January 27, 2012

Homemade Prosperity Burger

For me, Prosperity Burger is the most anticipated burger ever invented by McDonald. Being one of the time-limited, regionalized item on menu, the burger is only available throughout Chinese New Year season. I don't think the burger'll survive if they were put as a regular on menu. 

I've never heard of anyone saying no to this burger. The tastiness of the oblong juicy beef patties, slathered with hot black pepper sauce and onion slices in between those soft sesame bun. My oh my, yummy. During my uni years, I used to be one of the earliest to grab the burger on its very first day of seasonal arrival. Those were the days- big appetite, big pocket, and one big me.       

Well, not anymore. This year, I only had one Prosperity burger so far T_T Even though McDonald is just a block or even better,  a click away, I still don't know what's taken me so long to order one. Ntah. Then, the idea of making them myself hit me. Why not? 
The burger itself consist of four parts; the bun, beef patties, shredded onions and the most important part- the black pepper sauce. I decided to used Kokken69's bun recipe and I made them a day ahead. It didn't beat McD's sesame bun, obviously, but mine were pretty good :P Shirley's bun recipe yields soft and fluffy bun, but the taste is kinda sweet for a burger bun.(I had no choice. So far, her recipe is the only recipe that works best for me)

As for the beef patties, I decided to used my own recipe, which is not that good. I should have used Ramsay's, as Kak Paty did, here. Her patty looks great. Anyway, the sauce saved those poor patties. The recipe is from Kak Ayu of Curlybabe's Satistisfaction. :D (TQ kak Ayu..boleh bukak branch nih :P)

At the end of the day, two Prosperity Burgers served on the table. I made one gigantic Prosperity Burger for Husband and a Double Prosperity Burger for myself. Burrrrrrrp. 

January 22, 2012

Sunday- Prune Layer Cake

I'm going to keep this short. We're going to my MIL house any minutes now. :P I would like to wish all my blogosphere friends who celebrate Chinese  New Year a Gong Xi Fa Cai. Let's welcome the Dragon year with this Prune Layer Cake. 

A crooked layers cake to be exact :P he he 

Prune Layer Cake
(Adapted from Bisous A Toi)
Note: I doubled the ingredients and used 8x8 baking tin.


Ingredients
(A)
250g butter
80g condense milk
1 tsp mix spice
1/2 tsp vanilla powder (I added vanilla extract too)
80g golden syrup

(B)
15 egg yolk
3 egg white
120g castor sugar
80g superfine or HK flour
1 tbsp ovallete
20 ml cold water

(C)
a few drop of yellow colouring
150g pitted prunes (I used 250g hehhe)
Melted butter

Directions


1.Greased a 8x8x3 pan.. preheat oven 180C

2. Whisk A on high speed for abt 7mins or till thick and creamy.. put it aside
3. In another bowl.. Whisk B on medium speed for 10mins or till thick and fluffy
4. Add butter mixture (A) into egg mixture (B) and continue to whisk till well blended
5. Add in yellow colouring
6. Separate batter into 10 portions... abt 90g each layer
7. Spread a portion of batter evenly into pan
8. Tilt pan left and right to level batter or use back of ur spoon. Grill for 5 minutes or until golden.
9. Remove from oven and press cake layer to remove excess air. Brush layer with melted butter and spread another portion of batter over the cooked layer, tilt pan to level batter and arrange flattened prunes onto batter. Grill for 5 minutes or until golden.
10. Alternate step 8 and 9 until batter is finished.
11. Bake last layer using upper and lower heat for a further 
10mins .. (use aluminium foil to cover the top so as to prevent the top fm turning to dark)

January 19, 2012

Thursday: Trish Boyle's Plainly Perfect Pound Cake

You might ask, why another pound cake recipe? For me, pound cakes are perfect for any event and they feed the crowd easily. They are quick to fix, no rolling, no decorations, no frosting, and whatnot. Easy. 

I recently spent few hours on the net, looking for a pound cake recipe. My way of doing 'research' is by browsing through Pinterest, Foodgawker, online magz, and even Google Images. You see..I love feeding my eyes with appealing food photos which also give me some much needed inspirations later. Frankly, most of the recipes I tried were triggered from those delicious-looking photos.:)     
Back to the pound cake, none of the photos on the net are convincing enough for me try, not until I landed on Shirley of Kokken69's. Her beautifully captured pound cake makes me starstruck. I could see the fine texture which almost looks like a souffle..and that has brought me to bookmark her recipe and the rest is history :) Alas, my cake doesn't has the same fine texture like hers. Hmm..
The cake is moist and I love the crispy upper crust. I didn't line my baking tin since I'm out of baking sheet. :P Thus, the brown bottom layer and the messy sides. Luckily the cake came out from the tin easily. I baked this cake last night at 10PM. I fell asleep halfway through the baking time...he he and I burnt the upper crust of the cake..:P 

Sis Rima of Bisous a Toi said that the cake tastes better than Sicilian Orange Cake. Oh yeah..I had to agree with that ;) It might be the next viral!

Plainly Perfect Pound Cake 
(Adapted from Kokken69-Trish Boyle's The Cake Book)Receipe :
200g Plain flour
1/4 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Salt
227g Unsalted butter (softened)
250g castor sugar (I reduced this to 200g)
4 Large eggs
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
80ml Heavy cream

Method :
1. Preheat oven to 170C.
2. Sift flour with baking powder and salt and set aside.
3. Cream butter in a mixer at medium high speed until creamy (about 2 mins). Add sugar gradually and continue beating for 4 mins until light and fluffy.
4. Reduce the mixing speed of the mixer to low and add eggs one at a time mixing until well mixed.
5. Add the citrus zest and vanilla extract.
6. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating it with cream (added in 2 additions).
7. Pour into 2 lined 3"x 7" pound cake mold and bake for 60-70 mins or until the cake turns brown and a testing skewer comes out clean. (Trish Boyle had baked this at 162C but I had to use a slightly higher oven temperature to ensure that the cake is cooked through without dense uncooked spots)

January 18, 2012

Kueh Rose a.k.a Honeycomb Cookies

 I grew up calling these pretty snack Kuih Rose. The name came after the rosette brass mould used in making this cookie. Some people called them Kuih loyang. I still called them Kuih Rose even if they come in star-shaped.. :P 

It's five more days till the Chinese New Year, and shops are selling these cookies since Christmas. We bought Kuih Kapit/Love letter cookies last week and the whole container was gone literally minutes after that. You see, both cookies are Husband and Adam's favorite snack. It's crunchy and full with coconut cream aroma. No wonder they can easily eat the whole container in one go. Alas, I'm not a big fan of these cookies as those duos. Deep fried food are not my thing :P
Instead of buying another container of Kuih Kapit/Kuih Rose, I decided to make them. I just re-fill the container with my homemade Kuih Rose. In fact, I had to use another container to fill up the cookies. Great.. The quantity is double compared to shop-bought's. Now, both Adam and Husband can enjoy munching it forever.:D 

BTW, what do you guys call these kuih?

Kuih Rose/Honeycomb Cookies
(Adapted from A Table For Two- TQ Bill!)

Ingredients 
400 ml coconut milk 
200 gram all-purpose flour 
200 gram rice flour 
2 large eggs 
170 gram sugar 
200ml water 
1/2 tsp salt 
Oil for deep frying (I used vegetable oil) 




Method 
1. Add coconut milk, eggs, sugar, water and salt in a mixing bowl and mix until well combined and all sugar are dissolved. 

2. Sift and all all-purpose flour and rice flour into the mixture. Whisk until well combined with no lumps. If is too thick, add one tablespoon of water at a time until the mixture resembling of a pancake batter. 

3. Heat up oil in a wok/saucepan on medium heat. 
Tips: dip a wooden chopstick into the hot oil, if the chopstick is bubbling up, it is ready. 

4. Preheat brass moulds in the hot oil, about 2-3 minutes.(The moulds have to be hot enough for batter to cling on them) 

5. CAUTIOUS: Dip hot mould into batter for 10 seconds. Make sure batter coats only the bottom and sides of mould, never over the top. 

6. Slowly lift it up and dip mould back in hot oil. Shake to release from mould and fry until golden brown on both sides. 

7. Take it out from hot oil, and let it cool over paper towel to soak up all the oil. 

8. Repeat until all batter is used up. Store in air-tight containers.

January 17, 2012

Adam Bakes: C is for Cookies

C is for cookie, that's good enough for me..  
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me 
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.
Oh cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C. 

Adam kept putting Cookie Monster song on repeat while we baked this cookies...

I  love baking with Adam.  Of course, minus the kitchen mess he'd made after that. He can now understands instructions better.  He poured the ingredients, which I've prepared earlier, by himself. He screamed his lungs out if I tried to hold his hands. he he and he can scoop the batter and put it on the baking trays neatly.. all by himself... Yeay..

The first tray was gone minutes after it cooled down. He munched it while watching that cookies monster's clip. Again and again. Huh.  

That night, I slept with that songs playing in my head. Ok..creepy... C is for Creepy. 


Update (Jan 18): 

Chocolate Chippers
Adapted from The Treat Truck Baking Book by Kim Ima
Makes 11/2 to 3 dozen cookies, depending on how big you make them

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed dark Brown Sugar
3/8 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt- I put 1/2 spoon only.. 
1 to 11/2 cups semisweet or milk choc chips- I added more..

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F (176-178 C)

2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well

3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt

4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing well as you go. Stir in the chocolate chips

5. Scoop the dough into round drops (big or little, you decide!) with a spoon or ice cream scoop and place them 2 inches apart on a baking sheet

6. Bake for 9 to 12 mins, or longer as needed or desired. Remember that the cookies will continue to bake a bit after they come out of the oven. If you like them soft or crispy, you may vary the time accordingly. (RC: I love crispy cookies, so I baked them for 12 mins)

7 let the cookies cool 9if you can resist!) before moving them from the baking sheet. 

January 13, 2012

Thursday: Comforting Cottage Pie


How can you not love a good cottage pie? A fabulous quick-fix meal that will satisfy your palate and fill up your tummy. The recipe is loosely adapted from Rachel Ray's 30-mins Shepherd's Pie. 

The difference between Cottage Pie and Shepherd Pie is the meat used. Cottage pie uses beef while Shepherd Pie uses lamb or mutton. Shepherd..Sheep..got it? he he Anyway, Adam ate twice. Husband loves it too. That can only mean one thing. The dish will make a comeback any time in the near future. :)

Comforting Cottage Pie
Loosely adapted from: Rachel Ray's 30-mins Shepherd's Pie )
Served 3-4
Note: 


Ingredients
5 medium sized potatoes, such as russet, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons sour cream or softened cream cheese
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup cream, for a lighter version substitute vegetable or chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 3/4 pounds ground beef or ground lamb
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped

RC: I added 3 stalks of celery-chopped 
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock or broth
2 teaspoons Worcestershire, eyeball it 

I used Oyster sauce
1/2 cup frozen peas, a couple of handfuls
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


Directions

1. Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. 

2. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl. 
3. Combine cream cheese, egg yolk and cream. 
4. Add the cream mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are  
   almost smooth.(I added 2,3 spoons of flour, to thicken the   
   mash)
5. While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high 

   heat. 
6. Add oil to hot pan with beef. Season meat with salt and pepper.
7. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. 
8. Add chopped carrot and onion to the meat. 
9. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 
10.In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour 
   together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and oyster sauce. Thicken 
   gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables.
11. Preheat oven to high. 

12. Fill a small rectangular casserole with meat and vegetable 
    mixture. 
13. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. 
14. Top potatoes with paprika and baked until potatoes are evenly 
    browned. Top casserole dish with chopped parsley and serve. 

January 10, 2012

Late Fall in Seoul

As always, I apologize for being incredibly slack with the updates. Since we got back from Seoul, I have been in such a rush to complete the macarons tower and few baking orders for my sister's engagement. 

Then came the so called new year celebration which I usually don't celebrate. On the eve of 2012, all of us including our close relatives gathered at my parent's house for a pot luck dinner. This year, my dad insisted on having a hotpot instead the usual BBQ. I don't know what's going on with him. Part of his healthy diet resolution I guess. :D 

The peak event of the night was to watch the fireworks display. FYI, my parents house is quite near with the A Famosa Resort. They usually launch a spectacular fireworks to ring in the New Year at midnight. According to my sister, we could view the fireworks at home. We waited, ate, waited, ate, and I fell asleep right before the fireworks started. Great...

Okay, let's talk Seoul. 
They say the best time to visit Seoul are during the fall. That is when the country is turning red, orange, yellow, purple and brown. Too bad, the trees were only seen in red shades and almost naked when we were there. Except for the ones that remain green through winter. It was freaking cold then. The lowest temperature was -9deg. Brr.. On the day we went back to SG, the snow began to fall. We were already on the plane by then. ceh 
Since the flight incident, Adam refused to do anything except playing with his toys and iPad. He didn't care to eat or drink his milk. He also had restless sleeps at night and taking him for a shower was...a pain. 

I don't want to sound bitter..but handling a  little toddler literally 24/7 is a bit tiring. I was beginning to think that the whole trip was a bad idea...but, towards the end of our trip, he began to enjoy himself and overall he was good as gold. I really thank to those who left comments on my first Seoul post here. It lifted me up. Thank you.. 
Adam caught a cold on second day. Luckily, he didn't make any fuss when I wanted to wipe his nose. Runny nose and rosy cheeks. See that cement mixer truck he's holding above? We made a deal with the little guy. "Wear you gears, and mommy'll buy you toys". 


Bad deal.


He agreed to wear the hood....Only... I should have known better. 

On the fourth day, Husband's colleague invited us for an authentic Korean Temple dinner at Sanchon. It's located in the back alley of Insadong and 100% vegetarian. A minute after the appetizer served, a Korean lady started to perform a Korean folk dance for almost half an hour. Interesting...and loud..err.. FYI, a Temple food is simple food which focused on preserving the authentic taste of the main ingredients. So less seasoning and spices are used in preparing the dishes.
I love the Hanok architecture and the interior design of the place. It feel so warm and cozy inside. We were served with assorted vegetables dishes including kimchis and whatnots. Haha.. I don't have much time to google the food names. There were more than 10 kimchis served. 

As for the photo, we could only snap the appetizers, then our little guy started to whine about getting out from that place. He he I had to quickly dig my bowl and entertain him after that. Despite that, Sanchon did give me a truly unique dining experience with a great taste of Korea. That was the only Korean dining we've ever encountered. The rest of the restaurants we went after that were either Middle East, Italian or the fast food.
Before we left that Sanchon, Husband's colleague told Adam to wear his cap and jacket as it was really freezing outside. and just like that, Adam agreed to wear his cap and put on the second jacket. Confetti.
Anyway, we stayed at Myeong-Dong area. Cafes, restaurants, street food, bakeries, you-name-it, everything are just distant away. I ordered Caramel Machiato almost everyday. Crazy. The weather is so freaking cold and a dose of sugared caffeine is a must have every time we went out.
Myeong Dong is a shopping district; from high class branded stuffs like LV, segala-mak-nenek-brand-I-dont-wear etc down to Uniqlo, Zara, H&M, etc, and to the street labels. 

The shopping crowd was crazy during nights and weekend. I don't bother sardine-ing myself with them. I went shopping right after the lunch break. The crowds are quite calm during that hour. There were sales at H&M, Zara, and few local boutiques but no size fit the giant me :( I can only shop bag and hats. Pity. Some people said you have to shop in Itaewon area for American/UK sizes. Unfortunately, we don't have time to explore the area.
I'm not that disappointed anyway..Pottery, dining wares and baking stuffs excite me more. I bought few dining wares and potteries at Namdaemun Market and Insadong. 
If you plan to visit Myeong-Dong, the closest halal restaurant is just at the back of Ibis Hotel lobby. There's an Arab-Pakistan restaurant called Saffron and the food is good. We dined in once and tapau twice. So AliaaRoslan, take note eh..he he There's also a RotiBoy shop nearby. I'm not sure when was the last time I ate Rotiboy. I had 2 buns in one go. Blame the weather and the Rotiboy itself.
On the fifth day, we dined again with Husband's colleague and this time he brought us to Kervan in Itaewon. There are lots of Halal restaurants in this area, and most of them served Middle-East food. 
The next day we went to Lotte World early in the morning, just to beat the crowd. It's a theme park with all kind of rides for people of different ages. Too bad, there are limited activities for kids at Adam's age. He had a bad flu during that day anyway. So every answer I've got from him was a NO, or a head shake. He even refused to ride his favorite carousel ride. 
We went to Gyeongbok Palace a day before we went back. We choose to walk from our hotel in Myeong-Dong, instead of taking a cab. We strolled along those small shop alleys, had a stop at Insadong and continued to walk to Gyeongbok Palace. I bought a pair of Mickey Mouse gloves at Namdaemun Market a day before that and Adam agreed to wear on them. Confetti. He finally wore everything.
Above: Insadong area
Above: Gyeongbok Palace. It was so windy and cold. We saw the guard changing ceremony. 
At Bukchon Hanok village
                  Doors at Bukchon Hanok Village. 

Bukchon Hanok Village is a Korean traditional village with a long history located between Gyeongbok Palace, Changdeok Palace and Jongmyo Royal Shrine. The traditional village is composed of lots of alleys and is preserved to show a 600-year-old urban environment.-Wiki
     Had a coffee break at local cafe in Bukchon Hanok Village. 
Above:Strolling along the Cheonggyecheon Stream. I was alone, and  busy snapping around with my camera. Suddenly, a local Korean girl came up to me, and asked if she could help me take a photo of myself. Aww..The local here are so friendly..  
Seoul gave me different kind of experiences compared to Europe trip I had two years ago. I fell in love with the people. Seoulites are so helpful and friendly. I really wish some local people here are more like them. Grr.. 

The city is quite clean compared to some Europe countries I've been. [I was a little put offed by Amsterdam and Paris. It is one of the dirtiest, most crowded, unpleasant cities I've ever been so far..ade je bau urine and dog poop kat celah2 alley.. cit.] Seoul might not be on the list of the most beautiful cities, but Seoul has everything travelers are hoping for. A four season city, exotic cuisines, warm-hearted people, rich cultures and historical places to explore and it's only 6 hours away from here. I'll definitely return to Korea. Definitely.