Wednesday, December 19, 2012

About the Geeky Cooks: The Specter

Lets see. I'm not quite good at autobiographies. Read a lot about it but never ever attempted to have my own. I cant find the words to describe myself other than the word obscure. Sad but true. Either i don't know myself that well, or i'm just not as complicated as i thought i was - to be summed up into a single word. Sad.

Anyway.
I started cooking ever since i was 4 years old. My parents had just bought a gas stove with a built in oven. Back then, it was quite the luxury to own one. What i did with it was, i made my first baked sausage. You must be like "What? That's nothing!", but hey, i was 4. Placing the sausage on a plate and putting it in the oven and cooking it for 10 minutes on a 180°C heat and to have a well cooked sausage was quite an accomplishment for a 4 year old. It wowed my parent and other siblings, having to see me do that on my own. So there it was, the encouragements came pouring in.

Within the same year, i remembered the month approaching to Ramadhan. My family has this liking towards pizza. Most of the time, my mom would ask of my brother to place an order at Pizza Hut. Her favourite would be the Hawaiian chicken. Often enough, we would get to enjoy eating pizza. So during that fasting month, i thought of making pizza. I told my dad to buy Gardenia Bread, Cheese and you guess it, sausages! So what i did was, I took a few slices of the square Gardenia bread (4 to be exact) and pressed the edges of the bread together to form a perfect square. I used a bit of water to mend it together. Once done, i spread some ketchup (tomato) sauce, sprinkled some crush black pepper and put some sliced boiled sausages on top. And to finish, i then put some sliced cheese. Back then, my dad only got me the square cheese Singles (also a type of cheddar cheese) . Since it came in single squares, i had to roughly slice it up and spread it all over the bread. Once done, i place it on an oven tray and put it in the oven for 15 minutes under a 200°C just enough to melt the cheese and to crisp the bread.

And there it was. My first self made recipe for a quick pizza. May i humbly remind you, i was 4. So don't expect it to be brilliant like what chef Mario would have done. But nevertheless, i was proud of. it To make things better, my family actually enjoyed it when we ate it for break fast. Like a gratitude to any chef, having an empty plate after wouldn't feel any greater then.

Ever since, i started cooking whatever i can and experimenting as i go. Most of are failures, but there are times i can actually impress the people around me.

Bwahahahah!

So. as you can see, i'm very much different from Pedro. He prefers formal lessons towards cookery. As for me, i prefer to experiment and try out anything i can. My education of cookery mostly comes from observation and of course solely reliant on my taste buds. Sometime it works, sometimes it doesn't Pretty much a gamble most of the time. But when it comes to that moment when you created something so great, its all worth it then!

Hence here we are. Me and Pedro. In search of that great culinary adventure that can make anyone's taste buds flare with wonderful flavours!

Wish us both luck yes?


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Introduction to Bread Making

It is almost a week after my last post. We have been busy with work and been going back home late. But with the growing membership of this blog  (two (2) at the time of this writing! hahaha!) I would not want the blog to be stagnant. Although I am still a newbie in bread making, I believe i can share some information on the subject as per the two workshops I attended at Bagus

The first workshop I attended was the Bun-Making workshop. The Specter and Rachel do not share the same interest as me. But for my birthday this year, The Specter sponsored the fee for the workshop! I asked him to come with me too as I do not want to go there alone. He said he's ok with it but without enthusiasm. 

On the day of the workshop, we went to the Kajang branch but we were early. We headed for breakfast and shop around for some baking supplies. Once we were done shopping and paid for the workshop registration, we headed upstairs of the shop. Not so surprisingly, the medium of instruction was not in English. But Chef Chee Seng tried to explain to me in English as much as he could. He was quite shy at first and so I turned to The Specter to translate what Chef Chee Seng was saying.

We were handed a recipe sheet with just the ingredients listed for all the buns we will then be making. The bread dough is the the same for all the buns. The instruction the chef gave was very simple. Dump all the ingredients in the bowl and then knead in the mixer. But since I didn't have a mixer then, I asked the chef to show how to knead manually by hand. So he did two batches of the dough. At different timings of kneading in the mixer, the chef gave us sample of the dough for us to observe the texture. He then showed us how to do the Window Pane test to ensure that the dough is ready. This part was what I liked the most as I learned what is actually expected of the dough to become. At this point, The Specter, who was just there to give me moral support, started to get interested and asked a lot of questions. After the dough has risen, Chef Chee Seng divided the dough for each students to shape and fill the buns. For me, it was fun doing it but my moral supporter was more into it than me. I did not say anything then as i do not want to ruin his mood. But if you were there too, you would see that he was really enjoying it.

The only photo I have from the Bun Making Workshop. Mine is the first 3 on top and rightmost below. The rest made by The Specter.

Now, enough of the background story. So here's the recipe:


Ingredients:
Basic Sweet Bread Dough

  • 500 g bread flour
  • 80 g caster sugar
  • 6 g salt
  • 20 g milk powder
  • 10 g instant yeast
  • 1 pc egg
  • 220 ml cold water
  • 80 g butter
Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. 
  2. Mix to form the dough and start kneading the dough until it is smooth and elastic. (Please see notes below)
  3. Let dough rest for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until double in volume, in a slightly oiled bowl. Then cover with wet kitchen towel to prevent dryness of the dough's outer layer.
  4. Turn dough onto work surface and divide dough into 40/50 grams or desired size. 
  5. Flatten dough lightly with a rolling pin and put fillings. Shape as you want. Or roll dough into a small round shape but do not put topping yet.
  6. Proof dough for another 45 minutes or until it's doubled in size.
  7. Pre-heat oven at 190 degrees Celcius. 
  8. Put desired topping for the small round shaped dough.
  9. Bake buns for 8 minutes. Turn the baking sheet 180 degrees then bake for 7 minutes more.
  10. Remove buns from baking sheet after taking it out of the oven. Check if the bun is cooked by tapping underneath the bun, it should sound hollow. 

You may select any of the below fillings or topping:

Fillings:
Chocolate Bun :

  • 1 kg Chocolate filling

Chicken and Ham and Cheese Bun

  • Chicken Ham
  • Cheddar Cheese

Peanut Butter Bun

  • Peanut Butter
  • Almond Nib

Black Pepper Tuna Bun (just saute in a pan)

  • 150 g  tuna
  • 40 g onion
  • 4 g powdered black pepper
  • 2 g salt
  • 40 g mayonnaise

Onion Sweet Corn Bun

  • 5 g butter
  • 20 g onion
  • 100 g sweetcorn
  • 2 g powdered black pepper


Topping:

Tomato Cheese Bun
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Tomato Slice
  • Parsley



The Specter's notes from the workshop:

On Ingredients:

  • Medium/high protein flour makes softer bun.
  • Subtitute milk powder with soya for those who are lactose intolerant.
  • Dry yeast is better in taste but live(cake) yeast is healthier.
  • Eggs and butter help dough to have better texture.
  • For this sweet dough, always use cold water, never warm water.


Kneading:

  • Knead dough until smooth and elastic. Do the Window Pane test to check if dough is ready. Take a little amount of dough and stretch it slowly on all side until you can form a translucent layer. If dough breaks, it is not ready.
  • To make the dough rise quicker, put dough on the rack of oven that is turned off . Place hot/warm water in bowl under the resting dough.
  • To test if dough is ready after the first rise (45 minutes to 1 hour after kneading), push fingers onto dough lightly, if the indentation does not go back, the dough is ready.
  • Butter/oil your hands when re-kneading in a cold room.
  • Flour hands when re-kneading in a warm room.


Rolling/Shaping:

  • When dough shrinks back during rolling/shaping, it means that it has not rested enough.
  • The fillings must taste stronger than usual.
  • After adding the filling. let dough rest for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Paste fillings can be shaped. Do not shape wet fillings.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

About the Geeky Cooks: Pedro

At a young age of 7, I already know how to cook rice - not in a rice cooker, just a regular cast iron pot we call kaldero. We were living in Pasig City then. I remember one time I was told to cook the rice and ended up me being scolded by my mother for not being able to pick up her joke. We usually just cook 2 gatang. Gatang is a unit of measure that does not actually have a standard. We used the medium sized can of Alaska condensed milk. My mama told me "twelve" when I asked her how many gatang is should cook. Being stupid, I measured 12 gatang of rice into our kaldero. Rinsed it , the put enough water by using my middle finger to measure how high the rice is and then puting the same amount of water above the rice. So there, I put it on the stove and waited for it to cook. Dinner time came, the rice already cooked. I told my  mama that we are almost out of rice. She then looked at rice container (which is actually big can of biscuits), and found out that there's not much left in it. She asked me how come that the container is almost empty. I replied, "Sabi nyo 12 na gatang ang iluto." ("You said to cook 12 gatang."). So there goes the scolding. My mama cannot believe that I did it as the cooked rice is just right. I was also wondering how the rice was cooked nicely when it should have been overflowing from the kaldero.

We transfered to Cavite when i was 8 years young. The day before the fiestas and other important holidays when the rest of the clan will be there at our grandpa's and grandma's (father side) house. There is always cooking preparation job distributed amongst my uncles, aunties, cousins and some helpful neighbors. Some would be peeling the veggies and I specifically did not like working with onions. It's so dramatic! The workers bees (us who were allowed to handle knives) were given the veggies and told to cut for a specific recipe. Say, pang-menudo (for Menudo) wherein the potatoes/carrots are cut into cubes of around 1cm. Pang-Aritada (for Afritada), the small potatoes are quarted and the big once are cut similar to the quarted small potatoes. We de-string the chickpeas, french beans and string beans. Cut the cauliflower head and bring it to smaller size by nipping the small "branches." With some practice, I was able to do cutting meats too! But for the usual recipes too. :) 

My grandmother would always make Atcharang Papaya (Pickled Green Papaya) weeks before the fiesta. We help out by peeling, cutting and grating the green papaya. Afterwards, we would play seesaw to press out all the liquids from the papaya. Wrapped in clean flour sack, the papaya is placed in between two long benches. with one of the bench on top, we sit there and have fun playing. 

On weekends, our parents used to go to Manila. Mama would tell us what is available for us to cook as me and my sister had to stay at home. It was my moment to learn how to clean fish, but unfortunately, with my big fingers, I always ruin the fish and so the task went to my sister. We used to do a pretend cooking show we called PLJ Cooking Show. That's me, my sister and my cousin. One time, mama left ingredient for Dinuguan (Pig'sBlood Stew). Usually the pigs' innards are well cleaned from the market already. Somehow, the one we had is not really that clean. When we started sauteeing the innards, it smelled bad! My sister right away said "Kuya, isara natin ung bintana at pinto, baka akalain ng kapitbahay nagluluto tayo ng tae!" (Brother, let's close the windows and door, the neighbors might think we are cooking turd!) So we did. after we put the vinegar, the smell got better. The stew was alright after it was cooked. Since it's been boiling, we guessed it was ok to eat.

Once my father taught me how to properly fry Dinaing na Bangus (Butterflied Milkfish marinated in vinegar). So, I put the fish into the kawali (wok) with hot cooking oil with the fish skin side at the bottom. Since it's wet, the oil was spattering and crackling. Then it was time to flip it. The oil spattered and with my father right beside me, I screamed like a girl! Aaaiie!!! He looked at me but did not say anything. Since then I practiced my surprised reaction with a manly "Uughh!"

High school, my elective for Home Economics and Livelihood Education subject when I was in my junior year, was baking. I failed miserably in that subject. Failed to make Chocolate Crinkles. It just looked like chocolate munchkins from Dunkin Donuts, but a bit harder. Still taste nice though. I did my own Chocolate Cake which was also a big embarassment as I even gave it to my teacher for the subject after the home economics subject. I do not remember the taste of the cake itself but I can vividly recall the icing that I made. It was snowy white and like soap bubbles, it pops gradually until it was back into its original egg state. Good thing my teacher did not experience food poisoning.

One time, The Specter asked me why i like baking pastries and desserts so much. I told him about my high school cooking experience. I believe that it is actually why i am into baking now. I failed before and I want to make up for it.

There's a lot of stories to tell about me cooking. I guess the above is enough for now. Next time i will tell you about my first time baking bread. I can't stop smiling thinking about it. You will too! :)





Friday, December 7, 2012

Quan Ice Cream and Coffee House @ Desa Pandan

Last Saturday, after Rachel and I finished the Espasol and Pastillas de Leche, we did not have the time to prepare for dinner as she needs to be back home early. So we just decided to go to one of our favorite restaurants - Quan Ice Cream and Coffee House.

We have been visiting Quan for numerous times already. And even way way way back before this blog, i have been feeling this eagerness to promote the restaurant to my colleagues. There was also a time when i would try to find restaurant review websites featuring Quan and comment with all excitement.

Since Quan @ Desa Pandan is not located near train stations, I have been trying to find a way to get there by bus. Just in case The Specter is not around and I have the craving to go there. I believe the easiest will be boarding this bus from Dato Keramat. Coming from Pandan Indan, i think it will be easier for me to take a cab and give this address:

Desa Pandan Branch
No. 10, Jalan 4/76 C,
Desa Pandan,
55100 Kuala Lumpur.

Or I may just go to the Pandan Indah branch which is just 5 to 8 minutes walk from our apartment, hahaha! (Just went there twice. Though same restaurant, it just feels better seeing familiar faces at Desa Pandan.)

Pandan Indah Branch
8G, Jalan Pandan Indah 4/33,
Pandan Indah
55100 KL

We arrived at the place around 7:00 pm  Never did we encounter driving around just to find a parking space. There is always an available parking space around the vicinity. There was not much customer that time and so we just went straight to our favorite spot - the innermost corner of the dining area near the kitchen window.

Once we were seated, May (i am guessing how the name is spelled) handed us the menu with a smile. This is one of the reasons why I prefer eating out at Quan in Desa Pandan. Some of the staff may not be so sun-shiny, but they really are attentive of the customers.

There is a lot to choose from Quan's menu. May it be noodles, rice, soups, western and lots of different drinks and, of course, ice creams! Our meal for that night is as delicious as always. I remember the first time i was there. My eyes were smiling and i really can't get over the sight of the beautiful eggs on my fried rice. The egg whites were well cooked and the yolk was still liquid. Just like the way i like my sunny side-up! I ordered Butter Fish Rice, Big Bowl Noodle, and Iced Jasmice Tea. The Specter has Singapore Fried Mee Hoon. Ginger Beef Soo Hoon for Rachel. She asked the noodles to be changed and may was really helpful in customising Rachel's food. Some Abalone Mushrooms and Calamari for all of us.

I can only describe my food. Though I ate The Specter's left-overs, I will just focus on what I ordered. The Butter Fish Rice is just creamy enough. It won't make you feel like you are eating melted butter. I won't describe the egg anymore. As you can derive from my description above, yes, i am so in love with the eggs. My soup, Big Bowl Noodle, has the taste of all the fried items combined. Not oily and salty. The seasoning is just right. The Abalone Mushroom and Calamari coated with the crispy light batter that i wish the chef would share with me. Wish! Wish! Wish!

Butter Fish Rice
Singapore Fried Mee Hoon
Ginger Beef Soo Hoon
Abalone Mushroom
Calamari
Big Bowl Noodle
  
With the delectable food, Quan has reasonable price. Below is our receipt to prove that you can get gratifying meal with less!

Some other blogs have a Must Try at Quan in their posts. But i say and believe that you'll enjoy anything you are going to order.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Espasol and Pastillas de Leche

Living outside the Philippines, most of my Filipino colleagues and friends misses Filipino treats. This time, my friend Rachel requested for us to make Espasol and Pastillas de Leche. So here they are...

Espasol


Ingredients:
  • 3 cups glutinous rice flour, toasted and divided
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut, toasted
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
Method:
  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, pour-in the coconut milk and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the sugars, toasted grated coconut and vanilla and stir to combine. Let it boil for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add 2 1/2 cups of toasted rice flour and keep on stirring constantly until mixture is hard and dry.
  4. Remove the mixture from the pot and place and flatten onto floured board for about 1/2 inch thickness. Allow to cool down.
  5. Cut the mixture into desired size and and roll onto the rest of the flour. Shake off excess flour.

Pastillas de Leche

 


Ingredients:
  • 515 g (1 can) condensed milk
  • 2 3/4 cups of powdered milk
  • caster sugar
Method:
  1. In a bowl, mix condensed milk and powdered milk until well combined. (I asked Rachel to reserve half and i added strawberry paste to add flavor. The mixture got a bit too soft and so next time we should be adding some more powdered milk.)
  2. Spoon small amount onto greased (we used butter) hands and roll the mixture into a ball and shape into a cylinder afterwards.
  3. Roll onto caster sugar, just enough to cover the shaped pastillas. 
  4. Wrap in paper or cellophane.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Little Penang Cafe - The Curve

When to the Little Penang Cafe @Curve for lunch. This is among one of my favourite food places. Up to a point the chef no longer pay much attention to the food quality. But most of the time, it's all good.


ENTREE
Often enough whenever i eat here, i would order these:
- Rojak RM8.50 (mixed frutis smothered in a special sauce). I'll explain the rojak sauce in some other posting
- Pai Tee. RM8.80 (a set of 6)

Rojak (left) and Pai Tee (right)

MAIN
What i had:
- Char Kuey Tiaw Seafood. RM 11.30
This apparently is one of those times the chef did not pay attention to the quality of the food. Mine, the spices was quite burnt.
- Fresh Orange RM6.30
                                                    Char Kuey Tiaw                                   Fresh Orange

What Pedro had
- Mee Jawa.RM11.30  (apparently was better then mine! **jealous**
- Sirap Bandung  RM3.50

                                                          Mee Jawa & Sirap Bandung

Can't complain though. Still eat till i was full. The taste is still good, only it really depends on your luck. Today, mine was quite overcooked but still nice to eat!

They say the simple things in life are the best. And i believe its true! Had a great lunch and had a great company!

TOTAL COST : RM57.90 (for 2 pax)



Dinner 29/11/2012 : Sambal Squid with Rice

As you all might have guessed by now, i love spicy food. So here's what we had for dinner yesterday.

SAMBAL SOTONG (SQUID) SERVED WITH RICE


INGREDIENTS
- Squid (about 200g), sliced and clean with the backbone removed as well as the ink.
- Rice (about 1 cup)

SAUCE
- 1 large red onion (yellow onion is better), finely chopped.
- Chilli paste (1½  tablespoon). For me, I like to add extra. (about 2½ tablespoon) :)
- Tamarind juice (30ml)
- Shrimp paste (1 teaspoon - mixed in about 30ml of water)
- Sugar (about 2 tablespoon)'

GARNISH (Optional)
- Chinese salary, finely chopped (about 1 stalk)
- Onion leaves, finely chopped (about 1 stalk)

METHOD
1) Heat up pan at medium heat, pour cooking oil (any would do, but preferred would be sunflower oil)
2) Once the pan is hot, throw in the onions. Be sure to be careful as the onion is wet and might cause a bit of a stir with the hot cooking oil.
3) Stir well until yellowish brown and you get a good aroma from the onions.
4) Put in the chilli paste and mix well. Keep stirring until the paste thickens and you see the oil above the chilli paste. We normally call this until breaking oil (Pecah minyak). The reason behind is to ensure that the chilli is well cooked, else you'll be in a bad time with stomach upset. At this point, the sambal colour will be dark gloomy red. Be sure not to burn it.
5) Next, put in the sugar. This will turn the chilli colour to bright red as well as balance out the heat from the chilli.
6) Next, mix in the shrimp paste.and give it a good stir.
7) Keep stirring until it thickens again. Then add the squids. Cook for about 3-5 minutes. You don't want to overcook the squids else you might end up with a rubbery texture.
8) Now add in the tamarind juice. This will add the sour taste, again to balance out the heat from the chilli. You can use tomato paste as substitute.
9) Keep cooking for another 1 minute until the sauce thickens a bit more.
10) Turn off the heat, put in a serving bowl. Add chopped Chinese salary and chopped onion leaves for garnish.

For the rice
1) Add rice to pot
2) Double the water amount to the rice amount. We are using 1 cup, so you should add 2 cups of water.
3) Boil it until its cooked under medium heat. Or just use a rice  cooker if you have one :)




Put all on a serving plate, and you are DONE!





P/s: You may notice i did not add any salt, that is because the shrimp paste is already salty. Always taste what you are cooking and add the seasoning as needed. :)

Enjoy!


TOTAL COST : RM12.00 (servers 2)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pizza!

Thinking of other things to post, i checked available photos in my computer and found the first pizza The Specter and I made. We sure enjoyed making it but after seeing the final product, we realized that we overloaded the pizza with toppings. So we justified it by saying .. "It's homemade, it doesn't matter if the topping is too much!" :)

I was told to put the price for every food item that i will be posting. But right now i cannot remember as we made it around four months ago.

The Making of the Pizza

Ingredients:
The Crust (Dough)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup warm water (100-110 degrees Fahrenheit, yes i do have a food thermometer..)
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon olive oil
The Pizza Sauce
  • recipe may be found here or just use canned tomato paste
The Topping
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Ground beef pan-fried in olive oil with salt and pepper to taste (just a substitute since i can't find pepperoni...)
  • Beef meatloaf
  • Red and green bell peppers
Method
  1. Mix a little sugar into the warm water. Sprinkle yeast on top and Wait for 10 minutes or until it gets all foamy.
  2. Pour into a large bowl then add flour, salt, olive oil. Stir to combine. Knead for 6-8 minutes until you have a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (add a bit more flour if you need to).
  3. Cover and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Lightly grease a 12-inch pizza pans. Sprinkle with a little bit of cornmeal (this is optional).
  5. Divide dough in half. Place a half on a pizza pan and pat it with your fingers until it stretches over the whole pan. Try to make it thicker around the edge.
  6. If desired, pre-bake at 175 degrees C (350 degrees F) for 10 minutes. Makes two 12-inch pizza crust. I only made one so I put half of the dough in the freezer for future use. Form remaining half of the dough into a ball, rub olive oil over it and place it in a freezer bag. 
  7. Spread pizza sauce onto dough and place the toppings.
  8. Bake the assembled pizza in pre-heated oven 175 degrees C for 10 minutes.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The task and an intro recipe...

After dinner, The Specter asked me when am i going to blog. And so here it is.

I am an Analyst Programmer/IT Trainer, i am not very sure how to write for a blog. I may have done some writing but those were technical documents. With technical documentation, i already know how to organise my thought as each company I worked at already have their template. But food blogging, though i have read a lot of food blogs, is quite scary for me. So now i am just thinking that this writing for blog will be as "anything goes."

But since this is a food blog, i may write about the following:
- Personal opinion on restaurants/food stalls that I and The Specter visited.
- Since i am very much interested in baking then I would be posting recipes from books and sites that i have read. Of course, i will have to do the baking as proof that i can do it.. :) Or even if the effort is a very big failure. heheh.

As part of my introduction to food blogging, I would to share this really nice (as per those who already tasted it) chocolate cake. The recipe may be found in Allrecipes.com and Hershey.com. But though the recipe is from Hersheys, i only have Van Houten Cocoa available so i substituted. Also, since i didn't have much time to make the One Bowl Buttercream Frosting, i replaced it with chocolate ganache that is also just a substitute because i did not have cream. Added some strawberry and mint leaf as decoration.

By the way, I would like to thank Ate Mayet, as she's the one who shared the original recipe for this cake.


Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:


  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 cup cocoa 
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2  eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Procedure:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan. 
  2. Combine together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes (or you can just use a wire whisk if you are scared of over-beating, like me :) ). Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans. 
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache Substitute
Ingredients:

  • 100 g chocolate
  • 25 g butter
  • 60 ml milk.

Procedure:

  1. Combine milk and butter in a small sauce pan and place on stove in low heat.
  2. When butter has been melted, take the pan out from heat an put the chocolate. Let rest for 1 minute then stir.
  3.  Let cool and pour over the cake.



Dinner 28/11/2012 : Beef Steak with Black Pepper Sauce and Herbs served with Salad, Cherry Tomatoes and French Fries

Got home from work late today. Been a very busy week. Went to meet up ***** at Giant. Apparently ***** has already made plans for dinner. ***** asked me to cook this time as ***** wanted beef steaks.
So, there we were looking for the ingredients for tonight's dinner for 2.

BEEF STEAK WITH BLACK PEPPER SAUCE & HERBS & SALADS, CHERRY TOMATOES & FRENCH FRIES.

INGREDIENTS:
- 2 slabs of beef (preferred sirloin, tenderloin or just plain cut beef) but for plain cuts, you'll have to boil it for 30 mins to an hour to tenderize the beef. Don't throw away the water from the boil, it can be used later for the sauce. While the others, you can just use a kitchen mallet and bash away the flesh. I find it therapeutic after a hard day at work. When done, dry the beef with a kitchen towel. .

SEASONING ( a pinch of each)
- Salt (coarse sea salt preferred)
- Grounded Black Pepper
- Powdered White Pepper
- Dried Rosemary
- Dried Basil
- (Optional) Chili Powder. I like mine a bit hot, so i tend to get carried away with the chili powder.

VEGETABLES
You can pretty much use any vegetables you like, but for me, i used
- Red Coral Lettuce
- Baby Butterhead Lettuce
- Green Coral Lettuce
- Cherry tomatoes
- Fine Salt (iodized salt or pink himalayan salt or any that you currently have in your kitchen
- Olive oil (virgin preferred, no pun intended)

SAUCE
- Grounded Black Pepper
- Corn Starch
- Salt
- Sugar
- Thick Soy Sauce
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder

OTHERS
- Water
- Butter
- Margerine (optional)
- All Purpose Flour



Or, if you are too lazy like me, you can just get the Maggi - Instant Black Pepper Mix. If Nigella reads this, she's gonna flip!


And of course, french fries. I used crinkle cut fries as it has more body to the potatoes.You can use any that you prefer (i.e wedges, straight cuts and etc)

METHOD:
1) Prepare the beef (see above). Heat up oven at 200ยบC. While the oven is heating up, proceed with the next step.
2) Rub all the seasoning onto the beef. Make sure to get both sides of the beef.
3) Heat the pan. Pour olive oil. or any cooking oil When hot, turn down the heat to medium heat, throw in some butter (about a table spoon) and let the butter melt.
4) Put the beef in the pan and let it sizzle for 2 minutes a side. Turn over when brown.
5) Turn off the heat, throw in a few cloves of garlic (peeled, also optional). I added these for the taste.
6) Place the pan in the oven and let it cook for another 20 minutes. While the beef is cooking in the over, you can start preparing the salads, sauce and the french fries.
7) Clean the vegetables and spin dry using a salad spinner.
8) Add olive oil (you can mix the virgin olive oil with regular olive oil like what i did, found that it gave a bit more texture and flavor) and salt to taste.
9) Get a sauce pan, pour about 200ml of water and leave it to boil.
10) Then add the sauce ingredients and gently whisk away using a wire wish. Or you can use a fork if it fancies you,
11) Mix together a 2 table spoon of butter (or margarine) & 4 table spoon regular flour in a small mixing bowl to create a paste, Make sure to mix well. This will be a thickening agent for our sauce.
12) Once done, slowly add the thickening agent one table spoon at a time into the sauce pan. Use the wire whisk and whisk well until the all is dissolved. The sauce will be thicker now. (keep adding the thickening agent to get your desired consistency). But remember to keep stirring/whisking to avoid the bottom from being burnt.
13) When ready, put the sauce a side.
14) Take the beef out of the oven. (be sure not to miss this! 20 minutes is more than enough to get a well done, 10 for medium rare)
15) Place everything on a plate to serve.

Enjoy!

PREPARATION TIME : 5mins - 1 Hour
COOKING TIME : 30 Minutes

TOTAL COST: RM 18.40 (serves 2)



Malaysia Food Trail


Foodies in Malaysia now will be able to scout around for the tastiest of dishes, now that Food Trail has been launched, a new book by The Star.
The book is a compilation of articles written by StarMetro journalist Sam Cheong under the same name and which was featured in its central edition every Thursday.
The Star executive director and group chief editor said they had “explored every nook and corner” to find the most delectable dishes in town and had put together a trail for people who loved good food.
The Star media group, he added, is passionate about food and would go the extra mile in promoting it via its newspaper, Flavours magazine, Kuali portal and LiTV on Astro Channel 728.
The 160-page, full-colour book contains some of the best halal and non-halal fares in the Klang Valley.
Food Trail is available at all major bookstores in Malaysia 
PRICE : RM25 
-or-


You can check out this interactive brochure at http://www.mm2h.eu/?page_id=694

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The big bang theory.

Was browsing through some old friends blogs and it got me wondering if Blogging is still relevant. Does it matter?

Anyways, been thinking of the agonizing pain of having the tasks to keep updating the blogs and keeping it alive. Not sure if i'm up to it. All i can say is that, this is my 5th blog to date. The rest are all dead, probably zombefied and screaming for *BRAINS* ~~! Yet, they say its fun to blog. Maybe true for a while. but after a few posting, you begin to feel the cramps in your upper region, a slow numbness in you fingers and suddenly a flatline sound - *beeepppp* and your blog is dead (died of stoke, probably, curling up my tongue just in case). Nope. Not yet.

I've set out to find an identity and interest. Sadly enough, i don't have any. NO! I DON'T HAVE ANY! I'm just a regular bloke with no passion in life whatsoever. Not sure when that happened. All i know is that i like to eat (isn't everyone?). I'm not talking about food as just sustenance. I'm talking about food that is orgasmic and would throw your pallet off and leaving you crying over such a wonderful gastronomic experience. If there is anyone out there who doesn't like food, then the You-Should-Not-Be-Alive blog is around the other corner, so please leave this blog immediately.

So, just to entertain myself, here we are. My 5th blog. About Food. Or precisely, how an IT geek such as myself gets lost in the kitchen and starts wanking up the spades and throwing about the woks and pans in search of that great recipe that redefines what we call flavour. (Did i just type wank? Ermm.. that would be good too, and definitely orgasmic). Uhhh ~~~

Here we go. Let the agony begin!

P/s:
WELCOME TO 'OUR' BLOG
there is two of us. like how the Golem in LOTR got addicted to the one ring, i and ***** got addicted to food. Wonderful! Wonderful food!