Crochet fruits and vegetables

amigurumiveggieThe Hooky Harvest Bunch, the amigurumi booklet that came along with Simply crochet issue 35. They were so cute and I can’t help it to make all of them. I also found the creator of these creatures, Becky Garratt.

These are the fruits and vegetables. Who says that they will be rotten when you leave them for too long. At least, mine don’t but they grow eyes and full with different expression.

I love them….

Advertisements

Kewpie (Japanese) mayonnaise

When making meringue, you need lots of egg whites but what to do with the yolk? I made them into mayonnaise(美乃滋) and we loved the Japanese mayo especially my husband. Even though we can buy a nice mayo in a jar locally but we still preferred the Japanese one coz the taste is different. What make it different? In another hand, I don’t want to waste the egg yolk.
Making mayo is fairly easy and making Japanese mayo is equally easy, as long that you’ve all the ingredients in the house.
Basic ingredients:

  • Egg yolk (minimum 2-3, increase the amount if you want to make more)
  • Soya bean oil

Seasoning:

  • Salt – small pinch
  • Rice wine vinegar/rice vinegar (纯米酢) –
  • Mustard powder/Dijon mustard
  • Lemon juice – few drops
  • Sugar (optional)

Method 1:

  1. Mix the seasoning together.
  2. Add the egg yolks and seasoning together into the blender.
  3. When it is mix well, continue with lower to medium speed and add the oil slowly into the blender.
  4. When the mayo getting thicker, then stop. Check the taste.

Method 2:

  1. Beat the egg yolks.
  2. Add oil slowly.
  3. Add season later.

Some recipes call for small amount of dashi stock at the very last step but I haven’t try it out yet. I will update the post when I’ve done it.
The 1st time that I made the mayo successfully was using whisk by hand instead of blender. It is quite an intensive work and felt like playing squash for 45 minutes. It is always nice to do it one time with hand, then you get a good feeling on how the texture of the mayo should be.

Coffee crunch cake

CoffeeCruchCakeWe always ordered or bought the birthday cake from a cake shop while I’m in Malaysia and in Holland, we always special ordered it in a bakery shop. Somehow, I miss the Malaysia’s birthday cake very much and find the dutch’s birthday cake is a bit bored. So, I decided to make it myself and found this recipe. I’ve never made any cake that cover with cream nor making a meringue. But I told myself to give it a try. The appearance may looks a bit disappointing but the combination of taste was fantastic except the size is a bit big for one person. (I used the pie mould)

I’ve made some adjustment on the recipe and the method after reading through the comment of others. I baked the cake and meringue separately.

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 175g softened butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Meringue topping

  • 3 egg whites
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3 tsp instant coffee granules (I used espresso)

Butter cream for filling

  • 50g softened butter
  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tbsp. coffee liquid
  • 50g walnut, chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Drizzle

  • 3 tbsp. icing sugar with remaining of the coffee

Method:

  1. Make 3 tbsp. of instant coffee with boiling water, then keep it cool.
  2. Beat the butter with sugar til pale white.
  3. Add egg one at a time and continue beating, fold in the sifted flour and baking powder while beating.
  4. Fold in 3 tbsp. of coffee liquid, vanilla extract.
  5. Bake the cake for an hour in 180C.
  6. When it is done, leave it to cool.

Making meringue:

  1. Beat the egg whites and gradually add sugar while beating.
  2. When it is in peak form. (peak –> hold the bowl upside down and it will NOT fall).
  3. Gently fold in the instant coffee granules.
  4. Cover the baking pan with grease baking paper.
  5. Put a tablespoon on the pan (the size to cover the top of the cake).
  6. Bake for 1.5 hours in 100-110C.

Making butter cream

  1. Cream the butter.
  2. Add in sifted icing sugar, 3-4 tbsp. coffee liquid, vanilla extract.
  3. When it is well combine, add in the chopped walnut.

Making the drizzling sauce:

  1. Add icing sugar into the remaining coffee liquid.
  2. The sauce suppose to be thick and not too runny.

Assemble:

  1. When cake has cool, split/cut it into half horizontal.
  2. Spread the butter cream to the middle and sandwich it.
  3. Put some butter cream on top of the cake to hold the meringue.
  4. Drizzle over the meringue with the coffee icing before serving.

The original recipe baking the meringue and the cake together, this result the cake below the meringue in not well cook form. This is because the meringue served as a protection layer on top of the cake. Check out the physics of baked Alaska and then you will understand why. Another mistake that I’ve done here was the temperature was too high while baking the meringue. Nevertheless, it was my first time baking meringue; will corrected it next time.

Anyway, we enjoyed this home-made and self-baked birthday cake of mine; this birthday is the BEST!!!

Quick and easy home-made chicken soup

It is very easy to make chicken soup at home. I made it a lot for different purpose.

Here is the basic ingredients:

  • Chicken drum-stick (or any chicken part with bone) with skin.
  • Shallot
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Spring onion, the white part.
  • Water
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Oyster sauce
  • Chinese cooking wine
  • Pepper and salt to taste

Method

  1. Marinate the chicken with Chinese cooking wine, oyster sauce and pepper.
  2. Roughly cut the shallot.
  3. Slice the ginger and garlic
  4. Shredded the spring onion
  5. Put the cut shallot, ginger, garlic and spring onion into a pan together with the chicken.
  6. Pour in water, add in some salt.
  7. Bring the water to boil, season with soy sauce, salt and pepper.
  8. When the taste is right and chicken is well cook, put in a few drops of sesame oil. Then turn-off the fire.
  9. Served the soup in a bowl and garnish with the green part of the spring onion.

Sometimes, I added Enokitake (needle mushroom). The same recipe can be use for wonton soup, udon soup, noodle soup. If you’ve a slow cooker at home, use it and it taste even better except it takes longer time.

The secret of this recipe is the chicken bone where it contains the natural glutamate and the skin gives oil, the combination produce that umami taste.

Napa cabbage roll

I got a big beautiful napa cabbage sitting in my fridge for weeks and still doesn’t know what to do with it. Usually, I will easily make it into  kimchi during winter or gyoza but I’ve too many of them sitting my fridge and freezer; it is such a waste to do stir-fry since it has a big leaves. I googled and found the idea of using it as a wrap, just like wonton or stuffed vegetables.

NapaCabbageWrap

Here is how I do it for this recipe.
Fillings:

  • Chicken breast – minced
  • Prawn – minced
  • Shitake mushroom – I always used fresh one and diced it.
  • Water chestnut – diced it
  • Ginger – grated
  • 1 clove of Garlic – chopped it fine
  • Spring onion/scallion – chopped
  • Carrot(s) – diced
  • 1 tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 large Egg – lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp Cornstarch

Mix the ingredients of the fillings together in a bowl and then put it into fridge for at least 1-2 hours.
*The above ingredients can be used for wonton, stuffed vegetables, spring roll or dim sum.
Napa Cabbage

  • Remove each leaf carefully and trim a little bit at the bottom.
  • Use a pan that can fit the leaf.
  • Bring the water to boil with the seleccted pan and blanch the cabbage leaves until it turn soft.
  • Take the leaves out from the hot/warm water and give it a quick cold bath.
  • Try to drain as much water out from the cabbage leaves as possible and be careful not to break it.

Now, it is ready to use for rolling or wrapping.

Sauce:

  • Chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

Method:

  1. Lay the soft cabbage leave gently and flat.
  2. Put a tablespoon or teaspoon of fillings that fit to the size of each cabbage leaf.
  3. Roll it gently and push each end to cover the mince nicely.
  4. Put them into a steamer.
  5. Steam them for approximately 20 minutes.
  6. When it is done,  remove it from the steamer and place them on serving plate.
  7. Pour the sauce over and then garnish with spring onion.

Home-made Calpis drink

Calpis1If you’ve been to Japan or die-hard Japanese product fan, then you most probably have seen Calpis drink or consume it before. It is a popular non-carbonated soft-drink in Japan or among the Japanese. We’ve tried it during our holidays trip in Japan and love it. A few months ago, I found it in the Asian store in Holland and it was pretty pricy. Unfortunately, it is sold out everywhere now. I was searching desperately on the internet where I can buy it online, then came across this site showing how to make it at home. So I gave it a try with the ingredients specified on the web site without following the measurement.
Ingredients: Yogurt, sugar and lime.
I used a non-fat/non-full yogurt, cane sugar and a lime.
Methods:

  • Add the yogurt and sugar into a heat proved bowl.
  • Place the bowl over simmering water.
  • Stir the yogurt and sugar until smooth.
  • When it is ready, remove the bowl from the simmering water.
  • Squeeze the lime juice into the yogurt mixture. Mix well.

When the mixture has cool down, you can chilled it in the fridge and then add your favorite drink to it. If you can’t wait like me and like the one similar to the bottle, then add water to dilute the yogurt mixture and it taste almost the same.Calpis

Home made teriyaki sauce

Most of the time, people will wonder why should we waste time to make a sauce when you can buy them from a store. When you are serious into cooking, then you don’t buy it. Most of the professional chef doesn’t use ready-made sauce, they make it themselves. This is to understand the basic taste of each ingredients use for a dish. Same for Japanese cooking, teriyaki sauce is one of the very good example. I started to make the teriyaki sauce myself after seriously getting into Japanese cooking. It is pretty simple.

  • Sake
  • Mirin (Hon-mirin)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sugar (small amount)
  • corn starch (to thicken the sauce) – optional

There is no measurement provided for each ingredients because it goes according to the amount of sauce that you intend to make. For a start, use 1 tablespoon of each (sake, mirin, soy sauce) for experimenting; use 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to thicken the sauce (depends on situation).
Have fun in sauce making!!!