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Dec 29, 2010

Salted Dough: Chinese Herbal Chicken

It's a salted dough / crust method of cooking that's quite fun to make if you have lots of energy left for the day and don't know what to do with it. And it's also a great way to cook big chunks of meat without it drying out since it actually creates a mini oven within the crust.
I came across this recipe for salted dough and decided to use it to make a version of the Chinese Salted Chicken / Chinese Salt Baked Chicken. But instead of coating the chicken in just salt, I wanted to experiment with this method ..... first, with chicken, and then maybe somewhere in the near future .... some other meats and even seafood.
This is also similar to the "Beggar's Chicken" but I wouldn't dare name this recipe after it as I'm not too sure how the real "Beggar's Chicken" is done.

*Verdict: I thought the chicken tasted a little too salty and might consider halving the salt quantity for the next try. Otherwise, it was very moist, juicy and tasty!

*Tip: Use coarse salt. Fine table salt dissolves too quickly and may even make it saltier than it already is. Use nothing less than 1.5 kg of meat for this recipe ... anything less will be overly salted. Besides, the amount of dough is big enough to encase a large chicken or even a turkey.


1 kg plain flour
1 kg coarse salt ( I suggest using a smaller amount, about 500 - 700g )
water, about 550 ml - 650 ml ( to make a malleable dough )
1 chicken, about 1.5 kg - 2 kg ( cleaned and pat dry inside and out )
Chinese herbs of your choice
( I have here a pic of the herbs I used, which are actually a simple Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup concoction. You can get them pre-packed at the local supermarkets or the Chinese grocers )


Combine flour and salt. Make a well in the center and slowly add about 550 ml of the water. Combine and slowly add more water if necessary to form a firm, yet malleable dough.
Knead and call it your workout for the day!
Leave to rest ( the dough and your arms ) for about an hour.
Preheat oven to about 200˚C - 220˚C.
Roll out dough on a floured surface until about 1/4" thick. ( I find it easier to roll out into 2 pieces )
Stuff cavity of chicken with the herbs.
Place one sheet of dough on a baking pan. Place stuffed chicken on top and wrap with 2nd piece of dough. Make sure to patch every crack so that no juices leak out.
Bake chicken, breast side up for about an hour. Rest about 30 mins before eating.

PS: Do not eat the dough.

*Use the heel of a cleaver and hack all around dough about halfway up so that you get a "dish" with a lid!

The Meteorite has landed!

Dec 25, 2010


(Thank you everyone for helping get this to FoodBuzz Top 9)

Here's to everyone ... A Very Merry Christmas and a Delicious New Year!
We get Christmas earlier than the folks further West on the globe.
We had our usual Christmas eve dinner instead of Christmas day ... Christmas day is for church and then zzzz ...
Gosh! We really need that this time round. The last couple of days were crazy with work days of nearly 15 hours each and then baking stuff for the dinner and some gifts for the old folks home nearby, etc. Tennis never gave me such cramps on my feet ... ouch.
And to top it all off, I slipped and sprained my ankle in the bath. Yup, Christmas day is zzz day.
But, crazy as it was, we had a great time, work and otherwise, meeting interesting new friends and making little ol' ladies and men happy with the baked gifts. Some of my kind hearted friends also came along and distributed some needy items. I never thought I'd be so happy to see so many gummy smiles!
Anyway, this year's turkey was roasted by mum-in-law (pic below, of the turkey, not mum inlaw), she's 80 and a bit (mum inlaw, not the turkey), very capable and when necessary, can still give a vicious "sink battleship" stare that will bring some kids she's giving private English tuition to, to tears. It's also our very first time having Australian turkey. Usually , we get the US Butterballs. No regrets. Go Oz!
It was a great dinner complete with some stuff I contributed ... breadrolls wreath (recipe below), an orange custard pudding with ice cream (unfortunately, this got gobbled up before I could take a pic). And some good wine to boot.
Needless to say, we were all stuffed (like the turkey before it got massacred) and happy, and now, I'm going to open my presents!
Happy Holidays, everyone!

* I decided to use my temperature-wonky bread maker to do the kneading for this recipe.
I have also listed the ingredients in the order they are to be added.
I have kept this recipe plain (other than the sprinklings on the outside) with no nuts, fruits or herbs so that it doesn't interfere with the flavors of the main dish. (I didn't have a clue what kinda stuffing mum inlaw was making).


250 ml milk
60 g butter, melted (I just zapped it in the microwave)
2 eggs, beaten
560 g high protein flour / bread flour
1 tsp bread improver (optional)
2 tbs caster sugar
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp instant yeast

For topping:
egg glaze, made with 1 egg yolk + 1 tbs milk
blue poppy seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, anything you like ...


Line a baking pan with parchment.

Place ingredients into bread machine bin in the order it's listed. Set it on "Dough" setting.
When the cycle is complete (this should also include the first rising), remove and punch down to remove air bubbles.
Divide dough into half, and the halves into quarters. Keep dividing them up until you get about 16 - 18 pieces. Shape them into balls and place them in a circular shape just touching each other. Do not cramp them too close together. Leave to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 200˚C.
Brush tops with glaze and sprinkle topping of your choice.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 mins. Cover the top with aluminum foil (this prevents it from turning overly brown) and bake a further 10 - 15 mins.
You'll know when bread is ready when there's a hollow sound when tapped at the bottom.
Remove from pan immediately and cool on rack. Enjoy it warm or cool completely before storing.

* I'd made my wreath using just 12 balls of dough. So, I had enough leftover to make a small loaf. You can always make a bigger ring but you'll need a very wide tray.

Dec 21, 2010

Steamed Chicken with Brandy

The word "Brandy" caught your attention, didn't it? :D

I came across this recipe at Babe in the City - KL. The original recipe called for black fungus (wood fungus/cloud ear fungus) as well (you can check that out at her blog), but unfortunately, this particular ingredient, nutritious as it may be, is not too popular in my household. So, I left it out. Babe also suggested trying it out with DOM (herbed brandy). So, I have actually tried and tested this three ways: Cognac, DOM and Chinese rice wine. They are all pretty good but hubby prefers it with the Chinese rice wine, stating the other 2 brandys a little too strong. Personally, I prefer it with the brandy ... but then, I'm the resident alchy (hic).

This is really simple to make and since discovering it (thanks babe), I've made it for many a dinners when I'm too tired to think of what to cook. This was our simple but complete Chinese dinner .... carbo, protein and good ol' greens.


2 skinned & boned whole chicken legs, cut bite-sized
1 - 2 tbs oyster sauce
1/2 tbs cornflour
1/2 tsp white pepper powder
1 - 2 tbs brandy / DOM / Chinese rice wine
2 tbs julienned ginger
chopped spring onions / chives, for garnish


Marinade chicken pieces with the oyster sauce, cornflour, pepper and 1 tbs of brandy/wine for about 30 mins.
Then, toss in ginger and mix to combine.
Place in a deep dish (there will be some liquid) and into a prepared steamer, cover and steam over medium heat for about 20 - 25 mins.
Remove from steamer and add another tbs of brandy if desired and sprinkle with chopped spring onions / chives.
Serve hot with fluffy jasmine rice and your favorite greens.


1 big bunch of kale / bok choy / any chinese greens
2 tbs oyster sauce
a big pinch of white pepper
a big dash of sesame oil
fried crispy shallots
fried crispy garlic nubs


Wash greens and remove any hard inedible fibrous stems.
Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Toss in salt.
Blanch greens in small batches. Remove and drain. Reserve 2 - 3 tbs of boiling liquid.
Mix together oyster sauce, white pepper and sesame oil and the reserved liquid and stir to combine.
Drizzle over blanched greens. Garnish with fried crispy shallots and garlic nubs.
Serve with your favorite main course ... in this case, brandied chicken!

Brandy on FoodistaBrandy

Dec 16, 2010

Spiced Pumpkin and Tomato Soup Chicken

The last of the pumpkins for the year!
I like buying pumpkins. I always get all sorts of ideas on ways to cook or bake with them whenever I see them at the markets. But sometimes, things don't always go as planned and all those big plans I had for them go poof! and to prevent it from going moldy (it's very humid here), I'd steam it, mash it and then freeze it.
This is my very last frozen pack of mashed pumpkin. I didn't want to make the regular stuff so I thought I'd tweak a childhood favorite dish of my husband's. It's actually a local dish called "ayam masak merah" in the Malay language (literally translated: ayam = chicken; masak = cook; merah = red), which should really read as, "red cooked chicken". The spices vary very much from household to household and also from state to state. And ... there is never any pumpkin involved.
Like I said, it's my version .....


2 whole chicken legs, chopped into large pieces
2 whole star anise
1 large cinnamon stick
1 large knob ginger, smashed
5 cardamom pods
1/2 tbs chilly flakes
3 tbs fried shallots crisps
1 cup thick tomato soup / 1 250ml canned tomato soup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup pureed / mashed cooked pumpkin
grapeseed oil


Heat a little oil and toss in star anise, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. Stir for a minute or two to release the aromas.
Stir in chicken pieces to brown evenly.
Add tomato soup and water. Stir to combine. Lower heat, cover and allow to simmer 10 mins.
Give it a stir and if needed, add a little more water. Cover and simmer another 10 mins or until chicken is fully cooked through and half of the liquid has evaporated.
When cooked, stir in chilly flakes and pumpkin.
Allow to simmer uncovered for another couple of minutes.
Stir in 2 tbs fried crispy shallots. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tbs of the fried shallots just before serving.
Serve hot with fluffy rice, naan or crusty bread.

Dec 14, 2010


Naw .... it's just plain ol' red velvet macs, with my furry Rudolph macaron lookalike and my Rudolph dish (in case you couldn't make that out). I collect reindeer curios ... at least one for each Christmas. There, fact #8 about me.

Macarons (not to be mistaken for macaroons, which is quite a different thingy altogether) or French macarons, to be exact, are finicky little things, aren't they? Overfolding, underfolding, overbaked, underbaked, too little, too much ... annoying little buggers. But still, I had to prove to myself that I can do this and since everyone seems to have a macaron post on their food blog ... I want one too! ... before the craze goes away. And I refused to let my clunky old oven with the rickety door prevent me from doing so. The first attempt resulted in some very crispy macs and no chew factor, very much like meringues, (I probably overbaked them since the temperature in my oven is so wonky ... I gotta get a new oven!) ... rejected and dejected. So I made sure to read as many macaron recipes as I could to find out the dos and don'ts and guess what? I got totally confused! So, I sort of averaged out all the proportions and decided to just try out a small recipe and not waste too much of the ingredients in case I screwed up again and made sure the temperature stayed put at 150˚C by sitting in front of the oven for the whole production. And happiness! ... this worked out quite good! Not the best feet, but so cute and chubby ... a little like yours truly. Harhar.

I am so addicted to these right now .....


50 g egg whites (aged overnight at room temperature)
40 g caster sugar
2 - 3 drops lemon juice OR a pinch of salt OR cream of tartar
65 g almond meal
80 g powdered sugar
15 g cocoa powder
1/8 tsp red colored gel


Combine powdered sugar, almond meal and cocoa powder in a food processor and give it a few quick buzzes to mix evenly. Sift.
Whisk egg white with lemon juice (or salt or cream of tartar) until soft peaks form. Add in caster sugar in 3 lots, beating well after each addition. Beat on high until stiff peaks form.
Fold in sifted mixture and color gel. Do not overmix. (It's been recommended to have no more than 40 folds).
Line trays with parchment paper or baking mat.
Fill piping bags. (I didn't use a piping nozzle. I simply snipped off about 2cm from the tip).
Pipe even rounds of about 1 1/2 cm - 2 cm in diameter; it will spread a little.
Leave for about an hour to form a crust. You'll know when it's ready when the tops are dry to the touch.
Bake in a preheated oven at 150˚C for about 12 mins.
Remove from oven and let sit for a minute or two before gently lifting the macarons from the parchment with a flat spatula. Cool on racks.
When cool, put a dollop of your favorite filling on the flat side of one shell and gently sandwich another together. For this recipe, I used a chocolate ganache filling. You can find the recipe here. (Oh, the white filling is a creamcheese frosting. I thought the ganache paired better here).
Can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 - 3 days, but allow about 15 mins at room temperature before consuming.

Dec 9, 2010

Quickie Quiche

Tonight is lazy night. My fridge is semi-empty and so is my brain. Can't think of anything to make for dinner. No, make that, there are lots of things I'd like to have for dinner but there is always that one or two essential ingredients from the recipe that I don't have in my pantry or fridge. So, I'll just try to fix something from whatever I can find in my freezer, fridge and pantry. Let's see ...... we have ....
bacon, half a fennel bulb, chives, shredded cheddar, onions, some eggs left in the carton, some butter, about a cup of cream, hmmm ......
and in the pantry ..... flour ...... hmmm ......


10 oz plain flour
5 oz cold, unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, slightly beaten

*Note: this makes enough pastry for two 8" quiche pans. I can't make for one coz it's kinda hard to measure out half an egg.


Pulse together flour, salt and butter in a food processor (I did mention I was feeling lazy today) until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Add beaten egg and pulse to mix until it forms into a ball of dough. Do not overmix.
Remove, wrap with plastic and leave to rest in the fridge for about 20 mins.
Roll out dough and press into base and sides of quiche pan. Pierce a few holes at the base of pastry with a fork. Refrigerate 20 mins before baking.
Preheat oven to 200˚C.
Line pastry with parchment and fill with baking beans/beads. Bake 15-20 mins. Remove beads and parchment and bake for another 2-3 mins. Do not allow to brown.
Pour filling into crust and bake 25-30 mins or until the top of the filling turns golden brown.
Remove from oven and let stand 10 mins before digging in. Serve with a fresh green salad.


(These are just estimates since I was trying to clear out whatever was left)

1 cup coarsely chopped bacon
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fennel bulb
1 small onion, diced
3 eggs
1 cup cream
1 cup shredded cheddar (you can always use parmesan/gruyere)
3 tbs chopped chives
salt and pepper to taste


Place bacon in a pan and saute until lightly browned, not crisp. Add in chopped onion and fennel. Stir until onions are soft. Leave to cool.
Beat together eggs and cream in a bowl until evenly combined. Stir in bacon mixture and chopped chives. Season to taste. (If bacon is salty, reduce or leave out the salt)
Pour into crust. Bake as above.

*You can make one large quiche or smaller individual ones.

PS: This turned out pretty good. Sometimes the simplest, throw together dish can be the yummiest!

Dec 5, 2010

An Award!

I'd like to thank Elisabeth of Food and Thrift Finds for presenting me with this award. I am very honored and thrilled to be receiving my first food blogger award from a professional chef who has a great blog herself. Check out all her recipes from across the globe! Thanking also Eizel of Eizel's and Kita of Pass the Sushi. Check out their blogs and their beautiful pictures. Ok, not to worry, I won't launch into an academy award speech. According to the rules for receiving this award, I'd have to tell you 7 things about myself. I suppose it's a good way to introduce me and my blog properly to the rest of the blogger world. Another part of the requirement (besides sharing 7 things about myself) is to pass the award on to bloggers who you think are fantastic. So here are 7 things about me and the bloggers whom I've picked to award this to. And I hope after reading this, you won't regret getting to know me better ..... :P

About me: (you have been warned)

Let's start with some things that play a big part in my life ...

1. Animals. I'm an animal lover altho I must admit, turning vegan is not something I can possibly get into. I am against animal cruelty ... foie gras and any of the fancy exotic foods that requires the animal to have prolonged pain .... it's out of my menu.

2. Family. (Notice I put animals before family). I know, I know, I'm a bad girl for not putting my family first. I do love my family ..... I do. They're spread out all over the globe and I enjoy the best of it when we do eventually get together. All those sharing of different cultures and always leads to food. We'll get to that soon.

3. Music. I lean more towards classical music, probably due to it being ingrained in me since my younger days. I do not dislike today's music, I just can't understand some of it. I do like rock and blues and the occasional jazz. At the moment, my husband and I are nuts about Mazzy Star's "Fade into you". It's not recent but it's hauntingly addictive and it touches the depths of one's soul. Unfortunately, we can't seem to find the CD or the LP in the stores. Thank goodness for online shopping. Oh, and I think Bobby McFerrin is super talented! I watched him performing live in Leipzig in the year 2000 at the market square. It was a Bach festival. Every performer was great but he was the best! Even when it started raining, people still stayed on, getting into the spirit of things under umbrellas and in their raincoats.

4. Friends. Does anyone still keep in touch with their kindergarten friends? I do, well... only one, but we still meet up very often. We actually lost touch after kindy and strangely enough, met again in the same place where we both worked. And carried on from there like it there never was a lapse. There are the friends I made during the school years and we still keep in touch and meet up whenever I go back home. Then the friends I meet at work and via socializing in the real world and the blogging world ... I love them all! I must admit I'm really blessed with many friends and really nice ones too! My best friend? That's easy ... my husband.

5. Hobbies. I do enjoy a good book and I am totally nuts about contemporary crosswords ... my favorite crossword editor - Will Shortz. And to get the adrenalin going .... tennis! Recently, it's been suggested I try yoga instead (due to too many injuries from tennis). I remember trying it out in the early 90's when yoga was more about meditation, I literally fell asleep, crosslegged and upright. Pretty embarrassing. Maybe I'll give it another whirl now that I've slowed down some.

6. Favorite foods. I don't have a particular favorite nor can I put my finger on just one item. I'll always have some fennel in my fridge, some lemons, thyme, bacon, pasta, coffee and steak. My husband and I are, what some of our friends termed, meatarians... carnivors sound too caveman-ish. (That's why turning vegan isn't a possibility).

7. And since this is all about food blogging..... I am relatively new to the food blogging world. (And already have my first award! Yay! Thanks again, Elisabeth). So I'm still stumbling and bumbling my way through. And if I've mistakenly done some dumb things that may have caused some problems for other bloggers, my sincere apologies.

There you are. The raving lunatic.

And here are the bloggers I feel who deserve the award (I'm sure there are lots more that I haven't discovered ... yet).










You all deserve this award. But .... there's always a 'but' ..... remember the rules. To accept this award, you'll have to:

1. thank the person who gave you the award

2. share 7 things about yourself

3. pass the award on to bloggers whom you think are fantastic

Congratulations all!

*Note: I realized cutting and pasting might be a little difficult. So, just grab the icon onto your desktop and proceed as you would upload an image to your blog.

Dec 4, 2010

DIY: Candied Citrus

I was looking to get some nice looking citrus peel to decorate some citrus bars I was planning to make. And all I could find were those dried chopped up peel that looks like it had been on the shelves for a decade and a day. No cute pinwheel ones that you see on the desserts in the fancy cafes or those long elegant stalks that decorate that yummy, luscious chocolate cake calling out to you from the cake shop window .... grrr.
So, I've decided that if I want something done a certain way, I'll just have to do it myself. (This applies to a lot of everyday doings too!). It's not worth the effort, running all over the city, fighting the traffic, and when you finally find some, it'll probably cost an arm and another limb and a couple of traffic citations to boot. Double grrr.
Perhaps these don't look too elegant right now, but I'm gonna be making more and hopefully, in due time, I'd get the hang of it and eventually they'll be shop-window worthy. Fingers and other digits crossed...


Oranges (washed and scrubbed, organic would be better)

* I made pinwheel lemons and orange strips


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
(if you need a larger amount just use the ratio of 2:1 sugar to water)


Cut fruits into slices or slivers. If using peel alone, discard as much of the bitter white pith as possible.
Put cut peel into a pot and add just enough water to cover the whole lot.
Put over medium heat for 15 mins. Discard liquid and repeat the process with fresh water 3 -4 times. (I did it only 3 times as I prefer a little bitterness to the peel). Discard liquid and allow peel to dry out a little on a rack.
Meanwhile, prepare the syrup.
Place the sugar and water in a pan and allow sugar to dissolve completely on low heat.
When completely dissolved, place peel into syrup and leave to simmer until most of the syrup is absorbed and peel looks translucent.
Remove from pan and coat evenly in powdered sugar. Leave on racks to dry.
Store in an airtight container and keep in a cool, dry place.

Nov 27, 2010


♪♫ * Here's a story,
Of a man who's crazy.
With his friend, they cleaned out the entire boooowwll ..... ♪♫

*(Sing to the theme song of The Brady Bunch)

Needless to say, the two of them were off tiramisu for a long while after that. The funniest part of the story is .... I'd made the coffee mixture so strong, they didn't get to sleep til 6:30 am the next morning!
I guess you should decide how strong you'd like the coffee with bedtime in mind .... unless you're immune to the effects of caffeine. And of course, eating the whole thing didn't help! :D

Since this was the first time I'm working with pasteurized eggs, I'm not sure if it's just me but it seemed like it took a much longer time to whisk the funny-looking, cloudy egg whites into peaks. But eventually, it all came together nicely ..... phew!


2 cups strong black coffee
1/4 cup (or more, hic) coffee liquer of your choice (I use Kahlua, sometimes Dark Rum)
2 pasteurized eggs, separated
1/4 cup caster sugar
250 g mascarpone / ricotta cheese
1 cup cream, whipped
Savoyardi biscuits / Genoise sponge (here, I used savoyardi fingers)
Dark cocoa powder


6 1/2" X 8 1/2" X 3" deep dish
Create individual servings


Combine coffee and liquer in a deep bowl, wide enough to dip the biscuits in.
Beat egg yolks and sugar until mixture turns pale and thickened. Add cheese and mix until just combined. Fold in whipped cream.
In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until soft peaks stage and fold quickly and gently into cream mixture until well combined.
Dip the biscuits, one at a time, flat side down, one side only, into coffee mixture. * Do not over soak the biscuits otherwise it's gonna get all soggy. Line the base of serving dish in a single layer.
Spread half of the cream mixture over the biscuits. Smooth out the surface with a spatula. Dust with an even layer of cocoa powder.
Dip more biscuits and place over dusted layer. Spread remaining cream over biscuits. Smooth surface and finish off with another dusting of cocoa powder.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve chilled on its own, with fresh fruits or a fruit coulis.

Nov 25, 2010

The Occasional Tip: Marshmallow Plug

Ever had an ice cream cone leak onto your favorite shirt?
Here's an easy and delicious way to stop all that mess. Place a marshmallow at the bottom of the cone before you top it off with ice cream. Eat your way through, plug and all!

Nov 21, 2010

Fried Pumpkin: Indian Style

(Thank you everyone for helping get this to FoodBuzz Top 9)

Hmmm ....... I seem to be posting lots of bake stuff lately. This should be a change ... and healthier too! Besides, there are pumpkins everywhere you turn, with halloween just over and thanksgiving a couple of days away.
This is one of my favorites from Indian cuisine and the recipe came to me by way of a good friend who has decided to uproot and re-plant herself and husband down under, leaving us a couple of good friends short over this end of the planet. Sigh. You know who you are.
But, on the positive side, we now have another place to visit for our holidays. Yay! And since she's not here to cook me this dish, I hope I'll do justice to this healthylicious recipe of hers.
Fortunately (for me), it's not too fussy a dish to make. You can even substitute the pumpkin with potatoes but you won't get the same sweetness.
I love this with naan bread.


1 small pumpkin, skinned and seeded, cut into large cubes (I used oriental summer squash and you can even leave the skin on if you like a bit more bite to the texture, just give it a good clean with a brush)
2 sprigs curry leaves, discard stalks
2 - 3 tbs mustard seeds
5 - 6 dried chillies or more if you like it kicking hot, soaked to soften and remove some of the seeds
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 - 3 tbs grated ginger
1 tbs turmeric powder
1 tbs coriander powder
oil for frying (I used grapeseed oil)


Heat oil in pan and stir in curry leaves, mustard seeds and dried chillies until the mustard seeds start to pop. Remove chillies.
Add chopped onions and grated ginger and fry until onions are soft.
Toss in diced pumpkin, turmeric powder and coriander powder and stir to combine.
Add about half cup of water, stir and simmer covered, until liquid evaporates and pumpkin turns soft. If needed, add more water, cover and simmer until the desired softness. Do not put in too much water or pumpkin will become mushy.
Add salt to taste.
(Sprinkle with some chopped fresh coriander if desired)

Nov 17, 2010


Call it what you like .... éclairs, profiteroles, cream puffs .... 'éclairs' simply means 'filled pastry' ..... 'filled choux pastry' to be exact. And the filling varies from pastry cream, whipped cream, some other cream to even, ice cream!
This is just as fun to make as the iced cookies in the earlier post. And, as usual, I can't stick to just one shape or design .... hey, I like some variety.
I do like to make them small and bite-sized, a mini mouthful, just right to pop it into the mouth in one go, no gooey cream oozing out all over. Just don't try to talk til you've swallowed ... especially if you've dusted it with powdered sugar!

For this recipe, I've filled the éclairs with créme patissiére (pastry cream) but feel free to fill it with whatever suits your fancy.


1/2 cup water
1/2 cup full cream milk
4 ozs butter
1 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plain flour
4 eggs


Preheat oven to 180˚C. Line a baking tray with parchment or a baking mat.
Combine water, milk, butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Stir in flour quickly and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until
mixture pulls away from sides of pan cleanly and forms a ball.
Transfer dough into a mixing bowl and using an electric mixer, beat on low speed to cool slightly, about 3 mins.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 mins in the fridge. (Dough may be stored, covered, for up to 24 hours in the fridge.)
Remove dough from fridge and fill into a piping bag.

From this point on, you can pipe into rounds using a nozzle of your choice or cut a hole of about 1 1/2 cm at the tip of the piping bag and pipe little logs of about 5 cm in length ... or longer, if you want a bigger éclair or make the hole larger for a fatter éclair.
Or just simply place dollops of dough on the parchment.

Bake in preheated oven for about 20 - 25 mins or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and using the tip of a small knife (I used a chopstick), pierce a small hole to allow the steam to escape. This prevents the éclairs from going soggy on the inside. You can also do this step and then place them into the oven for another 2 mins to dry it out.
Remove and allow to cool on cooling rack.


2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
2 tbs cornstarch


Place all ingredients into a saucepan and whisk until evenly combined.
Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a slow boil, stirring continuously.
When mixture thickens to a paste, remove from heat. Transfer pastry cream into a clean, dry bowl and cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool and then place in fridge until fully chilled.
When chilled, fill pastry cream into piping bag fitted with a tube nozzle and fill éclairs through the hole/slit you have made earlier.
Dip or drizzle top of filled éclairs with chocolate ganache.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.


1/3 cup cream
50 g dark chocolate, chopped


Heat cream over medium heat in a small saucepan until just about boiling. DO NOT boil.
Remove from heat.
Mix in chocolate pieces and stir until all chocolate has melted. Leave to cool. (Ganache will thicken when cooled)
Can be stored in fridge. Remove and stand container in a bowl of warm water to soften before re-using.

Nov 13, 2010

Egg White Biscotti

Biscotti. (noun) plural for 'Biscotto'. Definition: crisp cookie or biscuit. Language: Italian.
Origin: medieval latin - 'Biscotus'. Definition: twice baked / twice cooked.

Today, we associate the word with those teensy-weensy wafer thin cookies that accompany that fancy-pricey cup of coffee. Historically, 'biscotti' defined oven baked goods that were baked twice so that they were very dry and could be stored for long periods of time. The storage part doesn't necessarily apply in my home as it seems to disappear just as quickly as it's made...
It's quite addictive, and since this recipe isn't too sweet and doesn't contain any egg yolk, it's a healthy snack for anytime of the day ... unless you're allergic to nuts.

Happy munching!

LOAF TIN: L8" X W4" X H4"
Oil tin and line base and sides with parchment


125 g mixed nuts of your choice, lightly toasted and cooled
(I used 50g almonds & 75g unsalted pistachios)
3 egg whites
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup plain flour, sifted


Preheat oven to 180˚C.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add sugar gradually, beating constantly until mixture turns thick and glossy and all sugar has dissolved.
Add sifted flour and nuts. Gently fold together until well combined.
Spread into prepared tin and smooth the surface.
Bake for 30 mins or until the top is very lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool in tin.
When cooled, preheat oven to 160˚C.
Using a sharp serrated knife or an electric knife, slice loaf into thin slices.
Spread slices onto lined baking trays and bake for 8 mins, turn slices over and bake a further 8 mins, or until they turn lightly golden and crisp.
Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Sit back, have a couple of pieces with a cuppa java.

Nov 9, 2010

The Verdict: Korean Noodles

And now, we have THE verdict. The verdict to this interesting but crazy post from Babe in the City - KL. Check it out here.
The Korean drama series on tv seem to be the latest craze these days and apparently this dish/concoction was featured in one of the episodes.
The recipe called for Shin Ramyun noodles, a slice of cheddar cheese, one egg and potato crisps. Weird, isn't it? And if this wasn't weird enough, I had to add a little more weirdness to it.
Since I hadn't any Shin Ramyun noodles, but had some other brand of Korean Kimchi noodles, I used that, together with a lonely and neglected Thüringer Bratwurst (some fancy name for a pork sausage I bought from a gourmet deli) that was sitting in the fridge. I've never been able to eat instant noodles by itself without adding some kind of meat and vegetable, so this is a great opportunity to clear out my fridge. And since I also didn't have any cheese slices, I used the shredded cheddar that I was saving up for a pizza. Oh, I didn't have potato crisps either, but that's not a big deal coz I had some tortilla chips! Add the cheese just as the noodles are about done, stir in the egg, add a handful of shredded baby romaine, top with the tortillas.....
What's weird is...I actually thought it was quite nice! It's rich, creamy and robust with maybe just a tinge of too much saltiness due to the cheese and tortillas, which can be remedied by not putting all of the contents in the seasoning sachet that comes with the noodles. Otherwise, it's an interesting cocktail of flavors. I wouldn't have this too often tho....all that MSG and salt. Be ready with some glasses of water.
Oh...and my apologies for having no pic. I was really hungry.