I have a couple of failed attempts of making croissants. It was quite some messy trials. Hence, I have never want to try to make puff pastry, they are kind of similar in the making process. Further more, those shop-bought puff pastry are much cheaper and easy to handle. But not as exciting as home-made ones.
I always refer to Delia's "Complete Cookery Course", when I want to learn some cooking techniques the proper way. This book was a Christmas present from someone whom I used to be quite close with. It is such a shame that we are now on different paths in our lives, and no longer in contact. He will always have a place in my heart.
If you can get on hold of the book, the John Tovey's Rough Puff Pastry recipe is on the page 520. Quite easy to follow.
For half of the ingredients stated in the recipe (Instead of using half margarine and half lard, I replaced them with just butter). I made 3 different types of pastries (for fun!). Few mini puff pastry croissants, few peach tarts, and some egg custard tarts. They are all quite tasty. The pastry is flaky, crisp, and light.
Very good result for the first attempt I think!
Found a forgotten package of dried chrysanthemum flowers in my store cupboard. The cooling effect of the chrysanthemum tea is perfect for the summer. I wish I found it much earlier. The weather was rather hot (but nice) during the last couple of weeks.
The initial idea was to make some chrysanthemum tea jelly, but once the jelly was set, I thought it looked rather like "Ice Jelly" - "愛玉冰". a refreshing cool dessert with lime juice syrup that you can get in Asia. The slight bitterness of the chrysanthemum tea would make a perfect complement to the lime juice syrup. A very refreshing experiment of chrysanthemum tea jelly and lime juice syrup!
To make this dessert, you will need:
To make the tea, firstly wash the flowers and then boil them in a pan of water for at least 5 minutes until you get a beer yellow colour consistency. Drain the tea with a sift. Add the sugar. Measure about 400ml tea and add the gelatine. Stir well until the gelatine is fully dissolved in the liquid. Pour the liquid to a container and let it set for use later. Then cool it in the fridge for 1hr.
- A large generous handful of dried chrysanthemum flowers. (Washed)
- About 1 litre of water (to produce approximately 400ml tea)
- 1 Sachets of gelatine (depending on how hard you would like the jelly to set)
- Few large tablespoonful of sugar (to taste)
For the lime juice syrup, squeeze the juice of one lime. Measure the lime juice. Add one portion of the juice with two portion of the same amount of water to the juice in a pan and add 2 large tablespoonful of sugar. Boil the syrup mixture for at least 5 minutes. And then set it aside to cool down.When the jelly is set, cut or scope it out into a bowl and add few tablespoons of the lime juice syrup to the jelly. Done!
Excellent to serve this dessert cold during a hot summer day...
This a ch"easy"t way of making ice cream without ice cream maker. I actually can't see why do we need an ice cream maker. (*) The process of making ice cream is quite simple. Firstly, you have to prepare the custard whether you have an ice cream maker or not. Without an ice cream maker, you pour it to a freeze proof container and put the custard uncover in the freeze for an hour or so until the edge of the custard starting to harden. Take it out and put the semi-frozen custard in a large bowl, and whisk it thoroughly. Pour the mixture back to the container (**), cover, and freeze it until the ice cream is ready to be served.
For this easy to make raspberry ice cream, you need:
- 300ml double cream
- 150ml single cream
- Concentrated raspberry juice (Cook the frozen raspberry (±200g) with a squeeze of 1/2 lemon juice and 1/4 cup water. Cook until the raspberry totally broken up. Strain the juice with a strainer, and discard the seeds. Pour the juice back to the pan and cook until the juice thicken.) Set aside to cool.
- 1/2 cup of syrup (dissolve some sugar with some water and bring it to a boil), to taste. Set aside to cool.
First whisk the double, single and syrup in a large bowl until they form soft peak and hold it own shapes. Add 1/2 of the raspberry sauce to the mixture and mix well. Pour the mixture to a freezer proof container and put it to the freezer uncover. Follow as described above (*)....(**) After the second whisk, pour the remaining raspberry sauce to the cream mixture and use a knife gently swirl it into the cream mixture.
Ice cream making without the maker! Enjoy!
Really like these two photos...many shades of green..colourful! and the messiness and neatness (both have different kind of energy) in it.
A friend bought me the green tea powder from his recent trip to Tokyo. To repay his kindness, I made this ice cream for him. I think it is one of my best home made ice cream! Strong green tea freshness, just the right amount of sweetness!
The recipe of the ice cream can be found here
Introducing the Golden Piggy Family!
The first attempt to learn to make these Chinese mooncake inspired pastry. The pastry skin is quite difficult to make. For this trial, instead of using home-made syrup (which I have already prepared few weeks ago. According to the recipe, the freshly made syrup must not be used until it is at least 2 weeks or more old), I read from some online resources, it is OK to substitute the home-made syrup with shop-bought golden syrup. And I also use ready-made sweet adzuki bean paste as the filling for my trial. When I have mastered the whole making process, I will do it properly again with all components home-made!
The recipe book I used for this experiment was a bilingual "Moonlit Mid-Autumn Festival" by Choong Su Yin. I bought the mooncake recipe book many years ago when I was in Malaysia visiting my family. I have read it MANY times, but not gutsy enough to try to make them in the kitchen! I am still trying to understand the original recipe from the book, which didn't tell me how long to bake these piggies in the oven. The temperature of 180'C stated in the book seems way too hot for this sweet pastry dough. Maybe I should not have substituted the home-made syrup with the golden syrup? Maybe the temperature of my oven is too hot? Maybe the ready-made filling is not cooked as per instructed as the recipe?
But I am quite happy with this first attempt. The flavour is not too bad, sweet scented pastry skin. (slightly too golden syrupy!) A few more attempts to learn the process I think. I am excited!
Note: 26.01.2013 - The pastry skin soften after 2 days which make it really close to those shop-bought mooncake's texture. Really quite tasty now!
Variation 1: Oven Dried Yellow Plantain with Cinnamon Honey Greek Yoghurt Sauce
This is so easy to make and (I think) quite health too as breakfast or snacks in the afternoon. All you have to do is slice the yellow plantain, diagonally, approximately 5mm thick. Lightly oil a baking sheet and arrange the plantain slices on top and dry it in the pre-heated oven, at around 150'C, until the slices are dehydrated. You may want to stop the drying process just before the the slices are completely dry. This will give you a slightly "meaty" end product.
To make the cinnamon yoghurt sauce, mix a generous couple tablespoonful of TOTAL 0% Greek yoghurt, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder (or more depending on your taste) and 1 tablespoonful honey together. Done!
Variation 2: Deep Fried Yellow Plantain with Honey Greek Yoghurt Sauce
This is very much a typical Malaysian street food - "Goreng Pisang" (Deep Fried Plantain). For the batter, I mixed the following ingredients together:
- 120g Rice Flour
- 60g Plain flour
- 1 Egg (lightly beaten)
- 1-2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 110ml Water.
Heat generous amount of oil in a deep pan or prepare the deep fat frier. Coat well the plantain (large slices) in the batter and deep fry them until golden brown. Drain excess oil with kitchen towel.
Serves it with honey and TOTAL 0% Greek Yoghurt sauce. It is quite a refreshing combination. The yoghurt sauce kind of calm the "heaty-ness" of the deep fried plantain. Yum!
Rose Water Macaroons
I am really having a lot of fun with my weekly cooking challenge. Yesterday, I decided to give macaroon another try - 3rd attempts! I was determined to make it a success this time! I followed the recipe from L’atelier des Chefs (where I took the macaroon making class last year) - word by word (to an extent!) and all the tips that I can remember from the 2 hours class. I even bought a digital scale so that I can measure all ingredients very precisely!I am quite pleased with the end result! Although the rosy pink colour of the macaroon shells is not as I had imagined (like the rose picture I took recently at Dyke Road Part in Hove) (I think I should have used powder food pigment rather than those liquid type) but I think the overall appearance of the macaroons wasn't too bad! I think I have gained a lot of confidence to make better looking macaroons next time round!I am also quite happy with the photograph of these macaroons with the scatter of the edible dried rose buds. Very lady-like...(I bought these rose buds in a herbalist shop from my last trip to Malaysia. You can use them for making rose tea). I think they look great for a lady high tea...(Imagine the scene Emily and Florence from Little Britain having a I-am-a-Lady high tea moment!...Very Funny!)Depending on the size of the macaroon shells you pipe, this recipe can make at least 24 macaroons.I have adapted the recipe from here. I did add a teaspoon of rose water essence to the meringue mixture. So the macaroon shells have a hint of rosy flavour. I have also sifted the almond powder once before measuring it to the required weight of 250g (and discarded those bigger almond grain for other uses) This I think will result a smoother almond and meringue paste.For the rose flavour filling, I added some crushed dried rose petals to the rose water flavour custard (with red food colouring). I think the not-too-sweet and subtle rose water custard filling complements the sweet macaroon shells very well. Really quite refreshing for an afternoon tea...just like how Emily and Florence would have it when they have their LADY day out in the countryside!
Mock Apam Balik (Scotch Pancake with peanut and sugar fillings)
I am having a lot of problems with Weebly image upload lately - I wasn't able to update the blog!
Two weeks ago, I completed a cookery leadership course - Cookability with Brighton and Hove Food Partnership
. It was an interesting 10 weeks course. We start from 9:30am until 2pm every Wednesday. The main objective of the course is to train people to lead community cookery courses. These community cookery courses introduce students some basic cooking skills and recipes to prepare fresh homemade meals using affordable local ingredients.
Every week during the Cookability session, we have training in food safety/ hygiene, basic food nutrition knowledges etc. Then a couple of hours to prepare (always) very exciting and big group lunch. Each week, the tutor talked a different food group - meat, fish, vegetable, daily etc, and everyone of us (9 students) will prepare one dish according to the week's food group topic.
It is always very exciting to see how all these simple ingredients transform into various delicious dishes to share amongst us. Food is really more delicious when shared..
Every week, student will prepare a cooking demo to the class. I have been putting it off due to my lack of confidence!
But my time of avoiding it was up at the last training session! I have to give a cooking demo! So I decided maybe making Scotch pancake can be interesting and fun.
There are so many different regional pancake recipes I found out. I thought I will demonstrate three pancake recipes using Scotch pancake mix as the basic ingredient and find inspirations from other regional recipes to give the Scotch
pancake mix a twist.
I made one portion of traditional plain Scotch pancake with homemade blueberry sauce, a portion of honeyed bacon savoury pancake (inspired by North American - Canada in particular - (thanks to my friend Lily!) - bacon and maple syrup) and then the last one, a local Malaysia pancake with crushed peanut and sugar fillings - Apam balik.
I have almost forgotten this common Malaysian street food - these pancake are popular as breakfast. I am very happy that I can re-create this pancake at home (although it is not exactly the same as what you will get in Malaysia) but I think they still tasted rather delicious. The slightly salted peanut worked wonderfully with the sugar.
To make this mock Apam balik (Apam - fold) (balik - turn)...you need:
- 125g self rising flour (sifted)
- 25g sugar
- 1 egg
- 150ml milk
- about 100g salted peanut (grind/ crush until reasonably fine)
- 2-3 tbsp unrefined cane sugar
Preheat the heavy based pan.
Mix the flour, sugar, egg and milk (little by little) to form a double cream consistency batter.
Wipe some oil to the pan, and drop one tablespoonful of the batter to the pan and slowly sprinkler some of the peanut and sugar filling on top of the pancake and cook until small bubbles forming on the surface of the pancake. Slowly fold the pancake in half and wrap the peanut filling inside. Cook until the pancake turn golden on both side of the folded pancake.
Repeat the process for the rest of the batter. Serves warm.
Make this as the alternative to plain pancake to impress your family and friends!
Satsuma Marmalade with Juniper Berries
Another versatile fruity preserves. I really like how this marmalade add different dimensions to either sweet desserts or savoury dishes.
For the "pork belly" marinated with these marmalade
, the fruity and zesty flavours do enhance the meaty sweetness of the pork. I find the slightly sharp and piney flavoured marmalade is a very good complement to the soften pork fat as well, it seems to lighten it fattiness!
But for the "cake" with the same marmalade as one of the ingredients, the subtle citrusy flavour refreshes the buttery soft cake. It works well with dark chocolate too to bring you some end of the year festive feeling.... This marmalade will bring a bit of summery feeling to your food during a cold, dull and grey winter days!(Am I writing a presentation speech!??)
- 800g satsuma (peeled and juiced) (reserve the squeezed fruit bits and pieces for cooking)
- 200g satsuma peel (pith gently removed with a spoon then finely shredded)
- 500g preserving sugar
- 1 juice of lemon (reserve the squeezed fruit for cooking)
- 1 juice of lime (reserve the squeezed fruit for cooking)
- Pinch of whole clove
- 1 tbsp Juniper berries
Put all the ingredients in a deep pan, and slowly simmer the mixture until the shredded satsuma peels are soft (I personally quite like the peels to be soft instead of "too soft"). This will take around 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the jam jars by boiling them in the hot boiling water. When the marmalade is thicken, and glossy, they are ready to be put into the sterile jars. Read this "post"
for a quick way to know when the marmalade is ready for potting. Seal the jar immediately while the marmalade is still hot.
Red Plum Jam with Juniper Berries and Green Cardamom
There are quite a bit of "buy one get one free" fruit offers in the supermarket at the moment. There are some out-of-season unripe plums on offer, so I thought maybe it is good to use them to make some plum jam! (Suddenly feeling Christmasy...)
I am sure this is not the proper way of jam making. But it is quick(er) and easy(ier)! Can't wait to experiment these jam with some "creative" recipes...I imagine these spiced (with piney with citrus overtone) plum jam might be good for roast duck..mmmm...Ingredients: (make 2 1/2 jar of jam)
- 900g plum (quartered and pitted)
- 500g perserving sugar
- 1 tbsp juniper berries (crushed)
- 1 tbsp green cardamon pods (crushed)
- 1 juice of lemon
- 1 piece cinnamon stick
Put all the ingredients in a deep pot and simmer the plum under low heat until very soft. It will take about 30-45 minutes. Once it is done, push it through a sift to another pan. (Keep those bits and pieces too large to go through the sift, I think you can use it for something else..maybe as marinade or baste for roast..)
Meanwhile, boil some clean jam jars and lids in boiling water.
Put a small plate to the freezer (this is to use as a surface to test if the jam is ready to set)
Return the sifted liquid to low heat, and boil until the liquid just starting to bubble. Place a small teaspoon of the liquid to the cold plate and put it back to the freezer for 1 minute. When it is ready, use your small finger to push the jam from one side, if you see wrinkles forming on the surface of the jam, the patch is ready.
Remove the jar (one at a time) from the boiling water and drain well. Gently pour the jam into the jar and seal immediately. ALL Done!
Wonderful home-made present for your friends this Christmas...