Homemade Sandwich Bread Loaf

March 17, 2015 at 11:37 pm

I have bought these bread tins from Penang for more than a year and never tried using them before. Few days back, the girls requested for sandwiches for school lunch so I thought why not made a sandwich bread loaf. The girls don’t like sweet bread unless it’s cinnamon buns, so I tweaked the recipe I found in this recipe book, using only 1/3 of the sugar listed on the recipe.

It takes a long time to make produce the loaf because of the ferment, but using a ferment creates a nicer flavour and softer bread, which to me, is worth the wait.

♥Recipe adapted from Carol

Ingredients:
For the ferment:
200g strong white flour
135g water
1/2 tsp yeast

For the dough:
210g strong white flour
90g cake flour
1/4 tsp yeast
20g sugar
3/4 tsp salt
60g extra virgin olive oil
145g water
1 egg

Method :
For the ferment :
1) Mix ingredients for the ferment together (I use hand) for about 5mins until you have a rough dough.
2) Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave it to rest 4hrs~6hrs.

For the dough:
1) Put the flour in a mixing bowl and add in the yeast. Scoop the ferment into the bowl, then add the egg, water, oil, sugar and salt, mixing well until all combined; knead for 4-5mins (I use the Thermomix and knead for 4mins; but you can use hand or a mixer with dough hoook). (Step 1, 2 at the below pix)
2) Remove the dough, and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, forming it to a ball, cover
3) Leave it to rest for 1.5hrs or until double in size. (Step 4 at the below pix)
4) Sprinkle a little flour on your work surface and turn the dough out in one piece, deflate the dough slightly. Divide the dough equally into 2 portion (it’s very soft but supple). Roll them into balls, cover and let it rest for 15mins. (Step 5 at the below pix)
5) Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into long flat strips, and then roll each of the strip up into logs. Once again, roll the dough out into long flat strips with the rolling pin, and roll them up again into logs. (Step 6 to 10 at the below pix)
6) Place the 2 pieces of roll up dough in the bread tin. Allow it to proof for an hour. (Step 11 at the below pix)
7) Mean while preheat the oven to 210C. When the rolls are ready (should rise to almost 90% covering the bread tin), place the lid on and put the bread tin into the oven. (Step 12, 13 at the below pix)
8) Bake for 40mins.
9) Once baked, remove the bread from the tin and let it cool on the rack.

Book page from Carol’s 2nd book

And viola, a nice loaf of sandwich bread.

It has a strong crust which holds its shape, and the bread itself is airy and soft.

Note : The bread tin I have is 20cm x 12cm x 11cm. After the dough was rested, I could see that it has risen much bigger than the bread tin, hence I took about 100g dough out and formed them into buns (baked at same temperature for 12mins). It probably would have spilled out of the tin or making the loaf denser if I haven’t done so.

My Best Bread Recipe

November 7, 2014 at 9:13 am

Life has been crazy for me. To think that I’ll be less busy after the girls’ school exams; not knowing there’ll be the school talent time, the various events the girls’ will be performing in, their involvement in all the different examinations I have signed them up for.

Anyway, despite the busy schedule, I’d been baking bread rather frequently, and this is the recipe I like using as it yields beautiful European style bread with crispy crust (when it’s just out of the oven). It’s my best recipe for this kind of bread.

♥Recipe adapted from Richard Bertinet♥

Ingredients:
For the ferment:
350g flour
180g water
1/2 tsp yeast

For the dough:
450g strong white flour
10g yeast
340g water
50g olive oil (I sometimes use avocado oil)
15g salt

Method :
For the ferment :
1) Mix ingredients for the ferment together (I use hand) for a bout 5mins until you have a rough dough.
2) Place in bowl, cover and leave it to rest 8hrs or overnight.

For the dough:
1) Put the flour in a mixing bowl and add in the yeast. Scoop the ferment into the bowl, then add the water, oil and salt, mixing well until all combined; knead for 4-5mins (I use the Thermomix and knead for 4mins; but you can use hand or a mixer with dough hoook).
2) Remove the dough, and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, forming it to a ball, cover
3) Leave it to rest for 1.5hrs
4) Flour your work surface generously with flour and turn the dough out in one piece. Divide the dough equally into 2 portion. Shape the 2 pieces of dough lightly and gently (it’s very soft but supple) into a ball or loaf.
5) I use proofing baskets, one longish and another round, so I shape one into round, and another into a loaf. Dust my proofing basket generously with flour, and gently place the dough into the baskets. (If you are not using a proofing baskets, you can place the formed dough onto your baking tray generously dusted with flour). Cover with tea towel and let the dough proof for 45mins to 1hr until double in size.
6) Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 240C. When the dough is ready, spray the inside of the oven with a water spray and then pour out the dough from the proofing basket onto the baking tray (heated). Turn down the heat to 220C and bake for 18~20mins.

And there, a nice airy loaf of bread with a crust.

Here are some photos on the ferment and the dough before it went into the oven.
The ferment at the initial stage.

The ferment after 12hours or more.

The ferment when pulled, lots of bubbles and elasticity.

Mixed dough with ferment.

Mixed dough after resting, which has doubled in bulk. (Photo taken with phone under low light, not so nicely taken)

Dough proofing in baskets.

Bread before entering the oven.

Absolutely Delicious Almond Cookies

September 24, 2014 at 12:18 pm

I bought a pack of wholemeal almond flour from iHerb, and it was about to expire. Remember a recipe a friend shared with us a while back, I made some almond cookies with the flour.

A delicious, crumbly cookies, it’s tough to stop munching on them once started.

♥Recipe For Almond Cookies (from Melyssa)♥

Ingredients
120g almond meal
180 flour
45g castor sugar
45g icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
120ml peanut oil (I used rice bran oil)

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.
Combined all the dry ingredients, then add in the oil to form a dough.
Shape them into small balls and bake for 15mins.

Simple and easy recipe and you’ll get a lovely melt in the mouth cookies with nice almond taste.

Homemade Salted Vegetable / Hum Choy / Kiam Chai / 自腌咸菜

August 13, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Nothing beats homemade.

After seeing some videos/posts on how salted/preserved vegetables were made commercially, I’d actually try to limit purchasing of salted or preserved vegetables.

So I decided to make my own using a simple recipe I got from Best-ever Cooking Of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia & The Philippines. This is the 2nd time I’m making it, the end result is a crunchy salted vegetable with no chemical after taste like those you get from store bought ones.

♥Recipe for Homemade Salted Vegetable♥

Ingredients
1/2 cup of rice (actually this can be any amount, just make the amount you will be eating as porridge for that day)
5 cups of water (adjust the quantity according to how much rice you’ll be cooking, ‘rice water’ is what we’ll need to preserve the mustard green, and it has to be enough to submerge the vegetable)
500g mustard greens
35g salt

Method
1. Wash the rice, bring to boil in a large pan with the water. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes. Drain the rice, saving the liquid and letting it cool. The rice itself is not used in this recipe, so you can have the porridge like rice as a meal served with another dishes).

2. Wash the mustard green in lots of water and dry thoroughly. Using a kitchen towel to pat each leave and stalk. It’s important that they are fully dried.

3. Cut the mustard green into smaller stalks and mix with the salt in a non metallic bowl. Leave it for 30 minutes, then squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Salt will cling to the leaves.

4. Place mustard green into a jar, and pour over the completely cooled rice water, make sure the rice water submerge the leaves. Place the jar in a cool place for 4 to 7 days.

5. Drain the salted vegetable. Use immediately or store it in a container and refrigerate for later use. It can be stored up to a week in the fridge, but will taste better if used immediately. These homemade ones are not so salty, so you do not need to wash them before cooking or serving it straight as a dish.

Not too difficult right? The most tedious part of making this is the cleaning of the mustard green (they have lots of sand) and patting them completely dry.

Here are some photographs to document the steps.

Step 2 (Most tedious step) – Wash and pat them dry

Step 3 – Cut them, sprinkle with salt and let it sit for 30mins.

Cut the mustard greens

Mix with salt and leave for 30mins

After 30mins, the liquid in the mustard green will be drawn out

Step 4 – Place them in a jar with the rice water for 4 to 7 days.

Day 1

Day 7

Ready to eat

So how did we eat ours?

Cut a few stalks up and add into a bowl of noodle as condiment.

Stir friend them with chili, minced chicken with some salt and sugar, and drizzle a bit of soy sauce at the end.

(photos without watermark were taken from the phone, hence the bad quality)

Making Zong Zi (粽子) or Glutinous Rice Dumpling

June 18, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I love to eat zong, probably because I love glutinous rice.

My early memory of zong was my Ah Ma’s (maternal grandma for Hokkien), with black eyed peas and fatty pork, which is out of this world. I remember she made them all by herself during the Duan Wu (端午节)or the Dragon Boat Festival or as and when someone was visiting my uncles in Taiwan, and she wanted to bring them some.

I remember she would prepare the ingredient, put them in small little bowls, then she would sit on a stool, meticulously filling each one up and wrapping them into pyramid perfection.

As I spent my first 3 years of primary education living with my Ah Ma, my early childhood memory of food was her cooking. Her simple but delicious kon-loh-mee (干捞面)ladened with deep fried lard cubes and a sprinkle of ajinomoto; and her dried vege pork soup (菜干汤) were some of the best food I’d tasted. Her bak zhang (Hokkien for pork zong zi) was also a legacy, no other zong zi I’d tasted later are up to par.

My Ah Ma has passed away many years now due to her grief for the loss of my mum (who lost her fight with cancer). I didn’t learn up her bak zhang’s recipe, as I wasn’t interested in cooking back then, when both the family’s greatest chefs were still around. My loss really.

Due to a vow I’d made I’d not been eating pork for almost 20 years now, finding a good tasting pork free zong zi is very difficult, most of them were expensive with not much fillings except for glutinous rice.

So 4 years ago, I decided to make myself, using good ingredients, replacing pork with scallop following a pork zong zi recipe, and I used split mung beans instead of black eyed peas like my Ah Ma’s.

The difficult part in making zong zi is not in preparing the ingredients, but in the wrapping. The 1st year I made them, it took me so long just to wrap them properly and secure them with strings (yes, most of them have to be tied with 2 strings or more!); and about 1/4 of them burst open during boiling. 2nd year was better, but still took me a long time, and a couple still burst opened.

Last year, I watched this recording from Wendy Kong, and that’s when I really learnt how to wrap them properly. With right technique, I spent less time wrapping them, they are better secured and fewer zong zi unwrapped itself during boiling.

Last Sunday, while the whole world is celebrating Father’s Day, I decided to use that free day to make some.

This is the recipe I used, adapted to our taste over the years.

(Estimate to make about 30 zong zi, but can be more or less depending on the size the zong zi, so usually I’ll prepare more ingredient except for rice and split mung beans, mission is accomplished when the rice is all used up)

Ingredients:
1kg glutinous rice (rinse and soak in water for ~4hrs)
500g split mung beans (rinse and soak in water for 3hrs, then drain thoroughly)
30 chestnuts (soak overnight, pick out the skin and boil until soft about 1hr)
hand full of dried shrimp (rinse and soak in water for 10mins then drain, then fry till fragrant)
30 dried small scallop (rinse and soak in water for 20mins then drain, then lightly fry till fragrant)
30 salted egg yolks
30 mushrooms (I soak overnight, then stew them in some sugar, salt and oyster sauce)
60 bamboo leaves (soak overnight, wiped and clean each leave and I usually prepare more just in case any of them are torn)
30 strings

Spices for the rice
9 tbs oil
12 cloves garlic (remove skin and chop)
15 shallots (remove skin and slice them thinly)
3 star anise (rinse)
6 tsp oyster sauce
1 1/2 tsp five-spice powder
6tsp light soy sauce
6 tsp sugar
4 1/2 tsp salt

For the rice
1. Heat up oil in wok, stir-fry garlic, shallot and star anise until fragrant. Add in oyster sauce and stir until fragrant. Add in drained glutinous rice and stir well.
2. Add five spice powder, stir fry until fragrant. Lastly add in soy sauce, sugar and salt, stir evenly. Set aside.

Wrapping and cooking zong zi
1. Wrap and tie Zong Zi following this recording, fill the cone with a layer of glutinous rice. Add other filings, top with split mung beans and cover with another layer of glutinous rice.
2. Base a big pot few bamboo leaves (I used the torn ones), add in 2 tsp of sea salt and water (3 cm from the dumpling surface after they’re placed in), bring to boil over high heat. Add zong zi, bring to boil again. Switch to medium heat, continue boiling for 2hrs.
3. Remove one to check if the rice has been thoroughly cooked at the end of 2hrs, if not cooked, continue boiling for another 15, 30mins (adjust your time accordingly based on your observation of the 1st zong zi).
4. Hang the zong zi in a well ventilated place in order to allow the water to evaporate.

In photograph, these are what we used.

Wrapping them take some skills and will improve with practice.

Boiling them take some time.

Hang to let the water to evaporate.

Viola, home made zong zi adjusted to our taste.

Duan Wu is almost 2 weeks ago, this recipe came a little late for this year, but who said you can only eat zong zi during Duan Wu? As long as you can find the leaves, this can be made any time of the year and adjusted to your own preference.

I’d made some according to the girls’ liking as well. Zara didn’t want the salted egg yolk, so I made a few without yolk for her, and double the amount of mushroom. Zaria didn’t want anything except a slice of mushroom.

Zaria asked as well, “Why do you make the dumpling using the same ingredients every year? Why can’t you change? Like putting sausages or bacon (what she likes), and instead of green beans, why not put baked beans?” Maybe I’ll accommodate her next time (but not baked beans zong zi though, that’s just too YUCKS).

Homemade Soy Burger Anyone?

July 27, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Long long time ago in England, I had tasted Linda McCartney’s soy burger, and I absulutely loved it. They didn’t come cheap, and was more expensive than the meat burgers, but that was one of the few indulgence I allowed myself.

A week ago, Daddy used his credit card points to claim some voucher, and bought a high end Philip blender for me during the Harvey Norman sale,
Philip Blender

Since then, I’d made 10 cereal milk (十榖奶) and also soy bean milk (豆奶) a couple of times at home. The first time I made soy bean milk, we used the pulp which is called okara as fertiliser. On my 2nd attempt which was on Saturday, I kept the okara, with the intention of making soy burger with it.

For lunch today, that was what I did. Here is what I’d used (in estimation):
1) a cup of okara
2) one big onion diced
3) less than half a cup of corn kernels (freshly scraped out from a cob)
4) a stalk of spring onin diced
5) a stalk of coriander diced
6) a lightly beaten egg
7) some corn flour and flour to made the patty less runny

Mix them all up in a bowl. Add soya sauce, salt and pepper to taste.
Okara mixture

Add extra flour a little at a time so that the patties can be formed (but expect it to be a bit on the soft side).

Fry the patties in a pan. (The 1st one Jelly actually deep fried it like an Indian wadai, and after that I had to take over the frying)
Frying the Patties

Frying the Patties

And viola, our lunch.

Soy Burger

Soy Burger

It was quite good, probably as delicious as Linda McCartney’s. *ahem*

Lunch was served with a cup of home made soy milk.
Soy Burger

(The girls had left over pizzas instead, since they are not keen on any meat burgers, I didn’t think they will like the soy burger, what more, it was my first attempt. However, I will definitely feed them this the next round).

Btw, I have been getting contradicting information about soya bean. Is it good, is it bad? Does it give you health benefits, or actually harms you? I really don’t know. As I like the taste, I’ll continue to make them.

Yam Rice – Recreated

August 27, 2008 at 1:18 pm

A little drama first…

Yesterday, I told Jelly I will cook yam rice for dinner and got her to prepare the ingredient, frying the yam, boiling the meat and slicing the mushroom.

When it was 6:15pm, I asked her to get the rice rinsed and I’ll do the cooking. She replied, “I’d already cooked the rice, mum”
WHAT????
“I said I’m cooking yam rice right? Why did you cook the rice first?”
“I thought you want, mum.”
“I was just upstairs, you could have asked me right?”
“I thought must cook rice, mum.”
“You don’t even have to call me on the phone, you just need to ask me, that also you can’t do?”
“I thought..”
*cutting her off*“What about the chicken stock?”
“I used to cook the rice, mum.”
WHAT THE ….??? Hate it when they don’t bother asking!!
….. Anyway, Yam rice I’m going to have. So whatever rice she cooked, I got her to store away, we can do a fry rice later.
GRRRR…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’d been cooking yam rice without following a recipe, yesterday I decided to follow this Yam Rice recipe from Delicious Asian Food.

I found what I’d been doing wrongly all this while cooking yam rice the way I did.
1) I fried the uncooked yam cubes with the rice – making the yam very mushy when served
2) I threw away the water that was used to soak the dried shrimp – wasted
3) I didn’t pre-cook the meat, sometimes causing the rice to have the ‘smelly chicken’ smell.

Here is the recipe (I replaced pork with chicken and used an estimated measurement to make cooking easier):

Ingredients
1 small yam dice (cut into small cubes and pre-fried till light brown)
1 piece of kampung chicken breast (the recipe used belly pork, since we don’t eat pork, I use chicken instead).
6 pieces Chinese dried mushroom (pre-soaked until soften. Retain the water used for soaking)
1 handful of dried shrimps (pre-soaked in water for about 5 minutes. Remove dried shrimps and retain the water used for soaking)
Water for boiling
2 cups of rice (rinsed)
4 tablespoons palm oil

Seasoning
1 tablespoons light soya sauce
1 tablespoon dark soya sauce
1/4 teaspoon of white pepper powder
1 teaspoon salt

Method
Bring a pot of water to boil and add chicken. Remove scum from water. When chicken is cooked removed from water and allow to cool. Slice the chicken into small pieces.

Heat up 2 tablespoons of shallot oil (we always have this ready at home). Add mushrooms and stir fry for 2 minutes then add dried prawns. Continue stir-frying for a while until fragrant.

Add chicken and rice and continue stirring and then add the seasoning. Once the rice is evenly coated with seasoning, add the chicken stock (whatever we have left after Jelly used it to cook the first batch of rice) and water previously used to soak mushrooms and dried prawns. Transfer this to rice cooker.

If need to, add more water to cover rice mixture (this call for your normal rice cooking intelligence to know how much water is enough). Switch on the rice cooker. Once rice starts to boil, add pre-fried yam and cover. Allow it to cook till done.

And this was what we had for dinner yesterday.

Yam Rice

The yams are in cubes not mashed up, the rice has the fragrant of dried shrimp (must be from the water that’s used to soak the dried prawns). I had another plate of left over just now for breakfast, and the dried shrimp fragrant was very profound. Yummy!

Go try out this recipe or any other recipes from Delicious Asian Food. And while doing so, stand a chance to win USD100. Click below for details.

Delicious Asian Food USD100 up for grabs

Food for Older Baby

November 13, 2007 at 1:24 pm

We’d started to make lumpier food for Zaria as well as introducing new food to her such as macaroni, noodles and spaghetti. No meat or eggs for her yet, and she’s still fully ‘vegetarian’ until she turns 1 (just to lower the risk of allergy).

She’s having 3 meals a day now. Breakfast is normally oat with fruits; banana or avocado. Lunch is mainly fruits but sometimes her dinner is cooked earlier, and she’ll have a bowl of her dinner for lunch. Dinner is always something savoury.

Zaria's lumpier cereals

Here are some of the things we cooked for her :
Apple, broccoli, carrot cereal (cereals are always made using : brown rice, buckwheat, millet and quinoa)
Red spinach cereal
Cauliflower and potato cereal
Carrot porridge with mashed toufu
Carrot and turnip porridge
Purple cabbage cereal
Red dates and gooseberry porridge
Zucinni with cherry tomatto millet porridge
Beetroot cereal
(as shown in above photo)

Her favourite type of food is actually soup (ABC soup minus the meat; ‘pearl bean’ soup; herbal soup) with rice, noodle or macaroni.

Last Sunday I made fry spinach noodle for her, and she just loved it. We can tell she loves something because she’ll be shouting “mum-mum mum-mum” excitedly and impatiently throughout the meal.

Zaria having spinach noodle

The recipe :
~ 30ml blended boiled spinach (as the sauce)
~ finely shreded carrots
~ finely chop spinach
~ chopped shallots
~ small amount of cooked plain wheat noodle (or mee sua)
Fry shallots with small amount of olive oil until fragrant; stir in carrots and fry until soft.
Stir in noodle and chopped spinach until spinach is cooked.
Pour in the blended boiled spinach to coat the noodle evenly.

She loved it so much she even clapped her hands after the meal.
Yeh!

Zaria’s First Solid – Home made organic cereal

June 24, 2007 at 5:31 pm

Whoosh! 4 more days and Zaria will turn 6months. We let her have her first solid yesterday.

Preparing Zaria's 1st Solid

Soaked rice grain; blending the rice; Zaria all excited in the kitchen; Zaria kept entertained while the cereal was being cooked

Recipe:
1 soup spoon organic brown rice
1 oz breast milk
some water

Soak brown rice for 2 hours
Blend brown rice with water until grains become fine
Cook liquid rice over slow fire, stirring often for about 5~7mins
Stir in Add breast milk and bring to boil.

Yummy Yummy

Yummy Yummy, faster, quick, feed me, feed me!

She loves it! Kept opening her mouth and trying to grab the spoon! Next week, I’ll add quinoa and millet into her cereal.

Happy and Satisfied baby

Me : “Are you happy? Pao pao (Chinese : full) already?” Zaria : *big grin*

Homemade Salted Eggs

June 4, 2007 at 9:47 pm

I stumbled upon a blog entry by a Filipino who’s immigrated to US where she shared the method to make salted egg at home since it’s not easy to get them from where she lives. I wanted to give credit to this person, but I can’t seem to find the link now.

Anyway, after checking out the steps and realised it wasn’t difficult, I was very interested to try it out.

2 weeks ago, when we went to the market, we saw a man selling duck eggs (which was uncommon), and an elderly lady buying the eggs in bulk. I overheard her talking to her companion that she’s in luck as she will be able to make salted duck eggs now instead of salted chicken eggs. I walked forward and chatted with her, checking out her method and confirming the information I saw earlier (from the net) was correct.  So we went on to buy 10 duck eggs and a pack of coarse sea salt home.

Here is how I made them :
Boil a pot of water with coarse sea salt (or any other types of salt) until the water is saturated (no more salt can disolve in the water).
Leave it to cool.
Place the 10 unwashed duck eggs (the elderly lady from the market told me it’s important not to wash the eggs, or the process will fail) into a glass jar (I used the Old Horlicks bottle which can probably hold 20 eggs)
Fill the salt water to the brim of the jar.
Screw on the lid, and leave it aside.

You are supposed to take one out to try at day 14th to check if the egg is salty enough. If it’s not, leave them soaked for another week and pick one more egg to try. Repeat until you are satisfied with the saltiness.

We tried ours yesterday (Day 14th). It was good! Not too salty which is the way I like it, and the yolk is perfectly oranged.

Today, we had 2 more for dinner, steam egg with salted egg yolks. Delicious! (Err, Zara won’t touch the yolk, she’s not a yolk person, so she took only steam egg without the yolk. Suits me, since I love it and I can have her share.)

Homemade Salted Eggs

Maybe I’ll make some organic salted eggs the next round.

Pst, anybody has homemade century egg recipe?

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