November 26, 2006

delicious collaboration

My sister-in-law just wrote to me early this month, asking if we'd better do something for Mum's birthday. We thought about lunch and we arranged who's going to make what. We came up with this agreement: Kerry-Ann will do the hot food, I will do the desserts. Sounds good to me.

I made a gluten-free chocolate cake as Kerry-Ann is allergic to gluten. I cut the cake into 4 layers, and spread each layer with ganache made from fresh cream and 72% dark chocolate. I covered the cake with rich chocolate buttercream, and garnish it with white chocolate hearts and red cherries. I also made tomato rice, zuccini stir-fry and a bowl of salad.

KA came with a pan of roast Portugese chicken thigh fillets and a pot of zuccini stew she once made for my birthday last July.

I also had a thought what to give her. Perhaps something really personal, made personally. So I gave myself a try to make a flower spray. I looked up in some cake decorating books I inherited from the late Ruth, my Mum-in-law's good friend who used to be a cake decorator as well. I thought I would make daisies and small hyacinths. I thought they came up quite nice. I know they are not perfect, I'm not such a professional cake decorator, but at least I know that I can do it.

On this occasion, I made ganache boats as well as sarah named it which I made them from thickened cream and dark chocolate, then dipped them into milk chocolate.

November 23, 2006

Nasi Goreng

I had a request from one of blog readers, Paris Lopez who's a Dutch to sometimes post the original Indonesian recipe of Nasi Goreng. Frankly, I've no idea which recipe is the very original version of all recipes posted or written around the world.

I just have known that every cook has her/his own way to prepare, cook, and serve this dish. Some people will use shrimp paste while another one will substitute it with fish sauce; some will use light or dark soy sauce while the others are quite happy to see their rice remain 'un-darkened' and depend only to salt and ground white pepper; some will add fresh shrimps, sliced frankfurters, marinated chicken fillets, or sauteed beef strips, while the others will be only happy with vegetables such as broccoli florets, cauliflowers, or even peas; some will add more chillies while the others will add nothing except a splash of sweet soy sauce, some will use the mixture of any of these.

The main equipment we must use is the wok. Many designs are available in the market in Indonesia. Some people who sell nasi goreng on the street I know use a wok with a wooden handle, perhaps they find it much easier working that way. What I remember about my Mum's wok that it was thick and black. I have no idea what's made from, and it's not a teflon. It worked just fine and the rice won't stick on it because she would stir it frequently to prevent burning.

We often have nasi goreng for the first meal to start the day, usually accompanied by kerupuk Palembang or kerupuk ikan (fish-tapioca crackers) and also carrot-cucumber pickles as the side dish. Sometimes, we'll eat it with slices of tomatoes and cucumbers and sprinkled with thin omelet strips, or fried dried anchovies and fried peanuts.

My version is changing depending on what I've got in the pantry and fridge. Sometimes I used leftover vegies and it just taste as good.

Nasi Goreng

4 cups cooked rice
4 cloves garlic, make a paste with 1/2 tsp salt [you may add more salt]
1 tsp ground white pepper
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp shrimp paste, optional [use fish sauce to substitute if you're not sure about shrimp paste. other alternative is to grind the dried shrimps with garlics]
1 Tbs sweet soy sauce
1 Tbs oil
[if you like hot nasi goreng, you can slice 2 or more -to suit your taste- red chillies thinly or grind the chillies with garlic]

2 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 eggs, make two thin omelets, roll, slice thinly
1/2 cup kacang bawang or roast peanuts

Heat the wok, add in the oil. Fry the shallots until become soft, then add in garlic paste and shrimp paste. Cook until the garlic fragrant and the shrimp paste is mixed well. [You may add your vegetables or seafood at this point, if you use some]. Add in the cooked rice, stir frequently until evenly coated with garlic mixture. Add in sweet soy sauce, stir and mix well. Cook further for about 10 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the flavours. Check the seasoning. Garnish with strips of thin omelets, slices of spring onions, and sprinkle of peanuts. Serves 4.

November 17, 2006

Cake for Ferra

This cake I made for Ferra. She had a birthday just two days before we met at Owairaka, Auckland. I think I have posted this recipe on my previous burning blog, but for Ferra sake, I repost it here. It has a different style, different look hehehe...

Chocolate Drizzle Cake
Source: Succesful Baking

250g dark cooking chocolate (I used Whittaker's 72% dark chocolate)
250g self-rising flour, sifted
1 tsp vanilla flavouring essence (I used 1 vanilla pod, half, scrap out)
1/2 cup canola oil (I used grapeseed oil)
5 eggs, separated (I used 6 eggs)
125g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease a 23cm ring cake tin. Melt the chocolate with 100ml cold water, stirring occasionally until smooth, add in vanilla, stir well. Set aside. Put the flour in a mixer bowl together with oil, egg yolks. Beat well. Add in the chocolate mixture in a thin stream until smooth. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, add in the sugar one tablespoon at a time, until all used. Fold 1 tablespoon of the egg white into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the remainder. Spoon into the baking tin, and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove to the wire rack to cool completely. Garnish as to your liking.

What I have done here, I melted white chocolate and pipe shapes for the garnishes. I made chocolate buttercream and pipe a rosette, then put red glace cherries on top. I also put some dark and white chocolate for more textures.

soup anyone?

I don't know about this weather. Keeps changing every day. One day it's just too sunny to think that it'll be raining in a couple of minutes.

I used to think that soup is a romantic bowl of liquid. Why? Well, think of these: shawl, sofa, TV, blanket, holding hands, candles, smoking bowls, and love. Not to mention to have molten chocolate pudding afterwards...uhhmmm...

Enough. Here are some of the romantic bowls I used to make in chilly weather. Just for more ideas. Who knows it'll bring a romantic atmosphere in the kitchen, as well as... you fill the blank.

Vegies and Beef Soup

Serves 4

2 Carrots, diced
2 medium potatoes, diced
200g beef steak, diced
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 tomato, sliced
2 spring onions, chopped
1 celery, chopped

2 1/2 cups beef stock + 3 cups water

Blend to make a paste:
1 tsp white peppercorns
3 cloves garlic, peel
1/2 tsp sea salt

2 shallot, slice and fry, to sprinkle

oil for frying

Put diced beef with 3 cups water, bring to boil, and then simmer until the beef half tender. Add in the beef stock, then the diced carrots and potatoes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, sautee the garlic paste until fragrant. Add into the soup. Stir. Check if the meat is tender and vegies are cooked. Then add in the cabbage, sliced tomatoes, chopped spring onions and celery. Cook until the cabbage is soft. Check the seasoning. [My mum gives me a tip when cooking vegies to add sugar to balance the salt]. Serves in bowls. Sprinkle with fried onions.

Traditionally, this soup is eaten with rice, fried tempeh, sambal (chilli sauce) or sambal kecap (sweet soy sauce mixed with diced chillies and shallots), fried tofu, or even fried chicken (marinated with coriander, salt, garlic, and tamarind paste). I like to add some egg noodles as my children love it.

Ramen Noodle Soup
Serves 4

3 packets fresh Ramen noodle, soak in a tepid water and drain, set aside
200g crab meat, roll and cut to your liking
100g dried mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
dashi stock
sea salt
2 spring onions, sliced
1 cup shredded cabbage

Soak the dried mushrooms in a tepid water until soften. Bring to boil about 4 cups water and dashi stock, sprinkle the sea salt, a bit of sugar. Check the seasoning. Serve in bowls. Arrange the crab meat and mushrooms, spring onions and shredded cabbage on top.

November 09, 2006

Negro African Tart

Every year when Muslims have finished their one-month fasting, they get together to celebrate the Ied el Fitr. On such occasion, I made one large chocolate cake (Negro AFrican Tart) and one large chocolate ring cake for a present for Ferra, my online buddy as she just had a birthday two days before the day we met.

I was so glad to see Barbara was sitting among the ladies. We had a very nice talk around food and blog once we sat together. I was so glad she enjoyed the food! I thought some of them would be too hot for her.

The Negro African Tart will make two large tins, but as I didn't have those large tins, I just used 26cm square tins. The result was higher sponges.

Negro African Tart

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
250g unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla essence
160g plain flour
5 eggs
3 egg yolks
70ml evaporated milk
30g cocoa powder

Beat butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Mix in the egg, one at a time, until well blended. Sift the flour together with cocoa powder, fold into the butter and egg mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time. Warm up the milk, then add in the mixture, mix well. Pour the mixture into a 26cm square cake tin, and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn onto the wire rack to cool completely. Ice and garnish to your liking. Serves 25.