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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spring Favor

Took me a while to dig out photos that I sent to Jason, my
cousin last Spring. I rememberred vividly how he was totally
freaked out being assigned to help out with the catering for his
school's Spring Collection Fashion Show.

No, not that Jason is a good cook or has a parent who is a chef
or has any connection with any culinary institutions of any sort.
But just basically he is Asian, a creative one... and this year's
collection has the provocative Asian theme. So the Committee
was thinking that having him in the catering team will churn out
some great spicy ideas of what to be served during the break of
the show. Well, I guess this happens when they do not allocate
any budget for hiring a professional catering service.

And that was how I got involved. He must be scratching his
head off before he finally decided to ask for my suggestion. He
sounded desperate in his long distance call. So I told him that I
gave him some ideas the next day.

Chinese Drunken Prawn Quiche, Fried Fish Ball, Fresh Spring
Roll, ... to Crab in Mayonaisse Eclair. Among those ideas, I liked
Fresh Spring Roll the most. It carries the word "Spring", fresh,
not fried... and the filling contains colorful vegetables that
reflects the season's freshness - budding of trees and growth of
plants. And not to forget, easy to make!

Makes 20 rolls

- Spring roll pastry - available in supermarkets > 20 pieces
- Water > 1 liter
- Salt > 1 teaspoon
- Carrots - grate coarsely into long sticks > 200 grams
- Asparagus > 20 stems
- Green salad lettuce - tear into moderate sheets > 200 grams
- Candlenut - toss on pan til cooked > 3
- Garlic > 6 cloves
- Shallot > 4 cloves
- Butter > 2 tablespoons
- Chicken - mince > 300 grams
- Ground coriander seeds > 2 teaspoons
- Granulated sugar > 1 1/2 teaspoons
- Salt > 3/4 teaspoon
- Ground pepper > 1/2 teaspoon
- Spring onion - chop > 2 stalks

- Leave spring roll pastry in room temperature. Cover with damb
cloth to avoid pastry from drying out.
- Boil water and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Fold in asparagus and
carrots until moderately cooked. Drain and leave to cool.
- Combine candlenut, garlic, and shallot in a food processor until
- Saute garlic mixture with butter until fragrant and golden
brown. Fold in minced chicken and add coriander seeds, sugar,
salt, and pepper.
- Fry until chicken is cooked and dry. Add spring onion.
- Set aside and leave to cool.
- Spread spring roll sheet in a diagonal position. Arrange lettuce
and asparagus at the center, carrots on the right, and chicken
on the left. Let vegetables stick out at the top.
- Roll spring roll sheet to cover and fold the bottom down to
cover completely.
- Serve.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Her Favorite Pie

Ran into my pyschiatrist friend's family while I was in the supermarket last weekend. It has been a long while I didn't see them and the occasion of seeing them accidentally was quite a pleasant surprise.

Of course we chatted a little bit while I was queueing at the cashier, especially with my friend's mom and auntie. Interesting conversation about work, daily life, and my baking activities. This family is very familiar with my cakes since I used to bake for them quite regularly while I was visiting. My friend usually asked me to stay for lunch or dinner with his family since his auntie enjoyed cooking a variety of dishes for each meal. And they all taste good. So to show my appreciation, I baked something nice on my following visit.

That reminds me about my conversation with his auntie a few years back. As I was asking her what would be her favorite cake if I was to bake for her. And she answered convincingly: "Lemon pie". Told her I would bake just that if my free occasion arises. And that should be now!

Serves 10 persons

Note: Prepare lemon cream 4 hours and crust 1 hour in advanced.

1. Crust

Prepare: 8.5 inch tart mould

- All purpose flour > 125 grams
- Salt > 1 gram
- Icing sugar > 50 grams
- Almond powder > 18 grams
- Eggs > 28 grams
- Unsalted butter – room temperature > 88 grams

- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Mix all ingredients together to form dough.
- Roll crust dough into a 0.3 thickness and press it at the base and sides of the tart mould. Poke some holes on the center.
- Position aluminium foil on top of crust dough. Add beans for weights.
- Bake at 180°C for 20 minutes. Remove aluminium foil and beans and continue baking until crust turns golden brown.
- Cool crust on wire rack.

2. Lemon cream

- Eggs > 134 grams
- Granulated sugar > 160 grams
- Lemon juice > 100 ml
- Lemon rind > 6 grams
- Unsalted butter – room temperature > 200 grams

- Combine egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and rind. Whip moderately until smooth.
- Fold into a saucepan and cook in low heat. Constantly stir until mixture is thick.
- Place in a mixing bowl and cool on ice bath until it reaches 45°C.
- Add butter and whip until smooth.
- Pour into air tight container and refrigerate for 4 hours.

3. Italian meringue

- Egg whites > 70 grams
- Water > 80 ml
- Granulated sugar > 150 grams

- Fold lemon cream into the crust and spread evenly with a spatula.
- Place egg whites in the mixing bowl ready to be whipped.
- Mix water and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over low heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring syrup to 117°C.
- While syrup is about 110°C, start whipping egg whites until frothy. At exactly 117°C, pour hot syrup into egg whites while whipping until stiff peaks form. Meringue will look smooth and glossy.
- Fill meringue into a piping bag with a flat piping tip. Pipe on top of lemon cream in zigzag formation.
- Burn meringue with a blow torch.
- Decorate with lemon slices.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Félicitations, Mon Cher!

This morning my date, C just got a high profile job offer in a well established French company - a job that requires responsibility to be in charge of 20 staff. I am so happy that despite the world economic crisis, luck is always at the side of those who are eyeing for a new job. And besides, C is really capable and I am confident that the job will land quickly one of these days. "Congratulations, dear... I am so proud of you!"

To remember this lucky moment, I like to post the dish that we both enjoy: pumpkin soup that has a special kick of taste and aroma. Mesmerizing with its striking yellow hue and smooth texture, this soup appears best when served with crusty french bread. Enjoy!

Serves 4 persons

- Olive oil > 1 tablespoon
- Onion – medium size, chop > 1
- Garlic – chop > 2 cloves
- Pumpkin – skin, dice > 3 ½ cups
- Water > 3 1/8 cups
- Chicken stock powder > 2 teaspoons
- Orange juice and rind > 1 orange
- Fresh thyme – pluck leaves from stalks > 1 ½ tablespoons
- Milk > 1/3 cup
- Salt > ¼ teaspoon
- Pepper > 1/8 teaspoon

- Preheat saucepan and sauté onions in olive oil for 3 minutes until fragrant and soft.
- Add pumpkin dices and chopped garlic. Continue cooking and stirring for 2 more minutes.
- Add water and chicken stock powder, orange juice and rind, and thymes to the saucepan. Cook until boiled.
- Turn to low fire, cover the saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes or until pumpkin is soft. Leave to just warm.
- Pour warm mixture into food processor and blend until fine.
- Return the blended mixture back into saucepan. Add salt, pepper, and milk and cook until almost boiled.
- Place on serving bowls. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.
- Serve with crusty bread.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Clear Soup

It is approaching weekend again. So excited! What would I be baking or cooking this weekend? I simply must say that I might go for something light and nutritious... considering the heat during this period in Thailand. It is time to be smart and take good care of our health, agree?

For those who are so used to eating out, why not cook something easy for yourself ... to break away from the routine and feel good at the same time. Do what I did last weekend: prepare Chinese Cabbage Soup with lots of carrots. Kids would love it too, I am sure...

Serves 4 persons

- Water > 2¼ liter
- Pork ribs > 300 grams
- Carrots – cut into moderate chunks > 250 grams
- Tomato – slice into quarter > 1
- Granulated sugar > 3 teaspoons
- Salt > 1¼ teaspoons
- Napa cabbage > 450 grams
- Coriander leaf > 1 stalk

- Boil water in the sauce pan.
- Toss in pork ribs and cook for half an hour. Remove the floating fat.
- Fold in carrot chunks and tomato slices.
- Add sugar and salt and continue cooking until carrots are soft.
- Finally put cabbage into boiling soup. Leave to cook until cabbage becomes slightly transparent.
- Place in serving bowl. Garnish with coriander.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Welcome to Bake in Paris! The following list will help you decide what to do in your kitchen in your free time!

1. Lemon Cheese Cake with Caramelized Cumquats
2. Chocolate Banana Cake with Banana Cream and Gooseberries
3. Yam Cake
4. Honey Rum Pudding
5. Orange Tian
6. Tiramisu
7. Chocolate and Passionfruit Lamingtons
8. Spiced Banana Almond Cakes
9. Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting
10. Dobos Torta
11. Chocolate Lava Cake
12. Lime and Coconut Cake
13. Coffee Cake
14. Chocolate Pavlova With Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse
15. Pink Lychee Mousse Cake
16. Lychee Mousse Cake
17. Chocolate Mousse Cake
18. Peach Cake
19. Chocolate and Passionfruit Nanaimo Bars
20. Steamed Fruit Sponge Pudding
21. Steamed Savoury Pudding

1. Crostata
2. Fruit Tart
3. Peanut Butter Cheese Pie
4. Bavarian Apple Cheese Pie
5. Pumpkin Cheese Pie
6. Bakewell Tart
7. Apple Pie
8. Meringue Lemon Pie
9. Banana Tart
10. Lemon Tart
11. Longan Cream Tart

1. Rich Chocolate Cupcakes
2. Vanilla Cupcakes
3. Chocolate Cupcakes
4. Castle Chocolate Cupcakes

1. Saint Honore
2. Piece Montée / Croquembouche
3. Deep Fried Italian Cannoli
4. Chocolate Strawberry Wontons
5. Croissant
6. Vol-au-Vent
7. Chocolate Dosas with Creme Patissiere
8. Swan Choux
9. Apple Strudel

1. Yellow Plum Scones
2. Bombolini Doughnuts
3. Koulouria
4. Stollen Wreath
5. Fig and Cinnamon Scone Twist

1. Pink Carnation Macarons
2. Saffron Macarons
3. Rose Macarons
4. Chestnut Macarons
5. Black Sesame Macarons
6. Blueberry Macarons
7. Strawberry Macarons

1. Decorated Sugar Cookies
2. Chocolate Ginger Crinkle Cookies
3. Crispy Marshmallows
4. Milan Cookies
5. Mallows - Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies
6. Ginger Almond Biscotti
7. Gingerbread House

1. Honey Parfait on Green Apple Jelly
2. Mini Raisin and Cranberry Bread Pudding
3. Choux Square With Fruits
4. Strawberry Panacotta in Cups
5. Peach Vanilla Panacotta
6. Cointreau Truffles

1. Baked Alaska
2. Petite Four
3. Swiss Roll Ice Cream Cake
4. Banana Ice Cream
5. Red Rose Apple Sorbet
6. Avocado Ice Cream

1. Fried Prawns with Sweet Green Peas and Ginkgo Nuts
2. Brunswick Stew
3. Prawn and Pumpkin Risotto
4. Mezze: Pita Bread, Hummus, Falafels, and Tabouli
5. Satay with Peanut Sauce
6. Sushi 2
7. Salmon en Croute
8. Spicy Minced Pork Cannoli with Mint
9. Sushi 1
10. Pho
11. Prawn Omelette in Sweet and Sour Tomato Sauce
12. Indian Dosas
13. Fried Curry Cucumber with Anchovy
14. Skate, The Traditional Flavors Powdered
15. Steamed Shrimp Dumplings
16. Chinese Dumplings
17. Sweet and Sour Chicken
18. Stir Fried Chinese Chives Flowers in Brandy
19. Chinese Porridge with Carrots and Tomatoes
20. Fried Morning Glory
21. Fresh Spring Rolls
22. Green Curry Fried Rice with Mango
23. Fried Chickens and Prawns in Lemon Sauce
24. Fragrant Ginkgo Couscous
25. Fried Chicken in Pickled Tofu
26. Fried Lotus Roots and Sweet Peas
27. Yellow Chicken Curry
28. Ginger and Mushroom Pomfret
29. Fried Broccoli
30. Tofu Chaos
31. Fried Bitter Gourd Served with Couscous
32. Spanish Rice with Prawns, Mushrooms, and Artichokes

1. Fried Rigatoni with Cucumber and Thai Green Peppercorns
2. Smoked Ham Spaghetti with Broccoli
3. Green Bean Spaghetti
4. Macaroni and Cheese
5. Crab Stick Linguine with Cheese

1. Lotus Root Soup
2. Pumpkin Soup with Orange and Thyme
3. Chinese Cabbage Soup

1. Grapefruit and Orange Salad
2. Broccoli Salad in Lemon Sauce
3. Green Eggplant Salad
4. Spicy Cucumber Salad

1. Melodious Passion
2. In Harmony
3. Handsome
4. Basil Crush

Tarte aux Pommes

How a dozen times I wanted to bake a classic apple pie with a well composed flower-like top appearance? Don’t know really why it took me so long to lay my hands on those Granny Smith apples that have been sitting in my fridge for a week now. Apparently these apples are so long lasting and they still look as good as the first day I bought them. Amazing!

So without any delay, I should stick to my decision to have a go on this Apple Tart and get it over with. Okay, let’s peel those apples before I change my mind.

Serves 10 persons

Note: Prepare almond cream 1 hour in advanced.

1. Crust
Prepare: 7 inch cake ring

- All purpose flour > 125 grams
- Salt > 1 gram
- Icing sugar > 50 grams
- Almond powder > 18 grams
- Eggs > 28 grams
- Unsalted butter – room temperature > 88 grams

- Mix all ingredients together to form dough.
- Roll crust dough into a 0.3 thickness and press it at the base and sides of the tart mould.
- Leave aside.

2. Almond cream

- Whipping cream > 84 ml
- Icing sugar > 134 grams
- Almond powder > 134 grams
- Corn flour > 13 grams
- Unsalted butter – room temperature > 100 grams
- Egg > 84 grams
- Rum > 2 tablespoons

- Combine icing sugar, almond powder, corn flour and butter in a mixing bowl. Whip moderately until smooth and free of lumps.
- Gradually fold in egg. Add whipping cream and rum and stir until batter is smooth.
- Pour into air tight container and refrigerate for an hour.

3. Green apples

- Granny Smith apples – peel, core, slice with 0.3 cm thickness > 3
- Apricot gel > for glazing

- Soak apple slices into water mixed with lime or lemon juice to prevent decoloration.
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Fold almond cream into the crust dough and spread evenly with a spatula.
- Arrange apple slices on top of almond cream in a circular formation, overlapping one another.
- Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes or until crust turns golden brown and apple slices are cooked.
- Burn apple slices with a blow torch to create outstanding outlines.
- Serve warm or cold.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ginger Almond Biscotti

Biscotti originated from the Latin word "biscotto" - "bis" means twice and "cotto" means baked. The term therefore refers to the type of biscuits baked twice and therefore, crunchy and rather dry in texture. Originally flavored with almonds, the crisp nature makes biscotti a great accompaniment for a cup of strong coffee or a glass of dessert wine.

Baked my very first biscotti when I was dating a flight attendant. As an exchange to my date's delicious home-made Italian dinner earlier, I thought it would only be appropriate if I baked Italian biscuits to accompany our TV watching session. Fortunately they turned out right and what a coincidence Ginger Almond Biscotti happened to be my date's favorite!

Well, that was the past..... Now it is more like practicing and see whether there is any necessity to adjust the recipe. And yes, my current date has to help me gradually finish up the whole tray. So they'd better be crunchy and scrumptious. On a second thought, what if my date doesn't really like it?

Makes 12 pieces

Prepare: a rectangular bread mould with length 8 inch, width 4 inch and height 2.5 inch, and a big baking tray

- Multi purpose flour > 120 grams
- Baking powder > 1 teaspoon
- Granulated sugar > 80 grams
- Salt > 1/8 teaspoon
- Cinnamon powder > 3/4 teaspoon
- Salted butter > 40 grams
- Egg > 1
- Almond sticks > 25 grams
- Candied ginger > 20 grams
- Fresh ginger - chop > 10 grams

- Preheat oven to 190ºC.
- Combine multi purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
- Add salted butter and egg and mix till well combined.
- Finally fold in almond stick, candied ginger, and chopped fresh ginger.
- Press dough into mould and flatten the surface.
- Bake at 190ºC for 20 minutes.
- Remove mould out from oven and take baked biscotti out.
- Cut into slices with thickness of 1 cm.
- Arrange in a wide baking tray.
- Return to oven and continue baking for 10 minutes, reverse biscotti upside down and bake for 10 minutes more.
- Check whether biscotti is dry, hard and crunchy.
- Leave to cool on wire tray.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Water Festival

Got many things lining up for the next post but just haven't had the time to do the introduction story for each one of them. And the reason is during Songkran Festival I was spending my holiday at the beach resort.

Songkran Festival that falls each year on 13 - 15 April is a Thai New Year celebration and to most, it is also well known as "Water Festival". During this time we venture out onto the streets and get ready to be wet of water-throwing ranging from a polite splash to harmless water pistols and showers from garden hoses or water buckets. It is a refreshing tradition to beat the heat during this hottest season of the year. But there is a deeper meaning to Songkran than just fun and water.

"Songkran" derives from Sanskrit language, meaning "move into". Influenced by the ancient Hindu astrological calendar, "Songkran" refers to the orbit of the Sun moving from Pisces to Aries - the beginning of a new solar year. Besides marking this new beginning, Songkran is a time for thanksgiving. Thai people show their gratitudes towards the elders and those who have bestowed kindness and thoughtfulness to them in the past year. They make merits and organize family reunion. And most important of all, Songkran is the time for cleansing and purification - to expel all bad lucks, ills and evils, and to start the new year with all that is new, good, and pure.

Well, as you might have guessed... nothing much was done in my holiday except of course eat, rest, sit by the beach, and eat, and eat again! But of course since it is a special water festival, on top of everything else, I played water... lots of it...

As it is the Thai celebration, let's have thai food then....

Serves 2 persons

- Vegetable oil > 2 tablespoons
- Green curry paste > 3 tablespoons
- Coconut milk > 1.5 cups
- Red chilly - slice > 1
- Raw and sour green mango - peel, cut into long matchsticks > 1/2
- Tomato - cut into quarter > 1
- Salt > 1/2 teaspoon
- Chicken - cut into moderate chunks > 50 grams
- Prawns - peel, devein, tail intact > 4
- Sweet Thai basil - pluck leaves from stalk > 1 stalk
- Dill - pluck leaves from stalk into small shreds > 1 stalk
- Boiled rice - 1.5 plates

- Prepare boiled rice.
- Preheat pan. Saute green curry paste in vegetable oil until fragrant.
- Pour coconut milk in and cook for a while. Fold in salt.
- Add tomatoes, chilly slices, chicken chunks and prawns.
- When prawns turn pink, put rice and stir until everything mixed well.
- Just before removing from stove, add mango sticks and sweet Thai basil leaves.
- Place on serving plate. Decorate with more basil and dill leaves.
- Serve hot.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Un Moment de Joie

So excited to receive an email from Bee of jugalbandi this morning. And the way she put the message across was so intriguing - saying something like "there 's something for you at jugalbandi. congrats!!! Wow, I was holding my breath.

When I was on that page, tick... tock... tick... tock.... could hear my heart pound. A few scrolls down I found my picture "Rich Chocolate Cupcakes" winning the third place of Click Spectra-the best capture and the first place for Click Delish-the most drool-worthy. Hmm awesome! I was stunned and ... happy.

And of course relieved too - my work was being recognized. Maybe this happened to every single blogger who won something for the first time. Sitting in front of my computer I felt so invigorated and totally restless: I wanted to do more, better, sooner.... maybe tonight, bake or cook, and shoot something great!

So this was what I did next...

Serves 3 persons

1. Fried Chicken and Prawns

- Egg white > 1
- Corn flour > 2 tablespoon
- Salt > 1/2 teaspoon
- White ground pepper > 1/8 teaspoon
- Chicken - cut into moderate chunks > 100 grams
- Big prawns - peel, devein, leave tail intact > 7

- Mix egg white, corn flour, salt, and pepper together.
- Fold chicken chunks and prawns into the starchy batter and combine to cover
- Preheat pan at high heat and fold in adequate flow of vegetable oil. Leave until pan is really hot.
- Carefully fry chicken chunks and prawns until fully cooked and golden brown.
- Drain to get rid of excessive oil.

2. Lemon Sauce

- Corn flour > 1 tablespoon
- Lemon juice > 1 lemon
- Ginger - grate finely > 1 teaspoon
- Ginger - chop into matchsticks > 1/2 teaspoon
- Water > 250 ml
- Chicken essence powder > 1 teaspoon
- Granulated sugar > 3 tablespoons
- Spring onion - chop > 1 stalk
- Red chilly - remove seeds, slice lengthwise > 1

- Combine corn flour with a tablespoon of water. Set aside.
- Mix all ingredients together, except corn flour, spring onion and chilly, in a saucepan.
- Cook until boiled. Add corn flour mixture and stir constantly until thick.
- Pour lemon sauce on top of fried chicken and prawns.
- Decorate with chilly slices and spring onion.
- Serve hot.