Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Flourless Chocolate Souffles

Light as air, melt-in-the-mouth souffles are always impressive and sought after. And they never fail to tempt chocolate and non chocolate lovers. They are often based on the simplest store-cupboard ingredients for every baker and this recipe doesn't call for flour. For extra indulgence, serve with an ice cream or whipped cream with dark rum and grated orange rind. You can also top it up with a strawberry.

All you need: (for 6)

50g unsweetened cocoa powder
65g caster sugar
30ml dark rum
6 egg whites

1 Preheat oven to 190deg C. Place baking sheet in the oven to heat it up.
2 Mix 15ml of cocoa with 15ml of sugar in a bowl. Grease ramekins. Pour cocoa and sugar mixture into each dish in turn, rotating them so that they are evenly coated.
3 Mix the remaining cocoa powder with the dark rum.
4 Whisk egg whites in a clean, grease-free bowl until they form stiff peaks. Whisk in the remaining sugar. Stir a generous spoonful of the whites into the cocoa mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites.
5 Divide the mixture among the dishes. Place on the hot baking sheet and bake for 13-15 mins or until well risen
6 Dust with icing sugar when cooled.

In my version I didn't have rum so I replaced it with orange juice. I'm not sure if that's the cause of the bitterness in my souffle, or that I have folded in the egg whites too much. Anyhow that was my first attempt and it was something sweet and enjoyable :)

Adapted from: Three & Four Ingredients

Monday, September 21, 2009

Penang, Malaysia 9-11 Aug 09

I was on a trip to Malaysia yet again for the 2nd time this year. For my air ticket to Penang, it was merely $85 per pax incl of taxes! It's too good to be missed. I was gone over the National Day weekend.

Preparing for another gastronomical journey, I prepped myself with an empty stomach ready to conquer the streets of Gurney Drive and Georgetown loadful of famous Penang Fried Kuay Teow, Penang Laksa and Wan Tan Mee.

Not to be missed is the Teochew Chendol that's filled with lotsa coconut milk and gula melaka. I prefer the one at Malacca though.

In Penang, it's mainly food hunting and some night market shopping along Batu Ferringhi. On our way to Batu Ferringhi, we stopped by Gurney Drive where it has a HUGE open air market full of hawker stalls. They have Wan Tan Mee, Penang Laksa, Rojak, BBQ cuttelfish, Penang Fried Kuay Teow and lots more! You can't stomach everything in one night. Needless to say, everything is so cheap and affordable - at least when compared to Singapore. And it's very delicious. You probably won't be able to resist the whiff of the freshly fried foods as you walk along those stalls..

From above: Fried Oyster, Assam Laksa, Penang Fried Kuay Teow and Rojak

A must visit is the Kheng Pin coffeeshop along Penang Avenue in Georgetown. It is usually packed! I must say the Wan Tan Mee is ....SUPERB! It only cost me about 3RM (less than $1.50 in Singapore dollars) and it came with chicken, wan tans, char siew and mushrooms! How amazing. I'm very sure you don't get these in Singapore. The portion was considered small compared to Sg's serving, but good enough for me to have the capacity to try other stuff. The Prawn Mee wasn't too bad, just a tad too oily. They have other yummy stuff like Fried Wu Xiang where you can choose what you wanna eat. Like Sotong, Ngoh Hiang or Spring roll etc and fried on the spot. Forget what oil and fats are.

I also got myself Penang white coffee nearby though it was a little steep: $10 for a pack of 15 sachets.

Tip for travelling to Penang: go in a group and share as much variety of food as you can! It's eat eat and eat. Till you drop.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chinese Pear with White Fungus Dessert

People around me have been sniffing, coughing and sneezing. With the crazy weather and climate going on, it's good to have Chinese dessert once in a while to 'cool' your body heat. I have never understood the terms 'heaty' or 'cooling' in Chinese medicine but I think the symtoms really show when you are feeling 'heaty'. You'll get ulcers, constipation, sore throat, fever etc. So things that are really heaty are longans, mango, durians and fried foods..

I came across this interesting recipe in the Sunday Lifestyle food section. I never miss a day of this as it contains full of food reviews on places to pig out, what to cook, how to cook and tips on cooking disasters. The original recipe calls for Osmanthus flower (gui hua) but I couldn't get it at 2 of the medical shops in my area. I proceeded with what I could find and got myself a pot of cooling and refreshing Chinese Pear with White Fungus dessert. I'm a bit lazy to follow the recipe provided, so here's my very own version. It can be served hot, whilst some might like it chilled.

Ingredients (for 4-6 servings)

800ml water
20g apricot seeds
60g red dates
75g yellow rock sugar
1 Chinese pear. cut into wedges with core removed
Half of a fungus, soaked in hot water and cut into pieces when expanded

1. Boil the water with apricot seeds and red dates
2. When water has boiled, add in fungus and pear and leave to boil
3. Add in rock sugar and stir
4. Leave to simmer for about 1 -1.5 hr till pear has softned and the soup has a sweet taste
5. Add more water if desired

Ready to serve!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Chinese Huat Kuay

Huat Kuay (Fa Gao) is not a common favourite among the youngsters these days. It is actually a cake made to rise by steaming it and usually enjoyed by the elderly folks, or at certain times, offered with prayers to the Chinese Gods. (but it can still be eaten after prayers)

This is a recipe originated in traditional Chinese and my mom is attempting to steam it for Sunday. So I'm trying my very best to have it translated as accurately as possible. Nevertheless, it is a simple cake that can be prepared within minutes.

All you need:

250g self raising flour (sifted)
175g orange sugar
300g water
2 pandan leaves

1 Bring water and pandan leaves to boil. Add in sugar and stir.
2 After cooled, remove pandan leaves
3 Pour in self raising flour into mixture and stir will well combined
4 Add water if desired till mixture is smooth
5 Pour batter into cups and steam for 20 min (do not attempt to remove the cover or it will not rise)

I tweaked the recipe a little today as the previous recipe was quite a guestimation with hands-on based on a Chinese recipe. I tried again today and here is the revised one. Hope it helps

(as of 2 Nov)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kids Baking Class

I conducted a kids muffin baking workshop on Sat. Though it seemed easy with simple mix of ingredients like milk, eggs, flour and some mixed fruits, the preparation and printing of certs and recipe started as early as 2-3 weeks ago.

It was fun and enjoyable but the oven at the school didn't quite work to my expectations :( It left some parents pretty unhappy due to the long waiting time and I guess this could have been better handled. And since it was my maiden kids baking workshop, I couldn't quite manage 10 kids and 10 parents in one setting. Well I guess we always learn from mistakes and past experiences.

Nevertheless I saw some happy faces as the children and parents walked out with boxes of freshly baked muffins and chocolate chip cookies :)

I tried to allow ample opportunities for hands on learning.