Monday, February 25, 2013

All Whole Wheat Bread

Good day everyone and thanks for all the chinese new year wishes left on my blog for the past 2 weeks. I had enjoyed my  break but still feeling a tad lazy at the moment. Yesterday marked the end of the chinese new year celebration and i think i should get back to blogging too. Didnt really do much cooking during the holidays, this bread was made much earlier and another time again not too long before the holidays. The earlier loaf that i made did not really came out that well as I find that the crust was a little too hard. I wouldnt complain much on the density of the bread as this is a 100% whole wheat bread. You wouldnt find that it proofed as much as other white or partial wheat bread as it only uses whole wheat flour here, less spongy but nonetheless, never less tasty. I had reduced the baking time by 10 minutes the second time i made them and the bread was able to cook at 200F internally. A good finishing look, a nice crispy crust, wholesome and a good dense. I got them toasted the next day and ate them with some roasted tomatoes and feta cheese and drizzled some olive oil that came together with the feta.

Recipe ( from Nick Malgieri's Bread )
this is what i used for half the recipe, makes 1 loaf
170gms drinking water
1tsp instant yeast
230gm whole wheat flour
1tsp fine sea salt
1cup coarsely chopped walnuts
11/2 tbsp flaxseeds ( addition)

1.Pour the water into the bowl of an electric mixer and hand whisk in the yeast. Wait 30seconds and whisk again.
2.Use a rubber spatula to stir in the flour into the yeast mixture a little at a time. Make sure all the flour is mixed and there isnt any clinging to the sides of the bowl.
3.Using a dough hook, mix on the lowest speed until the dough comes together, 1-2 minutes. Stop the mixer and pull the dough away from the hook, let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
4.Increase the mixer speed to medium and sprinkle in the salt. Mix in the chopped nuts and flaxseeds and mix until the dough is smooth, 2-3 mins ( i did it for about 10mins). Scrape the dough into an oiled bowl and turn it over so that the top is oiled. Cover the bowl and let it proof, about 30mins.
5.Remove the dough from the oiled bowl to a floured surface and gently flatten the dough to a disk. Fold the two sides in to overlap in the middle, the roll the to toward you all the way to the end, like swiss roll style. Place the dough back in the bowl seamside down and cover, proof until doubled in bulk.
6. To form the dough into a boule shaped loaf, use a plastic scraper to slide it from the bowl to the floured work surface, try not to deflate the dough. Fold the edges around its perimeter into the center. Round the loaf by pushing against the bottom of the dough all around with the sides of your hands held palm upwards, the dough will quickly form an even sphere. Place the dough on the prepared pan and cover it with a piece of sprayed or oiled plastic wrap and let the dough rest , until it starts to puff again, about 30-45mins.
7.Set the rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 230C. When the dough is ready to bake, generously spray it with water and place the pan in the oven. After 5 mins, spray the loaf again, then reduce the oven temperature to 218C, bake until well risen and deep golden and the internal temp reads 200F on an instant temperature, 20-30 mins. ( i baked mine for 23 mins )
8.Cool the loaf on a rack. Keep the bread loosely covered at room temperature on the day it's baked. Wrap and freeze for longer storage. Reheat at 170C for 5 mins and cool before serving.

And here are some random photos taken during the last 2-3 festive weeks.

Made some cookies and lemon curd to giveaway..
meeting up with the pretty bloggers in taiping...from left...Yan, Angeline and Yvonne

Cekur or fresh sand ginger (沙姜)to be used as dipping for steamed chicken
making peanuts biscuits on the spot at the market..

north indian food...not a bad idea to have after  days of chinese food

Linking this post to
Bake Your Own Bread ( BYOB) hosted by Roxana
Recipe Box #35 hosted by Bizzy Bakes

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Pineapple Sherbet

Just want to share a quick post here before i go on a chinese new year break. Initially what i wanted to do was a pineapple sorbet, then i changed my mind seeing that i have milk and also some cream in my fridge, so sherbet it shall be. Sometimes i'm a little confused the difference between a sherbet and an ice cream but then of course i can ask mr google, but right now i just want to take a rest and enjoy the holidays !

Wishing all chinese readers and friends a Very Happy Chinese New Year, have a fruitful, healthy and prosperous year of the SNAKE!

Recipe ( slightly adapted from here )
21/2 cups pineapple, cut into chunks
1tbsp lemon juice
1/4cup caster sugar
1/2cup milk
1/4cup dairy cream

1. Blend all of the above ingredients till pureed, chill mixture in fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
2.Pour the chilled mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions.
3. Freeze the churned ice cream for at least 2 hours and before serving leave sherbet out on counter to to soften for easier scooping.

alternatively, if you do not own an ice cream maker,after blending the ingredients, freeze them for at least several hours. Blend the frozen mixture again and freeze till firm. Leave on counter to soften before serving.

This post is linked to the event Little Thumbs Up organised by Doreen from My Little Favourites and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids with the theme PINEAPPLE.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Polvorones for Chinese New Year

I am so tired as i'm writing this post now. I'm sure many of you here including myself are busy baking cookies for the coming chinese new year. Though i dont really bake that much, maybe one or 2 batches every other day, i am already feeling exhausted at the end of the day. Where has all my stamina gone? Baking cookies is tiring! I went out with a friend  last week and she commented that i've looked tanned. It is actually true, i see myself gone 'tanner' too.  I wonder has it got anything to do with the oven...oven-tan. Silly me , i even went and checked from the internet whether we can get tan from the oven.. The more i read, the more i laughed..some commented that yes, we can get oven tan..just set the temperature to the highest and lay ourselves on the rack and dont forget to preheat the oven! Haha!

This is one of the cookies that i made few days ago, Polvorones, a type of traditional Spanish shortbread cookies. I have never knew the existence of this cookie until i saw them at Alvin's blog, Chef and Sommelier recently. Apart from the pretty looking cookies, what makes me want to bake them is that it just involves 4 ingredients, 4 simple ingredients. These polvorones are fabulous, very nice, they are buttery and comes with a soft crunchy texture. Quite like a shortbread but softer. Alvin, if you're reading this, thank you and also please say thank you to your wife for me. I like them very much. It was alvin's wife who actually baked them and alvin shared the recipe with us. Again, i will be baking another batch very soon as you can see, this is just a small recipe. Although i'm tired, i'm not totally drained out yet. Give it a try, have some spanish cookies too for chinese new year! Happy baking!

Recipe ( from Chef and Sommelier , adapted from the book Okashi Sweet Love )
makes around 16 polvorones
110gm pastry flour/plain flour ( sifted )
100gm unsalted butter, softened
40gm icing sugar
50gm ground almond

1.Preheat oven at 150C and bake sifted flour for 25mins. Stir occasionally while baking, then remove from oven and leave to cool. Keep oven heated.
2.Beat butter and icing sugar until soft, add ground almonds and mix well. Add flour to the batter and mix with a spatula until a smooth dough forms. ( i sifted the toasted flour again before adding to the batter as i find the flour turned a little lumpy after toasting)
3.Roll dough out into 10mm or your desired thickness (in between two sheets of plastic wrap) and cut out using your preferred cookie cutter and place them on a baking sheet.
4. Bake for 20-25minutes, remove from oven and cool on a wiring rack. To serve, dust with icing sugar and store in an airtight container to keep them crisp.

* notes*  if you find that the dough is a little cumbly to roll,  roll them in between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.

I am submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bak Kwa / Pork Jerky ( 肉干 )

Never thought that i would be making my own bak kwa at home. I was really delighted when i saw Sonia doing it last year, it is something that i never thought that it can be done at home without predrying them under the sun and always thinking that it needs a long list of ingredients to make a good tasty bak kwa. I said to myself that i must do it someday and that someday comes now, a year later! I must really thank sonia , not only that i can make my own bak kwa at home now, it's also so easy to make, more hygienic and i'm sure everyone can make this too!

When the bak kwas were out from the oven, i really cant wait to taste that. it's very nice! just the taste of honey is a little strong for me but that's not a problem at all! I can  reduce the honey slightly little for my next batch, up to our own preference.  I was so excited to let my mother try , i told her that i've made some bak kwas and she gave me a look without words that tells , " are you very free?" she too thought that it's such a tedious thing to make bak kwas at home and thought that i have spent hours grilling and fanning them over charcoal. I could see the sparkles in her eyes when she tasted that...LOL! Mmmm.. .so tasty! she said and loves it very much and she loves the honey taste too. She too sounds excited after hearing how simple to make these and asked me 101 questions....she sounded like she wants to make them straight away! ha! Will be making another batch again very soon! Thanks again to Sonia! feel like giving sonia a Big Hug now !

spread the marinated meat on a tray thinly using fingers, i also flattened it using
the back of a spoon..then put it in the oven to bake
after baking, cut into squares. .remember to cut on all the sides too that stick on the tray..
i  overlooked that and resulted the sides to stick  on the tray after grilling but it's a small matter,
can be cut out easily :)
and put it back into the oven for grilling
the top side after grilling..
Flip them over and back to grill..

it's a little difficult to watch how browned and burnt they turned while in the oven
especially  the piece that's farthest from you..there's one over burnt here :0

Recipe ( from Nasi Lemak Lover )
i made this in a 11"x11" tray
450gm minced pork, with some fat ( mine was 400gms)
100gm sugar
1tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1tbsp oyster sauce
1tsp dark caramel sauce
1/8tsp five spice powder ( omitted )
dash of pepper
1/2tsp-3/4tsp salt ( had used 1/2tsp )
2tbsp honey

1. Put all ingredients in a big bowl and mix them with a pair of chopsticks. Blend and stir the mixture( using chopsticks) in one direction until the meat becomes gluey and sticky so that the meat wont break up .Store in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
2.Using your fingers, spread the marinated pork mixture thinly on the baking tray and bake at a preheated oven at 160C for 15mins ( mine for 17 mins). Remove from oven and set the temperature to 240C.
3.Wait till slightly cool, cut into desired size using scissors, knife or pizza cutter, place them on the same baking tray.
4.Grill using top heat only at 240C for 10mins ( mine for 11 mins)  remove from oven. Flip the meat over to the other side, wait till oven return to 240C and grill for 7 mins or until golden brown and slightly burnt. Done.

I am submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover