Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Steamed Milk Pudding with Peach Slices

Steamed milk pudding is a popular Chinese dessert , which is famous for its silky smooth texture and nutritional effect for complexion. Serve warm or cold, it's a sweet treat to impress your family and friends! 


I used to drive all the way to a famous dessert house at Temple Street,  just to have a bowl of this "beauty" dessert.  Until one day, I decided to make my own milk pudding at home, which is much more economical.

The recipe is very simple (see my earlier post). It only consists of 3 ingredients: milk, egg and sugar.
However, getting it done to perfection is not as easy as it seems. I know everyone is busy, and we all like to follow recipes and succeed at our first attempts.  So, let me share with you some tips on how to make a perfect milk pudding at your first attempt.  It's Thanksgiving week now, there are so much to be thankful for.  As a food blogger, this is my way of saying thank you for visiting my blog!

There you have, my friends.

Tip No. 1 :  What milk to use? The recipe says whole milk, which contains 3.5 percent to 4 percent milk fat and about 150 calories a cup. Of course, it will give a rich taste.   However, if you are a health conscious adult, choose skim milk. Glad to tell you that , you can use most milk you bought from store. Pure milk, low fat milk, pasteurized milk, fresh milk. The taste only differs slightly. If you want pure milk flavor, follow Tip No.2.

Tip No.2 :  Remove some water from the skim milk through heating. Bring the milk to a boil, and leave it cool.   I use microwave to do the heat up for me.  Easy and fast!

Tip No.3 : Egg whites should keep fluid consistency. Beat slightly, about 30 seconds. Over beaten will create big bubble and egg white will become foamy.

Tip No.4:  Sieve the milk mixture 3 times to get rid of any egg white lumps and foam. This is key to a smooth texture.


Tip No.5 : Transfer milk mixture to a container, up to 2/3 full.  Cover with cling wrap properly. This will prevent water droplets falling directly on the milk mixture, or the cling wrap touching the surface during steaming.

Now, we've come to the most important step : Steaming.

Tip No 6:  Do not leave the milk mixture boiling for too long.  It will bubble up and destroy the smooth surface.  What you can do is, place the container into the steamer, bring the water to a boil under high heat.   Reduce to medium heat and continue steaming for another 15 minutes.  Leave it to cool for 5 minutes before open the lid and remove cling wrap.

That's all I have for rich and creamy milk pudding.  Perfectly steamed milk pudding should be soft enough to melt in the mouth , and firm enough to "hold" the toppings. I just had a bowl of homemade milk pudding after dinner. It tastes so goooood!

For detailed recipe, refer to my post Dessert for Beauty - Steamed Milk Pudding . To make the milk pudding shown in the above pictures,  I filled  a 9x13'' glass container with  one litre of pure milk, 7 egg whites and 4 tablespoons of sugar.   You can always adjust the amount of sugar to your likings.  


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Feta, Roasted Tomato and Chicken Sausage Pasta

During weekend,  I have been busy cooking, baking and pinning. It's so pinteresting!

My initial plan was to pin the most popular posts from blogs onto my Popular Foodie Posts board. After I started pinning, I realized it's not as easy as I thought. Firstly, not all the bloggers publish the popular list. Secondly, there are overwhelming posts out there. I browsed from one blog to another blog, reading, admiring and pinning. Sometimes, I stayed in one blog too long, and slowly drifted away by pining the popular post of my choice rather than readers' choices :).   It's tiring but rewarding. I've got to know many talented bloggers and their amazing posts. If you own a blog and have a Pinterest account, please drop me a note (mylittlejoyfactory@gmail.com) . I would be more than happy to invite you as one of the contributors to Popular Foodie Posts.

Feta, Roasted Tomato and Chicken Sausage Pasta was inspired by a pin board National Pasta Month created by Louise V. I participated the celebration of National Pasta Day in October this year, and have learned many delicious pasta recipes from this event.  Nowadays, I have been serving my family with different flavours of pasta.

My whole family are cheese lovers.  So, most of  my pasta has cheese in it.  Usually, I store grated Cheddar, Mozzarella and Parmesan in my fridge. Occasionally, I also buy small pack of Ricotta and Gouda cheese from supermarket.  This is the first time I used Feta cheese in pasta.  Feta compliments the roasted tomato beautifully, and adds flavor to the pasta together with Parmesan. Simple and delicious!








FETA, ROASTED SWEET POTATO AND CHICKEN SAUSAGE PASTA
(Original recipe from Donna Hay)

Ingredients
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 400g Fusilli
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan 
  • sea salt and cracked pepper
  • 200g feta, chopped
  • 200g chicken sausages       
  • lemon juice and olive oil, to serve
  • Spinach leaves for topping

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF). Place the sausage, sweet potato and tomato, cut-side up, in a baking dish. Drizzle with oil and bake for 35–45 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft and golden.
  2. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente.
  3. Drain and combine with the sweet potato, tomato, sausage, Parmesan, salt and pepper.
  4. Place in serving bowls, top with the feta, spinach and drizzle with lemon juice and oil to serve.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Passionfruit Syrup Bundt Cake (IHCC)

The weekend is finally here,  and it looks like it will be a beautiful one as I am "going" to a potluck party at I Heart Cooking Clubs!  This passionfruit syrup Bundt cake is the one I will "bring" to the party.

 
I started to appreciate passionfruit recently after I learned how to select ripe passionfruit. A friend told me that ripe passionfruit is the one with wrinkled, dimpled and dented skin, not smooth skin. What?! This is the first time I heard people perfer wrinkles :). Seems passionfruit is an ugly duckling. It tastes intensely aromatic, richly fragrant. No wonder it has an alluring Chinese name “百香果”, which means "fruit with hundreds of fragrances". Furthermore, passionfruit is rich source of antioxidants, vitamin C and fiber. I eat it every other day now. Can't wait for them to ripen.

For those who still don't know how to appreciate passionfruit, here is the secret : Choose passionfruit that looks plump despite any wrinkles. If your passionfruit’s skin is still smooth, ripen it for a few days at room temperature until wrinkles appear.

In this cake, sour cream adds richess to the classic buttery cake, and passionfruit syrup dresses it up wonderfully. The cake is moist,  and tastes slightly acidic with hints of vanilla. Delicious with a cup of coffee!

 
I am linking this post to IHCC November Potluck. To see what others bring to the party, click the link here.

I am participating  I Like Big Bundts 2013,  hosted by The Food Librarian. Same as Mary, the Food Librarian, I like cake and dislike frosting. Partially because of the warm weather here, partially because I am sensitive to sweetness. Bundt cake is so beautiful that it stands out even without frosting.


PASSIONFRUIT SYRUP BUNDT CAKE
(Donna Hay's recipe. My changes are in blue)

Ingredients
  • 150g butter, softened
  • 1 cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar (* I cut down the sugar to 150g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup thick Greek-style natural yoghurt (* I replaced with sour cream)
  • 2 cups (300g) self-raising flour, sifted (* I substituted self raising flour with 2 cups plain flour + 2 teaspoons of baking powder)
          passionfruit syrup (* I cut down the ingredients by half)
  • 1 cup (250ml) passionfruit pulp
  • ½ cup (125ml) water
  • ½ cup (110g) caster (superfine) sugar

Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC (320ºF).
  2. To make the passionfruit syrup, place passionfruit pulp, water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10–15 minutes or until syrupy. Set aside.
  3. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 10–15 minutes or until pale and creamy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add yoghurt and beat until well combined.
  5. Fold through flour. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 24cm bundt tin and bake for 35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
  6. Remove cake from the tin and place on a serving plate. Spike all over with a thin skewer, drizzle cake with syrup and serve while still warm.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Pan Fried Chinese Pumpkin Cake with White Sesame
香煎芝麻南瓜饼

Inspired by tasty soups from Souper Sundays, a weekly blogging event hosted by Deb in Hawaii,  I bought a piece of butternut last week and intended to prepare a bowl of creamy pumpkin soup for my family.  One week has passed, the butternut still quietly lying in my fridge. Maybe we are really not a  "soup" family?  Nobody seems bothered to check with me about the soup.
 
 
Before the butternut started to rot, I decided to make my favorite Chinese pumpkin cake instead. I tasted pan-fried pumpkin cake for the first time during a trip to Shanghai few years ago. These small cakes were served as a dessert in a Chinese restaurant. They were orange in color, soft, chewy on the inside, and crispy on the outside. So delicious! 
 
I searched for the recipe immediately after the trip,  and found a good simple one. Made a few times at home, they are as nice as the ones I had at the restaurant.  If you like pumpkin and dish made with glutinous rice flour, this is a sweet treat that you don't want to miss!
 
 
 
 
CHINESE PUMPKIN CAKE WITH SESAME
(Recipe adapted here)
 
Ingredients
  • 600g butternut, steamed and smashed (from ~900g raw butternut)
  • 300g glutinous rice flour
  • 50g custard powder
  • 80g icing sugar
  • vegetable oil (for pan fry)
  • white sesame (for coating)
 
Directions
  1. In a medium bowl,  place smashed butternut , custard powder, icing sugar and mix to combine. 
  2. Add glutinous rice flour,  in two batches,  knead after each addition until the mixture is non- sticky and a soft dough is formed. No water is needed.
  3. Divide the dough into 20 portions and shape into balls.  Coat evenly with white sesame. Flatten slightly with your palm.
  4. Heat up a non-stick frying pan with some oil over low-to-medium heat. Cook, in batches, for 2-3 minutes each side, or until golden brown. 
  5. Transfer onto a serving plate lined with kitchen tissue. Serve warm.
I am submitting this post to these Fun Parties.
 

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Smoked Ham and Cheddar Quiche

November is known as one of the Monsoon months here in Singapore. It rains almost everyday, sometimes with thunderstorms. I hope it won't rain today as we have Family Day at Sentosa later in the afternoon,  an event organized by my company to promote family bonding.


This is the 2nd time we participated Family Day after I joined this company. The last time was in 2009, when we just returned from U.S after one year assignment in Utah.  Kids have grown up from preschoolers then to preteens now.  The years are flying by!  Whenever I look back, I do share the feeling that the days are long, but the years are short.  So, let's get the most of life and enjoy every moment with our family.

Right now, I enjoy myself very much in cooking and baking for my family, especially with friends from I Heart Cooking Clubs. This week, we are baking tarts and pies, which are a fantastic way to celebrate any occasion.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Roasted Balsamic Beetroot

Singapore is situated near Equator ,  no distinctive seasons. So, what's in season now?
 
 
When I Heart Cooking Clubs put In Season as the cooking theme for this week, I am rejoiced at the abundant choices I have.  With only raining season and dry season , everything seems fit for this theme.  However,  I chose to settle with Beetroot, which is a vegetable available all year round, but is totally unfamiliar to me. Hope I can learn a new dish and bring to my family.

Thai Red Curry Fish, Asian Food Fest

I am not used to spicy food even though I have been living in Singapore for a decade. Whenever I order food at hawker center,  I always tell the server to put less chili for me. That's the reason I seldom cook red curry dish at home. Its color gives me an impression that red curry should be very hot!  Well, since everyone in my family love the taste of curry, we choose Japanese curry roux (mild) instead. We often cook it with vegetables without any meat,  and everyone just can't get enough of it, especially eat with a plate of steamed rice. 
 
 
 
Last Saturday,  I chanced upon a Thai Red Curry Fish recipe from Women's Weekly magazine.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Fried Cheddar and Olive Finger Sandwiches

Egg fried bread is served in my family whenever we have leftover bread. Simple yet comforting,  it's a good way to start the day.

This morning, I decided to spoil my family by doing a little bit more to the usual egg fried bread, with an indulgent recipe from Donna Hay.

First,  spread the bread with delicious olive tapenade and top with a slice of Cheddar cheese. Sandwich with another bread. Dip the whole sandwich into the egg and milk mixture, then press into Parmesan.

To make a perfect fried bread, you've got to use butter instead of oil. Place the sandwiches on a thin pan over medium heat. Keep turning while frying, until they turn out golden with a crusty outside, and cheese is melting inside. Yummilicous!

I should thank Donna Hay for this recipe, which elevates our favourite egg fried bread to a whole new level. My family enjoyed olive tapenade for the first time, and it really enhanced the taste of sandwiches. I would explore healthy olive tapenade, and bring it more to our meals.

 
FRIED CHEDDAR AND OLIVE FINGER SANDWICHES
(Adapted from Donnay Hay's recipe)
 
Ingredients
  • 8 slices wholemeal bread, crusts removed       
  • ½ tablespoon store-bought olive tapenade
  • 4  Cheddar cheese slice      
  • 40g butter
  • 4 eggs      
  • ½ cup (60ml) milk
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups (160g) grated Parmesan       

Directions
  1. Spread 4 slices of bread with the tapenade and top with the cheese. Sandwich with remaining bread and cut each sandwich into 2.
  2. Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Place the eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture and then press into the Parmesan. Cook, in batches, for 1–2 minutes each side or until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted.


I am linking this post to these fun parties.
 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Caramelized Onion, Bacon and Cheese Brioche

Sandwiches are one of the simplest stables we have at home during morning rush hours. Grab two slices of bread, sandwich with one fried egg, one lettuce leave, and a slice of cheddar cheese. Heat up in microwave for 15 seconds, pack and go! When I Heart Cooking Clubs announced Sandwich Sensations as the theme of the week, it offered a good opportunity for me to prepare a "deluxe" sandwiches for my family.



The first step is to choose the bread. Since we always use store-bought bread for convenience, it's time to put in some effort and bake my own soft and rich bread.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Peach Brioche Buns

Peach Brioche Bun is one of the creations I made when exploring the classic Brioche. As you might know, Brioche is an enriched French bread that comes up often in bread pudding and french toast. It has high egg and butter content, which gives it very soft, golden crumb and rich, tender texture.

The method used to make Brioche is quite new to me. It starts with a yeast mixture by adding yeast into half cup of water and half cup of flour. Wait until this loose paste has risen, then add all the rest of the ingredients and knead into a dough. This is equivalent to three times proofing, whereas other bread I made normally requires only two times. Since it took time for the dough to proof,  I had plenty of time to think how to "design" a  lovely Brioche bun.
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