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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Daring Bakers' Steamed Sponge 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 also made a fruit cake version of the steamed sponge pudding (for my steamed savoury pudding click here). Again I have used shortening as the substitute to suet. The steaming took 3 hours and 15 minutes. For this challenge I would like to thank Esther for hosting it and to Audax of Audax Artifex who has provided everyone with abundant information and tips on recipes and successful techniques of steaming pudding in DB Forum! Go and check out his elaborate post!

For serving, I have put in extra efforts to make passion fruit sauce. My consideration was that a tint of sourness could balance out the sweetness of fruit pudding. It was easy, practical, and just right for a colorful serving with mango balls and strawberries. I enjoyed putting them together and the presentation simply showed how colors have complimented one another.

A little note for the dried fruits, pick the ones that you like and carry strong flavor. It is not a mandatory to use dried kiwi fruit because it is green or mango because it is yellow. At the end of 3 hour steaming, apparently every hue of fruits would saturate and simply look dark like black raisins.

Need a steamable 1 liter dome-shaped pudding bowl

1. Sponge Pudding

- All purpose flour > 100 grams
- Salt > ½ teaspoon
- Baking powder > 1 ½ teaspoons
- Shortening > 125 grams
- Mixed spice powder > 1 ¼ teaspoons
- Dried mango – cut into small cubes > 50 grams
- Dried papaya – cut into small cubes > 50 grams
- Dried pineapple – cut into small cubes > 50 grams
- Black raisin – halve > 60 grams
- Cashew nut – chop > 25 grams
- Almond – chop > 25 grams
- Granulated sugar > 115 grams
- Dried breadcrumbs > 75 grams
- Egg > 2
- Brandy > 2 ½ tablespoons
- Evaporated milk > 6 tablespoons

- Mix all together .
- Grease enormously the pudding bowl.
- Pour pudding mixture into the greased bowl . Seal with 2 sheets of foil(grease the side of foil that is touching top of pudding), pleated in the center to allow room for expansion during steaming. Secure with string and place the bowl into the steamer over boiling water.
- Steam pudding for 3 hours and 15 minutes. Add hot boiled water whenever it is necessary.

2. Passion Fruit Sauce

- Egg yolks > 3
- Granulated sugar > 45 grams
- Passion Fruit juice > 75 ml
- Sherry wine > 1.5 teaspoons

- Place egg yolks and granulated sugar in a heatproof bowl and beat over a double boiler until pale.
- Fold in passionfruit juice and continue beating until thick and light.
Lastly add sherry wine. Mix thoroughly and serve with steamed pudding.

3. Fruits and Gel for Serving
- Big ripe mango > 2
- Strawberry > 10
- Apricot gel > as desired

- Peel mangoes. Scoop balls out of the thick section of mango flesh by using fruit baller. Dip into water mixed with salt to keep their fresh color.
- Halve strawberries.
- Brush sponge pudding with apricot gel.
- Serve sponge pudding with passion fruit sauce and fruits. Decorate as desired.

Daring Bakers' Steamed Savoury 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.

So what is suet? It is the hard but flaky fat found on the inside of a cow or sheep around the kidneys and that area of the body. Suet in its raw form crumbles easily into small chunks so much so that my butcher says it covers his floor in bits if he doesn't have it taken out as soon as possible. In fact unless he knows he has a customer for it he has the abattoir take it out and throw it away and when I want some he gives it to me for free! It also melts at quite a low temperature, which has an effect on how it works in cooking. In some places such as the UK it is sold processed which basically means it is grated and combined with flour to keep the individual pieces from clumping together, and it becomes a sort of dried out short strands, almost granular in texture.

My reaction towards suet was nothing but discomfort. I had to admit the only time I had used something like suet, .... the pork lard, was the time I learnt how to make Chinese mooncakes. I had enough of that. So I was glad that for this challenge suet was replaceable with other substitutes. Shortening was my choice even though initially I had my doubt about it. Apparently it didn't give me any problem at all, and my steamed pudding turned out quite pleasant to my sight after 5 hours of steaming. Despite the crust dough was just about 6mm when I rolled and pressed to the pudding bowl, it was strong enough to hold the dome-shaped pudding together. And for that, I was delighted.

I like the taste of the filling due to strong flavour of sherry wine combined with oyster and worchester sauce. And the crust is not hard, instead just nice for each bite. These 2 factors would be the good reasons why I would think of steaming this pudding again. For my steamed sponge pudding click here!

Thanks so much to Esther of The Lilac Kitchen! The challenge recipe was adapted for my own convenience, for the original version click here!


1. Filling

- Pork loin – cut into cubes > 360 grams
- All purpose flour > 4 teaspoons
- Salt > ¾ teaspoon
- Black pepper > ¾ teaspoon
- Potato – cut into cubes > 175 grams
- Carrots – cut into cubes > 125 grams
- Shitake mushroom – slice > 90 grams
- Onion – slice > 80 grams
- Worchester sauce > 2 teaspoons
- Oyster sauce > 4 tablespoons
- Sherry wine > 5 tablespoons

- Season pork cubes by tossing them in flour, salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- Mix potato, carrot cubes, and shitake mushroom. Set aside.
- Prepare onion slices separately in a bowl. Set aside.
- Combine oyster sauce and sherry wine together in a separate bowl. Set aside.

2. Crust
Need a steamable 1 liter dome-shaped pudding bowl

- All purpose flour > 250 grams
- Baking powder > 2 teaspoons
- Shortening > 175 grams
- Salt > ¼ teaspoon
- Black pepper > ¼ teaspoon
- Evaporated milk > 210 ml

- Mix all ingredients together. Form a ball.
- Dust the working surface with flour and place the ball in the middle. Roll into a circle big enough to cover the pudding bowl (thickness approximately 5-6 mm). Slit from the center, slice out one quarter of the circle to make a lid later on. Set aside.
- Grease enormously the pudding bowl.
- Place this dough into the pudding bowl to cover the interior. Press with fingers to compact it.
- Add the filling by scattering a small amount of seasoned pork cubes, then the vegetable cubes, and onion slices. Repeat for a few layers until the height is about half the bowl. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. Splash 1 teaspoon of Worchester sauce thoroughly.

- Repeat filling with pork, vegetable and onion again and again until it almost reaches the top of the crust dough. Sprinkle again with ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. Finally plash 1 teaspoon of Worchester sauce thoroughly.
- Pour the oyster sauce and sherry wine mixture to the top of the meat and vegetables.
- Roll the set aside crust dough into a circle big enough to cover the top of the bowl. Dampen the edges and place it on the pudding. Pinch the edges with the surrounding crust dough.
- Seal with 2 sheets of foil(grease the side of foil that is touching top of pudding), pleated in the center to allow room for expansion during steaming. Secure with string and place the bowl into the steamer over boiling water.
- Steam pudding for 5 hours. Add hot boiled water whenever it is necessary.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday Special 05

The passion to bake, cook, and shoot has kicked in soon I arrived in Bangkok. I have seen many things in Jakarta , rested and recharged my energy. It is funny how I and T missed Bangkok and our home so much , and whilst the end of holiday approached we couldn’t wait to reach home. A three-hour-and-fifteen-minute-flight felt like a long drag.

One good thing about this holiday is that we managed to escape the extreme heat in Bangkok for 10 days. The weather in Jakarta was great, nothing like the sizzling heat that causes headache everytime we get ourselves exposed to the sunlight. And now we are back in this “sauna room” and get to adapt ourselves to it again. Yesterday I had a headache since I dared myself to have lunch outside my office. I have learnt my lesson and decided to stay in for lunch today.

Well, despite the heat and all…… we are glad to be back. And I am so relieved to be able to blog again. For this Wednesday Special, I like to share Grapefruit and Orange Salad with you. I rarely made salad before, but now with T around, I am considering of doing it more often because I have the assurance that T will help me finish it since he is really into vegetables and salads.

Serves 2

- Large grapefruit > 1
- Orange > 2
- Steamed red kidney beans > 2 tablespoons
- Pistachio boar terrine or other ham – thinly slice and coarsely shred > 100 grams
- Baby salad leaves > a few
- Cilantro > a few stems
- Chopped roasted almond > 1 tablespoon
- Italian salad dressing > 2 tablespoons

- Peel grapefruit and remove pith. Slice horizontally.
- Peel oranges and remove pith. Cut into clean segments.
- Mix grapefruit and oranges with red kidney beans, ham, baby leaf greens, and sald dressing.
- Garnish with cilantro and chopped almond.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday Special 04

Gosh, I just remember it is again another Wednesday. Hope you guys enjoy these photos as much as I am enjoying my holiday. T and I wish you all the best from the tropical capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta.

By the way, I have found so many new background paper (Thanks to T for helping me carry them around under the heat). "So tired but can't refuse to do such chore!", said T who is sitting next to me right now. You will see these great backgrounds very soon in my near-future posts :-)

Daring Cook's Brunswick Stew

Hi guys, I am still on holiday and just pop in to post my Daring Cook's challenge. Wish you are all well and thanks so much for your comments. Will get back right to normal communication with you on next Tuesday. Meanwhile, stay cool :-)

The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.

Thanks, Wolf! It has been an exciting challenge!

From “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners” by Matt Lee and Ted Lee
Serves 10

- Slab bacon - rough dice > 75 grams
- Thai dried red chiles - trim stems, slice, seed, flatten > 2
- Pork shoulder - cut into 1 inch dice > 800 grams
- Salt for seasoning > 1/2 tablespoon
- Pepper > enough for seasoning
- Clean water > 6 cups
- Chicken essence powder > 3 cubes
- Dried bay leaves > 2
- Fried shallots > for garnishing
- Chinese celery stalks - cut into 2 inch strips > 30 grams
- Potatoes, or other waxy type potatoes - peel, rough dice > 450 grams
- Carrots - rough cut > 225 grams
- Onion - chop > 400 grams
- Canned corn kernels - remove juice > 230 grams
- Steamed red kidney beans > 150 grams
- Peeled tomatoes - 500 grams
- Red wine vinegar > 30 grams

- In the largest stockpot, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until it just starts to crisp. Transfer to a large bowl, and set aside. Reserve most of the bacon fat in your pan, and with the pan on the burner, add in the chiles. Toast the chiles until they just start to smell good, or make your nose tingle, about a minute tops. Remove to bowl with the bacon.
- Season liberally both sides of the pork pieces with salt and pepper. Place the pork pieces in the pot and sear off all sides possible. You just want to brown them, not cook them completely. Put the pork in the bowl with the bacon, and chiles. Set it aside.

- Add 2 cups of water and 1 cube of chicken essence, if you prefer, to the pan and basically deglaze the4 pan, making sure to get all the goodness cooked onto the bottom. The stock will become a nice rich dark color and start smelling good. Bring it up to a boil and let it boil away until reduced by at least half. Add your remaining stock, the bay leaves, celery, potatoes, pork, bacon, chiles and any liquid that may have gathered at the bottom of the bowl they were resting in. Bring the pot back up to a low boil/high simmer, over medium/high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover, remember to stir every 15 minutes, give or take, to thoroughly meld the flavors. Simmer, on low, for approximately 1 ½ hours. Supposedly, the stock may become a yellow tinge with pieces of pork floating up, the celery will be very limp, as will the chiles. Taste the stock, according to the recipe, it “should taste like the best chicken soup you’ve ever had”.

- With a pair of tongs, remove the pork pieces to a colander over the bowl you used earlier. Be careful, as by this time, the meats will be very tender and may start falling apart. Remove the bay leaf, celery, chiles, bacon and discard.
- After you’ve allowed the meat to cool enough to handle, shred the pork. Return the meat to the pot, throwing away the bones. Add in your carrots, and stir gently, allowing it to come back to a slow simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, for at least 25 minutes, or until the carrots have started to soften.

- Add in your onion, red kidney beans, corn and tomatoes. As you add the tomatoes, crush them up, be careful not to pull a me, and squirt juice straight up into the air, requiring cleaning of the entire stove. Simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring every so often until the stew has reduced slightly, and onions, corn and butterbeans are tender. Remove from heat and add in vinegar, lemon juice, stir to blend in well. Season to taste with sea salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce if desired.
- You can either serve immediately or refrigerate for 24 hours, which makes the flavors meld more and makes the overall stew even better. Serve hot, either on its own, or with a side of corn bread, over steamed white rice, with any braised greens as a side.
- Garnish with fried shallots before serving.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday Special 03

Two Fridays away, on the way back home I passed by Seven Eleven and there were 2 little kids – most probably 5-6 years old sitting at the side of the mini mart selling jasmine buds. One whole tray of these fragrant flowers. Despite I didn’t really know what I could do with them, I ordered one bag. They were so happy for successfully making some money. All I could think of was that I had to take photograph of these little cuties the following morning.

Storing them in fridge overnight, they were ready to pose for me the next morning. Snap snap snap…. I had so much fun. Since it was a Saturday and I was totally free (T works on alternate Saturdays) I could indulge myself in exploring shooting angles almost endlessly. No work, no time pressure, no appointment, it was just me and my jasmine buds.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rose and Chives

My chives flower shot just gave me a moment of bliss this week after getting a recognition in March DMBLGIT. Thanks to all of the judges for voting for my photo entry. I am so pleased to receive the award. Thank you!

Meanwhile I and T are planning for a 10-day holiday in Jakarta starting from 9th at the end of this week. Therefore there are many things I need to complete before the break. For one I need to carry out the next Daring Cooks' Challenge much earlier, prepare my Wednesday Special shots and whatever posts I might need to post from overseas. Now I do realize my life is not the same anymore, everything is connected with this blog and no matter where I go, this blog is always in my mind!

For now, I like to post something I have baked for a while now. It is one of my favorite bakings, and I believe it is one of most of yours too. Some might say that every food blogger must experience baking macarons. It could be universally true, could it?

Macaron is fun to bake, and for some it is a challenge. In moments of successful baking, the outcome is so pleasing and the feeling is overwhelmed with joy. The expression must go something like "There are feet!. There are feet!" Again, all of us have experienced that moment and will still react the same when encounter such occasion again and again. In that sense, macaron is always a special experience.

Makes 10 macarons

1. Rose Macarons
Prepare: 1 big baking tray lined with a Silpat or parchment paper

Ingredients :
- Egg white > 70 grams
- Sugar > 50 grams
- Icing sugar > 90 grams
- Ground almond > 45 grams
- Dried rose > 2 teaspoons
- Pink coloring > 3 drops

Method :
- Combine icing sugar and ground almond. Sieve.
- Whip egg white until frothy. Add sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.
- Fold almond and icing mixture, and 1 teaspoon of dried rose gradually into the egg white in 2 additions. Mix carefully with a spatula until batter is shiny and flowy like magma.
- Fill batter into piping bag tipped with a plain circular nozzle and pipe into a circle with a diameter of 3 cm. Piping makes 20 pieces. Sprinkle the top with the rest of dried rose.

- Leave to rest until surface of these pipings are flat and dry or when touched, it doesn't stick to our finger.
- Preheat oven at 150°C.
- Bake at 150°C for 8-10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 125°C, turn tray 180 degrees and continue baking for 8-10 minutes.
- Cool on the rack and detach from Silpat or parchment paper.

2. Rose Ganache

Ingredients :
- White chocolate > 90 grams
- Whipping cream > 40 grams
- Rose water > 1 teaspoon
- Butter > 16 grams

Method :
- Place white chocolate in a bowl.
- Heat whipping cream until boiled. Pour into white chocolate. Leave for a while until white chocolate melts. Stir thoroughly.
- Add butter and rose water. Mix well.
- Leave to cool and thicken.

3. Assembly

- Fill rose ganache into piping bag and pipe on the macaron. Top with the other macaron to form like a sandwich.