Monday, May 17, 2010

Banana Cream Pie

I am in love with this pie! It is just so good. When I took the pie out of the oven, I thought I would distribute some to my relatives. After we each ate a slice, it was unanimously decided to keep the pie in the refrigerator for our further consumption.

However, it proved far too good to keep the whole pie to ourselves. So when we received visitors, we had to give them a taste of it.

I've been waxing lyrical about the pie to just about everyone who would listen. So here's the recipe, as adapted from House of Annie. I used my own favourite recipe for the crust. I like my pie crust almost sugar free. It goes well with the sweet filling. I won't be posting that yet as I am still tweaking it.

One pie crust dough
~~ -- Pudding -- ~~
1 cups milk
28 grams butter
3/8 cups sugar ; (or less, you can taste the pudding later and if it's not sweet enough, you can add more sugar)
1 1/2 tablespoon All purpose flour ; heaping
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence

1. Preheat oven to 400 F (210 C).

2. Roll out your dough into a round, about 1/8 inch thick, dusting with flour to keep it from sticking. Place dough round on your pie pan and press into pan and crimp edges to the side of the pan. Dock with a fork all around the crust.

3. Cover with foil or parchment paper and cover with pie weights. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

4. Remove foil/parchment paper and bake for another 10-12 minutes till golden brown.

5. Cool pie crust.

Pudding method:
1. Heat on stove milk and butter over med-low heat in large sauce pan.

2. Mix in another bowl the sugar, flour, salt and yolks. Add to this mixture enough milk from the sauce pan to make a paste.

3. Add paste to milk/butter mixture on stove. Make sure the milk mixture is not too hot when adding the paste or the eggs will curdle. Whisk mixture constantly over med-low heat until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Do not boil for too long or it will thicken too much.

4. Remove from heat immediately and stir in vanilla essence. Let it cool slightly. If you want a smoother pudding, strain it so that the bits of cooked egg will be strained out.

To assemble banana cream pie:
1. Slice 5-8 bananas (depending on size of bananas) in half length-wise. You can choose to slice them into rounds but I find that the pie slices hold better when you slice in half and lay them in circles around the crust. Cut as needed to fit all the bananas into the bottom of the pie crust.

2. Pour warm pudding over bananas until the bananas are covered and the pudding is almost at the top of the crust.

3. Cool in refrigerator until set, about 2-3 hours.

4. Just before serving, whip some heavy cream with sugar and vanilla. Spread whipped cream over pie.

5. Slice into wedges and enjoy!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I came across this recipe in AllRecipes when I was having an bad attack of chocolate craving. These cookies were nice. I used local baking cocoa, which may be why the texture is a tad bit dry. But the recipe wasn't kidding about it being chocolatey!

2 cups All purpose flour
3/4 cup Baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Butter ; or margarine; softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks

1. PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F.

2. COMBINE flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chunks. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

3. BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set but still soft. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Green Pepper, Mushroom and Olive Pizza

We bought a bottle of black olives last weekend and that meant I had to make pizza so that I can have olives as one of the toppings! I always have fun making pizza.

The crust is fun to make though it takes time for the rising for the rising of the bread. It's fun to think of the combination of the pizza topping. The only thing difficult is the grating of the mozzarella. I must be doing it wrong. The cheese is already so soft, it's virtually impossible to grate it. I tend to push it through the grater holes more than grate it.

Nevertheless, the end result is great!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Honeydew Sago Dessert

Whenever my family goes out for a proper 8-course Chinese dinner, I always ask the person who ordered the food whether we will be having cold dessert. Cold desserts are a much better way to end a meal than a hot one, I always think (with the exception of the peanut soup and Chinese pancake dessert). One of my favourite cold desserts is the Honeydew Sago Dessert.

It's a matter of preference the amount of honeydew sago you want in your dessert. This recipe is adapted from House of Annie.

Ingredients :
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Sugar ; or to taste
2 pandan leaves ; shredded and knotted
1 cup sago ; (tapioca pearls)
1 cup Coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 honeydew melon

Make a simple syrup: Put water, sugar and pandan leaves into a small pot and boil till sugar dissolves to make a syrup. Strain and cool.

Boil the sago: Put a big pot of water to boil. When water comes to a boil, add sago to water and cook on med-high heat. Stir occasionally. Sago is done cooking when it looks translucent, about 8-10 mins. Caution: Don't overcook the sago as it can become a sticky mess. Better to have a few pearls that have not turned translucent than to have a glop of melting sago.

Cut and blend the melon: While sago is cooking, cut 3/4 of the 3/4 melon into chunks. Place honeydew chunks in blender and buzz in your blender till smooth. Dice the remaining quarter of the melon into small ½ inch cubes or use a melon baller.

Rinse the sago: As soon as sago is done, pour it out into a fine-mesh colander and rinse with cold water.

Make coconut mixture: Add salt to coconut milk, to taste. Set aside.

Assemble the dish: Put the melon cubes and the melon juice together into a large bowl. Add the coconut milk. Followed by the cooled sago. Pour in the sugar syrup little by little, to adjust the sweetness.

Chill. To serve, scoop into individual bowls and add ice cubes or ice shavings.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Japanese Tofu and Vegetables

This is such a terrifically flavourful dish. It will definitely be part of my meal rotation. The next time, I would probably not add the chicken strips. The dish is good with just tofu and vegetables.

This recipe is adapted from Kuali and serves 4.

1 packet Japanese tofu ; cut into 1.5cm pieces
Tapioca flour ; for coating
1 teaspoon Garlic ; chopped
1/2 teaspoon Ginger ; chopped
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
100 grams chicken meat ; steamed and shredded
2 pieces Chinese black mushrooms ; soaked and sliced thinly
25 grams frozen green peas ;
25 grams carrots ; diced
~~ -- Seasoning -- ~~
1/2 cup water
3/4 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/4 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Shao Hsing Hua Tiau wine ; (optional)
1 teaspoon chicken stock granules
~~ -- Thickening -- ~~
1 tablespoon corn flour
2 tablespoons water

Coat sliced tofu pieces in tapioca flour. Deep fry in hot oil until golden. Dish out and drain on absorbent kitchen paper towels.

Heat oil and sesame oil in a wok; saute ginger and garlic until fragrant. Add black mushrooms and carrots. Stir-fry well. Add seasoning, green peas and chicken meat. Blend in thickening. Add tofu pieces. Give it a good stir and serve immediately.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sticky Date Pudding

The April 2010 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

I did not use Esther's recipes as I did not want to use suet. I searched the web and came across this pudding by The Pudding Club which used steaming as well. I've never taken Sticky Date Pudding so I'm unsure of the texture. The one I made had a very fine crumb and it was slightly on the dry side (I have a feeling puddings are supposed to be wetter). However, it tasted great and went terrifically with the caramel sauce.


45g margerine

45g light brown sugar

75g dates, chopped

100ml hot water

180g Plain Flour

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

¾ teaspoon vanilla essence

1 egg

~~ Sauce ~~

15g butter

60g mixed dark & light brown sugar

65ml double cream

Melt sauce ingredients together and put in to the base of a greased 1.1litre pudding bowl.

Put chopped dates in the hot water, add baking powder, vanilla essence and bicarbonate of soda, leave to soak for 10 minutes.

Cream together margarine and sugars, beat in the egg gradually. Add dates, water and flour and mix well (the mixture will be very liquid).

Pour mixture on to the sauce, cover and steam for 1.5 hours.

The sauce and sponge mixture mix together during cooking.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Assam Fish Curry

My grandmother used to use this Assam Fish Curry as a the soup base for her Laksa. I never could quite take to it. I prefer the Laksa my dad makes. However, the Assam Fish Curry goes terrifically with white or brown rice.

I adapted this recipe from Kuali. Serves 8.

1 kilogram mackerel ;
250 grams ladies fingers
1 Tomato ; quartered
3 sprigs polygonum leaves ; (daun kesum)
4 tablespoons tamarind paste ; mixed with
500 mililiters Water
1 wild ginger bud ; halve and smash stem
2 pieces dried tamarind skin
5 tablespoons oil
~~ -- Ground Ingredients -- ~~
12 shallots
8 fresh red chillies
4 slices Galangal
1 cm fresh turmeric
2 cm square belacan ; toasted
2 stalks Lemongrass
~~ -- Seasoning -- ~~
3/4 teaspoon salt ; or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar ; or to taste

Heat oil in a deep saucepan and sauté ground ingredients and wild ginger bud halves and polygonum leaves until aromatic and the oil rises.

Add asam jawa juice and bring to the boil. Add ladies fingers, dried tamarind skin and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Put in mackerel and cook for 10 minutes. Add tomato and adjust seasoning to taste. Dish out and serve with hot plain rice immediately.