What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 11-8-2013

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On 7 August 2013, white rice served with :

1.      Braised Bitter Gourd With Chinese Mustard                                                 苦瓜焖苦瓜

2.     Salted Turnip Omelette                                                                                    菜脯蛋饼

3.     Vegetarian Winter Melon Soup                                                                       素冬瓜汤

First of all, I have to be frank that I will be a vegetarian (by religion) for a period of about 1.5 months and being the only member in the family, I am pretty easy going with my meals. Since my relatives are in my house, they can cook what they like and I usually give them the free hand so that I can concentrate on my other food posts.

However, when I have things to share, I will post here and there summarizing what I have made the last few days. As mentioned before, short recipes will be captured in Guaishushu’s Facebook Page, therefore, I will let you know the dishes published and if you are interested, you can go there for some pictorial illustration. Liking the Page (not the individual posts) will ensure that you will be briefed of all future recipes when Guaishushu issue a pictorial illustration.



Salted Turnip Omelette (菜脯蛋饼)

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This is a very common Chinese household dish especially for the Hokkien and the Teochew dialects. It is basically preserved turnips (either sweet or salty) fried with eggs. When I was young, we used to have this dish with white porridge as its very tasty. Previously, this dish was considered as a commoner’s dish because eggs and preserved turnip or radish are two of the cheapest cooking ingredients. It is tasty and a slice of  egg omelette with a bowl of white rice or porridge can be a meal for the poorer families. However, time have changed, this traditional dish has become so well known that it started to appear in the restaurant menu especially Minan/Hokkien/Taiwan restaurant and Teochew porridge restaurant. Preparation is simple and you may want refer here for detail pictorial illustration.



Braised Bitter Gourd with Chinese Mustard (苦菜焖苦瓜)  

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This is a vegetable dish “invented” by myself many years ago. Initially, it was just bitter gourd and subsequently, as per my wife’s request, Chinese mustard was added. Both Chinese mustard and bitter gourd were very bitter and if you are a bitter taste lover, you will like it definitely. At times, I have added a can of canned button mushrooms and my kids will eat together with us. This is one way of letting them getting used to the taste of bitter gourd and Chinese mustard.

Both these vegetables were beneficial to the body as per Traditional Chinese Medicine, these are “cooling” vegetables that will help to release the “heat” on your body. For those who are not familiar with TCM, body that have too much “heat “ will have lots of symptoms that can range from loss of voice, acnes in your face, sore throat etc. and you have to have food that are “cooling” in nature to balance your Yin and Yang.

My mother in law is very particular about vegetable combination in a meal and she will casually remarked “we have some “heat” prone vegetable today and today we shall have some cooling vegetables.. So under her, her vegetable choices will take into consideration this factor plus “colour” of the vegetable (green vs. white vs. colourful), leafy vs beans….. Most of time, I “failed” her test under her supervision but I am learning from her gradually as this takes time!


Vegetarian Winter Melon Soup (素冬瓜汤)

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Nothing much to say about this dish as it is just another version of winter melon soup without pork ribs. As there is no meat broth, I have use more sweet dates and add in some vegetarian bean curd sheets. My boy did not complain about no meat and my girls, who is soup fanatic, will definitely say nice especially winter melon is one of her favourites.



Banana Cake (香蕉蛋糕)

Beside the savoury dishes, my baking adventures continue. I have made a banana cake using two ripe bananas. Taste is fabulous and texture is superb (soft and moist). Uniqueness about this cake is that it is prepared using a food processor rather than the normal mixer. No creaming of butter, just mixed and blend, a batter will come out that give a delicious butter cake. Cake preparation timing is less than 20 minutes. This is a comfort food that is suitable for those who want a simple way of cake making.

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In between these few days, I have prepared many cakes and savory dishes and among them were:

Oven baked honey tempeh and Sweet and Spicy Tempeh



Vegetable Fritters or Bakwan Sayuran

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Grapefruit Chiffon Cake with Grapefruit Citrus Glaze

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Bubur Cha Cha (Sweet Soup) 

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Hope you like the post today. Cheers

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King of Fruits + Cream Cheese = Durian Cheesecakes, Game to Try?

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INTRODUCTION

Imagine a bite of cream cheese and another bite of durian flesh, that will be what you are going to get from these cheese cake, soft, smooth, creamy and sweet.

A rather simple chilled cheese cake to make without baking, therefore the natural aroma of the durian are maintained in the cake even days after it was prepared. For this recipe, it is rather flexible except one step that I am rather insistent-handling of the durian flesh. Mastering this step will give you a cheese cake that will impressed your guest. For this step, I beg to disagreed  with any shortcut method(no blending), other than that, you can use your common sense to proceed with the making of the cheesecake.

Steps in preparing the durian cheesecake will involve (preferably in this order to smoothen your flows of preparation):

  • Preparing the biscuit crust
  • Preparation of gelatine
  • Beating the cream
  • Sifting the durian flesh
  • Making the cream cheese fillings
  • Decorating and serving the cake

Though it looks like the step are many, however the times taken are very short. So, don’t be frightened by the steps  mentioned here.

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WHAT IS DURIAN….

To start the post,  it is only fair that I have some introduction on durian as a number of my overseas friends apparently never seen durian before. As usual, per Wikipedia:

“The durian /ˈdjʊriən/ is the fruit of several tree species belonging to the genus Durio and the family Malvaceae. Regarded by many people in southeast Asia as the “king of fruits”, the durian is distinctive for its large size, strong odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The fruit can grow as large as 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and it typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lb.). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale yellow to red, depending on the species.

The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour that is strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as pleasantly fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and revolting. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust, and has been described variously as almonds, rotten onions, turpentine, raw sewage. The persistence of its odour has led to the fruit’s banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.”

picture source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/



WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 350 g of assorted biscuits.You can use biscuits of any type and I have used 2 types of biscuits some sugar crackers and some Fox chocolate crunch biscuits. I have chosen to use these 2 types of biscuits as there are slightly sweeten and have been sitting in my kitchen cabinets for quite a while.
  • 150 g of melted butter.
  • 350 g cream cheese at room temperature
  • 750 g of fresh durian flesh (with seeds)

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  • 90 g of granulated sugar or sugar powder
  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • 6 large teaspoons of gelatine powder 
  • 1/2 cups of plain water
  • 8 inches spring form cake tin or detachable base cake tin. You can refer here for more explanation on the cake tin selection.

For decoration of the cake

  • 10 large teaspoons of gelatine powder 
  • 1 cup of plain water
  • 200 gram of flesh durian tear into smaller pieces.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparing the biscuit crust….

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  • Microwave heat your butter for 1 minutes and set aside for later use.
  • In a food processor, place your assorted biscuits and blend your biscuits until very fine pieces. The finer it is, the easier it is for you to make the crust . However, if you want to have something to munch in your mouth, you can have your biscuit pieces coarser.
  • Transfer the chopped biscuits into a mixing ball. Gradually add in the melted butter. Stir until well mixed.

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  • Transfer the chopped biscuits into the spring form baking tin. Use a spoon to press firmly against the bottom and against the side such that it is equally spread out. Put in the freezer and refrigerate until later use.

 


Preparation of gelatine…..

This step can be used for both the cream cheese filling and decoration of the cheesecake.

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  • Put the water in a small metal bowl, sprinkle the gelatine in an even layer over the surface and leave to go spongy.
  • Take another bigger metal bowl, put some water and heat it using the smallest heat. Place the first bowl on top of the hot water, stir until all the gelatine are dissolved.
  • Take out, let it cool at room temperature and set aside for later use.

Beating of Cream…

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  • Either hand whisk or using a machine beat the cream until firm peak. Note that your mixing bowl must be dry and free of any oils. Otherwise , it is hard to beat the cream until firm peak. Don’t over whipped your cream. When you over whipped your creams, your can add a bit of fresh cream to make the cream looked fresh again. Shall I refer to you to some links from www.finecooking.com’s video that I have posted in Guaishushu’s Facebook Page here.
  • Scoop out your whipped cream and put it in a fridge.


Sifting of Durian Flesh…

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  • Get hold of 750g of fresh durians. De-seed the durian and put it in a sift. Use a metal spoon to rub against the sift until all the flesh become some meshed durian. Weigh 350 g and keep the leftover in the fridge for making of “durian ice cream” if you want.
  • Put your sifted durian in the fridge as it can oxidize rather quickly. Alternatively, you can just add one scoop of fresh cream that you have whipped and mixed with the sifted durian, it will reduce the tendency to get oxidize. Oxidize will render your colour darker and therefore would have less appeal to your guest.

Note:

There is no compromise to this step. As I am making a chilled creamy cheese cake, I do not wish to have any durian fibres in the cake. It should be as smooth as the cream cheese. No blending and other short cut. Eating a cheesecake with strains for durian fibres will irk your guest.

It is rather difficult to estimate the exact quantity of the raw durian you need as the recovery rates can varies. The durian that you seen in the picture is of rather good quality, yellowish colour, sweet and soft but comparatively small compared to other better quality ones. You don’t need top grade durians as too strong the smell will mask cream cheese flavour. Probably you just need the least expensive durian and your guest will be equally impressive with your final cheesecake. For Singapore and Malaysian readers, I have bought about 1.5 kg of raw durians for about SGD20. You should be able to judge the quality. It is a good buy as I only managed to use half of the durians.

Another side tip. Add equivalent amount of cream to your meshed durian, stir well, freeze it and you will get the durian ice cream. Try it and you will know that only homemade durian ice cream can be that luxurious.. thick and aromatic. Alternatively, pump into a choux pastry and it will become durian puff and if wrapped in a crepe will become durian crepe… 

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Making the Cream Cheese Fillings

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  • Use the same mixing bowl that you beat your cream, put in the cream cheese and the sugar, beat until well mixed and smooth. It will be rather fast and 2-3 minutes will do.
  • Add in the sifted durian flesh and beat at low speed until well mixed.

Note:

Some readers are telling me that they don’t have a sweet tooth and concerned about the sweetness. The sugar content in this recipe is very low considering 90g in the entire cake of about 900g, representing only about 10% of the ingredients. However, if you are still concern about the sweetness, change the granulated sugar to icing sugar powder, start with half of the volume and take a small tablespoon and taste the cream cheese durian mixture, if it is too sweet, just add in the remaining sugar powder in stages until it suit your taste buds.

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  • Take out the cooled gelatine, fold in the durian cream cheese mixture with a spatula or big metal or wood spoon. Ensure that it is well mix and followed by folding in the whipped cream. Stir until well mixed.

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  • Take out the baking tin, pour the mixture and use a spoon to flatten the top and chilled it over night.

Note:

While it is best that you chilled it overnight. However, if you run short of time , you can consider to put it in the freezer for about 1 hour when the mixture start to set or becoming firm and proceed with the next steps of decoration.

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Decorating and serving  the Cheesecake

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The decoration below is for your reference only. As durian and cheese are rather yellowish in colour,  therefore the colour of the cheesecake is quite monotonous. I have topped the cheesecakes with additional tear durian flesh. When it is set, I have made some more gelatine (about 10 big teaspoons of gelatine with 1 cup of water) and put on top of durian flesh. In this manner, the gelatine will help to preserve the durian flesh flavour and avoid it to oxidize.

For the serving, I have cut slices of fresh mango to go with it. The fresh mango will negate the creaminess of the cheesecake and just an excellent combo that I have never thought of before.

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CONCLUSIONS

  • This is not a difficult cake to make but if you are a durian and cheesecake lover, you will definitely like the cake. The cake is very creamy with natural durian fragrance even days after the cake is make. It is smooth and soft as the durian flesh have been sifted to get rid of the fibre.
  • Understand how to make this cake will also give you numerous alternatives of dessert preparation. The addition of cream to sifted durian flesh will be ideal for your durian cream puff using the choux pastry or durian crepes when wrapped it in a crepe.
  • The recipe here is definitely for homemade purposes where the usage of ingredients are rather “hard core” for durian lovers. With the same proportion of raw ingredients I mentioned in this post, this cake will be very costly if you buy it in restaurants or cafe. However, with  a fraction  of restaurant price, you can comfortably have a much better cheesecakes than in other eating outlets.
  • All steps here are rather flexible except sifted  durian flesh which I am quite insistent as the cake should be smooth and  non – fibrous. If you can’t finish the cake, try store it in a freezer, take a portion out, when you crave for it, defrost and tell me what is it like. You would not be disappointed.

Thanks for reading the post and hope you have a nice day. Cheers.

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For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 10th February 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .

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