Thursday, September 30, 2010

CoCo's Teochew Steam Pomfret

NTUC Fairprice supermarket was selling some really beautiful, fat, silver pomfret the other day, how can I resist? I have never made this dish before, but have eaten plenty. So for this very first attempt, it's all based on what I remember and a little advise from my Mom. I must say, it was delicious!!!

My version of this classic dish is slightly different. Instead of salted vegetables, I use Sichuan pickled vegetables. Also, I didn't add tofu because I just don't want to buy a whole block of tofu. Lastly, because this was meant to be a one dish meal, I added some broccoli.

So here are the ingredients:

Sliver Pomfret
sliced mushrooms
sliced Sichuan vegetables (soak them for about 10mins)
tomatoes, quartered
Ginger, 4pcs thinly sliced
Lean pork, a few slices
Broccoli, cut into small pieces

So, so simple:
1. Made cuts on both sides of the fish. This makes the fish cook more thoroughly, and easier to serve.
2. In a small pot, boil the mushrooms, sichuan vegetables, ginger slices, pork in about 1/4 quarter cup of water. Add a pinch of MSG and half teaspoon of sugar and boil for just about 5 minutes.
3. Place the tomatoes on the fish and pour the soup stock and all the ingredients onto the fish.
4. Steam the fish. About 20 minutes for a 300g+ fish.
5. At the last 5 minutes, add in the broccoli.
6. Serve immediately!

Monday, September 27, 2010

CoCo's Sweet Barley Drink

Here's a super nutritious drink that only needs TWO simple steps. It would be a crime not to pamper your loved ones and yourself to this drink!

1. Boil a big handful of barley (I recommend Ayam brand) with 2 pandan leaves in 2 big soup bowls of water.

2. After 1 hour (30 minutes for pressure cookers), add rock sugar for taste. How much to add depends on personal taste.

I like to put the cooled drink in bottles and put it into the fridge. Nothing like a chilled barley drink on a hot day!

TIP: My Mom taught me this. Usually if you buy Pandan leaves, it comes in a HUGE bunch. Wash it, trim off the brown parts and tie it up in bundles. You can then freeze these bundles and they can last so much more longer! When you need them, just take them out of the freezer and into the pot! Brilliant!

CoCo's Lotus Root & Pork Rib Soup

Here's another delicious Cantonese style soup that's super easy to make. All you need is a few ingredients.

Lotus roots:
Choose a nice fat one, two sections would be enough for a pot of soup to serve 2-3 persons. The ones in the market is covered in mud, but supermarkets sell them nice and clean. I remove the skin, but it's optional. Just chop off the ends and slice them thinly.

Essential Flavours:
These are your very basic stuff you add into almost EVERY soup. Dried dates, wolfberries and some form of dried seafood. It can be dried octopus, dried mussels, or dried scallops. These would give your soup a nice flavour, or like the chinese say, 很鲜, so you don't need to add MSG.

Of course, it's a pork rib soup, so don't forget your pork rib! OK, now for the cooking process. Are you ready? Here's what you do...

Put everything into a pot with a teaspoon of salt, add water and boil in high heat. Once it's boiled, lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours. 1 hour for pressure cookers. :)

Measure your water according to how much soup you want to end up with. If you want to make 1 big soup bowl of soup, add one big bowl, plus about 1/3 more that would be boiled off during cooking.

CoCo's Wholemeal Cheese Bread

I always buy bread that's wholemeal. It just makes me feel like I'm making an effort to eat healthy, and thus feel less guilty when I slap on a thick layer of Nutella chocolate spread on my bread. :)

Funny thing was that I can't seem to find any wholemeal bread flour here in Singapore. Not even in Phoon Huat, my favourite to-go place to find all things related to baking. So naturally I was ecstatic to find wholemeal bread flour during one of my grocery shopping trips in JB.

I know 100% wholemeal bread is more dry and not very tasty, so I made my bread with only 1/3 wholemeal flour. That means, using the same recipe from my table rolls, I use 100g wholemeal flour and 200g of normal bread flour.

Also, from my Dad, I found out that using bottled mineral water when making bread actually makes the bread dough rise better. I don't know what is the exact science behind it, but I think it really works!

Oh, and as you can see, I just add some cheese and sugar on top of the bread before baking. I actually divided the dough into too big portions. They grew bigger during fermentation, and grew even bigger in the oven during baking! Oops... Next time, when I'm dividing the portions, if it looks a little too small, its probably just right. :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ritz Carlton Mooncake

Hubby and I tasted the whole exhibition hall of mooncakes at Taka before finally deciding on this year's choice of mooncakes for my parents. We are traditionalists, so we always buy white lotus paste and not all those fancy, strange, new flavours.

Not only must it be tasty, because it's a gift, the packaging was very important to me too! I think Ritz has the nicest box this year, perfect as a gift for my parents! :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bel Mondo - South Italian Cuisine (Tomahawk!)

We didn't dare try this the other time as it looked like something Fred Flintstone would have for dinner. Seriously, you would need to share it with someone, and I just wasn't interested. The last time we tried such a gigantic piece of meat, we were at Morton's The Steakhouse. The so called "famous" piece of steak was overcooked on the outside and undercooked on the inside. It was overpriced and don't taste good at all! But Hubby wanted to try, so I gave in and went for it.

Introducing, the Tomahawk special. According to my research, this is a new type of cut that is like a giant piece of ribeye that comes with a huge bone. At Bel Mondo, it's aged and cooked to perfection, medium rare, and sliced for easy consumption.

It was good! The meat was surprisingly tender! The steak was just simply cooked with salt, pepper and rosemary, but it was full of flavour. The portion was just nice for 3 persons, or 2 very hungry foodie. :) After you are done with the meat, the waitress would even bring your plate back into the kitchen and they would slice of all the meat of the "flintstone" bone for you. Of course, you can munch the meat straight off bone with your mouth too, but I was in a nice outfit, so, let them do the work!

If the steak was good, the meat off the bone was excellent!!! It's more charred, so it has even more flavour, like little gems! This could be a dish by itself. But honestly, we couldn't finish everything, just about 90%. It's also not cheap. This dish cost $98, but it worth every dollar. 一分钱,一分货 :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Home's Favourite Durian Mooncake

Bought this at the Takashimaya annual Mooncake fair. At first I thought that the durian filling was ice cream, as it had a icy, creamy texture. The salesgirl explained that they just brought it out of the freezer, but it's actually pure D24 Durian!

I had never bought durian mooncake before but I was attracted by it's pretty packaging. It comes in individual styrofoam box to keep the mooncake cool.

When you eat it immediately after taking out of the freezer, it taste like durian ice cream seriously. But give it a few more minutes to thaw out and you get this beautiful, creamy, a little more fibrous texture.

Basically you get to enjoy eating durian but don't have to deal with the thorny husk, messy hands and seed. YUMS!

Morinaga Hotcakes

I Love Pancakes. I found this fantastic pancake mix that makes perfect fluffy pancakes every time! OK this is slightly different from your usual pancakes, which is more flat, like those sold at MacDonald's. These are hotcakes, which has a thicker batter and contains some sort of raising agent, making it thicker, fuller, like a cake!

It's so easy to make, and I love it that Morinaga packs the batter into 4 separate packs. I would make small little pancakes, which I find cuter and more appetising. You can even hold it up and eat it with your hands like a toast. :)

I love it plain with honey, but I would also add some smashed banana or berries into the batter to make banana pancakes. Somehow the cakes turn out more flat when I add fruits in. But careful... the natural sugars in the fruit makes it darker and hence burn more easily.

I recently bought some adorable pancake moulds from Daiso. A star shape and a heart shape. The 1st 2 failed in a way cause the pancake got stuck on the side of the mould. I dug them out - still edible, just a little jagged around the edges. The subsequent ones went very well! I just brush the internal walls with some melted butter, put it on the dry frying pan, pour a little batter inside, and it would rise in the heat and make cute little star shaped pancakes!

I know that 2 of them looked a little burnt. It's not! I just added some cocoa powder into the batter. It tasted like chocolate bread. Haha... That's what I love about pancakes. You can add anything! This morning I added chopped bananas to some caramel I made and it was perfect with the pancakes! Yum! Oh and you can just put any leftovers in a ziplock bag and throw it into the freezer. During teatime, just pop the frozen pancakes into the microwave for about 20-30 seconds and you have delicious hotcakes. A perfect snack!
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