Wednesday, 7 November 2012

No bake strawberry cheesecake

My other attempt at cheesecake! This one is another very simple recipe which I actually edited from my no bake oreo cheesecake here

Ingredients:
1 pack of Oreos (about 10-12 pieces) or if you wanna cut down the cost Cream-O will do but do note that the cream are not as "removable" as Oreos'
5 tbsp butter
1 piece Philadelphia cream cheese (250g) + another 200g of Emborg's (again, I decided to increase the cheese filling from past attempt's experience but could not resist the cheaper price of Emborg hence the mixing) - Let's just say that there's a reason why Philadelphia's is more expensive :P
200ml whipping cream
4 heaping tbsp of strawberry preserves/jam + 2 tsp (for decorating)
A drop or two of red colouring (optional)

Methods:

Base:
1) Using about 10-12 pieces Oreos, blend them up in the food processor into fine crumbs or if you are more hardworking than yours truly, you can put them in a clean plastic bag and roll your rolling pin over them until you get crumbs. In this case, I did not throw the filling but include them after I finish crumbing the biscuits. If you mix well enough, they will be incorporated nicely and you don't have to add in sugar :P
2) Take up the soften butter and mix them up with the crumbs. Make sure you cover all the crumbs properly or they won't stick later.
3) Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight for best result before putting in the cheese filling.

 
Cheese filling:

1) Whip the whipping cream until medium peaks to nearly stiff peaks form in a bowl.
2) Mix the cream cheese with 2.5-3 tbsp of the strawberry preserves and beat until creamy in a separate bowl. Fold in the whipped cream and leftover jam until incorporated nicely.
3) Pour in the middle part of the base that you pre-made and then softly use a plastic spatula to push the cream cheese filling to cover the whole cake. Do be careful not to scrap off the base as it will make your cheese cake all mixed up between the base and cheese.
4) Chill for an hour before starting on the decoration part. Or you can straight away chill for a minimum of four hours before eating it without the decoration.



Decorating:
As you can see, mine is just plain red layer on top. Honestly, I was trying to do the marbling effect but me being me, I was too lazy to actually get the small butter knife and instead tried to take the short cut way by using the folding knife which is huge in comparison and ended up making a mess out of the cake. I tried remedying it by smoothing them out into just even red layer. :(

However, if you are patient, just mix some of the red colouring with the 2 tsp of preserves in a small bowl and drop them around the cake. Carefully using the butter knife or toothpick just swirl them around making sure not to scrap the base. :D

Monday, 8 October 2012

Tokyo Itinery - Day 2

We woke up early, like 6.30am despite a very late night before this. First up, TSUKIJI FISH MARKET! It is one of the world's busiest fish market and had the freshest sushi. We were supposed to go in and look around but unfortunately they only allow shoes and not sandals. Anyway, scratched off the sushi place I was looking forward to try and settled for another at one of the small streets around that area. Fortunately, the sushis were delicious! Definitely better than what we would get in Malaysia. Their fish were still swimming around and the sushi chef just pulled them out and slaughter them. :S and it's so fast and clean its incredible. The only thing I would not recommend is the fish innards sushi. It is nastyyyyy :S

Tsukiji Fish Market

The lil car they use to transfer all d big fish


Some of the stalls along the market area

Pretty egg rolls with flowers and designs

The sushi chef in action!

If I am not mistaken, the fish innard one is the one which looks like white cuttlefish strands..

We did go to the temple nearby. Mainly I insisted on going since we were just passing by and there was some people online who mentioned it. Me being kiasu decided to take some pictures before we leave. Apparently it's famous for the golden lion or something I think if I'm not mistaken...couldn't really remember exactly what I read before this trip but as I saw most people taking pictures of the lion and the entrance, I did the same thing. LOL





Next we went to the imperial palace grounds and garden. Honestly, I didn't think much of it mainly because we were able to just look from the outside.. A group of tourists, with their tourist guide haughtily telling us to bugger off in case we decided to sneak in with their group, managed to secure clearance to go in. Oh well! The garden is pretty pleasing I guess (not much of a fan cos they are pretty much the same) and there's a gigantic moat surrounding the palace. I do find the goose and ducks appealing though :P







Then it's time for a trip down to Ginza. Although Ginza is well known for its heart-stopping prices, eating there can be affordable if you know where to look. Do not dismiss some small shops hidden in nooks and crannies of the big buildings around. There are reasons why these small rundown shops survive. In fact, it could be an experience you wouldn't get anywhere else! For lunch, we had our meal in this rather small working-class eatery. It's a standing eatery so you do not get a real table, much less a chair and instead, you eat your food standing up, duh! and on a bar-like ledge to support your bowls. The food here is delicious! We had the cold soba and rice with deep fried battered pork and tempura prawn rice.




Maybe it's just me but to me, Ginza is pretty so-so. LOL. After all the talks and praises, somehow I expected much much more. But aside from that, the food are definitely very pretty :D There are some very fancy chocolatiers there but I could not bear to fork out more than MYR100 for 6 pieces of chocolates no matter how good they look. :P

We then went to Korakuen Garden  after traipsing from one shop to another in Ginza. This is said to be the garden in the city for Tokyo. It's 300 yen per entry and we took only about an hour to finish the walk. By then, my legs are killing me. LOL. And I had on those comfy sandals that I can spend hours walking in malls in. Oh they have gigantic japanese carps which are so tame that they basically follow you around as you walk along the edge of the pond in Korakuen. I had a green tea ice cream here too cos I just want to have an excuse to rest my feet. :P And due to my exhaustion I even forgot the picture (I rarely forgot as you can see, I took pictures every time before I take a bite out of them, or sometimes after I have just taken one bite outta them if I forgot).




For the evening, we went to Akihabara, the home to any electrical appliances and gadgets known to man. They have everything a geek will ever want. From household appliances to cameras, ipads, pcs, video games, animes and mangas, and even some...ehem adult version of anything/toys. Arcades are all multi-storey and are divided to multiple games by floors. OMG! @@


Dinner is a pretty normal affair with us ducking into one of the cafe in Akihabara. There's no shortage of selection there just the price differs and sometimes become the criteria of just which one to go to. Anyway, I wanted to go to a cosplay cafe but apparently 'somebody' thinks the girls all not kawaii enough and it is a waste of money to go if they are not. Blerk! So this is what we ended up eating: Green Tea (like what's new)..
Super spicy meat sauce over pork chops and rice
Tempura prawns and pork or potato and miso (nicer than the spicy meat sauce one)
I ended my night with one of the many apple tea from the kiosk. :P



Friday, 5 October 2012

Apple pie recipe


I made these when I though we had a lot of apples going bad in the fridge. Unfortunately when I was about to start, I found out that someone else had thrown away those apples. So I had to rush off to the mart nearby to get the apples. *sigh*
Ingredients:
Pastry
200g all purpose
110g salted butter, cubed
2-3 tbsp cold milk

Filling
10 apples (assorted ones-green apples, red apples, red and yellow apples)
100g sugar
A splash cold water
1 level tsp ground cinnamon
A spoonful of butter

Milk to glaze

Method

I would suggest doing the filling earlier and let them cool in the fridge before proceeding to the pastry. 

1) Cut and core all the apples and cube them up.
2) In a pot, put all the filling’s ingredients together and simmer until soft.
3) Let chill in the fridge.

Pastry

Heat the oven to 220 degree Celsius.

1) Rub butter and flour together until you get crumbs. Do be fast so the dough won’t become warm.
2) Add the milk to the mixture using either a spoon or knife which are cool to the touch so that the dough won’t be affected and stir until the dough sticks together. You can increase the amount of milk accordingly if it is too dry.
3) Cover the dough and chill for about 20 minutes.
4) Divide the dough into two. Roll out one of them into a circular dish shape and place at the bottom of the pie dish.
5) Dish out all the apple mixture onto the crust and roll the remaining dough to form a lid for the pie.
6) Twist the sides of the dough for both top and bottom together to form the decorative edge. Trim away the excess.
7) Cut some lines on top of the pie so the crust wont burst and glaze with milk. Or you can use egg wash for darker colouring.
8) Bake for 25-35 minutes or until slightly brown.

TIPS:
To roll the dough out is easy. But to place them nicely is pretty challenging especially if you've never made these before. I found rolling them out on a clean surface (floured) very easy and then rolling them back up in your rolling pin before unrolling them back onto the pie dish (even easier)

You might also wanna consider making a slightly bigger dough cos me here finds that if your filling is excessive like mine, the dough might not be enough to make the decorative plait at the edges. :(


Cornflakes cookies!



I decided to make some cornflakes cookies today as a means to practice them before making more next week to give to various friends and relatives. LOL. I do not want to risk making a whole batch of yucky ones. Surprisingly these are very simple and easy to make, barely taking 20 minutes to prepare and the rest are all baking time.

Ingredients:
220 g butter
120g sugar
2 eggs
340g all-purpose flour
A whole small bowl of cornflakes (coarsely crushed) - I placed mine in between Scott towels and ran through my rolling pin on them..or you can just use your hands :P
1 tsp vanilla essense
40g corn flour

Method: 

Heat up oven first at 180 degree Celsius

1) Beat butter and sugar till fluffy and paler than their original colour.
2) Add vanilla essence and eggs and continue to beat until eggs are more or less incorporated.
3) Fold in the flour mixture including corn flour.
4) Using two spoons, scoop out a portion of the cookie dough into the crushed cornflakes. This is when you can roughly shape the cookies into balls by smoothing out/’rounding’ the cookies which are not on the cornflakes yet, i.e. you shape the top uneven part of the non-coated part and turn them into the cornflakes and gently ‘round up’ the coated part so they form a ball.
5) Bake for about 25 minutes-30 minutes at 180 degree Celsius (middle tray) until golden brown.

Before:
After
I find my cookies crunchy on the outside and a little crumbly in the inside. If you would like a crunchier version, I would advise reducing the all-purpose flour to about 280-300g? I do not think adding the sugar in this case is a good idea cos this is already sweet enough for me. However, if you have a sweet tooth and do not mind having more sugar, then by all means add on the sugar (white) to make it crunchier. Also, white sugar is used here and do NOT replace with brown sugar or you will end up with even chewier cookies. This recipe makes about roughly 50 cookies if you made them medium sized. I think it should yield 80 cookies if you make them small (small ones in cookie cups).

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Nyonya otak otak

I should edit this post to nyonya otak otak, a modern revision for lack of certain ingredients and patience? Lol.

This is one of my favourite dish which I have been craving for quite a while but was unable to find anything good enough. Forget Melaka's so called nyonya shops around the town. I have had one disappointments after another or maybe it's just my luck. And I have been to a lot of the nyonya shops in town there since I frequented the city? Quite frequently. I'd say an average of once or twice a month? In terms of days at least... Until a while back whn I'm finally back for good in my hometown in Sarawak.

Anyway, back to the main topic... The reason of this whole post... Otak otak! It is basically a spiced chilli based coconut custard with fish inside or in some shops, seafood. That reminds me. Soul Thai in JB serves very good seafood otak otak! Oh yeah! That is one forgettable seafood otak otak!

For my version, I omitted the daun kaduk since markets in Swk don't seem to sell them. Grr!!!
And the usual lengkuas I replaced with ginger cos the one I thought I had in the fridge is bad already prolly cos I left them unused for too long already.

Ingredients:
10-12 shallots
3 cloves garlic
6 red chilli (deseed)
5 dried chilli (deseed)
3 stalks lemongrass
6-7 kaffir lime leaves (cut into thin strips)
2 eggs
1 cup coconut milk and a little extra for blending the chilli paste
2-3 small pieces of ginger
1 tsp turmeric powder
1.5 tbsp toasted belacan
2 tbsp rice flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp sugar
700g fish fillet (cubed) - I used dory cos I do not know where will people fillet the freshly caught fish for me here unlike in west Malaysia where every fish monger would be more than happy to help you.
Banana leaves (soften in hot water)

Methods
1) Blend chilli (fresh and dried), lemongrass (cut into thin circles), ginger, garlic, shallots, turmeric, belacan and the lil extra coconut milk together. Do make sure all are in small or medium pieces to ease the work of your food processor.
2) Lightly beat the eggs and add salt, pepper, kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk,rice flour and the chilli paste from (1) and stir until fully incorporated.
3) Wrap individual bags made out of banana levee by placing some of the fish first den adding the liquid into them and then securing with toothpicks. Or if you are lazy like me or just too clumsy to tie the bags without them leaking out, just line a plate with banana leaves and fill them up with the fish and paste then cover with banana leaves and fasten with toothpick.
4) Steam on high for 10-15 minutes for individual bags and 30 minutes for the single plate portion. Or until the custard sets.

I would advise using mini packages of banana wrap or the pao steamer or any plate/dish with holes. Another option would be to bake them in water bath. This way you avoid getting soggy otak otak

Monday, 1 October 2012

Chocolate meringue pie

This is my less successful pie so I shall not be sharing the recipe since the chocolate filling did not harden according to how I would like them. It is rather like a chocolate fudge albeit a super thick one but it is not as hard as custard or jelly which I expected.
The crust like usual turned out fine. The meringue is OK basically egg white with salt and sugar whipped to hard peaks. Sigh! So sad when my baking didnt turn exactly the way I wanted them.

Home-made beef burger

I made some burger patties a while back after I got cravings for home-made ones. I wanted to make pork patties at first but was lazy to head up to the wet market and Malaysian supermarkets sadly do not sell freshly minced pork. :( Anyway, I decided making beef patties instead as I have minced beef all ready for my use in the fridge already. These are very easy to make and took up barely 15minutes of my time inclusive of cleaning up.I prefer making them at least one day ahead because they are easier to fry straight out of the freezer and maintains their shape well compared to freshly made ones unless you put lots of breadcrumbs and flour or other binding materials. I for one dislike having too much form-holder in my patties. They are beef patties and are supposed to taste as such instead of having so much other stuff diluting the meaty goodness. Come on, if you wanna get those with lotsa flour or crumbs etc might as well save yourself the effort and get the store-ready-made ones. No? :P

Ingredients:
500g minced beef
1 big onion
5 cloves garlic
2 tbsp of black pepper corn (lightly crushed)
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp mixed herbs (thyme, rosemary, basil and marjoram) *optional* but if you omit this, I would suggest an extra 1-2 tbsp dried oregano
1 egg
2 tbsp bread crumbs (I made mine from old french loaf)
2-3 tbsp Worchester sauce
2 tsp salt

Methods:
1) Blend the onion and garlic in food processor to a paste.
2) Add everything together and mix well until they look dough-like.
3) Make into patties. I made mine into 10 patties cos I was going for smaller patties as sometimes the burger buns sold around my area is to the small side. You should make them into roughly 6-8 patties for medium sized buns.
4) Keep in freezer until ready to fry. Add a little butter to the oil when frying for best result ;P Cos you can never go wrong with butter.

Note:
Make sure you lined your container with aluminium foil or cling wrap for easier removal the next day or any other day after. I personally like using aluminium foil better as the meat do not stick at all on foil but a little on cling wrap even though it is removal...I used cling wrap for the second layer as I wanted to take photo. :P

The finished product served with a slice of ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and pickled onion.

Pickled onions are basically vinegar, a little sugar and salt on thinly sliced onions. Reason: I wanted to reduce the tang of the onions as not everyone like having the sharpness of onions in my family :)

Gardening and growing my own plants!

I have been starting up my own tiny little vegetable patch. So far, I have a small mint bush, a small limau purut plant and a medium-sized small chilli plant! The garden already has curry leaves and pandan leaves growing in plentiful as well as some mini brinjal plants so what I'm short of now is just a lemongrass bush (mine died and was overrunned by its distant cousin, the lalang a while back) and maybe some other useful plants for my cooking? I would definitely like a lime tree or maybe the small limau kasturi will be fine too! And one or two extra chilli plant should be nice. I'm waiting for my bunga telang plant this Wednesday and I'm so excited already! Maybe a coriander and chives soon too! With a banana patch growing in front of my house, I'm pretty much covered for most of the stuffs I might need for my cooking and kuih-making. Hahaha.

If I get any good at these I will definitely consider getting a tomato plant! I was so tempted the other day but with the weather and me always not being in the house, I was afraid they might die on me...*sigh*

Freshly plucked mini brinjals
My mint plant, limau purut and chilli! see there's one red chilli already? :D

Oreo (No-bake) Cheescake Recipe

My first ever oreo cheesecake! And it turned out pretty well IMO. Before starting out with this, I surveyed the net for all the recipes and edited them accordingly. I like chilled non bake cheesecake better than its counterpart, the baked ones mainly because the chilled version feels lighter...Do note the word "feel"...the calories and what-not are similar but oh well...at least I feel better as I'm eating them eh? Hahaha..So without further ado, here comes my modified recipe.

After this attempt, I was pretty enthusiastic about cheesecake hence the other attempts (No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake) Here and (No Bake Lychee Cheesecake) Here.

Makes an-8 inch cheesecake

Ingredients:
2 packs of Oreos
5 tbsp butter
1 piece Philadelphia cream cheese (250g)
120ml whipping cream + 120ml whipping cream
40g icing sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
Baking paper

Methods:

Base:
1) Using about 10-12 pieces Oreos, blend them up in the food processor into fine crumbs or if you are more hardworking than yours truly, you can put them in a clean plastic bag and roll your rolling pin over them until you get crumbs. Do scrap off the cream and keep them aside for the filling.
2) Take up the soften butter and mix them up with the crumbs. Make sure you cover all the crumbs properly or they won't stick later.
3) Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight for best result before putting in the cheese filling.

My Oreo base
Cheese filling:

Notes: 
1) Save up 5 pieces of the Oreos and divide the rest off into three parts. One parts into crumbs like how you did the base and the other two parts into chunky pieces.
2) Taking the 5 pieces of the Oreos, carefully use a knife and cut them in halves. Don't try to do it without a knife as you risk crumbling the Oreos into unpretty-looking bits. This is for the decoration on top.

1) Whip the whipping cream (120ml) until medium peaks to nearly stiff peaks form in a bowl.
2) Mix the cream cheese with the cream from the Oreos you saved up and beat until creamy in a separate bowl. Fold in the chunky Oreos and the whipped cream until incorporated nicely.
3) Pour in the middle part of the base that you pre-made and then softly use a plastic spatula to push the cream cheese filling to cover the whole cake. Do be careful not to scrap off the base as it will make your cheese cake all mixed up between the base and cheese.
4) Chill for an hour before starting on the decoration part. Or you can straight away chill for a minimum of four hours before eating it without the decoration.

Decorating:

1) Using baking paper, make an outline of the cake and cut off a small circle in the middle. Put it on top of the chilled cheesecake and using a sifter, slowly sift all the Oreo crumbs into the middle.
2) Whip whipping cream (120ml) until stiff peaks forms together with the icing sugar and cocoa powder.
3) Pipe onto cake forming rosette around the sides or other piping tip that you prefer.
4) Place the halved Oreos in similar distance around the cheesecake.
5) Using a small spoon or butter knife softly push some of the crumbs in the middle to the nearest rosette so they looks continous and not-too-sharp around the edges.
6) Sift some of the extra crumbs carefully around the rosette for a finishing touch. :)



Tadaaaaa!
A slice of nyumminess!

Jam-filled butter cookies recipe

I tried making some meringue biscuits the other day, unsuccessfully (cause I did not know I must leave them in the oven overnight and all) so I was left with a lot of egg yolks. Me being me feels that throwing them away is a waste when I can reuse them. However, eating so much egg yolks on my own feels a lil unhealthy too so I searched around for some recipes online for some inspiration and decided to do a jam-filled cookies reason being I have all the ingredients on hand. :D

My hopeful looking meringue biscuits which ended up a disappointment :(

I am posting this recipe as my own as I modified most of the recipe I obtained into my own to fit all my current available ingredients and ended up with pretty short and crumbly cookies which IMO are nyummy albeit a little impossible to pipe unlike if you follow the online recipes. I think... :P

Ingredients:
1) 200g butter (I just use salted ones)
2) 5 small egg yolks
3) A pinch of double acting baking powder (Just baking powder will be fine)
4) 1/2 cup sugar (Using cup now cos I just got a new measuring cup!)
5) 2 cups all purpose flour
6) Chivers strawberry jam
7) A dash of vanilla essence

Method:
1) Heat up oven to 180 degree Celsius. 
2) Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3) Add the yolks and vanilla until incorporated.
4) Add in sifted flour and baking powder until you get a rather pliable dough. 
5) Using your hands, scoop out about small grab of dough and roll them into long fat sticks before using a spoon just portioned them out and roll into balls. Place all the balls onto baking trays and using your finger, poke a indention onto all of them in the middle. It's so so easy. I don't see the need to chill the dough before doing this part as advised by a lot of recipes if you have to work with the dough using hand. 
6) Fill up the indent with jam (Not too much as they will overflow in the oven). I put in the jam and baked them together with the cookies because the Chivers jam is rather liquidish IMO and not dried like some of the jam you can do yourself. I would love to put in my homemade pineapple jam which is a lot dryer but I am lazy to do so and this way, I would save up a lot more time. :P I think you can fill in the jam after you bake the cookies but I just like having my jam slightly browned on top :P
7) Anyway, moving on...Just bake for about 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the cookies until golden brown.
Before
After
Tadaaa!


Variation:
~A few spots of green colouring
~A generous splash of peppermint essence

I actually separated like 1/3 of the dough and turned them into peppermint cookies. They are actually pretty good as well but I eyeballed the extra ingredients.
1) Just stir in the extra ingredients into the dough and make little balls like above but instead of a thumb-print, I used a fork to give them a different design and also cos I'm not putting any jam in them as well.

Before
After...pardon the rough looking sugar..I used a new brand super coarse sugar cos I couldn't find my usual and they look this way after...surprisingly the jam filled one didnt show :S

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