and my son school lately because I've volunteer some of my time helping up in his school. The school conducted a few days of workshops for parent helper then we are roster to the class on the time slot we have chosen. I also help up in my son PMP (Perceptual Motor Program) class. It is great to know and see for ourselves what our kids are learning and what kind of activities they need to go through for the day. I'm glad that I've choose to assist in his class. 

When I know that this month Aspiring Bakers #31 is Bao Ho-Chiak 包好吃 (May 2013), I'm so happy because it creates a good reason for me to make the yummy custard buns for my son again. Last night when Gabriel saw me making the custard filling, he was so excited and keep asking was that for supper or breakfast? I told him I'm just making the custard filling and it wouldn't be ready for breakfast because I'm so tired, I'll only make the bun tomorrow morning after he goes to school. 

Talking about custard bun, what I know is there are two types, one is the liquid custard filling that we call it Liu Sha Bao 流沙包. Another one is a creamy filling one that we call it Nai Huang Bao 奶黄包. I love both of them. In this bun making, I'm using my previous recipe which I come out with my own quantities after watching an online video 奶黄馅制作过程1-4 (videos by irenechanwai). I'm posting the step by step photos on how I steamed, mashed and kneaded the filling, hope it will help you making the moist and soft custard filling too :) 

Recipe from Ah Tze's kitchen play

Ingredients for custard filling:
150g custard powder
3 tbsp icing sugar
4 tbsp milk powder
150ml coconut milk
50g evaporate milk 
1 egg
2 tbsp melted butter

1. In a bowl, place custard powder, icing sugar, milk powder together. Add coconut milk, use hand whisk to stir until the sugar dissolved. 
2. Add evaporated milk. Add egg, stir until combine, add melted butter.
3. Sieve the liquid and pour it into a lightly grease pan and steam for 10~15 mins. (depends on your steamer). Photo (1).
4. Take the custard out from steamer and mash the custard with a spoon. photo (2)
5. When it is a bit cooler, knead it using hand until the custard is smooth. photo (3)
6. Divide the custard dough into small balls. photo (4) 
7. If you are not using straight away, you can keep it in the fridge for later use.

Recipe from Ah Tze's Kitchen Play
Ingredients for Bun:
350g +50g bao flour (the 50g is gradually add in when the dough is too wet)
1 tsp or 5g dried instant yeast 
200ml warm water 
30g sugar
1/4 tsp salt
some vegetable shortening 

1. Add all above dry ingredients into a bowl, gradually pour in the water. Knead the dough to form a non sticky dough, add the vegetable shortening and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. 
2. Place the dough in a bowl, sprinkle with a bit of water on the dough, cover with a clean damp cloth. Let it proof for 30~45 mins. (If you are in cool weather country like me you can heat up an oven to 50C for 5 mins, then switch off the oven and place the dough in it.)
3. Once proofing complete, punch out the air and form a long dough. Divide the dough into 15 nos. 
5. Flatten the dough with rolling pin, stuff in custard filling in the middle, wrap it into small ball.
6. Place bao dough on a piece of baking paper and let it proof for another 15 mins. (As my place is cold so I let the bao sit in the steamer with heat-off for 10 mins., when you see the bao has expand a bit bigger, then you can switch on the steamer and start the steaming process)
7. Place bao dough in the preheat steamer and steam for 10~12 mins.

I'm submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #31 is Bao Ho-Chiak 包好吃 (May 2013), hosted bMiss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders.

14 May 2013

Golden Mushroom Glass Noodles Salad 凉拌冬粉金针菇

I start to like eating salad when I get to know that it can help to regulate our immune system if we eat it right. Enoki or golden needles mushroom is one of the mushroom which contains high quantity of protein which helps in the regulation of our immune system. By short, the mushroom contain antioxidants. 

To create a flavourful and delicious salad you need the right ingredients then salad is no more equal to boring or plain flavour. This is the salad you should try as it is flavourful and delicious, can eat it as its own. I'm stuck again when comes to name my dish as it contains so many main ingredients, so this round just make a short one: Golden Mushroom Glass Noodles Salad :)

Recipe from Ah Tze's Kitchen Play
100g golden/enoki mushroom, cut the root and wash
40g black fungus, soak, cut into thin slices
1/2 medium carrot, shredded
1/2 small cucumber, shredded, remove any excess moisture
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 slice of ginger, minced
90g glass noodles

2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp sesame oil
6 tbsp Chinese vinegar 
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
a pinch of salt (to taste)

1. Warm up the vinegar and sugar in a small pot, stir well. When sugar melting remove pot from heat, add light soy sauce and sesame oil, taste before add salt. Set aside.
2. Heat up water in a pot, blanch the enoki mushroom and black fungus in boiling water for 2 mins, drain and set aside.
3. Cook the glass noodles in boiling water for 5 mins or until soft. Drain and keep the noodles warm. 
4. In a big bowl, pour in the (1) and transfer the cook glass noodles, shredded carrot, shredded cucumber, sliced shallot, minced ginger, sliced black fungus and enoki mushrooms into the bowl. Toss the dressing through the salad and garnish with sesame seeds. 

I'm linking this post to Little Thumbs Up event, hosted by Joyce, kitchen flavours, organized by Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids and Doreen for my little favourite D.I.Y.

13 May 2013

Golden Mushroom Winter Melon Seaweed Soup

This is a quick cooking soup suitable for all seasons, a big pot and just dump everything in! What more can we ask for with a hot soup in hand in this cold weather. A quick and simple way of retain most of the nutrients in all ingredients, the soup is rich with freshness of sea and it is flavourful, I used clams as the soup base. I'm using frozen clams but you can used fresh clams if you want to. 

To chose a name for this soup is difficult for me, because it used golden/enoki mushrooms, winter melon, seaweed, tofu and carrots, anyway as I want to join the Little Thumbs Up and the theme for this month is Mushrooms! so here it goes, Golden Mushroom Winter Melon Seaweed Soup :) Love to see my son drinking a big bowl of it!

Recipe from Ah Tze's Kitchen Play (as always cup measurement)
100g firm tofu
1 carrot, thinly sliced
300g winter melon, cut into big cubes
15~20 clams, wash and rinse
a handful of golden/enoki mushroom, chopped away the root, wash and rinse
50g dried seaweed, wash
1.5 tbsp soy bean paste, white type (can get from Asian Groceries shop)
1300ml water

1. Place water into the soup pot, add carrot, winter melon and clams. Bring to boil over high heat.
2. Then add tofu, dried seaweed, golden mushrooms and soy bean paste. Simmer over low heat for another 20 mins. As I don't like my soup to be too salty, I didn't add salt, you may add according to your taste. Serve hot. 

I'm linking this post to Little Thumbs Up event, hosted by Joyce, kitchen flavours, organized by Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids and Doreen for my little favourite D.I.Y.