Saturday, 28 March 2015

But Our Citizenship Is In Heaven





Achar is pickled vegetables eaten as side dish. This nutty and piquant side dish is very popular here, and goes very well with nasi lemak and even Hainanese chicken rice. It is sweet, sourish and mildly spicy, and is very appetizing to eat. It makes an excellent complement to fried dishes like chicken wings.

The good thing about making achar is you decide what you want to put in it. Although I know I have a dependable recipe to follow, I added more of the vegetables which I like especially cucumbers and pineapples. I also added a tablespoon of my own homemade sambal belachan because I like it spicy.

It is not hard to do nor time consuming, I can see myself making another batch very soon because I have received good feedback from my 'kitchen testers'.  Like all home made pickles and chutneys or cookies and jams, achar makes a good gift for any occasions.


Nonya Acar Awak
 Adapted from Guai Shu Shu


Ingredients

300g of cucumber, julienned into 1 inch long
150g  of carrots, julienned into 1 inch long
150g of long beans, cut into 1 cum long
150g of pineapples, cut into small pieces
150g of cauliflower, cut into small pieces
50g of cabbage, cut into small pieces

Rempah (spice mix)

5 shallots
6 cloves garlic
4 bird eye chilli or 2 big chilli
1 inch ginger
5 candlenut, optional
1 tablespoons of dry prawns, soaked
1.5inch of fresh tumeric or 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 stalk lemon grass (optional)
1 inch galangal (optional)
1 tablespoon of homemade sambal belachan

Others

1/4 cup of vegetable oils
1/2 cups of white sugar
1 cup of vinegar
1/4 cups sesame seeds
1/2 cups of coarsely ground peanuts
salt to taste
Additional sugar,salt and vinegar for blanching liquid.





Method


  • Cut the cucumber in about 1 inch long and throw away the centre of the cucumber. Dust about 1 tsp of salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar on the julienne cucumber. Toss until evenly coated. Put under the sun for sun dry or in the fridge to air dry for at least one hour. After one hour, you will witness lots of cucumber juices secreted. Squeeze dry the cucumber and set aside. You can either put the cucumber in a muslin cloth and squeeze or use hand to squeeze manually.


  • In a pot with some water, add about 3-4 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of salt, 2 tablespoon of sugar and bring to boil. Add in the cabbage, long bean, cauliflower and carrot sticks. Blanch the vegetables until soft which took about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • In a blender, put all the rempah ingredients and some water adequate to cover the ingredients. Blend until fine.


  • In a wok, put 2-3 tablespoons of oil, put the blended spice mix, use medium heat to stir fry until the colour of the spice mix darkens and oils start to separate from the rempah. Add 1 cup of vinegar, 1/2 cup of sugar, salt to taste. Bring to boil. Once boiled, off the heat.


  • Add the pineapples, marinated cucumber, blanched vegetables followed by sesame seeds and ground peanuts. Stir until well mixed. However, it is advisable to let it soak for at least one-two hours before serving. If time permits, soaking overnight will yield a more flavourful Acar Awak. Best served as a side dish or appetiser in a Nonya meal.
Note: You can add more or less of the vegetables, and other ingredients. The taste is entirely up to one's preference.
























A Tribute to MM Lee

Our founding father, our minister mentor
The nation weeps, your legacy is for keeps

Thank you Sir, the race was won!
Farewell Sir, your labour is done!

Rest in peace Sir, your era is not gone!
Nor this nation you have built will be drawn

By Lian


But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly  await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enable him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:20-21

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Delight In The Law of the Lord

I have been looking for a recipe that is close to a popular Hokkien restaurant's Kong Bak Pau which we all love. There the Kong Bak is meltingly soft, and intensively flavoured. Thanks to my friend A who shares this recipe. Her version is quite close to the flavour but not as light and meltingly tender as the restaurant's. But it is good and better than any other's I have tried.






The cooking of this Hokkien braised pork belly are done in 3 steps.  The pork is first boiled in boiling water for 30 minutes, then it is rubbed with both light and dark soy, and deep fried for a short 3 seconds on each side. The final preparation is to slice the pork and steam for 3 hours till soft and tender.






The deep frying of the pork belly is to seal the soy flavours and to hold the pork so that it stays firm. Take extra care when you fry the pork, the oil will splatter! Have a pan cover ready as soon as you drop the pork into the hot oil. When done, slice the pork and arrange on a plate for steaming. After steaming for 3 hours, it is done and ready to serve. I prefer to leave the pork cool, cover and chill in the fridge overnight.






The overnight preparation allows me to skim the hardened fats away. Steam the pork again just before serving. I could also have cooked the pork longer till the fats are melting but I prefer some bite and texture. Moreover, I don't want it to tear apart into two or three pieces when I'm serving.








The buns are bought from the supermarket. I like my Kong Bak Pau with lots of greens and sliced chillies.


Kong Bak Pau

Ingredients

250g pork belly
1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
10 lotus leaf buns, steamed for 5 minutes

For the marinade


2 tbsp light soya sauce, or more to taste.
2 tbsp dark soya sauce
20g chopped garlic (I used whole)
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tsp sesame oil
A pinch of 5 spice powder
A pinch of pepper


Method


  • Cook the pork belly in boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain
  • Coat the p[ork belly with the 1 tablespoon of light and dark soy sauce.
  • Deep fry the pork belly for 30 seconds until golden brown. Slice the pork belly into 10-15cm thick pieces.
  • Add al the remaining ingredients for the marinade to the pork belly. Coat evenly.
  • Steam for 3 hours.
  • To serve, place a pork belly slice slice and some coriander into each steamed bun.

Note: It is possible to use Airfryer to deep fry the pork.


























To be blessed, we must not walk down the road of those who have no fear of God. We must live closely in our relationship with God, delighting and meditating upon His Word.

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. Psalm 1:1-3

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Let There Be Light

When my children were much younger, they loved bananas. Bananas are always top on my grocery list besides cereal, milk, eggs and bread which they will eat at anytime of the day.
I have often baked banana muffins, banana bread, banana cakes, and today for the first time, banana pancakes.




These pancakes are absolutely gorgeous.  The batter which has mashed bananas and banana slices makes light and fluffy, sweet and buttery delectable pancakes. Drizzle a little maple syrup over the pancakes just before serving, and all is pure bliss in your mouth as the bananas, walnuts, syrup and pancake complement one another perfectly. You can go without the maple syrup if  you like.

The maple bacon is like a sweet/salty icing on a short stack. It is really good, smokey sweet and salty. It is a guilty pleasure that one will want to eat again and again.





To make the pancakes, you need to mash half banana and slice the other half into thin slices.






To make pancakes for 2( makes 7-8  3inch wide pancakes) Stir in 70g self raising flour with 1/2 tsp baking power and 1 tbsp light soft brown sugar and a pinch of salt.   Make a well in the center and add in the mashed banana, 1 large beaten egg, 15g melted butter, 60g milk.





Whisk to a smooth batter without any flour lumps.





Heat a little butter in a frying pan, Once sizzling, ladle a small dollops of the batter onto the pan. Put 2-3 slices of banana onto the surface of pancake and cook over a medium heat. When you see bubbles appear, flip the pancakes and cook till puffed up and golden.





Arrange 4 bacon slices in 1 layer on a baking tray. Bake for 15 - 20 mins in a 200C oven until bacon begins to brown. Remove the pan from oven, and brush bacon slices with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. Bake for another 3-5 minutes, and transfer bacon onto a plate lined with paper towels.






This post is linked to Little Thumbs Up 'Banana' hosted by Faaez from Bitter Sweet Spicy. Organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen from My Little Favourite DIY.


















I am doing a study of The Bible Timeline. It is a fascinating study which would take me on a journey through the entire Bible. The study goes deep into each period of salvation history and the many amazing stories woven throughout all of Scripture.



And God said, "let there be light," and there was light. Genesis 1:3

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

So Do Not Fear

 

  Ta-Da! I baked it!



My friend has left 2 bags of apples with me and after juicing a bag of apples, I was left with some. I also found an unopened bag of Fleur de Sel in my drawer and these leave me with no excuse not to bake along with Zoe, Joyce and Lena again.



Not so perfect caramel sauce. It should be creamier, smoother and darker.



 I love the smell of baked apple pie! Cinnamon and apples, such lovely combination and flavour. It is one of these smells that make a house a home!



Scrumptious! Tart, sweet and salty filling.  Flaky but not crumbly pie crust,



The ingredients and directions are long, but this is easy as a pie to do. I made half of the measurement, with one half of dough kept in freezer. Baked in a 4 inch small tart tin, and used 2 apples for filling.


Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Back In the Day Bakery
9" pie dish

1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp fleur de sel
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 tsp grated lemon zest
4 tbsp fresh  lemon juice
6 large apples, such as Granny Smith, Pink Lady, or combination, cored, peeled, thinly sliced
4 tbsp all purpose flour
1.4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

8 tbsp turbinado sugar, plus more for sprinkling (demerara sugar)
1 egg, beaten for egg wash
fleur de sel for sprinkling
ice cream for serving (optional)

1 cup cake flour
2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 large egg
5 tbsp ice water or more if necessary
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
8 tbsp cold vegetable shortening, cut into cubes
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Pie Crust
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, and salt;set aside.
  • In a large measuring cup or a small bowl, beat the egg with 1/3 cup of the water and the vinegar.
  • Add the shortening and butter to the flour and using a pastry blender, cut it in until the butter resembles small peas. Add the egg mixture, gently tossing and mixing with your hands or a fork just until the dough comes together in a ball. If the dough seems too dry, add a little more ice water about 1 tablespoon at a time as necessary.
  • Gather the dough together on a lightly floured work surface and divide it evenly into 2 balls. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten with the palm of your hand into a disk. Chill for at least 1 hour. The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezeer for up to 2 weeks. (hand rubbing method)
To roll out the dough

  • Dust your hands and your rolling pin with flour. On a lightly floured piece of parchment, roll out the chilled dough into a 12 inch round. Roll the dough from the center out, rotating it slightly as you roll to prevent sticking and to keep it round. Dust off any excess flour using a dry pastry brush. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and place it in the pie dish.
  • Carefully arrange the dough to slump inside the dish and press it into the edges. Trim the excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving about a 1 inch overhang. Wrap and place the pie dish in the refrigerator to chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
  • Roll out the remaining disk of dough on parchment and transfer it to a baking sheet. Wrap in plastic wrap and return the dough to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • When ready to bake, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400F.
To make the caramel

  • Combine the granulated sugar, fleur de sel, and 1.2 cup water in a medium saucepan and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved. Wash down any crystals from the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Turn the heat down to medium and cook, without stirring, until the syrup becomes a medium-dark amber caramel, about 15 minutes;you can carefully swirl the pan around to check the colour.
  • Carefully remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the butter and heavy cream. Be careful of hot steam when the heavy cream is added, and do not worry if the butter starts separate - it will come together once the caramel is cooled.
  • Transfer the caramel to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on low speed until the caramel cools and starts to come together. Set aside.
To make the filling

  • Put the lemon zest and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the apples and toss gently.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and turbinado sugar. Gently toss the apples with this mixture.(cinnamon only)
To assemble the pie

  • Place the bottom pie crust in a 9 inch pie pan and prick the bottom of the crust gently all over with a fork. Layer the apple mixture in the crust, making sure there are no gaps between the apples. Pour 1/4 cup of the caramel mixture on top of the apples. Reserve the remaining caramel for serving.
  • Place the top piecrust on a work surface and cut 4 to 8 vent holes in the center with a mini cookie cutter in whatever shape you like. Reserve the cutout pieces for decorating the crust. Brush the rim of the bottom piecrust with the egg wash to create a seal. Place the top crust over the pie filling and seal and crimp the edges, trimming the excess dough. Decorate with the cutout pieces, and brush the entire crust with the egg wash. Sprinkle lightly with turbinado sugar and a pinch of fleur de sel.
  • Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 375F and bake for an additional 45 to 60 minutes, until caramel blossoms into big,thick,syrupy bubbles and the crust turns golden brown; test the apples with a small paring knife to make sure they are tender but not mushy.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 4 hours before serving to allow the juices and caramel to thicken. The pie is best served the same day, but it can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  • To serve, slice the pie into wedges and top with a drizzle of the caramel sauce and, if desired, a scoop of ice cream.(30 mins)



Delicious with vanilla macadamia nut ice cream and spoonful of thick and creamy caramel on top.

This post is linked to Bake-Along hosted by three lovely ladies, Zoe, Lena and Joyce.










Praying for a friend
The Lord will hold your hands tightly and grant you peace as you undergo this operation courageously. His healing hands and wisdom will be upon the hands of all who are taking care of your operation.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

He Will Love You







A very Blessed Lunar New Year to all! These two Peranakan dishes, Babi Ponteh and Chap Chye were cooked in advance for the family Chinese New Year lunch. I have cooked them in the late afternoon, covered and chilled in a chiller,  I'm doing this way so that I can be free of cooking some of the dishes on the day itself. Moreover, these dishes just taste better overnight.









When cooking Peranakan dishes, I usually refer to this book, Cooking for the President by Wee Eng Hwa.  I'm very pleased with both dishes I have cooked especially the Babi Ponteh. I have added sea cucumber, an expensive ingredient which I'm cooking for the first time. Recipe below is an adaption from the book with some modifications.



Babi Ponteh
serves 4-6 persons

Ingredients

750g Pork Belly, chunks
20ml oil
30g shallots, pound finely
40g garlic,pound finely
30g light brown taucheo, crushed
1 tbsp light soya sauce
1/2 tbsp thick dark soya sauce
30g gula melaka
4 Chinese dried mushrooms, soaked in hot water, quartered
2 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
150g sea cucumbers, approx. Cut to bite size
1 cup water



  • Blanch pork in boiling water and marinate with 2 tsp of dark soy sauce for about 30 minutes.
  • In a wok, fry shallots in hot vegetable oil till translucent. Add garlic and stir fry till everything is lightly golden.
  • Add taucheo and fry till semi dry, intensely aromatic, and color changes, about 3 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to very low. Add pork and fry till fragrant. Add the light and dark soy sauces.
  • Stir fry for about 10 minutes and transfer to a pot. Deglaze wok with 1/2 cup water. Add gula melaka, mushrooms and mushroom water. 
  • Top up enough water to just cover. Bring to  boil. Cover and simmer till pork is tender. 
  • Add sea cucumber and cooked for another 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Gravy should be thick.
  • Served with sambal belachan.











He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. Deuteronomy 7:13
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