Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Ribs of Beer and Honey

Sometimes, you just gotta indulge. And after hearing about Hobart's latest foray at the all-you-can-eat ribs night at HRC, i felt like making ribs of my own. This recipe is based on the ribs recipe by Alton Brown. Alton Brown hosts the show Good Eats, which is the *only* cooking show that I watch - You should check it out if you have the chance. Yeah, so while this recipe is based on Alton Brown's, you'll find that I've switched around a lot of the ingredients because, hey, I am on a budget. Warning: this isn't one of those meals you can fix in a jiffy. Cooking time is about 3 hours, plus plus! But I'd say, finger-licking worth it.

The Ribs of Beer and Honey

The Rub
8 parts brown sugar
3 parts salt
1 part chili powder

The Sauce
1 can cheap beer
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tbsp honey

The Rib
2 racks of ribs. Spare or prime, depending on budget and availability

Step 1: The Rub
Combine the proportions of brown sugar, salt and chili powder (8:3:1) and mix well. On a heavy sheet of aluminum foil, lay out ribs (one rib per sheet) and pat both sides with a generous amount of the rub. Pull sides of foil together to make a pouch with the ribs in the middle, and fold ends of puch to make the pouch watertight. Place in fridge for at least an hour - better if overnight.

Step 2: The Sauce, part 1
Preheat oven to 110 degrees (celsius). Whisk all the ingredients of the sauce together. Remove ribs from the fridge and open one end of each pouch. Divide the sauce base into two portions and pour a portion into each pouch. If you're using only one rack of ribs, use half the amount of liquid. Make sure liquid is evenly distributed along the each entire pouch before placing in the over for two and a half hours.

Step 3: The Sauce, part 2
After two and a half hours, remove ribs from oven. Drain liquid of both pouches onto a saucepan (you might want to place a pouch over a saucepan and snip a hole in the middle to let the sauce drain out). On high heat, reduce sauce until thick. Baste sauce onto ribs and broil for a minute. Cut ribs and toss in the remaining sauce. Eat and enjoy the fruits of your labour.


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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

kolo mee recipe

i believe this particular recipe has been long awaited for . thus , i shall cut to the chase . want a more entertaining story ? visit my other blog ler .

what you need ar ?

100 grams noodles (preferably hand made) .
5 tablespoons lard .
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots .
1 tablespoon light soy sauce .
2 teaspoons m.s.g. a.k.a ajinomoto . ( update : i think it's best to cut down the m.s.g. some more...not very healthy hor ? i think one teaspoon will do fine...but if you're not that afraid , use two teaspoons lor )
25 grams of mince pork .
a few slices of char siu (roast pork) .
some chopped spring onion .

and on the sides...small fresh chilli and diluted lime juice .

how liao ?

bear in mind kolo mee ingredients are normally produced in making only one portion as such will result in many leftovers ( useful nevertheless ) .

i understand lard may be unavailable in the markets . so how ? render your own lor ( i did ) . it's basically heating pork fat ( cheap stuff ) in a pot with careful additions of water ( so that it doesn't dry up ) until all that's left in your pot is a viscous yellow substance that will harden into a creamy brick when left out cold too long ( leaving a yummy smell lingering in your home ) . you may improvise with other oils , but i can safely say that there are no proper substitutes for lard .

once you have lard , heat two tablespoons of it onto a pan , and fry the finely chopped shallots ( or you can cheat by buying those packets of fried shallots from asian groceries and adding the same amount as stated ) . fry until fragrant and chuck in some mince pork ( seasoned with a pinch of m.s.g. ) . once the mince pork is cooked , do not throw the oil away . there should still be a yield of about a tablespoon .

in your bowl , mix together 2-3 tablespoons of lard , 1 tablespoon light soy sauce ( please do not use dark soy sauce...your noodles will be transformed into black noodles ) and 1 and a half teaspoons of m.s.g....then also add the lard leftover from the mince pork / shallot frying . that particularly flavoured lard , i believe , is the secret behind the flavour of kolo mee .

cook your noodles in rapid boiling water for about two minutes and chuck them into your bowl .

top the noodles with the mince pork/shallot , char siu and spring onion . serve with the chilli / diluted lime juice too . and don't forget , for all authenticity , make sure you use THE chicken bowl...that's optional of course haha . enjoy heartily with a glass of teh c peng ( if you know how to make it ) . mmm...

oh...and for those of you wondering why some kolo mee have a slightly red colouring , i suspect it's from the char siu itself or perhaps , a little bit of char siu sauce .


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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

mini strawberry tarts

from my recent recipes , most people might misintepret me as someone who only relishes in greedily gobbling inhumane portions of food . that is just a misconception hor . i am also well known as an epitome of sweet toothed individuals . i delight in desserts as well . a few weeks back , i happened to catch a show on tv where the chef made a simple raspberry tart . what struck me was not only its tempting appearance...but her ingenuity . so , here , i try to recreate her simplicity with strawberries (only because it's still winter here and they're hardly any other fruits to work with...if any ) .

what you need ar ?

100 grams mascarpone cheese .
100 ml thick cream .
2 teaspoons caster sugar or 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk .
juice of half an orange ( i used a navel orange )
3-4 strawberries (depending on their size...mine were giganormous) .
3 large round digestive biscuits ( i used mcvities chocolate digestive cookies ) .

the measurements above make three to four mini-tarts .

how liao ?

in a bowl , whisk the mascarpone cheese , cream and sugar / sweetened condensed milk together . dice one strawberries per intended tart ( i.e. three in this case ) and add those along with the orange juice into the mix . whisk more to ensure everything's well mixed but not to the point where you mash the strawberries hor . if you aren't confident on being gentle , then forgo the whisk . just use a spoon lor . next , just plate the mixture onto your biscuit bases . decorate with quatered stawberries atop each mini-tart . refridgerate for some time and serve chilled . enjoy .


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Monday, August 07, 2006

beer battered steak

most guys will agree with me that a cold beer always provides soothing comfort after a long , hard day . more will agree that a good steak always translates into a hearty meal . i stared at my stash of beer in the fridge ( i'm one of those who feels that the house is empty without at least a six pack sitting in the fridge) . then i diverted my attention to the fresh meat beside it and thought , why not combine both ?

what you need ar ?

serves two normal people , one of me . haha .

2 scotch fillet steaks (about 250-300 grams each) .
4 teaspoons ground black pepper .
1 tablespoon of oil .
5 mushrooms ( left whole or chopped is your choice . for this recipe , i prefer them whole ) .
200 ml tomato based pasta sauce (yeah...i cheated...i was too lazy to mix tomato paste and some herbs together plus there was a bottle of unused leggo's napoletana sitting on my table haha...if you do want to do it the original way i thought of...mix the same amount of tomato paste with some fresh basil and rosemary . )
1 bottle of beer ( i used carlton draught...really any beer that's not too bitter will do ) .
1 medium red onion , diced .

how liao ?

easy peasy lor . season the steaks with some of the ground black pepper ( i don't think i have to pester and recommend sarawak pepper hor ? ) . then seal the steaks by searing them on a pan / grill for a minute on each side . it should look similar to this hor :

after that , simply heat up the pasta sauce / tomato paste with herbs and cook the mushrooms as well as the onions with it in a small pot (not a shallow pan hor) . bringing it to a boil , add a quarter of the bottle of beer (now...don't be so excited until you add the whole bottle will become too solute) . chuck in the steaks and let cook ( pot uncovered) for at least ten minutes ( remember to put your beer in the fridge hor or sip it while you wait but make sure you have some left ) . if you're afraid you've boiled all your beer away , fear not . hear the final step...the secret to all sauces involving alcohol (beer or wine or whatever) is to daringly dash the alcohol just before you serve to preserve its flavour . so just as you switch the fire off , dash some of that beer and watch it sizzle . smell the flavour and gobble immediately with the rest of the beer . cheers .


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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Spanish Doughnuts

The bake-ress is back!

Yes. Shameful, I know. But the minute I moved house and got uprooted from my beautiful (rented) SMEG microwave, oven and stove top, I just lost motivation because I had to bake in a less posh oven.

But oh well. I'm back.


So today's long due recipe is Spanish doughnuts.

Those who know me well know that I detest crowds and there's nothing worse than lining up at Vic Mart with hooligans, err, I mean, market-going folks on a Sunday afternoon to get a sugar high.

So here's my version of Spanish doughnuts for those who hate queues and those who are a bit more health conscious (I've made the effort to reduce the cholestrol in this recipe).

Baker's pantry:

1/2 (110g) cups caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
20g unsalted butter (melted)
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Canola oil for deep frying

sugar mixture: 2 cups (450g) white sugar, 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Flour up to my elbows:

1. Whisk sugar, vanilla extract, egg, butter and milk.

2. Add flour, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir until smooth to form a thick batter. Leave for one hour.

3. Fill a wok or deep frying pan with oil. Heat oil until 180 degrees. To test this, use a deep fryer thermometer or plonk a small cube of bread into the oil. If it's already at 180 degrees, the bread cube will turn golden in 30 seconds.

4. Fry teaspoonfuls of batter. Ensure that the batter that goes into the oil is more or less teaspoonful size to avoid them looking like giant warts. Place fried up batter on paper towels.

5. Toss doughnuts in the sugar mixture.

6. Serve immediately (if you plan to eat them later, don't roll them in the sugar mixture yet).

Spanish doughnuts are perfect with a hot mug of tea!


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Saturday, August 05, 2006

May's Winter Warmer

Folks, today I fulfilled my lifelong fantasy.

Do I hear a collective gasp?

No, no, it's not what you think it is (or maybe...)

I've always loved mushroom soup. Especially the ones that come in this massive round-ish bread. It's delish. It's delightful because it's a meal on it's own; you have your yummy soup and you have the bread, all soaked in the soup to gobble up at the end of it.

Lately I've been craving mushroom soup. And bread. So I got my act together, dug up two mushroom soup recipies to study (one of which was Noelbynature's Better than Campbell's (TM) Mushroom Soup!) and came up with my lactose-free, low-fat version.

Vat you need:

A nice round bread that's strong enough to hold soup in
3-4 different types of mushrooms
Some skim milk
About 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
Chicken stock (liquid)
Onions and garlic, chopped finely
Potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
1 bay leaf
Mix herbs to sprinkle
Salt and pepper to taste

How now, brown cow?

1. Peel potatoes and boil them in salt water. Put the bay leaf into the mixture.
2. Chop up all the mushrooms, onions and garlic. Fry over medium heat.
3. Season to taste mushrooms with some salt. Remove potatoes from heat (by now potatoes should be nice and soft) and pour entire mixture into the mushroom mix.
4. Turn fire down to low and allow to simmer. Add parsley and butter. Season to taste.
5. Remove from fire. Remove bay leaf and pour the mixture into a blender. Blend until smooth.
6. Pour the smooth mushroom mixture into a pan/saucepan again and over a low fire add chicken stock and skim milk. Season to taste again and sprinkle some mix herbs. Set aside.
7. Using a bread knife carfully cut the top of the bread. Empty out bread of its contents (I haven't thought of what to do with the filling yet) and pour your yummy soup into it. Perfect for a cold winter's day.



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Thursday, August 03, 2006

spiced steeped chicken

steeped chicken is originally a style of cooking chicken whereby we infuse it with light flavours and serving it with contrasting pungent sauce to accentuate the flavours . somewhat inspired , i took a daring plunge and modified it to my own style . so here goes...spiced steeped chicken :

what you need ar ?

1 whole fresh chicken ( mine was about 1.8 kg) .
6 cloves of garlic , crushed but not chopped ar .
4 spring onions , chopped .
6-8 heaped tablespoons of chicken stock powder .
3 teaspoons of light soy sauce .

seems normal so far leh ? here are my own twists :

1 stalk lemongrass (don't do anything to it) .
3 thumb size chunks of ginger .
3 red chillis , incompletely perforated on both sides (i.e. three one inch cuts along each side) :

(allows extraction of chilli flavours without the interference of the seeds) .
1 star anise .
8 cloves .
11 kafir lime leaves .
a handful of chopped coriander .
3 tablespoons of ground white pepper .

how liao ?

before you do anything , make sure the chicken is clean hor . for extra measure , pour some red vinegar generously into the chicken . this contributes to flavour and also acts as a disinfectant .

then , make sure you have a pot big enough for it , chuck the chicken inside and fill it with just enough water to immerse the chicken in . i didn't have a big pot so i improvised using one of my deep pans , and covering the exposed parts with another pan to capture the steam ensuring it was cooked in time . anyhow , just put all the above mentioned ingredients into the pot with the chicken , bring it to a boil and let the mix simmer for a nice hour . by then , your broth will contain yummy rendered fat and your chicken will be so soft , you don't even need a knife to pick off the bones . of coure , needless to say , unless you want to be selfish , don't eat this alone hor...can finish one chicken alone meh ?

serve with rice . the broth is surprisingly yummy (if you pretend the degraded ingredients were invisible ar) . if you want an individual sauce to accompany this , just mix some chilli (preferably the small red cili padis hor) , minced garlic , 1/2 light soy sauce , 1/2 dark soy sauce , and a generous amount of sesame oil (peanut oil also can) lor .


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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

May's Porky Pork

Uh...Ok, I must admit the picture of Porky Pork doesn't look too appetising (I am, after all, not famed for my lavish presentation style). However it does taste good and it is quite cheap to make! Yes!

This is a Chinese dish and it is very simple to make, believe it or not. Very good party food because you can make loads of it.

Vat you need:

Mince pork
Potatoes, peeled and sliced
Oyster Sauce
Garlic, chopped finely

How now, brown cow?

1. After peeling and slicing the potatoes, throw them in a pan and fry em' till they are cooked and nice and brown. Set aside.
2. Mash up mince pork with a fork. In a separate bowl, beat a few eggs and season with pepper.
3. Mix the pork and eggs together. Mix well! Add a little cornflour (about 2 teaspoons).
4. Heat oil in a pan. Using a spoon, spoon out the pork. Arrange your cute porky cutlets well so that they don't stick to each other.
5. Turn porky cutlets over to cook through. Once cooked, set porky aside. Repeat until all the mince is used up.
6. Add chopped garlic into the pan and fry until fragrant. Throw in the potatoes. Add some oyster sauce and stir well.
7. Mix some cornflour and water and add it to the potato mixture. This will thicken the oyster sauce gravy. Season to taste with some salt.
8. Throw in your porky cutlets and toss well.

Dig in!


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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

May's Lagsane

You know how a lagsane looks like, right?

Well, because I forgot to take a picture of my finishing product the other day *knocks head*

I learnt this recipie from my Mum but made quite a number of alterations to it as I am, after all, lactose intolerant and I wanted to do away with the rich, too creamy (and very fattening) white sauce that often accompanies your usual lagsane.

So yes, May's little version of her lagsane. This recipie makes a small portion, not the big arse ones in those huge ceramic trays.

Vat you need:

Instant lagsane sheets
1 small bag of Pizza Cheese (a combination of mozarella, cheddar and parmasen cheese)
250g mince beef
Tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes
1 carrot, grated finely
2 bay leaves
Parsley, chopped roughly
Garlic, chopped finely
2 onions, chopped roughly

How now brown cow?

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
2. Fry garlic and onions until garlic is fragrant and the onions are soft.
3. Over medium flame, add mince beef a little at a time.
4. Once cooked, add in about 5 or more tablespoons of tomato paste. Turn flame down to low. Add diced tomatoes.
5. Add grated carrots, bay leaves and parsley.
6. Add more tomato paste, about 3 tablespoons more.
7. If you need to add water, add only a little (I normally do not add any water. Always use boiled water if you have to.)
8. Allow the sauce to simmer. Season to taste with sugar, salt and black pepper.
9. Alternatively, you could add some chili flakes to spice up the taste of the sauce!
10. Remove sauce from heat.

So now you have your sauce, yes? Good. Now's time to arrange the lagsane sheets before you pop it into the oven. So how?

First, oil the tray with a little olive oil. Then arrange the sheets like so:

Remove bay leaves from the sauce, then pour the sauce onto the sheet like so:

Then sprinkle the Pizza Cheese on top of the sauce. If you're a cheese fan then you can sprinkle lots. If you're like me and cautious about the fat/lactose content, go easy on the cheese!

Now, repeat those 3 simple steps. Sheet-sauce-cheese. If you are using a big ceramic tray to cook your lagsane, you need to turn the lagsane sheet(s) the other way around (you'd need to break the sheet in half to do this.) This is done so that when the final product pops out of the oven you'd be able to see nice criss-cross layers.

Once you've repeated those steps (you may need to repeat the three steps 2-3 times depending on the size of the tray) and your tray is now filled to the brim with cheese, pop it into the oven for 30-40 minutes.

Check that the lagsane is cooked! We don't want our guests biting into hard pasta, no?


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