One, Two, Three…….Let’s Start Making Traditional Short Bread Biscuits (英式传统牛油饼干)

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INTRODUCTION

I have mentioned before that my family members like buttery biscuits or cakes. Butter cake without any flavour will definitely top my list of cakes whereas short bread will be my preferred choice of biscuits. Short bread is crumbly in textures and full of buttery aroma and it is addictive as long as I started the first bite.

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When I was searching for short crust pastry for my “short crust pastry moon cake” post, I remember wrongly and instead I searched for short bread. When I read the definition of Wikipedia, it immediately caught my attention.

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Per Wikipedia, it was written that

Shortbread is a type of biscuit (“cookie” in American English) which is traditionally made from one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour (by weight). The use of plain white (wheat) flour is common today, and other ingredients like ground rice or corn flour are sometimes added to alter the texture. Also, modern recipes often deviate from the pure three ingredients by splitting the sugar portion into equal parts granulated sugar and powdered sugar and many further add a portion of salt. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shortbread)

I was amazed by the simple ratio of one part white sugar, two parts butter and three parts of flour. I did not look around for any further recipe and based on these three figures, I prepared my traditional style short bread.

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This is my first attempt and I am generally happy with the results though the shaping still needs improvement. I may try out other recipes in the net and compared the actual differences and what other special ingredients that were added to alter the texture.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 50 g of icing sugar

  • 100 g of butter

  • 150 g of plain flour

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

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STEPS OF PREAPRATION

Preparation

  • Preheat your oven to 180  165 degree Celsius.

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  • In a big mixing bowl, place cut butters, vanilla essence, icing sugar, plain flours. Mix and knead until it form a dough.

  • Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a flat sheet of about 1 cm thick.

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  • Shape it into a rectangular shape and use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 1 cm x 4 cm sizes

  • Transfer to the baking tray with a sheet of baking paper. Place the short breads with adequate space to expand.

  • Use a fork or something sharp to make some holes on top of the short breads.

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  • Baked in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the colour start to turn golden yellow.

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Additional notes

You can chill the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes before your baking starts. This will help to fix the shape of short bread! This illustration did not include the chilling. Due to the hot temperature in Singapore, The butter melts rather easily therefore chilling will hep to keep the biscuit in shape when you send for baking.

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CONCLUSION

A very short and straight forward post. I like this for its simple easy to remember recipe. This recipe is simply based on the traditional ratio of 1 sugar, 2 butter and 3 flour without additions of texture altering ingredients. The taste and texture is awesome except the shape is not as regular as what we bought from the stores.  It will be an ideal gift for your friends during festive occasions such as Christmas.

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Overall, I am still very pleased with this adventure. It is so simple yet we pay so much for these biscuits in the supermarkets.

Try and you will know how easy it is. Hope you like the post today and have a nice day ahead. Cheers.


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Second batch of short bread made for the celebration of Teacher’s day 2013.

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Updated on 8 – January 2014

Baking this special batch of rose decorated shortbread biscuits. Recipe is the same except I cut it in difference shape and dust it with dried rose petals.

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This recipe was included in Page 18 and Page 19 of the following E-book. 

For more Chinese New Year related cookies, snack and steamed cake recipes, you can have a copy of Easy Chinese New Year Recipes – A step by step guide” that was packed with 30 recipes, 60 pages at a reasonable convenience fee of USD3.50. The recipes covered various recipes from auspicious radish cake to nian gao to traditional kuih bangkit to trendy London almond cookies. Of course not forgetting both type of pineapple tarts. You can purchase by clicking the link above. You can either pay using Pay Pal or Credit card account. Please ensure that you have an PDF reader like Acrobat or iBooks in your mobile phone or iPad if you intended to read it in your ipad or mobile phone. Should there be any problems of purchasing, feel free to contact me at kengls@singnet.com.sg and separate arrangement can be made.

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Can I Have A Moon Cake That Is Not Round? Hmmm.. Try Short Crust Pastry Moon Cake

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Chinese Mooncake Festival or Mid Autumn Festival is arriving soon on 19-9-2013 (or Chinese Lunar Calendar August 15) and I think most bloggers will blog about moon cakes. There are many many moon cake recipes in the internet and there is no way for me to blog something that I am rather unfamiliar due to my poor shaping skills of moon cakes .

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This year I have a few attempts to shape the moon cake but not really successful. It cracked terribly and I have told members in my Facebook Group“Food Bloggers and Foodies United” that I am not going to issue a post on moon cake I totally do not have any confidence to share with readers about the making of moon cakes.

The next day after I issued the post, one of my relatives gave us a pack of moon cake from Kluang, Johor Malaysia. In the box, it was written clearly Shanghai Moon Cake, and what shocked me is that the shape is elongated and some called it a mouse shape.

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Sorry for my limited knowledge, I never seen Shanghai moon cake in this shape. I posted in my timeline and asked my friends what is that. Surprisingly a number of friends from Southern Peninsular Malaysia knew about this shop and ever tasted this special moon cake before.

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The next day, I cut it and ate a slice, I felt that the taste was very familiar. It resembles the short crust biscuits with the normal moon cake fillings. Therefore, I told my friends that I wanted to pursue another baking adventure based on what I tasted and I wanted to try to “reproduce” the moon cake that I received.

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That morning, there is no body in my house except myself. I just simply pick a short crust pastry recipe and start my adventures. Actually, the short crust pastry resembles the pineapples tart pastry. However, in this illustration, I made a mistake by including sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in the dough. I shouldn’t need to include this as the fillings will expand when heated and the baking soda make the crack bigger that I do not want to see.

Putting that aside,  I would say that this pastry, or pardon me formally called it “SHORT CRUST PASTRY MOONCAKE” , is definitely worth trying. The soft filling blends extremely well with the melt in the mouth pastry wrapping it. Unlike other moon cake,  it is buttery in flavour and that make me wanted to share with readers this “funny” pastry aims at those who are adventurous to try out new ideas.

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But I have to highlight that, it is just like any pastry, it can’t keep for long. It is best to consume it within two to three days of making it. The wet fillings will make the short crust slightly soggy if you do not consume on time. Well, that is my frankest opinion and I do hope that readers have some confidences on me by baking this short crust pastry moon cake and share with me if it is up to your expectations.


WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 80 grams of salted butter, cut into cubes and keep in fridge waiting for later use.

  • 2 eggs lightly beaten

  • 400 grams of self raising flour (sifted)

  • 80 grams of sugar powder

  • 600 grams of moon cake fillings of your choice (in this illustration, I have used both the green tea paste and red bean paste).

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Pre Preparation

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree.

  • Get ready a baking tray with a piece of baking sheet.

  • Divide the moon cake fillings into 3 portions and roll it into an cylindrical shape of about 6 inches long.

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  • In a big mixing bowl, put in your sifted self raising flour, sugar powder. Add the butter cubes from the fridge. Use finger tips to lightly rub the butter until butter and flour are well mixed resembling crumbs. Rubbing should be light and fast. This resembles the preparation of scones and your can refer HERE.

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  • Make a whole in the centre put in the beaten eggs.

  • Use a fork or a knife to slightly mix the batter. Once the eggs and the flour have form a dough, transfer the dough to a table and knead for 1-2 minutes to ensure it is well mixed.

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  • Divide the dough into 3 portions. In my illustration, my dough weighed about 220 grams per portion.

  • Use a rolling pin to roll the dough in a floured surface into rectangular shape of about 10 inches x 5 inches.

  • Place your moon cake filling on top of the pastry, close the longer ends and roll follow the shape of the fillings.

  • Close the other two ends and ensure the edges are closed.

  • You can reshape to any shape that you want. However, I have opted to use the shape as shown above. Alternative shape is round shape. However, round shape is difficult for serving. So I opted for the oblong shape.

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  • Place the dough in the baking tray. Use a sharp knife to lightly cut lines on top of the dough.

  • Have the first egg wash and send to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

  • After 15 minutes, take out and have a second egg wash. Baked for another minutes 10 and the moon cake is done.

  • For egg wash, hand beaten 1 egg yolks and add 2 big table spoons of water and 2 drops of oil. Sift and put in a container. Use a brush to lightly brush the dough.

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CONCLUSION

This is another way of serving the moon cake though traditionally, moon cake must be round resemble the moon. Whether this can be called moon cake or other name is up the discretion of the readers.

This moon cake was prepared using short crust pastries and the buttery taste of the pastry is totally different from traditional moon cake but it blends well with the traditional moon cake fillings. It is good to be served as a tea time snack item.

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I hope you enjoy my baking adventures for making this special shape moon cake inspired from the famous Kluang moon cake shop in Malaysia.

This recipe was included in Page 15-17 of the “Easy Mooncake Recipes E-book”. For more mooncake recipes, you can have a copy of Easy mooncake recipes  – A step by step guide” that was packed with 20 recipes, 45 pages at a reasonable convenience fee of USD4.00. The recipes covered various recipes from durian mooncake, traditional baked mooncake and also the less common Teochew mooncake . You can purchase by clicking the link above.You can either pay using Pay Pal or Credit card account. Please ensure that you have an PDF reader like Acrobat or iBooks in your mobile phone or iPad if you intended to read it in your ipad or mobile phone. Should there be any problems of purchasing, feel free to contact me at kengls@singnet.com.sg and separate arrangement can be made.

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Hope you like the post today and do join me in the baking adventures. Bake one for yourself and tell me if it suits your taste buds. Have a nice day and cheers


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Eggs, Eggs, Eggs….. Join Me To Cook Eggs….

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INTRODUCTION

I doubt if any one from my generation have never try eggs and if they try, never like eggs. Of course they are some unfortunate people in this world that have egg allergy and can only have cakes or other cuisines that are eggless. Bearing this in mind, I would think that majority of the people (at least in my circles of friends) would not reject the offer of a simple fried egg dish to go with their meal.

I do not wish to elaborate more about eggs but this special egg write up is with the intention for the submission of “Little Thumbs Up: Eggs (August 2013)” and Ms. Yen Simpson have a quite a detail write up of all sorts of eggs in her blog here.


WAYS OF COOKING EGGS

There are many ways of cooking eggs and this post will by pass all the descriptive flowery languages and go straight to the following ways of cooking eggs. You may have known this better than me but just took some time to read if there are any thing that you can add to my post and constructively criticise about my ways of making eggs. The methods that will be covered here are:

  1. Soft Boiled Eggs (水煮蛋)
  2. Hard Boiled Eggs (水煮蛋)
  3. Coloured Eggs (上色蛋)
  4. Poached Eggs (水波蛋)
  5. Scrambled Eggs (炒蛋)
  6. Eggs Omelette (蛋饼)
  7. Braised Eggs (卤蛋)
  8. Steamed Eggs (蒸蛋)
  9. Adding eggs to Chinese Soups (蛋花)
  10. Fried Eggs (煎蛋)


1。2。SOFT BOILED EGGS AND HARD BOILED EGGS (水煮蛋)

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To have perfect soft boiled eggs and hard boiled eggs, there are some timings that need to be followed An over boiled egg will have solid egg yolks slightly bluish in colour.  If it is fresh farm eggs, additional 5 minutes is needed. It is easier to boil eggs keep in the refrigerator than those keep at room temperature.

In a big pot filled with water, add in two big tablespoon of vinegar (to prevent egg whites flow out in the event the eggs crack), one teaspoon of salt and bring the water to boil under high heat. Once boiled, turn to medium heat to let the water simmer. Place the eggs using a spoon and gently lower down to the pot. The range of timing to get the desired textures of eggs are as follows (source: :adapted from http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Soft-Boiled-Egg)

  • 2 minutes – very soft yolk and egg whites
  • 3 minutes – the white is set and the yolk is just starting to thicken
  • 4 minutes – the white and yolk are set, with the centre of the yolk still creamy.
  • 5 minutes – the white and yolk are set with centre starting to set
  • 10 minutes – the white and yolk are all set
  • Any further timing than this will result the eggs yolks to start turning to a bluish colour.

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Please note the colour changes of the egg yolks.


3。COLOURED EGGS (上色蛋)

At birthday or other important occasions, Chinese like to colour their eggs red. If you do not colour the eggs properly, the eggs will stain your hand or when you touch it. Therefore, it is important that your eggs do not lose its colour when you hold it.

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  • In a bowl, put some colour gel or permitted food colouring. Add few drops of vinegar. Stir well.

  • When ready, transfer your hard boiled eggs directly from the pot that it was cooked and use a spoon to roll the eggs. The hotter the egg, the easier it is. Continue rolling until you get your desired colour tone. It will dry very fast because of the heat inside the eggs. Look for any areas not covered with the colouring and make sure the colour is as even as possible.

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4。POACHED EGGS (水波蛋)

As per Wikipedia:

A poached egg is an egg that has been cooked by poaching, that is, in simmering liquid. This method of preparation is favoured because a very consistent and predictable result can be attained with precise timing, as the boiling point of water removes the temperature variable from the cooking process. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poached_egg)

A poached egg is consider as perfect if all the egg whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny. It is good to be served in soups or with breads.

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  • In a hot pot of water, add one teaspoon of vinegar. Let it boil under high heat and once boiled, turn down to low heat and let it simmer.

  • Crack your eggs in a bowl or some kitchen utensils, slowly place it in the water. Don’t stir the water. If you want to stir the water, it must be done in a circular motion quickly such that the egg whites would not dispersed the the near by areas. Let it simmer until all the egg whites solidify.

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5。SCRAMBLED EGGS (炒蛋)

Per Wikipedia:

Scrambled eggs is a dish made from whites and yolks of eggs (usually chicken eggs). Eggs are poured into a hot greased pan and coagulate almost immediately. The heat is turned down to low and the eggs are constantly stirred as they cook. The pan and the stirring implement, if kept in constant motion, create small and soft curds of egg. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrambled_eggs)

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  • In a big mixing bowl,  put some eggs. Put in some milk and beat until the eggs are well “mixed”, The purpose of this step is just to ensure the egg yolks and the egg whites are well beaten, You can also used a hand whisk to whisk it.

  • In a frying pan, put in some butters (or other cooking oils of your choice) and melt the butter.

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  • Pour in the beaten eggs and constantly stir it. Once the eggs have solidify into smaller curds, off the heat, add in seasonings such as salt and pepper and scoop up to a plate for servings.

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6.  EGGS OMELETE (蛋饼)

Per Wikipedia:

In cuisine, an omelette or omelette is a dish made from beaten eggs quickly cooked with butter or oil in a frying pan, sometimes folded around a filling such as cheese, vegetables, meat (often ham), or some combination of the above. To obtain a fluffy texture, whole eggs or sometimes only egg whites are beaten with a small amount of milk or cream, or even water, the idea being to have “bubbles” of water vapour trapped within the rapidly cooked eggs. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omelette)

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In this illustration, I have prepared seaweed omelette with tomatoes. An omelette is deemed perfect if both sides have solidified whereas the insides are still moist but not runny. Milk is usually used to achieve that effect. Please refer the scrambled eggs above.

  • Follow the steps as mentioned in scrambled eggs above. Add in the seaweeds to the eggs. Add seasonings or your choice.

  • In a big shallow frying pans, add in the seaweed beaten eggs. Let it fried the bottom layer start to solidify.

  • Add in cut tomatoes strips and when all the eggs are not runny in the centre, fold into half.

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7.  BRAISED EGGS (卤蛋)

Chinese like to braise eggs and usually the eggs were braised together with meat broth such as from braising of ducks, pork belly etc. It appeared in Chinese cuisines such as Kuey Chap, a Teochew type of flat broad rice sheets and served with dark braised meat broth.

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To prepare Chinese styled braised eggs:

  • In a sauce pan, stir fry big pieces of galangal, garlics and gingers until aromatic. Add cups of dark soya sauce diluted with adequate to cover the meat or eggs that are to be braised. Bring to boil under high heat.

  • Once boiled, turn to medium heat, add in five spice powder,  some rock sugars and items to be braised including eggs.

  • Depending on the items to be braised, if without meat, eggs will need about 15 minutes before the colour sets in the eggs.

  • Off the heat and let the eggs sits in the broth for another 15 minutes for the flavour to penetrate the eggs.

There is a detail pictorial instruction of preparing braised eggs and bean curd. Please refer to Guaishushu’s page recipe  D10 – Braised Eggs and Taukwa (卤蛋和豆干).

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8. STEAMED EGGS (蒸蛋)

Steamed eggs is another common household dish for Singaporean and Malaysian Chinese. It is also common in Korean and Japanese cuisines. The challenges of steamed eggs is to ensure that the eggs are flat, soft and without any bubbles or holes appearing on the eggs. In order to achieve that, one important point to note is the usage of boiled water when making the egg solution. If tap were used, the water is full of air or oxygen and this will cause the steamed eggs to have lots of holes. Cooked water are free of air and therefore when steamed, the eggs will be silky and soft.

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  • In a big bowl, crack one egg and add in about half a cup of cooked or boiled water (meat broth can also be used). If you want it softer, you can add in more water., Add in all your preferred seasonings, beat until well combined. Sieved and put in a bowl to steam at medium heat.

  • It is considered as done when the eggs are set. Drizzle with additional seasoning such as sesame oils, light soya sauce if necessary.

There is a detail pictorial instruction of preparing steamed eggs. Please refer to Guaishushu’s page recipe  D8-Steamed Tofu With Eggs (豆腐蒸蛋)

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9. ADDING EGGS TO CHINESE SOUP (蛋花)

Certain Chinese cuisines required soups to be thickened with egg solution. In the illustration, I have used some old images that I have photographed for the preparation of Lor Mee. A type of noodle dish where braised meat broth were first diluted and further thickened by using eggs and starches. A perfect addition of eggs should see small pieces of eggs floating in the soup or broth and there should be no lumps of eggs in the soup.

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  • Slightly beat your eggs until well mixed.

  • Use high heat to bring to boil. Once the soup is boiling, slowly add in the beaten eggs and use a ladle to stir the soup in a circular motion as quickly as possible. In that case, you will be able to break the egg solutions even before it solidifies.

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There is a detail pictorial instruction of using the same method to prepare another Chinese starchy soup. Please refer to Guaishushu’s page recipe S6 – Vegetarian Shark Fin Melon Soup (素鱼翅瓜羹)


10. FRIED EGGS (煎蛋)

Everybody how to fry an egg and there is nothing much to say about egg frying techniques except one point. In order to have a “sunny top” type of eggs, you can consider the procedures below. If you follow the procedure, your egg yolks will not be easily broken.

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  • Heat up your frying pan and put a teaspoon of oil (optional).

  • Crack your eggs and put a few drops of water around the frying pan. Cover the frying pan to capture the water vapour.

  • Open the cover as soon as the egg is set and egg white is cooked. Off the heat and transfer to a serving plate.

Note that this way of frying eggs is possible without any oils (if using a non stick pans). You can heat your frying pan under high heat, crack your eggs and off the heat immediately. Put a few drops of water around the frying pan and cover the frying pan immediately and let the water vapour cook the top part of the egg yolk. Once the egg white is cooked, the top part of the egg yolk should also have cooked while inside, the egg yolk remains runny. You may want to refer to my Nasi Goreng Aruk  post on how to fry eggs without oil.

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On more other egg related dishes, you can refer here:


CONLCUSION

Everybody knows how to cook eggs. This post is just a summary of various ways of cooking eggs and of course there are still many other ways to cook eggs. This post will be classified as “special cooking ingredients” series. In the series, there are two other special cooking ingredients which are chillies and belachan.

This is a post that have been compiled over a period of almost a week. Hope you  like the post and share with me additional methods of cooking eggs. Cheers and have a nice day ahead.


I am submitting this post to Little Thumbs Up “Eggs” event organized by organized by Bake for Happy Kids, my little favourite DIY and hosted by (Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out). You can link your egg recipes here.

 

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Nostalgic Soup Than Can’t Erase From My Mind–Chinese Style Potatoes Soup

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Updated Post on 9-10-2014

I have prepared the soup again today and have some new picture taking. However, today when I prepared the soup, as I am running out of time, I have decided to by pass the sautéing of the starch and onion. I put everything in the wok, boil until the meat is soft and add the starches. Of course, it was not as fragrant as what my father have prepared but it saves some times.. Kids start to like this starchy soup. Personally, I prefer the yam or taro version but shelve the idea as kids still dislike the taro.

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INTRODUCTION

I seldom have soup recipe in this blog except salted vegetable duck soup, a well known traditional Chinese soup for Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese.  Of course I have many other soup preparation illustrations such as bitter gourd and pineapple pork rib soup, double mushroom chicken soup, sweet corn pork rib soup and many more at Guaishushu’s Facebook Page under the index start with “S”.

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Today, I will share this special soup which is a comfort food with nostalgic and sentimental feelings for me.  I am still in doubt its origins and totally unsure if other families are cooking this soup, not at least my circles of friends. It is hope that via this post, some readers will be able to tell me the origin of this soup!

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This is a “strange” soup cooked by my late father. Not even my late mother cook this soup as she said it is a bit laborious to cook this soup.

In fact, the ingredients and cooking method have influences of both oriental and western method of cooking. Talking about this soup, I am sure my brothers and sister in laws can recall about the soup. It can either be cooked with taro or  potatoes. What we usually cooked is with yam or taro and I knew my sister in laws still cook the taro version of this soup as at today.

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The potato version of soup what is always in my mind. When I told my mother in law that I wanted to cook this soup, she looked at me unbelievably and she thought that I am cooking ABC soup, a soup that were cooked using carrot, potatoes and onions. I told her no, it is a pure potatoes soup!

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 250 g of potatoes cut into big chunks

  • 250 g of onion cut into a quarter

  • 250 g of pork ribs

  • 6 cups of water

Thickening starch

  • 50 g of sweet potatoes flour

  • 400 g of water

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a big soup pot that can accommodate at least 10 cups of water, put some water adequate to cover the pork ribs.

  • Blanch the pork ribs until the outer layers is slight cooked. Throw away the water.

  • Wash the pork ribs under running water to get rid of any blood clots and add in the cut potatoes. Add in 6 cups of water and bring to boil under high heat. Once boiled, turn to medium heat and continue boiling until the potatoes and meats are soft. This will take 15-20 minutes. You can just let it boil until your next step is ready. Change to low heat if necessary.

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  • In another sauce pan, add in 1 tablespoon of oil, add in the cut onions and fried until the fragrance of onion start to spread.

  • Put in the sweet potatoes starch and cook under low heat, Stir fry until the flour turned into a lump and become colourless. Note that the main reason of cooking this way is to give the flour some flavour of onions. If you add directly to the soup, you will find the flour in the soup is flavourless. Well that is how my late father cooked and I do agree to it.

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  • Transfer your cooked starch to the soup and continue boiling until the meat and potatoes of your desired textures.

  • Add seasonings of your choice (flavour enhancer such as mushroom concentrate, pepper, salt, light soya sauce etc.).

  • Bring to boil and once boiled, off the heat and garnish with herbs of your choice. Preferably served hot with rice.

WHY THIS SOUP IS UNIQUE?

The soup has the oriental elements because it is cooked with normal cooking oils used by Chinese home cooking (instead of butter or olive oils) and pork ribs and flavour using the Chinese condiments. In addition, the thickening is using Chinese cooking ingredients sweet potatoes starch. It is definitely more watery and less creamy than Western soup! The final soup still maintain the shape of the potatoes, pork ribs and even onions. It complements the dryness of the white rice.

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On the other hand, it is unusual for Chinese to use potatoes to cook soup. Besides ABC soup, most Chinese households do not use potatoes to cook soup. Besides this unusual ingredient, Chinese soups usually do not use thickening agents in soup with the exception of some special soups such as shark fin soups and sweet and sour soups. The soups, in traditional sense should be watery and clear (or whitish colour due to the meat essence in the both). Thickening agents are used in many Chinese dishes including braised dishes, noodle dishes , vegetables dishes, egg dishes, bean curd dishes but not in soup dishes.

For purposes of further illustrating this soup may have Western influences, I have took out portion of the soup and added plain flour (wheat flour as you used for making cakes) and some creams.

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This is what the end product looked like and in fact, my kids do not mind this soup after adding of cream and wheat flour. My boy says that the soup is very creamy like cream of mushroom soup that he used to have in Western restaurant.

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CONCLUSION

Having a post on this particular soup brings me  lots of fond memories and sentimental feelings, making me wanted to know more about my late father. We did not really communicate much due to very traditional Chinese family upbringings whereby we were not encouraged to ask about what the adults are doing. Communication was always unidirectional. However, if he was still available, I would know how to tackle the issue and “fished” out his thoughts!

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It is a soup that none of friends knew. It is neither Western or Oriental style of soup. It is a mixture of both. Where my late father learned the cooking of this soup was really a mystery (in my humble opinion). He hailed from China and could not read or spoke ABC not to mention exposure to Western cuisines. The only remote reason that I could think of was due the influence of British colonization of Sarawak until late 1940’s  and at that time, he was a teen.

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Hopefully by having this post, some of my readers from any  parts of the world can share with me, if you have ever tasted exactly soup cooked in this manner and what do you think is the origin of the soup. It is also hope that my readers will try out this soup and let me know if it suits your taste buds. Thanks and have a nice day.

 

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 8 June 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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One Number Baking Ratio Adventure (6)– Peanut Butter Chocolate Chips Muffins

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UPDATED POST ON OCTOBER 1 2014

As I have some peanut butter sitting in my fridge for ages, I have decided to prepare some Peanut Butter muffins . There are no changes to recipe except :

  • Use peanut butter weight as a starting point which is about 156 grams and all my ingredients used to be about 156 grams for eggs, flour, sugar .
  • Did not add the caramelized chocolate chips

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ORIGINAL POSTS


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My kids made these muffins with my help. I just helped them to get some ingredients that they did not where it was stored.

I did not even look at the measurements that they took as I was busy of taking pictures of their participation. Why this was possible of course was because of the easy recipe. The recipe that followed the one number baking ratios now extending to muffins. There were many post that uses one number baking ratios in my baking and in the post “ dates fruit cakes , you can see all my references of cakes made using one number baking ratio in that post.

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After my kids revised their home work today, they were bored and I thought I might as well asked them to make the muffins since it was really easy to  prepare. In fact they were so happy when I told them that I need their participation after revising their home work. My girl who liked to procrastinate suddenly finished her homework very quickly. Initially, it was not my plan to get the boy involved, however, when the boy saw her sister enjoyed herself measuring the ingredients, he insisted that he wanted to join in ‘the game” also. I therefore concurred to let him joined in the “game”

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I did not look at any recipe for this muffin. The principle of using one number baking ratio is that it should be applicable for all cakes.  As I want it to be a bit dense, I have opted not to cream the butter and egg separation method (using these two methods will definitely end up to be a cup cake). In addition, as I have been quite tiring of washing all the utensils these few days, I chose not to use an mechanical egg beater. At the end, I have used a mixed and baked method to prepare the muffins.

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In addition, I have substituted butter with peanut butter and most important of all, I have used eggs as the starting weight of making these muffins. This will save sometime for the calculation of milk.

These muffins started with 2 eggs that weighed 117 g, therefore, that follows will be peanut butter 117g, sugar 117g, flour 117g and milk 117 g. With these measurements, I am sure any body without much baking experience will be able to prepare this. Easy to remember ratio with easy preparation methods.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 2 whole eggs

  • Peanut Butter – same weight as eggs – melted and set aside

  • Sugar – Same weight as eggs

  • Milk – same weight as eggs

  • Self raising flours – same weight as eggs

  • Caramelized  chocolate chips – half the weight of eggs

  • Mozzarella cheeses – half the weight of eggs  (optional)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre heat oven to 180 degree Celsius

  • Get ready5-6 muffin cups.

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  • Melt the peanut butter in a microwave oven for 1 minute.
  • Transfer to a big mixing bowl, add eggs and sugar and use a hand whisk to whisk until combined.

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  • Add in sifted flour and milks (alternately) until all flours and milk are added.
  • Add in caramelized chocolate chips and mozzarella cheeses.

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  • Mix well and transfer to the muffin cups.

  • Bake at 180 degree Celsius for 20-25 minutes or when a skewer inserted comes out clean.

You may have noted that I have sprinkled additional cheeses and caramelized chocolate chips. However, that was not advisable because this batter is rather wet, the additional weighs will push down the muffins causing it to drip sideway. Therefore, I will advise readers to by pass this step. Just to let you have a look, this is the “elephant muffins” made by my kids. All the 5 muffins we made have these “elephant trunks” due to the addition of chocolate chips and mozzarella cheeses. Ha-ha.

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CONCLUSION

Is it not this muffin is so easy to prepare especially with one number baking ratio. If my kids can made this, who else could possibly not able to prepare this?

Hope you try it and have a nice day! Cheers.

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 28 July 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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Yoghurt + Condensed Milk + Cream + Grapefruit = Grapefruit Yoghurt Ice Cream

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INTRODUCTION

I seldom followed recipe closely. But this time, I followed exactly this simple recipe with the slightest modifications.

Too bad, I can’t trace the recipe source link address but I knew it is definitely from http://www.coombemill.com. I have joined one of the events in #recipeoftheweek in August 2013 and I remembered I get the recipe from one of the linking blogs there. Immediately, when I spotted the recipe, I use One Note to cut and send it to my notes and this is the original recipe that is in my notes. I have to apologize to Coombermill for not able to directly linked the recipe to their website. (Subsequent to issuing of this post, I have managed to find the link:http://www.coombemill.com/blog/post/2013/08/19/Fig-and-Banana-Cake.aspx)

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As you can see from the above screen clippings, the ingredients are not many and steps are simple and that were the reasons that attract my attention. As said in my previous posts, I bought many grapefruits last week and I have used it to make Grapefruit Chiffon Cake and Grapefruit Cognac Pound Cake. Since I have some left over grapefruits, I thought Grapefruit ice creams will definitely not a bad idea. However, you can just substitute with other fruits like figs, pears (as above) or oranges or other soft fruits of your choice.

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Besides simple ingredients and simple steps, what amazed me is the relatively small amount of creams used and  instead it was mostly substituted by yoghurt and condensed milk. Based on these ingredients, I would think that this ice-cream is relatively healthier than the others whereby it was packed with double creams. It utilized only 200 ml of heavy cream and the final ice cream is about 800 g therefore representing about 25% of the total volume.



WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 200 ml of double cream and fresh cream for whipping

  • 200 ml of natural yoghurt

  • 1 tin (about 385 g) of condensed milk or sweeten beverage creamer.

  • 300 g of grapefruit flesh. (The grapefruit flesh can be substituted with orange flesh if you desired)

Note that you have to ensure only the flesh are free of any white dividing tissues between the grapefruit globes and white sponge liked tissues near the skin. Only flesh shall be used. Otherwise, your ice cream will be very bitter.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a big mixing bowl, put yoghurt, condensed milk and heavy cream. Beat until well combine and smooth.

  • Add in grapefruit flesh and continue to “beat” using slowest speed until well combined. “Beat” here is just a simple mixing action. It is good to use the mixer to do this mixing because it will help you “separate” the grapefruit fleshes. In addition, if your grapefruit have the white dividing tissues, it may stuck to the egg beater and you can easily pick it up.

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  • Transfer to a plastic container and freeze overnight in the freezer. (Note: Possibly because of the hot weather in Singapore, I can’t follow the original recipe of freezing 3 –4 hours. I have to freeze overnight before it can be hardened).

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CONCLUSION

This recipe is definitely my choice of making future ice creams. I will try with other fruits and colour combination. What comes into my mind now will be kiwi fruit, durian, strawberries, custard apples or even papayas..If I do not want the plain yoghurt, I can used some ready made yoghurt such as mango yoghurt with mango flesh!  For me, I believed it is definitely a healthier choice.

Hope you like it and take a move to make a simple healthier ice cream for your family this weekend! Have a nice day and cheers.

For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .

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If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 1000 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD. You can also join the Food Bloggers and Foodies United Group Facebook Group to see more recipes.

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I am also submitting this to #recipeoftheweek and CoombieMill and Welcome to all My Bloggy Friends

Dates Fruit Cake (黑枣蛋糕)

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INTRODUCTION

This is the 5th cake in a series of my baking adventures utilizing the “one number baking ratio”. Previously I have written about basic pound cake, zebra patterned pound cake, layered pound cake, grapefruit cognac pound cake and this post, I am going to share a simple fruit cake like dates pound cake. It is going to be a short post as most background have been explained in the previous posts.

The taste of this pound cake is very much like the fruit cake. The dates have been soaked in cognac before it is added to the cake. Of course for Muslim readers, you can always soaked in milk or orange juices. Therefore, the cakes is full of dates and cognac fragrance.

Processed with Moldiv

As contrast to the traditional fruit cake, the cake texture will be much softer due to the insistence of using one number baking ratio that include one portion of milk. You can understand one number baking ratio here. In summary, the ratio means flour: egg: sugar: butter: milk (or liquid mixtures) is  1:1:1:1:1:1.

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This time, I have purposely not using the egg separation method! Therefore this recipe is even easier than the previous recipes. It have cut less at least half of the time of preparation.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 250 grams of self raising flour (sifted)
  • 250 grams of brown sugar
  • 250 grams of butters
  • 5 eggs or 250 grams of eggs
  • 220 grams of milk (balancing figures subject to the weight of your eggs used)
  • 250 grams of dates (soaked in water or alcohol such as rum)
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
  • 30 grams of rum/cognac or other alcohol or other liquids
  • Some almond flakes (optional)

Calculation of milk if you are using 5 whole eggs instead of using 250grams of eggs

Milk volume is the balancing figures and subject to the volume of liquid ingredients and size of eggs. In this illustration, my eggs weigh a total of 310 grams. Therefore actual milk used = 500 grams (milk + eggs theoretical volume) – 290 grams (weigh of eggs) – 30 grams (weigh of cognac) = 180 grams.

Alternatively, you can just fixed the eggs volume to be 250 grams therefore, you need not to recalculate the milk volume and purely follow the recipe above.

Processed with Moldiv



STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparation…

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius

  • Lightly grease an 8” x 8” diameter baking tin preferably with a detachable base. (In this illustration, as I want to give some of the cakes to my friends, I have decided to use one 6” x 6” diameter and two small loaf tins therefore cutting time have been cut short considerably).

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  • In a big mixing bowl, add in butter and brown sugar, beat until light and fluffy.

  • Add in vanilla essence and one egg at a time. Beat until eggs are well blend with the beaten butter.

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  • Add in the soaked dates and mixed at low speed until the dates are well mix with the butter batter.

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  • Take out the mixing bowl and fold in 1/3 of the flours followed by 1/3 of the milk and 1/3 of the cognac. Repeat for the other 2/3 portion. 

  • Pour into the light greased baking tin  and baked in the oven at 180 degree Celsius from the first 30 minutes.

  • Reduce the temperature to 150 degree Celsius and bake for another 15 minutes or until the top turn yellowish brown and until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Transfer it to a wire rack and let it cool for at least 1 hour before cutting the cake. It is best to let it rest overnight if time permits.

Note that the above baking time is for an 8”  x 8” baking tin. If you are using 6” x 6” and 2 loaf tins, you will have to bake at 180 degree for the first 20 minutes and reduce the temperature to 150 degree Celsius and bake for another 15 minutes.

Processed with Moldiv



CONCLUSION

This is a very short post by applying the one number baking ratio to the dates fruit cakes. The cakes are definitely moister than traditional fruit cakes. It is definitely a cake worth trying. One number baking ratio can definitely be extend to the baking of more cakes and next in the list will be cup cake or muffins..It is late and really tired after baking 3 products and rushing out 3 posts today. 

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 Hope you like the post today and have a nice day ahead.

Processed with Moldiv


Processed with Moldiv