Monday, April 25, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Anyways, while you guys were basking in the sun and running around like crazy people in the massive oval, mum was thoughtfully creating an image of newly painted bathroom and kitchen. After some hurried McDonald’s (I refuse to call it maccas for some strange reason that I don’t seen the resemblance to the root word M-c-D-o-n-a-l-d, unlike other Australian shortened words for postal officer – posties, fireman – firies, electricians – sparky, and so on), we headed off to Bunnings and bought our supplies! Paint! You guys chose the sky blue colour, and some chalkboard paint for which I intend to roughly paint on the kitchen walls to write menus and notes. When we got home at about 3ish, we eerily and happily started to clean the bathroom walls! I say eerie as it’s a bit creepy that we were so happy taking on a humongous and dirty task. You guys included. But we did and did a tremendous good job as well!
Easter was spend at home with Dad’s life-changing easter egg hunt puzzle. Yeah. Dad takes these things seriously. And you guys are just the audience for his tricks. All fun and games and too much chocolate eggs.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
As it is the first weekend of the school holidays, I felt it was time we start the kitchen humming. Beginning with the Saturday road test of the Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Loaf. Followed by an all Filipino treat for a lazy Sunday – afternoon tea of camote-cue and dinner of warm beef bulalo/nilaga.
To make nilagang baka or bulalo, you need the following ingredients:
3-4 pcs beef osso buco (beef ribs may be used but then it becomes just beef nilaga)
half cabbage, cut into quarters
3-4 potatoes, cubed
1 onion, quartered
Place the osso buco in a sauce pan and fill with water to cover the meat. Bring to a boil and let simmer until meat is tender. May take 1-2 hours. If you own a turbo broiler, it will take half the time.
Once meat is tender, turn up heat and add the onions and potato. Season with fish sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Taste the soup every now and then to make sure its not too salty. Bring to a boil.
Add the beans and cabbage and let simmer for another 10 minutes.
This is best served with rice, with fish sauce and hot chillies for dipping sauce.
What a great autumn/winter warmer!
To make camote-cue, cut up sweet potatoes into strips.
Heat about half a cup of vegetable oil in pan, then add about 2 tbsp of sugar (raw or white doesn't really matter).
Fry the camote/sweet potato strips in the pan until golden in colour.
Serve and eat immediately! Yum!
Saturday, April 09, 2011
While Dad and you girls were still glued inside the bedroom (you playing with your DS’, Ate with her I-Touch and Dad snoring away the morning), Mum was in the kitchen quietly doing some arm and shoulder exercises – kneading the dough and rolling to thin-dom come.
This recipe was adapted from Debbie of joythebaker.com where her instructions were to the very tiniest detail. I tried as much as I could, to thin out the dough with the rolling pin, but either it’s the excitement of baking them or the sheer stress of my still-lethargic-triceps. The square strips were not as thin as joythebaker’s photos, and so it must follow that it will not fit in a 9in loaf tin, as did hers. I tried to squeeze them all in to form a proper line up, but as nature would allow, it could only fit in wayward fashion.
And so, this is my version of joythebaker’s cinnamon sugar pull apart loaf, in mismatched proportions.
I did skimp on the cinnamon sugar that I have to throw out a significant bit. This was obvious in the loaf slices as the butter and cinnamon sugar thinned out during the baking process. Next time, I will be more generous in my sprinkling of sweets and of course work out my triceps longer with the goal of thinning the loaf more and get more even slices.
Despite the randomness of the fit and the sizes, the bread turned out just as good as any home made bread would, accompanied with the aroma of butter and cinnamon and its pure bread heaven! I must also mention that this, by far, is the easiest bread/loaf recipe I’ve ever met. I didn’t even use the stand-mixer for this.
For the Dough:
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned
In a large mixing bowl (I used just the bowl of my stand mixer) whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside.
Whisk together eggs and set aside.
In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract. Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F.
Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter. The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together. Keep stirring. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be sticky. That’s just right.
Place the dough is a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour. *The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning. If you’re using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.
While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling. Set aside. Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned. Set aside. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Set that aside too.
Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out. The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long. If you can’t get the dough to 20-inches long… that’s okay. Just roll it as large as the dough will go. Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough. Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture. It might seem like a lot of sugar. Seriously? Just go for it.
Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again. You’ll have six stacks of six squares. Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown. The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw. A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.
Friday, April 08, 2011
The recipe for the profiteroles are on the board, but here they are anyway taken from the textbook -Organise and Prepare Food Methods of Cookery Series 3.
For food presentation and for added sweetness, we prepare the sauce suchard which can be drizzled over the stuffed pastry, or decorated on the plate as we did. To make the sauce suchard, in a saucepan mix together:
300g caster sugar
60g cocoa powder
And these were the finished profiteroles, presented with some Sauce Suchard (or chocolate sauce in English parlance).
A true work of kitchen art.
The chocolate sauce in this instance is made of cocoa and therefore were a bit less thick that how I would have pictured a profiterole or chocolate eclairs. Maybe to get a thicker sauce, thickened cream can be used to make the sauce. Sounds like a good idea, but yet to test. So we'll keep this posted for future profiterole baking at home.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Poached pear in red wine sauce @ Kitchen 10, Lesson 9
Super simple yet looks lavishly elegant. Look at it. Don’t you agree?
200ml red wine
1/2 lemon juice
1 cinnamon quill
1. Peel the pears and remove the core.
(We did not have to remove the core for the lesson, but simply soaked the fruit into the red wine mixture).
2. Produce stock syrup with all the remaining ingredients and submerge the pears and cover with a cartouche.
3 Bring to the boil and poach gently. Test the degree of doneness with a fork.
Cool in the syrup and serve with ice cream.
(Poaching the pear took longer than the stewing the apples, because poaching is a slow stove stove cooking process. When we plated this dessert, it was already elegant by itself, as you can see, without any accompanying cream or ice cream)
20g onions, diced
300g sole fillet
1/2 lemon juice
100 ml fish stock
1. Butter the bottom of the pan.
2. Place the diced onion on top and put the fish fillet on.
3. Sprinkle the lemon juice over, add the stock and a cartouche and shallow poach.
4. Reduce the cooking liquor for the beurre blanc.
For this lesson, we made the Beurre Blanc by adding cream and butter into the reduced stock and mixing to a thick texture, then adding the chopped parsley last.
For presentation, the fillets are plated covered with the beurre blanc and garnished with lemon wedges.
This is an absolute light dish - great for dinner or lunch, served with some salad. The challenge is filleting your own fish. Maybe in the future, we can do our own masterclass of filleting fish at home. It doesn't have to be a sole, because any other white flesh fish will do, such as the locally available snapper. By then, you can all graduate from the usual salmon sushi/sashimi, fried yellow fin or mackarel, and move on to the more sophisticated fish dishes. Hey! Did I just discount salmon? My apologies!