Saturday, December 3, 2011

Daring Bakers' November Challenge - Phillipino Desserts!

Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog.

Omg I'm posting so late! Have been so busy these few days sigh. Should have drafted the entry way before and then just post it when the check-in date arrives. Oh well! Time eludes me once again.

Back in home sweet home, Singapore, hurrah! Shall blog a more proper entry next time.

San Rivals was good, but not something I'll make again actually. Found the entire combination too rich. Also, none of my friends could stomach it entirely as well and everyone took only 1 mouthful or 2, at best. Perhaps it was partly due to the cake left standing at room temperature for hours, but there wasn't much I could do since it was a friend's party. Poor presentation, I know. Was trying to use up the halloween decorations as it was also a halloween party. =(

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sourdough Pancakes. O.M.G

with strawberry compote and quenelle of red bean cream cheese

There's something about fluffy carbohydrates that turns me on real quick. Like fluffy bread, fluffy cakes (ok although I do prefer dense cakes...), fluffy muffins, fluffy pancakes, fluffy fluffy fluffy bread. If given a choice, I'd take a pizza over a pasta, or a burger over steak (all else remaining constant, duh. unless the steak tastes better..)

I don't know how else to put it but these pancakes are the best things in my breakfast fluffy carbohydrate world. For now at least, but it'll stick around for a long time I'm sure.

Before finding this recipe, I was so madly in love with my fluffy pancakes recipe. However, it needed way more work, such as beating of the egg whites and folding in and stuff, and it also performed better with double acting baking powder (which I can't seem to find in Perth!). Hence, I never got the chance to make it to its fullest potential. But THESE sourdough pancakes.... Are a breeze. In fact, I started my sourdough starter solely for these pancakes. But of course I'm using it now for bread as well...

And now, in the spirit of procrastination from studying for the exam coming in 3 hours, and in the spirit of sharing, I'd like to introduce to you the wonders of sourdough pancakes. These pancakes are so easy to whip up, so airy and light, and so absolutely delicious. And you know what, I'm going to whip up a batch of these babies tomorrow morning. Nuff said.


Note you do need a sourdough starter for this. I'll post up something about my own starter but in the meantime, read Joe Pastry's starter tutorial for a rough idea and begin building your starter! It's SO worth it.

2 cups sourdough starter, left sitting out all night
1 egg
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking soda combined with 1 tablespoon water

1. Combine your soda and water in one small bowl and the egg, sugar, salt and oil in another bowl.

2. Fold the egg mixture into the sourdough starter until well mixed.

3. Add the baking soda mixture into the sourdough mixture and fold in thoroughly. You should see the batter bubbling a little. This is because the the acid produced by the acidogenic bacteria in the starter is reacting with the baking soda.

4. Plonk them onto your oiled/buttered medium high heat pan and cook them until the color of the crust is what you desire. I usually do them in 1/4 cup sizes and I'll have approximately 8 pancakes. =)

Pressure points and top tips! (from trial and error) =D

1. Make them over and over and over again.

2. The sourdough starter tastes better when it is at full capacity than at the start. When I started out the starter, I didn't know that it wasn't at full capacity but I made the pancakes anyway. The result was flat pancakes that didn't rise much but the taste was pretty much AWESOMEEE. However, I persisted in feeding my culture and after about 3 weeks, the starter is at full capacity. The resultant pancakes were, O.M.G. Make your sourdough starter and persist in feeding it until it is mature! =D

with salted caramel and a bar of lindt chocolate. YUMMYYYY

Friday, November 18, 2011

1 year on... Flourless Chocolate and Almond Cake

flourless choc almond cake, dark choc ice cream, nuts and cookie crumble, caramelized cinnamon apples, bits of spring flowers.

I've always been enamored by food - pictures, blogs, places, tastes and flavors. It's an understatement, really, and can't say anything else to bring home this fact further, but these 4 words - I really love food. When I'm studying, I'm thinking of what my next meal would be. When I'm surfing the net, there will invariably be at least 2 open tabs on my laptop with either a recipe or a cafe address. When I'm not eating, I'm thinking about what food to cook, and where to go to eat. When I'm eating, I'm savoring each bite and dissecting what I'm eating in order to learn from it and make my next attempt taste even better. My friends who know me, actually know the look on my face when I'm thinking of food.

One year ago, I started this little blog as an experiment. I wanted to log down the food that I've attempted and share the good ones with my friends. Hence the name, "Share the love. Share the calories".

with a deconstructed eton mess of honey lemon mascarpone, crumbled meringue, kiwi and goji berries. and a quenelle of milk chocolate ice cream

And how things have changed 1 year on!

It turned out to be more than a simple holiday project that I initially envisioned. Granted, I didn't share the love as regularly as I should've, but this blog has taken me on a journey of self-learning and self-discovery.

I've learned so much more nuances about food and ingredients, of herbs and spices, of flavors and pairings. I've learned so much about food photography, food styling, and plating up. I've discovered a new joy in life, a new outlook to dining, and a new hobby. Most importantly, I realized that I love cooking simply because I cook for the people that I care about. Nothing makes me happier than waking up earlier than everyone just to make sure some food is ready to be served on the table when everyone is ready to eat.

The shaping process is gradual but on-going. There are times when new perceptions and emotions just explode and leaves me wondering a fair bit. Surely we've all been there, the "what the hell was I thinking/doing?!" stage and I can only hope that I have become a better person than I was yesterday.

I've changed the title of my blog, because I was inspired by those very lyrics from Tim Kay. Take time to make yourself feel good. Yeah.. Only after recently hearing these words, did I also just experience another wave of new emotion and perspective. And I hope to share this new change with everyone who is reading. Take time to make yourself feel good. Make the people you care for feel good too.

with orange mousse and caramelized orange

I've chosen this recipe for a number of reasons. CK and I visited Spaghi's recently with J and ZX and was COMPLETELY disappointed by their flourless chocolate cake. Also, when I first saw this recipe on The Little Teochew's blog, I favorited it straightaway. Flourless Chocolate and Almond Cake. Come on, such a recipe name is just a WIN in my books. Flourless? CHOCOLATE?! ALMOND!! Also, CK loves chocolate and has a mini addiction to snacking on almonds. Perfect!! =D

The resultant cake was just too good. It was dark, decadent, deep and downright delicious. The texture was amazing as well. It was firm, but melted in the mouth like mousse. It wasn't overly sweet and that left room for the dark chocolate to shine through in its decadence.


200g dark, bitter chocolate (the best that you've got! I got a secret stash of Green and Black's 80% chocolate underneath all the boxes in the pantry. Shhh..)
1 tbsp strong espresso coffee
1 tbsp rum or brandy (I used Tia Maria. And accidentally tipped in a drizzle. Felt like Jamie Oliver with his olive oil usage for 2 seconds)
150g caster sugar (I reduced the sugar to 130g and used raw sugar instead)
150g unsalted butter
100g almond meal
5 eggs, separated
Pinch of salt (wasn't in the original recipe though but it tasted awesome.)

1. Preheat oven to 180 deg! Melt the chocolate, coffee, rum or brandy, sugar and butter and salt in a bowl sitting in a pot of barely simmering water. Remove from the heat and stir until well mixed. Alternatively, you could also microwave and stirring the chocolate and butter in 12 second episodes until it has all melted before incorporating the rest of the ingredients. Then, add all the ground almonds and all the egg yolks until well mixed.

2. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks. Add 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, before gently folding in the rest until batter is uniform.

3. Pour the batter into a prepared tin and bake for 40 - 50 minutes. I went for 45 minutes and had a balance of cakey and fudgey. Less minutes if you want fudgey, more if you want cakey!

Pressure points and top tips! (from trial and error) =D

1. Use your best tasting chocolate. And don't lick the spoon whilst mixing. Thats unhygienic yo! *grins

2. Eat it at room temperature for all its mousse-like glory.

3. Make it, and make someone feel good. Or at least feel shiok.

Nomnomnom. =)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Daring Cook's October Challenge - Cooking with Tea

dinner! with pan fried shiitake mushroom crusted salmon

Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.

Oh man. This was such a good challenge. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't give it a proper attempt. It was such a busy month with so many tests that was just swirling by every 2 days. On a brighter note, I PASSED MY OPERATIVE EXAMS! *throws confetti into the air* Operative is about the handiwork component of Dentistry, where we drill cavities and then fill them up with restorative material like tooth colored composite or amalgam fillings. It's my greatest fear for this year and I am glad that I've managed to overcome this portion of my undergraduate studies.

Nonetheless, that's not much excuse for not cooking with tea since I've got to eat and I've been stir frying lotsa other stuff instead. I've initially wanted to go for Cha Soba, making Japanese buckwheat noodles with the addition of matcha (green tea) but there just wasn't enough time to sit down and knead some noodles. One thing led to another and well, its the reveal date and I've yet to cook any tea related food. So I've decided to wing it and cook plain Soba noodles and tea dipping sauce.

soba with black tea and ginger dipping sauce

Not as good as it sounds. This is one of those things that looked better than it tasted. And it doesn't even look good either. Not much of a lighting I've got here at night. =(

The taste was, well... erm... weird. I used some Lipton black tea with a ginger slice. I added some soy sauce and mirin into the concoction and was hoping that it'll taste umami-ish but the mirin was just...... BLEGH. I should have added in some sugar in hindsight, as that would have balanced out the vinegar taste of mirin much more. Sigh!

The accompaniment fared much better though. It was a pan fried shiitake mushroom crusted salmon with teriyaki sauce. YUM! Double YUM! The shiitake was subtle but absolutely yummy and the teriyaki sauce went really well with it! =D Pity it wasn't really well cooked though URGH first time pan frying a salmon. Will do better next time!

not that well cooked. =(

No recipe though, since it was a tea challenge and I've failed in that aspect. Gah! On another note, new plates! =D

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Carious: Procrastination

Well, it isn't that I haven't been cooking or baking (as my facebook friends can tell you). I just haven't been blogging. Too busy, too lazy, and too uninspired to blog as well. I keep looking at the photos of what other bloggers put up and I am just looking down at my toes and wriggling them in shame.


Pfft. Anyway, I've decided to procrastinate a little during this exam period of mine and put up an entry with the nicest looking food photo I got. Camera courtesy of a dear friend, ZX. ;)


Oh yes I did. I unabashedly called this cake Procrastination. I made this cake on a whim because I was really craving for a layered petite gateux, which Perth lacks. Like seriously, CK and I have yet to see ANY shop that sells petite gateux other than an Opera. WHERE ARE THE HAUTE PATISSERIES IN PERTH?! Gah. I am so going to wipe out my cake limit in Singapore. I've bookmarked a list of dessert places to go and man will I be gaining some awesome pounds this coming holidays.

It's inspired by Sadaharu Aoki's Valencia, a 5 layer dreamy beauty topped with a stunning crown. Mine was a 4 layer wannabe with an orange slice. Hahaha. *looks down in shame and wriggles toes again*. But oh well, I'll up my game, one cake at a time!

Procrastination comprises of a base of chocolate biscuit joconde, followed by a layer of chocolate orange almond praline feuillantine, followed by a dark chocolate mousse and a bitter orange mousse. I mish-mashed the recipes from all over the place and winged it for the feuillantine layer with what I thought would make yummy feuillantine (read lotsa chocolate, lotsa nuts, lotsa love).

the other slices

Consistency is clearly my weak point here. Couldn't get consistent orange slices, consistent layers and good lines and consistent cuts. Terrible! The taste itself was pleasant and addictive, with a nice bitter orange taste that is complemented so well by the oodles of dark chocolate in the other 3 layers. However, I guess the component that I liked the least was the bitter orange mousse, which was slightly bitter cause I didn't add any sugar at all. The texture of the orange mousse wasn't as creamy as I would have wanted it as well but it didn't stick out like a sore thumb when all the components were eaten together.


I ended up with 8 slices and plenty of scraps. Thankfully, I have grand plans for the scraps hahahaha. Shall update soon! =D


Chocolate biscuit joconde
70g ground almonds
70g powdered sugar
70g egg yolks
30g egg whites
130g egg whites
45g caster sugar
55g cake flour
20g cocoa powder
25g melted butter, melted & cooled

1. Sift powdered sugar and ground almonds in a bowl. Add in all the egg yolks & 30g egg whites and whisk until pale and thick. Sift cake flour and cocoa powder together and fold into the egg mixture before folding in melted butter. In another bowl whisk 130g egg whites and 45g sugar until stiff peaks, then fold the meringue into the chocolate mixture. Spread mixture on baking tray lined with baking paper then bake in a preheated oven of 230C for 5-6 mins. The sponge is ready when it bounces back when pressed.

Chocolate feuillantine
100g almond praline paste
25g dark choc, melted & cooled til lukewarm
1/4 cup feuilletine flakes (I used wafer crumbs)
1/2 tbsp butter, melted & cooled
1/4 cup chopped almonds
2 tablespoon dried orange zest

2. Combine everything in a bowl and mix. Then spread unto joconde and chill.

Dark chocolate mousse
220ml whipping cream, whipped
30g mascarpone)
25g caster sugar
50g egg yolks
100g good dark chocolate, melted & cooled

3. Make the pâte à bombe by placing the mascarpone and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, and keep it boiling. Then whisk egg yolks until pale yellow and add in the boiled sugar mixture. Continue to whisk until the yolks are thick and pale. Then, fold in the melted choc followed by whipped cream. Spread over the chilled sponge and feuillantine and return to chill.

Bitter orange mousse
4 - 5 oranges
1 cup whipping cream, whipped

4. Remove the zest of the oranges. Cut the oranges into little pieces and heat them in a skillet until the juices boil. Then, whizz them all in a food processor until they become a fine thick puree. Sieve the mixture and collect about 1 1/4 cup of sieved puree. You may add about 1 - 2 tablespoons of sugar if you'd like. When the puree has cooled, whip the whipping cream till soft peaks and tip the puree in and whisk until the 2 mixtures has JUST combined. Don't overwhip. Spread on top of the chocolate mousse and chill.

Well, there's that! =)

Pressure points and top tips! (from trial and error) =D

1) Spread as evenly as you can because it really shows!

2) You can freeze them to store them but remember to eat them when it has thoroughly thawed!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Daring Baker's October's Challenge - Povitica

Sliced up and ready to be eaten

So after last month's accident of not finding time to bake the croissants, I was determined to fulfill this month's challenge. Thankfully, I had more time in the schedule this month and promptly made it on the first week, when one of our lectures got cancelled and I had an afternoon off. Yippee!

The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

This bread is really yummy! CK and I loved the filling to bits. Hard to go wrong with that sort of filling actually. Plenty of nuts, butter, milk, eggs, cinnamon. Yum. Double yum.


The bread came out slightly dry though. Wonder if it's due to our poor handling as some people seem to have moist ones. The filling wasn't grounded as fine as well so the pattern was disrupted by the larger walnut chunks.

Thanks Jenni for the excellent challenge and exposure! =D

Quarter Batch Dough Ingredients (Makes one loaf 1.25 lbs/565 grams)

To activate the Yeast:
1⁄2 Teaspoon (21⁄2 ml/21⁄4 gm)
Sugar 1⁄4 Teaspoon (11⁄4 ml/3⁄4 gm)
All-Purpose (Plain) Flour
2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Warm Water
1 1⁄2 Teaspoons (71⁄2 ml/31⁄2 gm/0.125 oz/1⁄2 sachet) Dry Yeast

1⁄2 Cup (120 ml) Whole Milk
3 Tablespoons (45 ml/43 gm/11⁄2 oz)
3⁄4 Teaspoon (33⁄4 ml/9 gm/0.17 oz) Table Salt
1 Large Egg
1 tablespoon (30 ml/30 gm/1⁄4 stick/1 oz) Unsalted Butter, melted
2 cups (480 ml/280 gm/10 oz/0.62 lb)
All-Purpose Flour, measure first then sift, divided

2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Cold STRONG Coffee
1 1⁄2 Teaspoons (71⁄2 ml/7 gm/1⁄4 oz) Granulated Sugar
Melted Butter

Quarter Batch Filling Ingredients (enough filling for one loaf)
13⁄4 Cups (420 ml/280 gm/10 oz) Ground English Walnuts
1⁄4 Cup (60 ml) Whole Milk
1⁄4 Cup (60 ml/58 gm/1⁄2 stick/2 oz) Unsalted Butter
1 Egg Yolk From A Large Egg, Beaten
1⁄4 Teaspoon (11⁄4 ml) Pure Vanilla Extract
1⁄2 Cup (120 ml/115 gm/4 oz) Sugar
1⁄4 Teaspoon (11⁄4 ml/1 gm)
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1⁄4 Teaspoon (11⁄4 ml/3⁄4 gm) Cinnamon


To Activate Yeast:
1. In a small bowl, stir sugar, flour, and the yeast into cup warm water and cover with plastic wrap.

2. Allow to stand for 5 minutes

To Make the Dough:

3. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk up to just below boiling (about 180°F/82°C), stirring constantly so that a film does not form on the top of the milk. You want it hot enough to scald you, but not boiling. Allow to cool slightly, until it is about 110°F/43°C.

4. In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, sugar, and the salt until combined.

5. Add the beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter, and 1 cup of flour.

6. Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining flour, mixing well until the dough starts to clean the bowl.

7. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead, gradually adding flour a little at a time, until smooth and does not stick.

8. Place dough in lightly oiled bowls, cover loosely with a layer of plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel and let rise an hour and a half in a warm place, until doubled in size.

To Make the Filling
9. In a large bowl mix together the ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.

10. Heat the milk and butter to boiling.

11. Pour the liquid over the nut/sugar mixture.

12. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.

13. Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to be spread on the dough.

14. If the mixture thickens, add a small amount of warm milk.

To Roll and Assemble the Dough:
15. Spread a clean sheet or cloth over your entire table so that it is covered.

16. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons to a handful of flour (use flour sparingly)

17. Place the dough on the sheet and roll the dough out with a rolling pin, starting in the middle
and working your way out, until it measures roughly 10-12 inches (251⁄2 cm by 301⁄2 cm) in diameter.

18. Spoon some of the melted butter on top.

19. Using the tops of your hands, stretch dough out from the center until the dough is thin and
uniformly opaque. You can also use your rolling pin, if you prefer.

20. As you work, continually pick up the dough from the table, not only to help in stretching it
out, but also to make sure that it isn’t sticking.

21. When you think it the dough is thin enough, try to get it a little thinner. It should be so thin
that you can see the color and perhaps the pattern of the sheet underneath.

22. Spoon filling (see below for recipe) evenly over dough until covered.

23. Lift the edge of the cloth and gently roll the dough like a jelly roll.

24. Once the dough is rolled up into a rope, gently lift it up and place it into a greased loaf pan in the shape of a “U”, with the ends meeting in the middle. You want to coil the dough around itself, as this will give the dough its characteristic look when sliced.

25. Brush the top with a mixture of 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of cold STRONG coffee and 2
tablespoons (30ml/28 gm/1 oz) of sugar. If you prefer, you can also use egg whites in place of this.

26. Cover pans lightly will plastic wrap and allow
to rest for approximately 15 minutes.

27. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas
mark 4.

28. Remove plastic wrap from dough and place
into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes.

29. Turn down the oven temperature to slow 300°F/150°C/gas mark 2 and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done.

30. Remove bread from oven and brush with melted butter.

31. Check the bread every 30 minutes to ensure that the bread is not getting too brown. You may cover the loaf with a sheet of aluminum foil if you need to.

32. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes.

33. It is recommended that the best way to cut Povitica loaves into slices is by turning the loaf upside down and slicing with a serrated knife.


Friday, October 14, 2011

October Daring Cook's Challenge - Moo Shu Pork

The October Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Shelley of C Mom Cook and her sister Ruth of The Crafts of Mommyhood. They challenged us to bring a taste of the East into our home kitchens by making our own Moo Shu, including thin pancakes, stir fry and sauce.

To be frank, I've only ever heard of Moo Shu on TV and have never seen it in Chinese restaurants. And coming from Asia as well, I am really intrigued at the description about Moo Shu because seriously, I've never freakin heard of ittt.

My housemate and I followed pretty much true to the stir fry recipe, hoisin sauce and thin pancakes. All in all, pretty yummy when put together!

Moo Shu Pork:
Serves 4
Preparation time: 25-30 minutes
Cooking time: 6-8 minutes


2/3 cup (1 oz) (30 gm) Dried black fungus ('wood ears')
1⁄2 lb (450 gm) pork loin or butt
3⁄4 cup (31⁄2 oz) (100 gm) bamboo shoots, thinly cut
3 cups (6 oz) (170 gm) Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage), thinly cut
3 large eggs

1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
4 tablespoons (60 ml) vegetable oil
2 scallions
1 tablespoon (15 ml)
light soy sauce
2 teaspoons (10 ml) rice wine
A few drops sesame oil


1. Soak the fungus in warm water for 10-15 minutes, rinse and drain. Discard any hard stalks, then thinly shred.

2. Thinly cut the pork, bamboo shoots and Chinese cabbage into matchstick-sized shreds.

3. Lightly beat the eggs with a pinch of salt.

4. Heat about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil in a preheated wok and scramble the eggs until set, but not too
hard. Remove and keep to one side.

5. Heat the remaining oil. Stir-fry the shredded pork for about 1 minute or until the color changes. Add
the fungus, bamboo shoots, Chinese cabbage and scallions. Stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining salt, soy sauce and wine. Blend well and continue stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the scrambled eggs, stirring to break them into small bits. Add the sesame oil and blend well.

Hoisin sauce

4 tablespoons (60 ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) peanut butter OR black bean paste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey OR molasses
2 teaspoons (10 ml) white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon (2⁄3 ml) garlic powder
2 teaspoons (10 ml) sesame seed oil
20 drops (1⁄4 teaspoon) Chinese style hot sauce (optional, depending on how hot you want your hoisin sauce)
1/8 teaspoon (2⁄3 ml) black pepper

Simply mix all of the ingredients together by hand using a sturdy spoon. At first it does not appear like it will mix, but keep at it just a bit longer and your sauce will come together.


4 cups (960 ml) (560 gm) (193⁄4 oz) all-purpose flour
About 11⁄2 cup (300ml) (10 fl oz) boiling water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vegetable oil
Dry flour for dusting

1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Gently pour in the water, stirring as you pour, then stir in the oil. Knead the mixture into a soft but firm dough. If your dough is dry, add more water, one tablespoon at a time, to reach the right consistency. Cover with a damp towel and let stand for about 30 minutes.

2. Lightly dust the surface of a worktop with dry flour. Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes or until smooth, then divide into 3 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a long sausage and cut each sausage into 8-10 pieces. Keep the dough that you are not actively working with covered with a lightly damp dish cloth to keep it from drying out.

3. Roll each piece into a ball, then, using the palm of your hand, press each piece into a flat pancake. Dust the worktop with more dry flour. Flatten each pancake into a 6 to 8 inch (15 cm to 20 cm) circle with a rolling pin, rolling gently on both sides.

4. Place an un-greased frying pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, lower the heat to low and place the pancakes, one at a time, in the pan. Remove when little light-brown spots appear on the underside. Cover with a damp cloth until ready to serve.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

August 2011 Daring Cooks: Stock to Soup to Consomme

Chicken soup with daikon, celery, carrot, been sprout

Paired with the compulsory accompaniment, homemade noodles! =)

Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cook‟s September 2011 challenge, “Stock to Soup to Consommé”. We were taught the
meaning between the three dishes, how to make a crystal clear Consommé if we so chose to do so, and encouraged to share our own delicious soup recipes!

This challenge was actually really fun! Pity we didn't go all the way to make the soup to the consomme though cause we realized that we had no eggs when we were trying out the challenge but I reckon this won't be our last soup and there will definitely come a chance where we will attempt a consomme!

Making the egg noodles

The egg noodles were pretty challenging, to say the least. Rolling it out to the consistency we want and then cooking it is not that easy. Furthermore, we only had a rolling pin to help us on our way. CK attempted mee pok (fettucine shaped) while I attempted mee (spaghetti shaped). His mee pok came out beautifully but I can't say the same for my mee. The shapes were irregular, with some parts being thicker than others, so the cooking wasn't uniform. Urgh.


I can't remember what I did for the stock so I'll just share a recipe from Peta.

1 kg chicken bones or skinned Marylands 1 boiling chicken or 2 kg (21⁄4 lb) wings 400 gm (14 oz) onions, about 4 medium 400 gm (14 oz) carrots, about 6 medium 200 gm (7 oz) celery, about 4 large ribs
50 gm (13⁄4 oz) dried mushrooms, about 12 200 gm (7 oz) broccoli stalk, two large stalks

Soup or Consommé
2 litres (8 cups/2 quarts) chicken stock 500 gm (1 lb) chicken mince 2 whole star anise 1 cinnamon stick
4 cm (11⁄2 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised 4 cm (11⁄2 inch) piece fresh ginger, extra, peeled, chopped 1⁄2 red capsicum (red bell pepper), chopped 2 spring (green) onions, chopped 4 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded 2 red bird's eye chillies, seeded (optional), thinly sliced 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) Vietnamese mint leaves 1 cup (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) coriander (cilantro) (Reserve 18 of the smallest leaves and 6 of the tips for service) wash the rest of the bunch including the roots. 1/4 cup (60ml) lime juice 1 - 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fish sauce

Clarifying the soup
1 egg white per 4 cups of stock (for clarifying)
1 cup crushed ice per 4 cups of stock


Step 1 - Stock

1. Cook your bones and chicken until brown. 2. Sweat the vegetables in the oil or butter until soft.
3. Put ingredients in a stockpot and cover with cold water.
4. Cover with a lid, then bring to a boil on medium-high heat.
5. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered, skimming foam from surface, for 2 hours or
until meat falls from bone. Lift out the chicken and keep for another use. 6. Strain stock through a muslin-lined sieve. Discard solids.

Step 2 – Soup
1. Fry the mince until brown and cooked. Allow any juices to cook off. You don‟t want any burnt bits as it will make your stock bitter.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes 3. Skim off any fat. 4. Strain the soup to remove any solids. Allow 1 cup/240ml per serve

Step 3 – Consommé (clarified with egg whites)
1. Place egg whites in a bowl. This is the time to taste your stock and decide if it needs more flavourings or salt and pepper. Add seasoning to the egg whites.
2. Whisk the whites to a bubbly froth and add the crushed ice.
3. Add to the cooked meat. Mix together.
4. Add this mixture to the simmering stock. Whisk for a slow count of three.
5. Let it heat slowly back to a simmer. Don‟t stir it again.

6. The raft is a delicate thing. It is vital it doesn‟t break apart (if it breaks apart it will all mix back into the soup and you‟ll have to start again with the egg whites.), you want to bring it up to a simmer very slowly. Keep a close eye on it. I try to push the middle back so I get a good hole. Once the raft is substantial, break a little hole in it if there isn‟t already one.
7. As the consommé simmers, you will see bubbles and foam, come up through your hole. Skim it off and throw it away. When the bubbles stop coming and the consommé looks clear underneath, then you‟re ready to take it out. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for ten minutes.
8. Removing the consommé from underneath the raft is another nerve racking procedure. You want to break as little of the raft as possible, but you have to get underneath it to remove the liquid.
9. Enlarge your hole with a ladle and spoon it all out as gently as you can. You can strain it if you want too but hopefully the liquid is clear. Once you‟ve removed all of the consommé from the pot discard the raft. If you have never made a consommé before Victory dances and loud cheering are totally appropriate.
10. Now you are ready to serve.

For egg noodles

1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour

1) Mix everything in a bowl and knead until stiff and elastic
2) Let the dough sit and rest in a covered area for 30 minutes
3) Roll into desired shapes!
4) Cook them in boiling water for about 1minute, depending on your thickness really. The mee pok took 1 minute. The noodles took about 2.

Make some noodles today and work your arms out! =D

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lor Bak (Braised Pork)

Oh. Man.

I love Lor Bak. I love the melt-in-your-mouth texture of the meat, I love the fragrant and delicious braising liquid smothered over my rice, I love the accompaniments to the dish like the semi-solid garlic cloves, eggs and sometimes tau kwa and tau pok.

Damn I just love to eat.

I've made this a couple of times and each time I'm learning more and more about it's preparation then the previous attempt. And each time I feel that it's getting better and better and better. I can't wait to make this again and hopefully one day, attain the level of yum that is conjured by my grandma. In fact, I'm gonna spend more time in my grandma's kitchen and pick up her mad awesome cooking skills!

The magical ingredients!

Grandma's Braised Pork

500g of pork belly. I used a loin portion which has less fat and more meat. But if you can, use pure unadulterated pork belly. =D
3 tablespoon dary soy sauce
2 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoon 5 spice powder

2 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of oil (I used vegetable oil.)
4 cloves
12 white peppercorn (more is fine.. I bumped it up to 1 tablespoon after taking this photo)
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
11 cloves of garlic (but the more the merrier, really!)

Hard boiled eggs if desired. I tossed in a couple 15minutes before serving so that it absorbs the color.

1) Marinate the pork in the soy sauces and 5 spice powder for at least 2 hours. Overnight is best!
2) Start cooking approximately 2 hours before serving this dish.
3) Heat the braising pan on medium high heat.
4) Fry the dry spices without adding any oil to let the oils of the spices come out, for about 2minutes.
5) Add the oil in and let the oil heat up, about a minute
6) Add the brown sugar and fry until it has dissolved, about a minute
7) Put in the pieces of pork and fry them until the sides have browned, about 3 minutes. Then, flip the pork around and brown the other side, another 3 minutes.
8)Once the pork has browned, add enough water to barely cover the top if you have to. I didn't have to as my pork released a fair amount of water.
9) Toss in the garlic, unpeeled and turn the heat to low and cover the pot.
10) Let it simmer in the liquid (braising!) for a good 1 hour or more, stirring occasionally (like every 15minutes?) to ensure that it doesn't burn and to ensure even braising of both sides of the meat. Also, top up the water until the water level in the pot BARELY covers the surface of the pork when required to ensure enough braising action goes on.
11) Meat is done in half an hour if in a hurry but will become AWESOME in an hour or more. ;)

Cutting the pork before serving and licking my fingers behind the lens

So so so yummy. Especially for a student studying overseas, this dish is relatively no fuss, recreates home tastes, and is absolutely comforting. It doesn't take much effort at all and the lingering fragrance really is reminiscent. Ahhhh..

Sliced lor bak with egg on a bowl of rice. AWESOME, especially with the gravy.

Pressure points and top tips! (from trial and error) =D

1) It's braising, not boiling. Don't pour too much water. Boiling seals in the flavors.

2) Don't over spice. More is not better for spices.

3) I used 2 tablespoon of soy sauce and found that it was sufficiently salty. If you want it saltier, add more soy sauce at the end.

4) Do not waste any of that awesome braising liquid goodness. You WILL be punished in some tiny way or another.

Oh no... I'm drooling again. T_T

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fluffy pancakes

Fooling around with the focus..

Kiwis are beautiful too

I think DSLRs make a world of a difference. Even a shitty layout like the above can look decent, with all the colors popping up, the blurring of the objects not in focus, the sharpness of the images. Gosh. I really need to brush up on my photography.

It's spring time here in lovely Perth. Strawberries are cheaper again. *hurrah!*And hey, they always look better on camera right? =D

I love fluffy carbohydrates. I really do. There's something about bread, pancakes, muffins, cakes, paus, buns, pizzas and burgers that just turn me on. Crepes, not so much. But I forgive it as it can be used to stuff with other goodies. Like chocolate mousse. Chocolate brownies. Chocolate cake. Melted chocolate. Chocolate bars...

Pancake stack with cut strawberries, kiwis and oodles of maple syrup

Here's a pancake recipe that I go to every single time. It's one of those recipes where after you have it, you know you've struck gold and The Search is over. This recipe is elegant in that it doesn't require out of the ordinary pantry ingredients like buttermilk and/or ricotta cheese to make. Awesome for a poor distracted student. =D

Fluffy pancakes recipe!

The ratio is pretty standard. 1 cup of flour serves 2 hungry growing guys. =D

1 cup plain flour
1 cup milk (I used low fat.)
1 large egg, separated (minimum 60g ones please!)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
small pinch of salt, using the thumb, index and middle finger

1) Heat pan on medium heat. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together in a big bowl.

2) Whisk the egg yolk, milk and sugar together in a separate bowl until the sugar has dissolved.

3) Add the melted butter into the egg yolk mixture and continue whisking until the butter has incorporated into the mixture

4) Beat the egg whites in a separate clean, dry bowl on low speed on the mixer or patiently with your strong hands until it reaches soft peaks.

5) Once the whites reach soft peaks, add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk normally until no more dry ingredients can be seen. Do not overwork it with a mixer though, don't want to let all the precious air pockets from the baking powder be beaten out of it.

6) Once the mixture is homogenous, gently fold all of the soft-peaked egg whites INTO the mixture, stopping once no more white streaks are left.

7) Add a small teaspoon of butter into the pan and let the butter melt before scooping the batter and pouring it unto the hot pan. I used the 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop the batter because I love the size of the pancakes from it.

8) Cook for about 1 - 2 minutes or until the bottom of the pancake is nicely browned before flipping and browning the other side. Don't cook at too high a temperature! Medium to medium-high is ample.

Drenching our pancakes with maple syrup. And no, we don't need to explain why. ;)

Pressure points and top tips! (from trial and error) =D

1) Resist nicking them before plating. You will only end up with enough for 1 plate

2) Beat the egg whites to soft peaks for easier incorporation. It's harder to fold in stiff peaks and you'll end up smashing out the precious air pockets.

3) Medium to medium-high heat for pancakes is sufficient! Too high and you'll end up with goo on the inside.

4) DRENCH your pancakes with maple syrup. Because you're worth it. ;)

A stack of 5 pancakes, cause thats how we roll~

Friday, August 26, 2011

August 2011 Daring Baker's Challenge - Candylicious!

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

Pity the competition is only for people in Canada and the United States. =\

A plate of goodies! Truffles and chocolate bark is pure love.

Anyhow, say hello to my new layout! =D I was inspired by the blogs I always frequent and decided that my blog needs change - a new direction, a new vigor, a new life. Although blogging takes quite a bit of time, but it's always such good fun! Shall push on forward with this new commitment (and hopefully still get decent grades in school. =S)

So this month's challenge was candy making. We had to make 2 different candies, with 1 compulsory one being either a truffle or a filled bonbon and the other one as whatever we liked. Since we were already handling 1.7kg of chocolate (yes, 1.7 kilo-freakin-grams), might as well use some of those for chocolate bark right?


1/5 of the mess

To say that we made an epic mess of the kitchen is really playing it down. Even natural disasters don't create such a carnage, really. We had chocolate everywhere! The microwave, the stove, the 3 bench tops, the sink, the table, the chair, the fridge handle, our fingers, my face, my foot, my camera....

The side of my lips, accidentally of course.

Bonbons are chocolate coated candies. And "bon" means good in French.

From Wikipedia of course!

Basic recipe for truffle

1 3⁄4 cup (420 ml/9 oz/250 gm) Dark/Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup (160 ml) Double/Heavy Cream (36% - 48% butterfat)


1 3⁄4 cup (420 ml/9 oz/250 gm) Milk Chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup (120 ml) Double/Heavy Cream (36% - 48% butterfat)


1 3⁄4 cup (420 ml/9 oz/250 gm) White Chocolate, finely chopped
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) Double/Heavy Cream (36% - 48% butterfat)

Use the best chocolate you can afford yeah. Cheap chocolate tastes terrible and especially in a recipe like this where you only have 2 ingredients, the quality of the chocolate POPS OUT so loudly. Lindt, Green & Blacks are my go-to brands. =)


1. Finely chop or grate the chocolate
2. Place in a heatproof bowl 3.
In a saucepan, heat cream until just about to boil (it will start bubbling around the edges of the pot but it shouldn't boil vigorously)
4. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate
5. Gently stir the mixture until all the chocolate has melted and it is smooth

: If you end up with pieces of chocolate that won't melt, put the bowl over simmering water (but not touching the water) and stir gently until it‟s all melted

: Be careful if you do need to heat it over simmering water, if the mixture gets too hot it will split and you‟ll end up with gooey chocolate swimming in oil, so don‟t overheat the ganache, steam from a gentle simmer is all you need.

Of course this is a blank canvas where the truffle can be customized to any flavor you like! For liquer flavors, just stir in 2 tablespoons (or more. or less, but thats blasphemous) of your intended liquor (mmm Whiskey... =D) into the stirred ganache. For infusions such as tea, coffee or spices, put the intended flavors into the cream when you are bringing it to a near-boil. Then, allow the mixture to sit and steep so that all the flavors will be released into the cream. Then, strain the mixture to get the infused cream! For spices, do not add too much as a little amount of spice goes a LONG way.

Also if you'd like to coat your truffles with chocolate, just melted at least 400g of chocolate for easy handling. You could also temper the chocolate for better finish and texture but we didn't though.

In our first mould, ice cube trays - chilli cinnamon truffle, coffee cardamon truffle

Spiced chocolate tastes truly magnificent. I used to be an anal chocolate purist and never believed in flavoring chocolate. But after trying chilli cinnamon chocolate, my eyes were opened for the very first time and it was like a moment of enlightenment. *signals light-dawning-from-cloud effect* Chilli cinnamon chocolate is a personal favorite. We steeped the cream for 20minutes with 3 cut chilli padi and 1 cinnamon stick, crushed and broken into many small pieces. For coffee cardamon, we steeped the cream in 1.5 tablespoon of crushed coffee bean and 8 crushed cardamon pods.

Salted caramel filling. Yumsssss

Sweet + salty + chocolatey = ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Chocolate hazelnut crunch! Who needs ferrero rocher with their measly ONE hazelnut when you can roll your truffle and put 4? =D

With a new mould this time, we put in fresh cut strawberries and crushed pistachio.

Chocolate bark with dried orange peel, almond halves and fennel seed

For our 2nd candy, we made chocolate bark with the leftover melted chocolate. Just spread the melted chocolate on a sheet of baking paper and throw whatever you love on top of it. Our latest flavor obsession was orange, almond and fennel. The fennel seed adds a liquorice flavor that dances off the tastebuds gently. Really yummy!

Packed into a pretty box for as a present for a friend!

Pressure points and top tips! (from trial and error) =D
1) Repeat after me. I must use the best chocolate I can afford.

2. Ensure that the melted chocolate do not contact with water or it will become unusable for chocolate coating purposes.

3. Be daring with the flavors, but do not complicate the story. There's only so many flavors typical tongues can figure out!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Plaisir Sucre - Sweet Pleasure, it really was.

from top - toasted hazelnut, tempered chocolate sheet, chocolate creme chantilly, chocolate ganache, hazelnut praline feuillantine, hazelnut dacquoise.

My very first entremet - a gorgeous 5 layer chocolate dessert from an esteemed pastry chef, Pierre Hermes. Man was this a lot of effort. Took me a good whole day, plenty of equipment, plenty of chocolate, plenty of stray chocolate and of course plenty of finger picking and licking.

When I first saw the recipe on Evan's blog, I knew that I HAD to make it. I've always been an avid reader of her blog. Her food styling, her pictures, her interests in complex desserts and flavors and her talents just never cease to amaze and inspire me. I wish I had as much finesse as her but I know I'm way too new to attain the magic her hands possess. But it's alright. I'll get there some day!

Gosh I can't even achieve the same effect as her pictures even when I shamelessly copied the positioning. HAHAHA. I've got SO MUCH to learn, and so much more to experiment before I can carve my own style, be it in food styling, photo composition and placement and even blogging styles.

Back to the entremet now. The taste was divine - indulgent, rich and chocolatey. Exactly what I absolutely adore in a pastry. The hazelnuts were an excellent complement, naturally. The textural elements were amazing - the crispy feuillantine, the crunchy chocolate sheets, the light creamy chocolate creme, the thick ganache, the nutty hazelnut dacquoise all played together like a perfect symphony. This was truly a spectacular creation by a spectacular man in the industry. And I can only look forward to trying the real deal from the man himself, someday.

The looks have so much more to improve though, on my part. I didn't know how to slice nor store them appropriately so the dacquoise layer got a little sticky and began losing some of its edges here and there. I didn't know how to slice it cleanly as well so there weren't beautiful lines and angles (which I personally believe is critical in displaying finesse and mastery. After all if it's ugly, then what am I paying for, right? Here is the original from Pierre himself!)

It took so so SO much restraint to not finish them all instead of sharing them with my friends. I remember my sister's face when she first tried it. With wide eyed wonderment and conviction, she said "eh that pastry is Very good. Very good. omg its Very good". =)

The recipe itself assumes some basic knowledge in handling of each component and hence, is very skeletal. I'll share some tips though, things that I've encountered along the way.

Adapted from Evan's blog, from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermes.

Makes 8 3 x 11cm entremet, with plenty of components left overTempered milk chocolate sheets
at least 450g milk couverture choc. please splurge and get a good chocolate. =D The actual

Chocolate creme
143g milk choc, splurge and get good chocolate!
218ml whipping cream

Hazelnut dacquoise
35g ground hazelnuts
50g icing sugar
45g egg whites, room temp (about 2 egg whites)
1.5 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 cup whole hazelnuts, toasted, skinned & halved

Hazelnut praline feuillantine
100g nutella or hazelnut praline paste
25g milk choc, melted & cooled til lukewarm
1/2 cup rice krispies or 1/4 cup feuilletine flakes. wafer crumbs work as well. just something to give a textural crunch would suffice! =D
1/2 tbsp butter, melted & cooled

Milk choc ganache
95g milk choc (get good ones once again! =D)
83ml whipping cream


1. Temper the chocolate. For milk chocolate, the chocolate has to be melted to no more than 49C, then cooled to 27C, then warmed to 30C. The chocolate at 30C will be liquid and flowable. Upon cooling, the tempered chocolate will have an excellent bite (snap, they call it) that is texturally superior to chocolate that isn't tempered. Visit this site for a step by step photo tutorial on how to temper!

2. After tempering, spoon them into your mouth with a ladle spread them unto a plastic sheets preferably (I used plastic sheets that printing places use to cover the front of booklets) in a thin layer and score the 3cm by 10cm rectangle shapes. I spread the mixture onto 4 A4 plastic sheets and scored roughly 8 rectangles on every sheet. Be careful here cause they break easily. Not that I minded the extra pieces to eat... The remainder can be refrigerated until needed.

2. For chocolate creme, chop the chocolate into small pieces and place them into a large clean dry bowl. Bring the cream to a boil and then pour them over the chocolate. After 15 seconds (to let the chocolate gets warmed up) stir the mixture with a clean dry utensil until homogenous and then cover the bowl with plastic, allowing the plastic to touch the surface of the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate for 5 - 6h at least. Before using, whip the mixture until almost firm then re-refrigerate if not using immediately.

3. For hazelnut dacquoise, sift ground hazelnuts & icing sugar together & set aside. In a clean dry bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy and then gradually add in sugar and whisk until stiff peaks. Fold the hazelnut mixture into the whites gently until all the hazelnut mixture has been incorporated and then spread the mixture evenly onto a 8-inch baking tray lined with parchment paper. Scatter hazelnut halves on top then press down slightly. Bake in a preheated oven of 165C for 25-30 mins or until browned. Leave to cool. The dacquoise will deflate after cooling so don't worry, you didn't fail!

4. For hazelnut praline feuillantine, place nutella/praline paste in bowl then add in the remaining ingredients the order they're listed. Mix well then spread the praline evenly onto the dacquoise, working from the center and spread as far as it will go to the edges. Refrigerate the spread praline feuillantine for at least 30 mins to firm up. More importantly, resist spooning them into your mouth because you WILL end up with nothing left and may have to remake the entire batch of praline feuillantine.

5. For the choc ganache, chop the chocolate into small pieces and place them in a clean dry bowl. Bring cream to a boil and then pour the heated cream into the bowl of chopped chocolate. After 15 seconds, stir the chocolate and cream mixture with a clean dry utensil until the chocolate is completely melted (or when the lumpy bits have been eaten). Allow the ganache to cool & thicken or refrigerate until a pipeable consistency. If overchilled, just let the ganache sit out for a while and it'll soften back. If you're in a cold country, you could warm it up in the microwave in 10 second bursts.

6. To assemble, slice the dacquoise&praline feuillantine into 11x3cm rectangles. I managed to get 7.5 of them. Oops ate the other half. Then, pipe a thin layer of ganache over the dacquoises. Place a milk choc sheet on top, shiny side up and pipe another thin layer of ganache onto the chocolate sheet. Place another chocolate sheet over. Pipe a line of chocolate creme on top of the chocolate sheet and top with one last piece of chocolate sheet. Decorate with toasted whole hazelnuts if desired. I cemented them into place with chocolate ganache.

LOVE how this picture makes me go weak in my knees. And my heart muscles as well I reckon.

Pressure points and top tips! (from trial and error) =D

Tempering chocolate
1) Start with at least 400g so it's easier to handle and temper correctly. A thermometer is recommended, unless of course you've been tempering chocolate all your life and you KNOW what temperature it is at by just the sensation on your fingers and lips (you WILL dip your lips into chocolate when you are tempering. I can't be the only one in the world that does that, right?!)

2) Youtube it and read up on tempering chocolate thoroughly so you know what you have to achieve.

3) Lay a HUGE piece of parchment paper on the surface you're working on. Licking parchment paper after tempering seems more dignified than licking the table.

4) Ensure that everything that the melted chocolate touches is dry = free from ANY water at all. If not it'll cause the chocolate to sieze (become chunky and chalky) and render it completely unusable in its state.

5) When the chocolate gets chilled in the fridge, it distorts and bends. I used a flat weight (a frozen pizza pizza box) to weigh on top of the chocolate in the fridge so that I will still have my straight rectangles

Chocolate creme chantilly

6) Please chill it sufficiently. The longer it sits in the fridge, the better. If not, it won't hold its shape when its beaten and all you'll have is a lump of chocolate butter that doesn't fluff. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing of course... But that's another recipe already I reckon.

Hazelnut dacquoise
7) It's just like making macarons or meringue. I folded the hazelnut powder mixture until it has just disappeared. It doesn't have to be over babied.

8) The dacquoise will be sticky when it has cooled down for too much and is difficult to handle so don't be surprised that it sticks to the paper!

Overall there isn't much to look out for since each component on its own is very basic. But the beauty is in the composition of the entire entremet itself. Sweet Pleasure, it really was. From the making, to the plating, to the eating, right down to the sharing. Some people may find it too rich and cloying for their liking though (which happened to me and I had some half eaten entremets left over) but not for me. If I am going to spend some of my calorie credit, it better be on something rich, indulgent and chocolatey. =)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pizza Dough, with love

Portobello, field and white button mushrooms in garlic, plenty of mozzarella, simple bechamel sauce base and sprinkled with alfalfa sprouts

Sorry for being stupendously late, yet again. I don't know why but I can't seem to arrange a time to just sit down and write an entry. I'd like to think that I have too many social activities on my hand that distracts me from cyber world. But alas, I was just procrastinating and reading recipes online, one after another, and another, and another.

As usual, I was trawling about my favorite food websites Tastespotting and Foodgawker when I saw a deluge of peanut butter pies, with the captions all ending with "for Mikey". And it wasn't long before I found the root entry that resulted in all the pies being made and posted everywhere.

When I first read it, I felt a sense of helplessness for Jennie. It was flat out depressing. Then, I began reading the entries of the people who made and posted the recipe, entries of people who knew her personally, entries of people who didn't know her personally, entries of people who wanted to give her the emotional support that she needs. I want to do it too! She needs it! She deserves it. My condolences and my heart goes out to Jennie. Stay strong, live strong, love strong. I didn't make the pie, but I reckon a couple like them needs no pie. The message that she wants to share has already made it's impact. I may not have a pie for Mikey, but I have my pizzas for Mikey.

And then I felt a pang of fear in my very own heart. It was a heavy sinking feeling, from my heart, to my gut, and probably even sank to the peripheries of my toes.

I'm so far away from home, from the people whom I love dearly, and from the people who love me dearly. Too far, just too far. Whoever said Perth is near to Singapore is lying. In times like these, even an adjacent room which I can't access is too far, much less an entire Indian Ocean.

That night, I skyped my family, and I teared. I don't want to be so far away! I silently screamed. I heard their voices, and I hear familiarity, comfort, warmth, love. I want to hear their voices everyday, yelling at me, telling me what to do, nagging at me, snapping at me, with the knowledge that in an Asian culture, all these are expressions of love. I foolishly hated every moment of those situations, and I still do. But when it's no longer available, I find myself longing for it.

The line that really hit me hard was when she said "I haven't made it in a while, and I've had it on my to-do list for a while now.

I kept telling myself I would make it for him tomorrow."

It resonated with me, because my inspiration and my motivation to cook comes from the people around me. It's my personal expression. I cook, I feed, I love. It's how I love people, it's how I give my love, and it's how I want to love.

Mussels and scallops with onions, tomato base and fresh basil leaves

My family has been asking me to cook/bake many things. Many many things. My Dad's pretty chill and doesn't request, but I know he'd love a good hot piping bowl of instant noodles, can of beer, and some good ol cheddar sausages. Or for more finesse, a good roast pork with crackling. My Mom has a major sweet tooth, major pastry tooth, major laksa tooth, major bread tooth and requests for them. I probably inherited my food cravings propensity from her. My sister loves pretty and yummy and indulgent pastries, good ol Sunday brunch menu items, and requests for anything that tastes yummy. And many times, I just postponed what they craved, for what I wanted to experiment. They enjoyed it nonetheless, and I enjoyed the process of it.

Turkey ham with spinach, mozzarella and blackberry jam. My favorite. The crunchy, the chewy, the cold, the hot, the savory, the sweet

But looking back, I wished I made more of what THEY wanted.

I now want to share a recipe that I've made twice now. Jamie Oliver's Pizza Dough recipe. I'm pretty sure any pizza dough would work just as well since my untrained tongue can't really tell much difference. But I know the toppings are the ones that I can manipulate and make a world of a difference. But the reason why I want to share this recipe is because this recipe holds a special place in my heart. This really got me from enjoying cooking, straight to Loving cooking. Of the 3 meals I made in Singapore for my family in the Winter holidays of 2011, I remembered this meal the best because my family loved it to bits. BITS. Which made me love this to bits. Which made me love making this for others to bits.

The above 3 pictures were the pizza I made for my family. There was supposed to be a 4th pizza, which was Honey lemon basil cream cheese with white peach and blueberries, but I unfortunately burnt the crust. Drats. It was such a good combination!

The steps for the dough was pretty straightforward. Mix them all together and let them rise. The only trick here is to ensure that your yeast is alive and working. Just buy a new batch if you haven't used the previous batch for a long time or it wasn't stored in the freezer and has been around for a long time. The recipe itself could have made enough thin crust pizzas for 12 hungry people to eat to a comfortable satiated level.

Hawaiian pizza, with 3 slices of mushrooms experimentally placed at the side.

When I came back to Perth, we threw a pizza party for our small circle of dental classmates and their endeared ones. It was such a lovely gathering, with once again, an outpouring of love

Digging in to our first pizza of the night

Food's good, company's good, always a winning combination.

Me eating a pizza and trying to pull a very very stubborn piece of mozzarella from the pizza

We were also very fortunate to taste the cooking of a chef in training! Here's his creation, which he came up together with his loved one as well..

Salt&pepper chicken with pesto base, mozzarella and crumbled hardboiled egg. And the creators of that brilliant pizza was...

Need I even come up with a caption for this? Picture speaks a thousand words.

Whilst I try and recreate a flavor which my family loved so much.

Turkey ham with raspberry jam, rocket and mozzarella

Always a joy seeing people love the food you make, giving the most sincere smile at that moment because the reflex action simply never lies..

Richard's special. The efforts of a guy who has never cooked anything other than a tuna banana omelette. Pesto, cheese, ham, cheese, mushrooms, cheese. And it tasted so good.

And of course, snucking some dough from the pizza party and making it for our own personal meals (my housemate and I).

Frangipane pizza with strawberries, almond flakes, icing sugar and honey macadamia ice cream.

Spiced apple crumble with walnuts, raisins and mixed berries ice cream

Because we both have a sweet tooth going on.

Pumpkin, eggplant, herbed tomatoes and fetta with mozzarella. Because we both love eggplant and pumpkin.

There are so many other condiments, flavors, textures, pairings and experiments and combinations that are out there to enjoy with something as versatile as a pizza dough that I can only imagine this thread getting longer and longer, and longer, and longer.

And I look forward to seeing the joy on the person's face when I manage to come up with another good combination, because that's the joy I want to spread, the love that I want to share.

I love you, you, and you. =)

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