Another Copycat? – Mexicana Wrap With Fried Chicken

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INTRODUCTION

Last weekend, I brought my kids to one of the exhibitions in Singapore. While I am waiting for my wife and mother in laws to finish shopping, we are really bored and we settled down at Texas Fried Chicken to have some snacks. The restaurant is promoting some Mexicana Wrap. I ordered one set comprising a drink, a cup of mash potatoes and a Mexicana fried chicken wrap that cost me SGD6.20.  While I am having my snacks, it suddenly reminded me that I have some soft tortillas in the refrigerator. I have therefore decided to replicate what I have eaten and shared with readers. That was our dinner the next night. As my kids went for holiday, I am more than happy to prepare the spicy version of the fried chicken for the Mexicana wrap.

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Preparation is rather easy as I bought the ready made tortilla from Singapore supermarkets. In recent years, it is very easy to get hold of “bread” originated from other countries such as French Loaf, Mexican tortillas, Indian’s nan, pita and chapatti etc.. I bought a packet of 8 super soft wheat tortillas for SGD3.80 cents. As for the sauce, of course, I wouldn’t know the exact recipe of what I have eaten but I have prepared some sauces that are Asian friendly and pretty closed to what I ate.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: 3-4 adults

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For chicken marinating and deep frying

  • 3 drumsticks meat – debone and cut into strips
  • 1 egg
  • Fresh milk – adequate quantity of fresh milk to cover the chicken
  • Tabasco sauce (optional and depends on personal preference – I have used 3 tablespoons)
  • Plain flour – adequate quantity of flour to coat the chicken fillets
  • 2 tablespoons of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

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For making crispy tortilla strips (Optional)

  • 1 tortilla cut into thin strips

For making sauces

  • 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of Tabasco or other chilli sauces

For final assembly

  • Chicken strips (from above)
  • Tortilla strips (from above)
  • 3-4 soft tortillas
  • Some lettuces – slice into thin strips
  • Some tomatoes – slice into wedges
  • Some onions – chop into thin strips (not in picture)
  • Some breakfast cheese slice

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Marinating and Deep Frying the Chicken

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  • In a big bowl, slightly whisk the milk, Tabasco (optional) and egg until combined. Add in the chicken drumsticks and marinate for at least 10-15 minutes.

  • In another big bowl or plastic containers, put together the plain flour, white pepper, black pepper, salt and other flavour enhancer (if desired). Use a spoon to mix the flour mixture thoroughly. Depending on your taste buds, if you like your chicken spicier/hotter, get ready another small bowl with additional Tabasco sauce.

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  • In a pan suitable for deep frying, heat about 5 cm of oil under high heat. The oil is considered as ready if bubbles start to emit from the wooden chopstick when placed in the hot oil.

  • Take a piece of the marinated chicken, dip in Tabasco sauce (optional), put it in the flour and coat it as evenly as possible. You can coat 2-3 times to have a thicker “flour skin”. Put in the hot oil and fried until the chicken is golden brown. You may want to consider lower the heat to medium if you are not fast enough to coat the chicken. Keep a close eye on the fried chicken. The process is rather fast because it is chicken strips. Repeat the same for all the chicken strips until finish. If there is not enough flour, just prepare additional flour. When ready, drain and place on a piece of oil absorbing paper. Set aside for later assembly.

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Preparing the tortilla strips

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  • Cut the tortilla into small strips. You can either deep fried your tortilla strips or oven baked the tortilla strips. For deep frying, it is rather fast and you have to watch out for the colour changes. If you oven baked, just put the strips in a mini oven, select medium heat and bake for 5 minutes. However, tortilla strips are optional and you can by pass this step if preferred. The main purpose is to provide a crunchy texture in the wrap.

Preparation of Sauces

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  • In a small bowl, place the mayonnaise, tomato sauce, lemon juice, Tabasco sauce and black pepper. Use a spoon or fork to whisk until well mixed and smooth.

Assembly of Mexicana Wrap

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  • Place a piece of tortilla on a plate. Spread with some sauce. Place a piece of the breakfast cheese slice. Put some tortilla strips, follow by some chopped lettuce and tomatoes.

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  • Place a piece of fried chicken followed by additional vegetables and sauces. Wrap around the chicken in a cone shape. If preferred served with additional chilli sauces.

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CONCLUSION

This is my replicate and I think the ingredients that may have not included are some melted cheeses and possibly mustard sauce. However, I am able to accept this as we preferred more Asian touch in our sauce selection. This is a delicious recipe but is nothing to shout about because variations are many. Remember, as  a home chef, you know your family’s taste buds better than anyone else. Feel free to change the recipe to impress your family. Possibly, some grilled teriyaki chicken with some home made tomato puree and additions of some green capsicum… Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (in the process of revamping and please bear with me) here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .
 

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How About Rolling Your Pancake?– The German Layered Cake–Baumkuchen Or Japanese Ring Pancake (日式戒指煎饼)

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Updated Post on 16-11-2014

Prepare some of these ring pancake for kids breakfast… Don’t usually prepare cute breakfast for kids and once in a blue moon….No changes in the recipe but I made it thinner… This pancake can be eaten plain or with your preferred cream… Remember don’t over fry your pancake as it will be hard and difficult to role..

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Preparation is the same as other pancake with an additional task of rolling and cutting the pancake. Do use your creativity to design a simple beautiful pancake.

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INTRODUCTION

It is such a coincidence that I came across Baumkuchen, the German layered cake when I was searching for the history of layered cake (kek lapis) a few months back. Kek lapis in Sarawak, Malaysia is very famous for its unique design and I do know that the cake were popularized in the late 1980’s introduced by Indonesians to Sarawak. Indonesians, under the colonization of Holland had its spiced layered cake (kek lapis lengit) for at least a century. The Dutch introduced this cake and subsequently “localized” the cake by additions of various local spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. When I searched for layered cake, Google directed me to this Baumkuchen, the German’s meaning of a tree cake. When I looked at the picture, it is a ring cake like the Swiss roll and big machines with roller were used to produce the cake.

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A few weeks later, while I was shopping at Takashimaya shopping centre in Singapore, I was rather surprised that Baumkuchen was sold in Singapore and I have managed to take some pictures through the glass windows.

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I have totally no idea how to make such a cake at home until I stumbled upon a Japanese blog. It had a video that showed how to make the Baumkuchen and immediately, I have put down in my to do list. Today, I have decided to try what she had shared and I am pleased with the results. It is a simple yet delicious “pan” cake.

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As per Wikipedia,

“Baumkuchen is a kind of layered cake. It is a traditional dessert in many countries throughout Europe and is also a popular snack and dessert in Japan. The characteristic rings that appear when sliced resemble tree rings, and give the cake its German name, Baumkuchen, which literally translates to “tree cake””

Baumkuchen is one of the most popular pastries in Japan, where it is called baumukūhen (バウムクーヘン?). It is a popular return present in Japan for wedding guests because of its typical ring shape. It was first introduced to Japan by the German Karl Joseph Wilhelm Juchheim. Juchheim was in the Chinese city of Tsingtao during World War I when Britain and Japan laid siege to Tsingtao. He and his wife were then interned at Okinawa. Juchheim started making and selling the traditional confection at a German exhibition in Hiroshima in 1919. After the war, he chose to remain in Japan. Continued success allowed him to move to Yokohama and open a bakery, but its destruction in the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake caused him to move his operations to Kobe, where he stayed until the end of World War II. Some years later, his wife returned to help a Japanese company open a chain of bakeries under the Juchheim name that further helped spread Baumkuchen’s popularity in Japan.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baumkuchen)

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The original recipe requires a rectangular omelette pan (Tamagoyaki Nabe) which I do not have and I definitely will not buy one just for purposes of making this pancake. Therefore, I have used the normal round sauce pan. Of course the only difference is that the recovery rate is lower because of the round sides of the pancakes that you may have to cut off. Other than that, there is no difference.

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I have tried to create some visual effects on the Baumkuchen by incorporating strawberry and chocolate sauces to the batter. However, I found that the texture after adding such sauces are not as good as the plain Baumkuchen. Therefore, I will not share the recipe for these two variants. If you want, you can consider adding permitted food colouring gel and come out some nice design to impress your guests.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: Home Made German Layered Cake – Baumkuchen

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  • 100 grams of self raising flour
  • 50 grams of granulated sugar
  • 50 grams of fresh cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil/melted butter
  • A few drops of vanilla essence
  • Some aluminium foils
  • Some cooking oil or non stick spray

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a big whisking bowl, use a balloon whisk to whisk the eggs and sugar until well mixed. Add in fresh cream and cooking oil/melted butter, whisk until well mixed. Sift in the self raising flour and stir until smooth (no lumps).

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  • Wrap a few rounds of  aluminium  foil on a chopstick (or anything round and can withstand heat) to make the core tube. Grease the core tube and set aside.

  • In a flat frying pan (preferably non stick pan), put some cooking oil and heat under low heat. Put one ladle of batter to the pan, spread  as evenly as possible. When bubbles appear on the surface of batter, place the greased core tube and start rolling and let it sit in the pan for about 1 minutes or  has browned. Take the pancake out and set aside.

  • Put another ladle of batter and wait until bubbles start to surface. Put the first rolled pancake on top of the batter and start rolling again. Repeat the same procedures until all the batters have finished.  Let it cooled before cut into desired pieces.

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CONCLUSION

I am unsure whether what I have prepared taste the same as what is sold commercially. However, what I know is the taste of this recipe definitely to my liking and I will keep the recipe for party ideas. The taste is just a like a milky and buttery pancake.  If you like to make pancake, why not make a pancake of different designs. Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 15 October 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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Having Oven Baked Ribs for Christmas Dinner? Tony Roma’s BBQ Baby Ribs Copycat

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INTRODUCTION

I don’t usually have Western meals, but one of the Western chains of restaurants that I like very much is Tony Roma’s Ribs, Steak and Seafood Restaurant, an American family restaurant chain world famous for its baby back ribs and other specialties like steaks, BBQ chicken & seafood. I first tasted its ribs 15 years ago in Shanghai when I worked as an expatriate in Shanghai. I loved its soft, tender and juicy ribs. While most Western restaurants serve steak in this part of the world, however, Tony Roma’s serves baby ribs that captures my heart . This is because I do not take any beef or lamb thus making my choice of Western cuisines rather limited.

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Christmas is approaching and I am looking at the Christmas order brochures distributed by the supermarkets. Besides hams, roast chickens, sausages etc., one of the common items is baked ribs. In Singapore, there are two types of baked ribs commonly sold, honey glazed baked ribs and black pepper baked ribs. Prices are about SGD30 per kilogram. I thought it might be a good idea to prepare our own ribs for the Christmas dinner and it can save at least half the cost. In addition, it can be tailored to meet the family’s taste buds.

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Before I search for the recipe, I do not place any hopes on finding one. When I searched, there are lots of recipes and I have selected one that uses oven to bake rather than barbecuing. Surprisingly, the recipe is very simple with minimal list of ingredients. I tried and I can assure that it is definitely a recipe keeper for big festivals, be it for Christmas or any important Chinese festivals such as Chinese New Years.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: Tony Roma’s Original Baby Back Ribs

Servings: 6-8 adults

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  • About 2 kilograms of pork baby ribs or prime ribs
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup of golden syrup
  • 2 teaspoons of white or brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Tabasco pepper sauce (optional and not in picture above)
  • Few cloves or garlic and shallot

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Pound the garlics and shallots until fine (You can opt to use garlic powder). Place all the ingredients (except ribs) in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Once boiled, simmer it until the sauce has thickened. Rub it on the pork ribs as evenly as possible. Save a few tablespoons for brushing during the baking process.

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  • Marinate the ribs for at least 1/2 day. You can also marinate overnight in the fridge.

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  • Pre-heat your oven to 150 degree Celsius.

  • Get ready 4 pieces of aluminium foil big enough to wrap the ribs. Wrap the ribs as tight as possible. Bake in the oven for 2 hours. After 2 hours, open the aluminium foil and ensure that the meats have shrunk from the ribs by about 1 inches long. This will ensure that the meat are tender, juicy and fall off the bones.

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  • Without wrapping the ribs, rub the baked ribs with additional barbecue sauce (reserved above) and send back to the oven. Baked each sides for 3-4 minutes or until the ribs slightly dries up with small signs of charred sauce (but do not burn the ribs). Sliced the ribs in between the bones for serving. Best served with additional barbecue sauce.

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CONCLUSION

This is an extremely recipe which I will definitely keep for my other festivals. It suits the taste of Asian as there are no exotic herbs and seasonings used. It is sweet and slightly tangy in the meat. The meats were soft, fell off the bone and really melted in the mouth.. Hope you like the post today and do consider to prepare some baked ribs for your family in this Thanksgiving or Christmas 2013. Cheers.

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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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My Fruit Cake Is Snowing Heavily–Simple Presentable Fruit Cake With Royal Icing

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INTRODUCTION
 
This is my second post of fruit cake for Christmas 2013. The first post is on ‘TRADITIONAL BOILED FRUIT CAKE” that I have posted on early October 2013. In that post, I have followed strictly the traditional method of preparing the fruit cake but this post, I will share a quick and easy recipe with no prior preparation required.
 
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Most bakers will advise to prepare fruit cakes for Christmas as early as possible. Usually, readers will be advised to soak the fruits, bake and let the cake rest for 1-2 months before actual serving during Christmas. However, at times, you may not be able to fruit cake early and you can then consider this quick and easy fruit cake and the outcome is definitely acceptable. 
 
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This recipe is my own recipe and without reference to any other fruit cake recipe. It is an easy recipe adapted from the one number baking ratio theory and using “mix and bake” method, meaning hand mixing the dry and wet ingredients. No prior preparation is necessary and extra protection (water bath) is optional. However, if you prefer, you can still soak your fruit earlier at a time convenience to you. 
 
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WHAT IS REQUIRED
 
Servings: One 8” x  8 “ cake
 
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  • 350 grams of self raising flour
  • 250 grams of butter
  • 250 grams of soft brown sugar
  • 500 grams of mixed dried fruits (if preferred, soak in rum as early as you can)
  • 50 ml of alcohol (rum or brandy or whisky)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1.5 teaspoons of mixed spice or cinnamon powder+nutmeg powder
  • 0.5 teaspoon of baking soda

For Royal Icing

  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • 4 cups of icing sugar

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius and put a baking tray at the lowest rack with 1 cm of water in it (note that the baking is not done at the lowest rack but at the middle rack)

  • Line the baking tin with baking paper or lightly grease the baking tin.

  • Pour the alcohol into the dried mixed fruits (you can do it after you take your measurements or you can do it as early as you can). For this illustration, I have mixed the alcohol with the fruits immediately after I took my measurements.

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  • Melt the butter in the microwave (about 1 minute). In a whisking bowl, lightly beat your eggs, add in the cooled melted butter and whisk well.
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  • In another bowl, sift your self raising flour, baking soda and mixed spice. Add in the brown sugar, mix and make a well in the centre. Pour the cooled butter and egg mixture into the well. Use a spatula to mix well. Add in the mixed fruit and ensure that it is well mixed.
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  • Transfer to the baking tin. Bake in the oven at middle rack at 180 degree Celsius for the first 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, down the oven temperature to 150 degree Celsius and continue to bake for another 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Use a skewer to insert into the cake CENTRE and ensure that it comes out clean. LET THE CAKE REST FOR AT LEAST 3-4 HOURS BEFORE actual decoration of the cake. I let this cake rest overnight before I decorated the cake.

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Special Notes

  • As fruit cake is a dense cake, you may have to constantly check the readiness of the cake at the last 10-15 minutes of the baking process. If your skewer comes out unclean after the prescribed baking time, don’t worry, as the baking temperature is rather low, continue your baking until the skewer inserted comes out clean.  Insert the skewer at various positions particularly at the centre to counter ensure the readiness of the cake.

  • If you note that there are slight burnt on the top of the cakes, use something to cover the top of the cake. If you prefer, add about 1 cm tall of water to the baking tray place one rack lower than the baking rack. (e.g if you bake at rack No. 3 from the bottom, place a baking tray with 1 cm of water on rack No.2 from the bottom before your baking starts to conserve moisture of the cake). In this illustration, I have put some water in the baking tray but it is optional.

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Preparation Of Royal Icing
 
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  • Beat the egg whites until soft peak. Gradually add in the icing sugar. Add lemon juice after all the icing sugar has been added. If the royal icing is too runny, add in extra icing sugar until you reach the firm/stiff peak or desired consistency. Cover with damp cloth or clingy wrap to prevent icing from drying out.

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Decorating The Cake

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  • Spread the icing on the entire cake as evenly as possible. Use the flat spatula or knife to work on icing into fluffy peaks all over the cake. LEAVE CAKE FOR 2-3 HOURS to allow the icing to harden. If you preferred, you can add some colour gel to create some visual effect.

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  • After the icing have hardened, position your desired ornaments on top of the cake. Keep your cake in the refrigerator for about 2-3 weeks.

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CONCLUSION

Isn’t this is a very simple fruit cake and I can assure that the taste wouldn’t not be compromised much at all. Putting some royal icing make it have a traditional or noble look and transforming this simple cake into an elegant occasion cake..  Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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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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Christmas 2013 Series–Yin Yang Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

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UPDATED POST ON 21-10-2014
 
No doubt this is one of my favourite cookies.. I seldom prepared as it is quite high calorific and if not because friend have requested to show her helper how to prepare this, I do not I will prepare now…I have made some adjustments to the recipe today based on what I have at home….I have substitute almond nibs with macadamia nuts and instead of prepared in the Ying Yang pattern, I opt to prepare all as chocolate flavoured so as not to confuse her… Ha-ha.
 
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INTRODUCTION
 
Christmas 2013 is approaching, time to get ready your cookies for friends and relatives. I will not be going back to my hometown for Christmas this year and I have relatives now staying with me in Singapore whom are going back to hometown soon. I am now busy preparing Christmas fruitcakes, chocolates, cookies etc.. for them to bring back as hand gifts.
 
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It may be slightly early for others but not too early. You can save the recipe (advise is to use  “PINTEREST”, an easier way to keep and categorize your bakes, recipes wanted to try or special board such as Christmas To Do), test the recipe and decide if you want to make for your friends or relatives. This will definitely save you a lot of money and headaches to find suitable gift items.  It will definitely be a presentable gift to the recipient and they will be delighted to receive these well thought homemade gifts. This Christmas 2013 and Thanksgiving 2013 series is to give you ideas of homemaking your own gifts or delicacies during these two important festivals.
 
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My neighbour gave me one bottle of macadamia nuts and I did not have a chance to finish it. I still have a quite a lot left and immediately come across my mind is to prepare some macadamia nut biscuits. I have chosen a simple recipe and the cookie is definitely well beyond my expectations. Nice texture, not overly sweet with mouthful of macadamia nuts and caramelized chocolate chips. Preparation can be really simple if you do not want to create the Yin Yang effect.
 
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WHAT IS REQUIRED
 
Recipe adapted from : Chocolate Macadamia Biscuits
 
Servings: 3 baking trays of biscuits (about 40-50 medium sized biscuits)
 
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  • 250 grams butter (soften at room temperature)
  • 227 grams (1 cup) of soft brown sugar – Can reduce by 10 % sugar if desired
  • 227 grams (1 cup) of white castor sugar – Can reduce by 10% if desired
  • 312 grams (2.5 cups) of self raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder (not in picture)
  • 2 teaspoons of chocolate molasses (optional, can be substituted with one additional tablespoon of cocoa powder)
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
  • 65 grams (1/2 cup) of macadamia nuts – chopped
  • 80 grams (1/2 cup) of caramelize chocolate chips or chocolate chips
  • 2 piping bags (not in picture – optional)

 

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STEPS OF INSTRUCTION
 
  • Line 3 baking trays with parchment/baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
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  • Cream the sugar and butter until light and pale. Add in one egg at a time, beat until well mixed. 
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  • Add in caramelized chocolate chips, macadamia nuts and vanilla essence. Use the machine to stir well. Sift in the self raising flour and mix well. Divide the batter into two portions. Put one portion in the piping bag. For the other portion, add in chocolate molasses and cocoa powder, mix well and place on another piping bag.

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  • Pump the white dough in the baking sheet leaving adequate space for expansion. Pump the chocolate dough next to the white dough. You can create any pattern than you like as the dough is not an overly sticky cookie dough. Bake in the pre-heated oven at 180 degree Celsius for 10-12 minutes. Take the baking tray out, leave the cookies on the hot tray for at least 5 minutes before transfer to wire rack for cooling. Cool completely before store in an air tight container. Repeat the same for the other 2 trays.

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CONCLUSION

This is an addictive cookie. It is crispy and I loved the crunchiness of the macadamia nuts and the caramelize chocolate chips. Family members loved it. When I start eating the cookies, I usually end up eating at least 5 cookies and I doubt if there will be any cookies left by the time my relatives schedule to leave for hometown. Well, recipe is here and I presumed they can bake themselves too… Ok, may be I will bake another batch the day before they left… Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day!

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 15 October 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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Four Seasons Blog Hop #26 (Nov 13 2013)

Welcome to the Four Seasons Blog Hop

A party where we can celebrate the greatness that each season brings to our lives.

So Let’s Get This Party Started!!Let's Get this Party Started Share your  food creations, gardening, clever projects, tablescapes, decorations, party themes, and inspirational knowledge … Ok, you get the point.  Join us every Thursday (opens Wednesday evening at 6:00 pm). Please stay for awhile and show some love to the guests, join us in the fun and grab a button. Four Seasons Blog Button

 
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Thanksgiving 2013 is approaching–How About A Zebra Pattern Baked New York Cheesecake

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INTRODUCTION
 
In my humble opinion, baking cheesecake is no easy matter. In fact, it is quite a delicate bake with lots of preparations and protections required but the result is worth the effort. Last weekend, I have decided to bake one of my favourite cheesecake – traditional New York Cheesecake.  Unsure if readers concurred with me, I loved cheesecakes sold in Hilton chain of hotels. I may be prejudiced, whenever I have meeting with friends or business associates at Hilton, I will sure to order their cheesecakes, be it in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai….. and traditional New York Cheesecake always top my list.  I loved its dense, smooth and creamy consistency.
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The challenge to baking a cheesecake is to ensure there is no crack in the cheesecake and there are many factors that can cause the cheesecake to break. Over or under beating of cream cheese, temperature of the cream cheese, over mixing, baking temperature too high, inadequate rest in the oven, baking time too long, inadequate greasing of the baking tin etc.… are culprits to a crack cheesecake.
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I have found one recipe on the internet with many good reviews and one reviewer have provided a review that caught my attention.  Ms. Morena in her review said the following which in essence sums up the gist of preparing a good New York Cheesecake.
“OK – I don’t want to be rude, but this is the deal: this is a perfect recipe, and if it fails for you, it’s your fault, not the recipe’s. A couple of things you should know about cheesecakes: OVERBEATING WILL CAUSE A CHEESECAKE TO CRACK. Beat cream cheese with sugar only until smooth. Proceed with a wooden spoon for the rest of the recipe. OVERBEATING WILL CAUSE A CHEESECAKE TO HAVE THE “WRONG” TEXTURE. Air bubbles, gritty/not creamy texture, etc., are fixed my the same instructions above. OVERCOOKING WILL CAUSE A CHEESECAKE TO CRACK. Do NOT cook this cheesecake until it’s set. Matter of fact, don’t check it at all. Put the cheesecake in the oven, set the timer to 60 min., turn the oven off, and forget it. I mean it! Don’t open the oven, just leave it alone to do its thing. And that’s it. A beautiful cheesecake. Far from bland: this is a PURIST’S cheesecake. It’s great as is, but also a great foil for other flavours. I serve mine with passion fruit pulp or mango puree. (Chantal’s New York Cheesecake, , Review by: Ms. Morena dated  February 25, 2007 )
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The cheesecake that I baked still have a small crack. I am unsure of the reason but I believed it may be due to the trapped air when I did my zebra patterns. However, for me that is acceptable and rather immaterial to the entire cake. I have choose to make it slightly different from its traditional look by creating a visual presentation of zebra strips. It is not difficult to prepare but it is indeed refreshing when a piece of zebra patterned cheesecake is placed in front of the diner.
 
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WHAT IS REQUIRED
 
Recipe adapted from: Chantal’s New York Cheesecake
 
Servings: One 9” cheesecake of about 5-6cm tall (about 12 standard servings)
 
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For Short Crust Pastry
 
  • 30 grams of self raising flour
  • 65 grams of plain flour
  • 30 grams of castor sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon rind
  • 40 grams of unsalted butter, chopped
  • 25 grams of eggs

alternative:

  • 15 saltine or Graham biscuits
  • 30 grams of butter, melted
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For filling:
 
  • 1 kg of cream cheese – softened at room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 30 grams of plain flour
  • 15 ml of vanilla essence

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  • 300 grams of white sugar
  • 230 grams of sour cream (see note 1 below)
  • 180 ml of milk
  • 50 grams of dark chocolate sauce (see note 2 below)

Note 1 – As I do not have sour cream, I have used 230 grams of normal whipping cream plus 2 teaspoons of lemon juice plus 2 teaspoons of orange and lemon rinds each.

Note 2 – If you do not have dark chocolate sauce, melt 50 grams of dark chocolate in a microwave oven (for 1 minute) and stir in 1-2 tablespoon of normal cream for whipping.

Others

  • One 9 ‘’ round spring form baking tin
  • Some aluminium foil
  • Baking paper

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparation

  • Grease the baking tin adequately and put a baking paper on the bottom of the baking tin.

  • Pre-heat the oven to 210 degree Celsius (for baking of short crust pastry)

Short Crust Preparation

Note that you can choose either use the short crust pastry or biscuit crust as detail later. Biscuit crust is easier as compare to short crust pastry.

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  • Put flours, butter, sugar, and lemon rind in a food processor and blend for 30 seconds. Add the egg and process briefly until the mixture just comes together. Put in a lightly floured surface, roll into a flat piece, cut into the shape of the baking tin. In the baking tin, put a piece of round shape baking paper on the bottom. Put the pastry on top of the baking paper, use a fork to make some holes, baked in the pre-heated oven of 210 degree Celsius for 10 minutes. Cool and set aside for later use.

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Before and after
OR

 


Biscuit Crust Preparation
  • If you have opted to use the biscuit crust pastry, blend the graham cracker until they become crumbs. Add in melted butter and press onto the bottom of spring form pan.

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Preparation Of Cheesecake fillings

  • Once the short crust pastry OR biscuit crust is done, use 2 big pieces of aluminium foil to wrap around the baking tin. Set aside for later use.

  • Turn down the oven temperature to 160 degree Celsius and put water in the baking tray (about 1 cm high)

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Preparation of Cream Cheese Filling

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  • In a stand mixer, put the cream cheese and sugar in the whisking bowl and beat until smooth and no lumps noted. Add in one egg at a time, beat until smooth. Add in sour cream (or normal whipping cream + lemon juice + lemon rind + orange rind), milk and vanilla essence. Stir/beat until well mixed.
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  • Add in flour gradually and stir until well mixed. Divide the batter to two portions. Stir in the dark chocolate sauce to one portion and ensure that it is mixed thoroughly.

  • Get ready 2 ladles for the 2 batters. Put one ladle of cream batter (ladle No. 1)  on top of the short crust or biscuit pastry in the baking tin. Put another ladle of chocolate batter (ladle No. 2) on top of the cream batter as centre as possible. Put another ladle of cream batter (ladle No.3) on the centre of the chocolate batter. Repeat the same of all the batter until finish. Basically, all odd number layers will be cream batters (ladle No. 1, 3, 5,7, 9…. ) whereas even number layers will be chocolate batters (ladle No. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10……).
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  • Baked in the pre-heated 160 degree Celsius for 1 hour. Ensure that baking tin is wrapped by aluminium foil and baking tray is with at least 1 cm of water. At end of baking, do not be alarmed if the centre of the cheesecake is still a bit runny or not set yet. It will set eventually if the following instructions were followed. If the cheesecake turns brown too fast, use some metal to put on top of the baking tin.

  • After one hour, off the oven. LEAVE THE CHEESECAKE IN THE OVEN (WITH THE DOOR CLOSED) FOR AT LEAST 3-4 HOURS or until the oven temperature drop to normal room temperature.  Chilled in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours before cutting into slices for serving.

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CONCLUSION

Well, this is a long post. From the time I bake until I have the first bite, it took me more than 12 hours. In fact, I baked in the morning, after I off the oven, I went for my shopping in the afternoon and before I went to sleep, I transfer the cheesecake to the refrigerator. I cut my cheesecake in the next morning. But the wait is worth the effort. I am rather happy as the cheesecake is creamy, dense and smooth. I can still bear with the small crack or imperfection in the cheesecake. Hope you like the post to day and have a nice day.

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Christmas 2013 Is Approaching…… Easy Peasy Crispy Christmas Roast Chicken

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INTRODUCTION
 

I will start my Christmas series with “Christmas 2013 is approaching…”. Yes, in fact, Christmas is approaching, time to get ready your fruit cakes, cookies, puddings… Since supermarkets in Singapore have started to accept orders for Christmas dinner, I do not think I am too early to share with readers some of the common delicious food items served during Christmas table now! Some readers may want to “practise/test” the recipe  before they formally cooked and served their guests during this important Christmas dinner.

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This roast chicken recipe is very simple and fast and the result is a CRISPY skin and JUICY chicken.. No long marinating required (unless you preferred) and no exotic ingredients.. What I am sharing is the basic recipe of chicken roasting and readers have full flexibility on the marinating the bird and the sauces to go with the roast chicken.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: BASIC WHOLE ROASTED CHICKEN

Servings: 4-6 adult servings

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  • 1 medium sized chicken
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil/butter
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper

Optional and quantity depending of individual’s taste buds

  • 1 lemon cut into thin slices
  • 1 red carrot cut into slices
  • 2 sweet corns cut into big chunks
  • 3-4 potatoes cut into big pieces
  • 2 stalks of celeries cut into big pieces
  • Fresh herbs or dried herbs such as thymes, rosemary, oregano, parsley etc..

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre-heat the oven to hot 220-230 degree Celsius.
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  • Clean the chicken thoroughly, cutting off any excess fats in the cavity and use the kitchen towel to pat dry the bird. Rub the chicken with olive oil, salt, black pepper and any desired herbs. (Note: Instead of using olive oil, you can keep the chicken fats or use butter slices and insert between the skin and the meat throughout for the entire body). If you prefer, you can marinate the chicken for a few hours. Alternatively, you can put the seasoned chicken in the fridge uncovered for 1-2 hours (air dry by the fridge). However, all these steps are optional and in my humble opinion, not necessary at all.

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  • If preferred, put in the vegetables and herbs in the bird’s stomach cavity. (I have put lemons, carrots and celery sticks in the cavity). You can consider stitching the chicken cavity with some linen threads if there are a lot of vegetables to be stuffed.

  • In the baking pan, place the chicken with the breast facing up. Put all other side ingredients such as sweet corns or potatoes on the side. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil (or rub with butter) and sprinkle with preferred seasonings such as salt, black pepper or herbs.

  • Baked in the oven at 230 degree Celsius for the first 15 minutes and reduce the temperature down to 180 degree Celsius and baked for additional 30-45 minutes more depending on the size of the chicken. The most scientific way of testing whether the bird is cooked is using an oven thermometer inserted into the inner thighs (touching the bones) and register about 80 degree Celsius.  When the inner temperature reaches 80 degree Celsius, the bird is considered as cooked.

  • Remove the bird from the oven, let it rest for half an hour before putting in the serving plate or cutting (carving) into smaller pieces for servings. Best go with sauces such as orange apricot sauces, black pepper mushroom sauces and etc..

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CONCLUSION

It is not a difficult recipe at all. You may want to try making this at home first to test the recipe. In order to avoid getting burnt,  over cooked and maintain the juiciness of the bird, I would advise readers to get a small oven/cooking thermometer. That is the more scientific way of knowing whether you bird is cooked and provide you with the beautiful, golden brown and crispy bird. If you have a lot of guests, it make sense for readers to roast 2 birds at a time. If you cannot finish the bird, use the meat to make into sandwiches or fried rice on the next day. As for the birds’ carcases, boiled with some water to make it into chicken broth which can be used for soups or porridges.  

Hope you like the post today. For more Christmas related recipes, you may want to refer the following two posts:

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

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My Chocolate Éclairs Are Ugly But Possess Awesome Internal Beauty.. Chocolate Éclairs

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INTRODUCTION
 
DON’T BE SHOCKED BY MY UGLY CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS!!! My chocolate éclairs looked like the Chinese dough fritters (you tiao) and I do not know exactly the reasons! I tends to believe that it was due to my uneven pumping techniques.
 
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Because of these funny shapes, my chocolate coatings became  uneven and in fact, it look “ugly’ from certain angles and I am not really happy with the results. Besides these imperfections, I am extremely happy with the choux pastry, it is light and hollow in the centre, ideal for pumping creams or custards…
 
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Éclair essentially uses the same type of choux pastry used for the making of cream puff. It is supposed to be light, have a crispy outer skin but hollow internally. As per Wikipedia: “

“An éclair is an oblong pastry made with choux dough filled with a cream and topped with icing. The dough, which is the same as that used for profiterole, is typically piped into an oblong shape with a pastry bag and baked until it is crisp and hollow inside. Once cool, the pastry then is filled with a vanilla-, coffee- or chocolate-flavoured custard (crème patisserie), or with whipped cream, or chibouks cream; and then iced with fondant icing. Other fillings include pistachio- and rum-flavoured custard, fruit-flavoured fillings, or chestnut purée.”  (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89clair)

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from Page 180, Essential Baking Book  – Chocolate Éclairs

Servings : about 30 éclairs

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Choux Pastry

  • 4 eggs (please disregard one egg in the above picture)
  • 125 grams of unsalted butter
  • 125 grams of plain flour
  • 250 grams of water

Chocolate coating and whipped cream

  • 200 grams of dark chocolate
  • 300 ml of cream, whipped

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre-heat oven to the hot 200 degree Celsius.

  • Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper or lightly grease the baking tray.

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  • In a sauce pan, place water and butter. Bring to boil. Take away the sauce pan and add in flour. Stir until well mix. Put it back to the stove and continue stirring until the dough leaves the side of the pan and forms a ball.

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  • Transfer to the whisking bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the dough for about 30 seconds. Add in one egg at a time and continue to whisk until the egg are well mixed. Repeat the same for the other 3 eggs.  Do not add the eggs too quickly, otherwise, your dough will be very runny. If it is too runny, beat for several minutes or until thickened again. The end result of the dough should be glossy but not runny.

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  • Transfer the dough to a large piping bag fitted with 1.5 cm plain nozzle. Pipe to your desired length (about 8-10 cm) into the baking trays leaving room for expansions. Bake at 200 degree Celsius for 10-15 minutes and reduce the oven temperature to 175 degree Celsius for another 15 minutes or until golden and firm.  Do not open the door during the first 20 minutes as it will deflates the puff when temperature changes and it is unlikely you will need to open the door. You don’t need to open the door when you reduce the temperature.

  • Once ready, take out from the oven and use a toothpick to poke a small hole on both sides of the éclairs to let the trapped moisture to escape. Cool completely on a wire rack .

  • Meanwhile, whipped the cream until firm peak and set aside for later assembly.

  • In a microwavable bowl, put the dark chocolate and microwave using high or medium heat for 1 minute until the chocolate melted. Set aside for later assembly.

  • When cooled, split each éclair and pump in the whipped cream. Spread/dip with melted chocolate. If preferred, chilled for about half an hour before serving.

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CONCLUSION

This is such a sinful indulgence. It is soft, light, creamy and full of chocolate fragrance. For purposes of serving my kids and family members, I have opted to cut it into one bite size.. it is addictive and one is definitely not enough for me..

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

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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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How About A Passion Fruit/Peach Flavoured Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake or Kueh Neng Ko

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INTRODUCTION
 
This is my third post of Kueh Neng Ko or Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake. Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake and Sarawak Laksa had always been my two top posts since I set up this blog. In fact, since I last posted my gassy steamed sponge cake on August 13, 2013, there were daily visits to the post until today. In fact some readers have tried the recipe many times and communicated with me about better ways to prepare a non surprise Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake. Essentially, this means that a sponge cake that will “smile” and not “bold headed”. There are a lot of readers who are passionate about the preparation of this traditional steamed sponge cake.
 
Asking most elderly bakers, they will tell you that this is a delicate cake and the outcome can be rather unpredictable as it depends on too many factors such as steamed temperature, how long the eggs have been beaten, type of steaming utensils and etc. .. In another words, elders has always regarded the cake as cakes that have lots of taboo/prohibitions during the preparation process. Therefore, preparing a smiling Kueh Neng Ko is my mission today and as a test to my earlier recipe.
 
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The steamed sponge cake cake in my second post
 
If you are interested, you can read the two posts here:
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2 days ago when I went shopping in a baking supply store, I was surprised to find the type of bamboo baskets that I have been looking for a while. This is the type of bamboo baskets that my mum used to steam Huat Kueh (another type of steamed rice cake) years ago. In fact, I did not place any hope to find this in Singapore as I may have wrongly perceived that it is rather untrendy to use this type of traditional bamboo baskets nowadays. Immediately when I saw the baskets, I bought a few and eager to try preparing Kueh Neng Ko again.  
 
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The mould wouldn’t disappoint me, it give a wide smiling Kueh Neng Ko using exactly the same old recipe. However, because I do not have 7-up or Sprite, I have used passion fruit/peach flavoured sparkling water and therefore, the Kueh Neng Ko became passion fruit/peach flavoured. By the same logic, readers will be able to prepare Kueh Neng Ko of your preferred flavour..from orange to cola to… anything that you like.
 
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WHAT IS REQUIRED:
 
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  • 2 large eggs (preferably at room temperature) (鸡蛋)
  • 300 grams of self raising flours – sifted (自发面粉)
  • 150 grams of fine sugar (细砂糖)
  • Any gassy drinks of about 200 ml (Seven up, Sprite or sparkling water of your preferred flavour)
  • 2 tablespoons of condensed milk (炼奶)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda (optional)
  • One 6“ bamboo basket (竹篮)
  • Cellophane plastic sheet (玻璃纸)

For this illustration, I have used passion fruit/peach flavour sparkling water instead of the traditional 7 up or sprite.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Pre-preparation

  • Get ready a 6 inches diameter bamboo basket/rattan casing and lined it with lined with cellophane plastic sheet (竹篮玻璃纸). 
  • Get ready a big pot or wok for steaming and make sure that the cover is tall enough for your cake rise.  Boiled the water under high heat and put the empty bamboo basket in the steamer to warm the bamboo basket. (important to heat the bamboo basket)

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  • Crack two eggs in a big mixing bowl. Add the sugar and 2 tablespoons of condensed milks, beat at high speed until the eggs turns light and fluffy. (Note that as a result of adding condensed milks, you may not be able to obtain the soft peak form from egg beating). Fold in the sifted flour as quickly as possible. Add in the gassy drinks and, stir lightly and quickly until well mixed.

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  • Transfer the batter quickly to the heated bamboo basket. Put some some sugar on top of the batter in a cross shape (this is an important step to make it crack). 在鸡蛋面糊上面上,跟着十字的形状,撒下2条直线的白糖。

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  • Steamed under high heat for about 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in and comes out clean. Put in additional hot water if the water dries up. Do not open the steamer cover for the first 15 minutes. Once your remove the cake from the steamer, immediately remove it from the bamboo basket. Place in a wire rack and let it cool completely. 

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CONCLUSION
 
I am extremely happy this steamed sponge cake give me a big smiling face again. Since there are many type of gassy drinks or sparkling water available in the market, therefore you can easily adjust the traditional steamed sponge cake to the flavour that you like. This is the sparkling water of passion fruit/peach flavour, therefore, my resultant steamed sponge cake also become passion fruit/peach flavoured. Is it not good to have some changes? But the colour of the steamed sponge cake will depend on the colour of your sparkling water used.
 
Hope you like the post today and happy trying. Have a nice day.
 
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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 250 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD

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