March 30, 2007

Croquettes


The word sounds like French, but I think it came to Indonesia through Dutch households during their colonial decades in many parts of Indonesia.

There are many versions of croquettes I've encountered and our favourite croquette is the one which is stuffed with either smoked chicken and cheese or cheese alone. I like to chop parsley to be blended together with potato mash but sometimes I just make them plain.

When using smoked chicken, I sometimes chop them finely and then mix them with herbed mashed potatoes. Other times, I just cut them into strips and stuff them inside the rolled potato mash together with cubed Edam, Mozarella, or Cheddar. This is the basic croquettes recipe I use though I usually only throw things in the bowl and don't rely on measurements. Simply modify to suit your personal taste.

Croquettes

300g potatoes, wash, steamed, peeled,
2 Tbs butter,
a good sprinkle of salt,
a good crack of blackpepper,
1 tsp milk,
50g cheese, diced thickly,
2 egg whites,
1-2 cups breadcrumbs or golden breadcrumbs,
oil for deep frying

Peel the skin off steamed potatoes. Mash the potatoes until smooth, add in butter, salt, pepper, and milk. Mix well. Whisk the egg whites loosely. Put the breadcrumbs in a plastic bag. Take a spoonful of potato mixture, roll into a ball, flatten, make slightly hollow in the middle, then put the smoked chicken (if using) and/or cheese. Fold the edges of the flatten dough, roll into a croquette shape. Dip into the egg whites, put into the breadcrumbs in the plastic bag, shake it until all covered with breadcrumbs. Keep the croquettes in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Heat the oil. Fry the croquettes until golden brown. Serve warm.



March 26, 2007

A Little Celebration


When the search was taking me near to nowhere to end, I said to myself that I was never going to get married. One person was so beautiful with smart brain offered indulgence and wealthiness made me worried if I would be able to be on the spotlight, and yet then decided not the very lifestyle I would be comfortable with. Then, there was a personality which was above everything but hey I wasn't the only one, so dropped that. Another person had given me promises of better future but never ever convinced me if he would love me enough for whoever and whatever I was, let alone facing every adjustment of natures, hormones, and faith.

I thought I was right. I thought I was going to be better off of the marriage thing. Yet, faith is but faith and I was wrong. I had to end my bachelorette of years. Modesty, faithful, genuine love, caring, and respectful were then the values of the last person I had met to be chosen the very right man to be my best buddy, husband, partner, lover, and imam of the family. And I'm enjoying life in the values we hold dear of each other's. That what makes life so much meaningful.



On that occasion of the big decision we both made to end our single years 5 years ago, we made a little celebration of our own time and our own love. We are thankful to be enjoying each other's companies and so grateful that we're happy.

These two little moulded rice are the symbols of our each existence, surrounded with all the joy and the richness of love we've been weaving along the years. And the sweetness of the dessert is a symbol of our affection which will not be vanished though the creamy custard had been licked off the bowls.

Here are the recipes of Lemon Grass Chicken, Eggs with Corn Kernels Gravy, Fried Tempeh with Sweet Soy Sauce, and Peach and Lemon Crème Brulee.

Lemon Grass Chicken

1.5kg whole chicken, washed and patted dry, butterflied (or halved or cut into portions), rubbed with halved lemon

Spices and herbs paste

Blend together:
2 Tbs coriander seeds,
sea salt,
8 garlic cloves, peeled,
1 tsp ground turmeric,
2cm fresh ginger,
3 lemon grass, white part only,
1 Tbs sweet chilli sauce

2 kaffir lime leaves,
300ml coconut cream,
100ml water,
1 Tbs oil and oil for deep frying

Heat 1 Tbs oil. Cook the paste until fragrant. Add in the chicken and cook until changed in color and all covered with spices. Pour in the coconut cream and water. Add the lime leaves. Cover the chicken and let simmer until the chicken cooked through. Alternatively, transfer the chicken and liquid into a roasting dish and bake in a preheated 180C oven until golden brown (this way, you do not need to deep fry). Remove the chicken from the gravy (reserve 2 cups for the gravy). Heat the oil in the deep fryer, then brown the chicken. Serve warm with fluffy jasmine or coconut rice.



Eggs with Corn Kernels Gravy

4 hard boiled eggs,
2 cups gravy from the chicken,
1 cup corn kernels

Simply heat the gravy and add in the corn kernels until the corn cooked. Correct the seasoning. Pour over the halved boiled eggs.




Fried Tempeh with Sweet Soy Sauce

250g block organic tempeh (I used Tonzu organic tempeh), sliced thinly and fried,
1 big shallot, finely chopped,
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped,
5cm lemon grass, bruised,
1cm ginger, bruised,
1 small bay leaf,
1 green chillie (you can slice it and add more together with red chillies if you like), fried,
1 Tbs sweet chilli sauce,
1 Tbs kecap manis,
1 tsp coconut cream, sea salt,
1 Tbs oil

Heat the oil. Add in chopped shallots, cook until clear, then add in chopped garlic, cook until fragrant. Then, add in the remaining ingredients, except the tempeh. Cook until thick and bubbly, then add in the fried tempeh. Remove from the pan while stirring frequently. Serve.



Peach and Lemon crème Brulee

Source: Foodtown Magazine, February-March 2007, Issue 33, p. 64

I know the sugar didn't melt according to plan for some reason, so pardon me. I just used the oven grill and I don't have a blow torch. Well, my beloved was simply enjoying it, so no bother.

4 poached peach halves (or about 12 well-drained canned peach slices),
¼ cup sugar,
finely grated rind of 1 lemon,
2 eggs,
300ml cream,
2 drops vanilla essence,
2 Tbs raw sugar

Place the peaches in two small heatproof dishes or one larger flan dish. Place the sugar, rind, and eggs in a bowl and beat well. Place the cream and vanilla in a saucepan and heat to just below boiling point. Gradually whisk the hot cream into the beaten eggs to make a custard. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a stainless steel bowl that will fit over a saucepan of simmering water. The water should not touch the base of the bowl. Stir the custard over the simmering water until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. If you have a sugar thermometer, test for 80C. Do not boil the custard. Pour the custard over the peaches. Allow to cool slightly then cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Preheat the grill. Sprinkle the raw sugar over the custard and place under the grill for 5 minutes or until the sugar is melted and brown in patches. Alternatively, melt the sugar with a brulee torch. Either serve straight away or chill again and serve cold. Serves 2 generously.

March 23, 2007

Bread in One Day

The day my visitors came to visit us on Sunday almost two weeks ago, I made focaccia out of gluten-free flour. The process was very easy and didn't take too long to bake. It, furthermore, is safe for those who are allergic to gluten or suffering from either Coeliacs disease or Eczema. The flavour was not quite so intense but it's just right.

I made it again for lunch today. And also there's a new addition to our taste is roti susu (roti=bread, susu=milk) which was posted by Ferra. I do remember this kind of bread which is filled with milk mixture on my fond memory of childhood food. The filling is but milky and sweet.


Focaccia with Pesto & Rosemary
Source: Healtheries Simple “Entertaining Made Simple” booklet

2 Tbs wheat and gluten-free yeast,
430ml lukewarm water,
500g Healtheries Simple Bread Mix,
plus 2 Tbs extra,
3 Tbs each: vegetable oil (I used rice bran oil),
pesto (I used semi-dried tomato pesto),
1 tsp salt,
1 Tbs each: olive oil, chopped rosemary,
½ tsp sea salt

Line a 36cm x 28cm (or similar) baking tray with baking paper. Place the yeast and water in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and leave for 5 minutes until foamy (I had to put the bowl on the warmest spot in the house). Add the 500g of bread mix plus the oil, pesto and salt. Mix for about 4 minutes. The bread mixture should be smooth and similar in texture to a very thick batter. Turn out the dough onto a bench dusted with the extra flour and mould it into an oblong about 25cm x 15cm. Place on the baking tray. Make indentations all over the top with floured fingers. Cover the dough with a tea towl and leave it to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 225C. Brush the top of the risen dough with the olive oil and sprinkle over the rosemary and salt. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. Serve the bread with caramelised onions, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto.

In Bahasa Indonesia:

Khusus buat Mbak Titiek: hayoooo... sekarang dah bisa kan bikinin Mas Frist rotinya huehuehue...! Healtheries Simple ada di supermarket, kalo ga di Foodtown ya di Pak n Save. Pestonya bisa ganti dengan basil pesto (daun kemangi, pinenuts, bawang putih, garam, lada hitam, dan olive oil—atau beli pesto yang udah jadi deh!).

2 sdM ragi wheat dan gluten-free,
430ml air hangat,
500g Healtheries Simple Bread Mix, tambah 2 sdM ekstra,
3 Tbs masing-masing: minyak sayur (aku pakai rice bran oil),
pesto (aku pakai semi-dried tomato pesto),
1 sdt garam,
1 sdM masing-masing: olive oil, rosemary cincang,
½ sdt garam

Alasi loyang ukuran 36cm x 28cm (atau yang serupa ukurannya) dengan kertas roti. Masukkan air dan ragi ke dalam wadah mixer—pakai mixer untuk adonan roti—dan sisihkan hingga berbusa. Tambahkan bread mix (yang 500g) berikut minyak, pesto dan garam. Aduk hingga 4 menit. Adonannya akan lembut dan mengental. Letakkan di atas tepung ekstra lalu bentuk dengan ukuran 25cm x 15cm. Letakkan ke atas loyang. Buat lubang-lubang dengan jari yang dilumuri tepung di permukaan roti. Tutup adonan dengan serbet dan biarkan mengembang di tempat yang hangat selama 45 menit. Panaskan oven suhu 225C. Olesi permukaan roti dengan olive oil, taburi rosemary dan garam. Panggang selama 20 menit atau sampai berwarna kuning kecoklatan. Hidangkan dengan caramelised onion, sun-dried tomatoes, dan pesto.

Roti Susu
Source: Fera Freeman (Indonesian version click here)

200g high grade flour,
100g Standard flour (to my mistake, I used self-rising flour instead),
75g caster sugar,
50g butter,
1 sachet instant yeast (I used Surebake yeast, 11g),
2 Tbs milk powder,
2 egg yolks,
pinch salt,
150ml warm milk

Milk Flavour filling: Mix all the ingredients well.

2 Tbs milk powder,
2 Tbs icing sugar (again, to my mistake, I used caster sugar instead)--add more if you like sweeter version,
1 Tbs coconut threads, for crunchy bites, optional

Put together in a bowl flours, sugar, butter, yeast, milk powder, salt, and egg yolks, beat with dough hooks. Drizzle over the warm milk in a little stream while still beating until the dough becomes smooth. Cover with plastic wrap or damp tea towel, set aside to rise and double in size, about 1 hour. Divide the dough 60g each, then put the filling in. Arrange in a bread tin (I still have 180g left and I used a mini chiffon tin to fit them in--the result looks really plump). Set aside for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C (my oven). Brush the risen dough with the mixture of egg yolk and milk, then bake until golden brown (20 minutes my oven).

March 20, 2007

The Beloved Monarch Butterflies



It's got nothing to do with cooking whatsoever, but I am just very happy to see many Monarch butterflies caterpillars on our swan plants in the garden. I'm hoping that they'll finish their cycles perfectly alright and will either stay or migrate to somewhere they'd love to go. I personally would love them to come back and give the lively vibrant of fluttering wings around us. Beautiful experience to see such butterflies which are rarely being seen in the cities. I guess, we're just blessed to have them here.




Today, I looked at them in the garden and oh, they become really huge! The swan plants which I just planted this year were all stripped off. I am afraid that they won't be enough for all of them to survive as the adult butterflies keep coming each day to lay more eggs, but some people say that they'll manage it. I'll keep my fingers crossed!

March 19, 2007

Opera Cake


I was a bit confused when I was first introduced to this cake. First thing I know about opera cake is a 6 layers of almond sponge (which three of them are soaked in coffee syrup), 3 layers of coffee buttercream, and 3 layers of chocolate ganache and topped with caramel. The opera cake that I tasted last time in Depok, West Java [Indonesia] when I was invited for lunch for NCC ladies meeting for workshop and demonstrations was a 6 layers of almond sponge and 6 layers of thick chocolate ganache and it was simply heavenly rich! [I think we were all having fun watching the demo and I haven't forgotten it up to now. If I wasn't too busy with my trying-to-adjust-with-the-heat husband and children, I would probably be the first person standing in front of the demo table to let myself sink in the bowls of ganache. Mbak Ita was kind enough to let me lick the rest of what was left in the bowls. Oh, I was so naughty.]

Then there is a reading about dobos torte which is apparently a Hungarian classic chocolate cake and is also similar with opera cake, usually consists of 5 layers of almond sponge, sandwiched with chocolate buttercream, and topped with caramel, while the opera cake itself is told to be a Parisian chocolate cake which was first introduced by Louis Clichy back in 1903 and it's a cake with 6 layers of almond sponge which are soaked in coffee syrup and sandwiched with ganache, and coffee buttercream. Ever there's options to top the whole luscious layered cake is up to one's personal taste, I suppose, as some servings use ganache while others use caramel.

Whatever that is, I just am quite happy to express what I've read about these two cakes from some sources I read at hand. I still have got the recipe Mbak Ita found some time ago to make her popular opera cake. And then there's a recipe of tiramisu torte from the Australian Women Weekly Wicked Sweet Indulgence [ACP Publishing Pty Limited. 2002] which uses the sponge similar to dobos torte with omitting the almond meal. The dobos torte recipe I found on Jacqualine Bellefontaine's 'What's Cooking: Chocolate' [Parragon. 1998] which then I adapted to make this very version of opera cake.

I decided to make 4 layers of almond sponge cake and 3 layers of thick chocolate ganache which then was brushed with coffee syrup and topped with ganache. I didn't write the word 'opera' to save my bad handwriting and also not to choose the caramel as the topping. I didn't also use coffee buttercream as I thought I would just love to enjoy the best of chocolate layers as what they are tasted the best without even have to mingling with other flavours. I just love bittersweet chocolate, therefore, I used 72% extra bittersweet dark chocolate.

I remember that the opera cake should be served chilled but then I just couldn't resist to try it out when it was only at room temperature. I think it tastes as just wonderful. One more day, the flavour would be at its best, I suppose, as all the flavours will then blend well together. I can't wait to cut more slices!!

I made this for our upcoming wedding anniversary. We are 5!

Opera Cake

Gioconda biscuits:

25g almond meal,
100g caster sugar,
4 large eggs,
1 tsp vanilla flavouring,
100g plain flour, sifted

Coffee Syrup: Mix and boil for 3 minutes.

2 Tbs instant coffee,
2 Tbs hot water,
½ tsp caster sugar

Ganache: Heat the cream and add in the chopped dark cooking chocolate. Mix until smooth. Cool.

300g good chopped dark cooking chocolate (I used Whittaker's 72% Dark Ghana),
300g fresh cream

Preheat the oven to 200C. Prepare two 19cm round cake tins, grease and line with baking paper. Put together the eggs, sugar, and almond meal in the mixer bowl and beat until the mixture is light and thick which will leave a trail. Fold in the sifted flour and mix gently until well combined. Pour into the prepared tins, then bake for 6-8 minutes or until cooked. Remove the baking paper and cool on the wire rack.

Cut the cakes to make four layers. Brush each side of the layer with coffee syrup, then spread the ganache over. Repeat until all used and top with the remaining ganache.



March 12, 2007

HHDH#10-Cheesecake

I had roast lamb on Saturday so Mum and Jan don't have to cook for the night. It was feeling so much merrier then Dad could come back home from the nursing home where he wasn't quite happy to be at. He was a bit brighter from what we saw at the hospital. I think he's much happier at home than at somewhere elses he's uncomfortable with.

At the same day, I could get a peek on what Peabody is leading us for HHDH#10. I wasn't quite sure if I could take a picture of it properly, as then I was preparing more cakes and cookies for our visitors the next day. But anyway, I'd love to participate.

The best thing is that my Sunday Lunch visitors were enjoying the cheesecake Peabody posted for us. I couldn't really have time to browse around or looking up in Donna Hay's magazines, so then I decided to just bake the classic baked cheesecake as to what Peabody posted.

So, here's my entry for Hay Hay It's Donna Hay #10, cheesecake edition which is hosted by Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody.

For English version click here.

And here's the Indonesian version

Classic Baked Cheesecake

Sumber: Modern Classics Book 2, Donna Hay.

Khusus untuk Ivonne yang suaminya suka banget ciskek ini. Mangga, dicobian nyak?

110g (3 ½ oz) biskuit manis, tumbuk, 2/3 cup almond meal (bubuk almond), 60g (2oz) mentega, lelehkan

Filling: 1 ½ sdM maizena, 1 ½ sdM air, 330g (11oz) cream cheese, biarkan dalam suhu ruangan, 460g (15oz) fresh ricotta cheese, 4 btr telur, 1 1/3 cup gula, 1 sdM kulit lemon parut, ¼ cup lemon juice

Lapisan biskuit: proses biskuit dalam food processor (sampai remuk). Tambahkan almond meal dan mentega leleh, lalu proses lagi sampai tercampur rata. Siapkan loyang 20cm, olesi mentega dan alasi kertas roti. Tuang biskuit lalu tekan-tekan. Diamkan di kulkas.

Panaskan oven suhu 150C (300F).

Filling: campur maizena dengan air hingga maizena larut dan kental. Proses cream cheese dalam food processor hingga lembut. Tambahkan larutan maizena, ricotta, gula, kulit jeruk lemon dan jusnya lalu proses sampai lembut. Tuang adonan ke atas biskuit lalu panggang selama 1 jam 10 menit atau sampai matang. Dingingkan di kulkas. Potong-potong lalu sajikan dengan double cream. Untuk 8 porsi.



March 05, 2007

Monthly Mingle-Savoury Cakes





I'd say, I'm not the biggest fan of cheese but I constantly enjoy different cheeses at different times, just to understand the differences between them. There is a huge range of cheeses made in New Zealand, and I haven't arrived to taste even a quarter percentage of the products just yet. I always in fact go back to the same cheeses because I find the texture was lovely and I enjoy the taste. I do love various types of blue cheese, Edam, either Mozarella or Brocconcini, Camembert, Gouda, Gruyere, Stilton, Smoked Cheddar, and any sort of creamy Brie.

At Stone Willow cafe one day, they had fried Camembert served with chunky plum sauce and they were very generous enough to tell us how to make those little treats. I and Mum made them occassionally afterwards. They were best enjoyed while are not losing their soft melted texture inside the crumbs.

I often think that cheese or cheese wafers would be best enjoyed alongside a wide range of wine, and because I don't drink alcohol, I don't really bother to make cheese wafers. Then, Matt Greenwood, the Master of Tea, has a different opinion that tea can be enjoyed with cheese wafers as well. He wrote several dishes and cakes (issued on Dish magazine, Issue 05, August-October 2005) that are matched to some certain tea. These wafers are best enjoyed with Darjeeling tea, as he wrote.

Darjeeling: grown at high elevation on the steep slopes of the foothills of the Himalaya's Darjeeling is a 'unique tea experience'. It is known as the Champagne of teas, a fitting comparison given its rarity and price, as well as its pale colour. Of the diverse tastes of various Darjeelings Greenwood selects those picked in late June, from the second of the three flush growths, as the best. Full-bodied teas with an intense initial flavour, often described as muscatel or peach skins.” [Margaret Brooker. Cuisine. Issue 108 January 1005. p.52].

This is my entry for Monthly Mingle-Savoury Cakes edition which is hosted by Meeta of What's for Lunch Honey. Thank you Meeta for organizing this for us.

Pine Nut Wafers with Blue Cheese and Balsamic Pears

Source: Matt Greenwood. Published at Dish magazine. Issue 05. August-october 2005.

Wafers:

¾ cup pinenuts, toasted, 1 cup flour, pinch salt, 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary, 50g cold butter cut into small dice, 50g blue cheese, crumbled

Blue Cheese topping

125g creamy blue cheese, 100g mascarpone, 3 Tbs finely shredded mint leaves

Balsamic Pears

1 Tbs balsamic vinegar, 3 Tbs apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbs caster sugar, ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, 2 firm pears



Wafers: Place the pinenuts, flour, salt and rosemary in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cheese and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Remove and roll into a log shape. Wrap well in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Slice the chilled dough into 5mm slices and place on a tray lined with a non-stick sheet or baking paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and the centre is firm. Do not allow them to get too dark. Transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Topping: Combine the ingredients and mix well.

Pears: Place the two vinegars, the sugar and pepper in a large saute pan and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Peel and very thinly slice the pears and add to the pan. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until the pears have softened a little and are glazed with the syrup. Set aside to cool.

To serve: Spread a little blue cheese on each biscuit and place 1-2 slices of pear on top. Garnish with a mint sprig if desired.

Bahasa Indonesianya

Wafer dari Pine Nuts dengan Blue Cheese dan Balsamic Pears

Source: Matt Greenwood. Published at Dish magazine. Issue 05. August-october 2005.

Wafers

¾ cup pinenuts, panggang, 1 cup tepung, sedikit garam, 1 sdt rosemary cincang, 50g mentega dingin iris dadu, 50g blue cheese, remas hingga menjadi remah-remah

Blue Cheese topping

125g creamy blue cheese, 100g mascarpone, 3 sdM daun mint cincang

Balsamic Pears

1 sdM balsamic vinegar, 3 sdM apple cider vinegar, 2 sdM caster sugar, ½ sdt freshly ground black pepper, 2 buah pir yang masih mengkal tapi sudah matang

Wafers: Masukkan pinenuts, tepung, garam dan rosemary di dalam food processor dan pulse sampai tercampur rata. Tambahkan mentega, dan pulse lagi sampai menyerupai remah-remah yang kasar. Tambahkan keju dan pulse lagi hanya sampai adonan mulai berkumpul. Angkat dan gulung. Bungkus dengan plastik, lalu simpan dalam kulkas semalaman.

Panaskan oven suhu 180C.

Iris-iris setebal 5mm, lalu letakkan di atas loyang yang sudah dialasi kertas roti. Panggang selama 12-15 menit sampai kekuningan dan tengahnya sudah mengeras. Jangan biarkan jadi terlalu coklat (kalau kelamaan di oven). Letakkan di atas rak sampai dingin. Simpan dalam toples kedap udara.

Topping: Campur semua bahan jadi satu dan aduk rata.

Pears: Masukkan kedua cuka, gula dan lada dalam satu wajan besar dengan api sedang. Aduk hingga gula larut. Kupas pear dan iris2 tipis, lalu tambahkan ke wajan. Masak sebentar 3-4 menit sampai pear menjadi lembut dan telah menyerap sirup (warnanya jadi coklat dan mengkilap karena dibalut sirup yang mengental). Sisihkan hingga dingin.

Penyajian: Sendokkan sedikit blue cheese ke atas biskuit, lalu pear dan hias dengan mint kalau suka.

Next time there's a cheese and wine event, I will bring tea myself. Isn't it great?



March 02, 2007

Muffin Monday-Gluten-Free Chocolate Almond Mini Muffins




Muffins are not the type of breakfast we normally have to start the day. We choose a bowl of porridge with honey as a hearty kick-off the early morning and then often is followed by stacks of pancakes for morning tea.

But perhaps, this will not be harm to try. So, here's my entry for Muffin Monday, hosted by Elena Ho of Experiments.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Almond Mini Muffins
1 cup gluten-free flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2tsps baking powder
1/2tsp baking soda
1/4 cup caster sugar
2tsps milk powder
1/2 cup fresh milk
2 Tbs oil
1 egg, beaten lightly
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup roasted whole almonds to top the muffins
icing sugar to sprinkle

Preheat the oven to 220C. Grease two mini muffin pans and sprinkle with extra flour. Tip over the excess. Put all the sifrted dry ingredients in one bowl. Combine the wet ingredients and whisk well. Pour over into the dry ingredients, mix just until combined. Spoon into each pans. Insert each whole roasted almonds. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.