Monday, December 3, 2012

The Right Choice

Lately, there's a TV commercial about mini chocolate chip cookies that appears around 15 to 20 seconds. Not the cheerful little animated cookies that yell "Mini yeah...mini yeah...mini Chips AHOY!" that attract me, but the size of the cookies has been minimized to only one-inch big! Just one toss and you'll be able to fill your mouth with two or three of it. It seems nice but I still prefer the big (normal) size one, around 4 or 5 centimeters. It always feels good to grab one side of the cookie and dip the other into a glass of milk. Yummy!

Last week, watching that commercial made me think of baking matter. Why don't try to make it myself? Then I went to find my mum for a recipe. Well, she does have a choco chip cookie recipe which she got years ago but she never tried it before so we were not sure whether that old recipe would work. However, from the back of the chocolate chip carton box, we found another slightly different cookie recipe. My mum said in baking, even a small difference in ingredients may influence the entire result. That moment we were quite confused with choosing the one that might work well. Since the carton box recipe looks more convincing, eventually we decided to use that. 

Every time my mum's doing her cooking experiment, usually I only help her with simple things like washing dirty dishes but that time I got involved more in the process of making my favorite cookies. She told me to weigh sugar, flour, butter, etc. while she handled the baking part. It was fun and I learned a lot from her. What made me happier was that the result tasted sooo good! It was crunchy on the outside, but the inner part was soft and tender. These are the photos! ^^ Below them you'll find the recipe that I translated for you.



*Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe*

Ingredients:
130 grams Palm/brown sugar
160 grams Granulated white sugar
170 grams Margarine
1/2 tablespoon Butter
70 grams Egg
45 grams Water
3 grams Baking Soda
370 grams Multi-purpose flour (In Indonesia, we have Kunci Biru brand)
6 grams Salt
300 grams Chocolate chips (or as desired)

Method:
Preheat the oven to 160 Celcius. Blend together margarine, butter, brown and white sugar for 5 minutes. Afterwards, add the egg and water. Stir well till the mixture is smooth. Then pour in the flour, baking soda, and salt. When stirring, add the chocolate chips into the dough and make sure they are evenly spread. Use a tablespoon to scoop and shape the cookie. Place the cookie on a lightly-greased baking sheet. Give a little space between each cookies and bake for 15 or 20 minutes. After cooling them, store in an airtight container.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Beef Fettucini with Red Bean Sauce

If you roam in search of delicious Western food, you would find out that almost all Western-oriented restaurants and cafes in Medan have Italian food in their menus. Hmm...it surely has been well-accepted by many people due to its flavour and unique characteristics. Talking about Italian food, the thing that I could never resist is CHEESE! To me, it is a worldly indulgence, haha... A lot of Italian cuisines contain cheese and cream as the ingredients. The rich flavor indeed is the reason why Italian foods, like Pizza, Risotto, etc. become so popular. 

Don't forget about Pasta! Oh, it is my favorite! As you know, there are many types of pasta available now. If I go to Pizza Hut restaurant, usually I prefer either Fettucini or Lasagna as the side dish. There's commonly a thick layer of cheese on top of the pasta, yummy! Now instant dried pasta is very commonplace, sold in supermarkets so everyone can make delicious pasta with his/her own recipe.

My mother likes to do cooking experiments at home so of course she has her own special recipe collection. On one Sunday morning, she cooked Fettucini and made special sauce for it. Afterwards, she served it without adding any grated cheese on top. The photo below is the look of the delicious pasta.



I found out that there were some soft red beans (Kidney beans) in the sauce. Red/Kidney bean is usually used in Asian dishes but that day my mother deliberately included it in the Pasta sauce. Unlike the usual rich creamy one, this pasta sauce was thick but refreshing since a lot of tomatoes were used as the sauce base. To enrich it, beef chunks were included. As the result, the taste of this unique pasta was awesome! 

Al dente! :) 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cha Sio Rice

A classmate once 'declaimed' about the importance of being a vegetarian to the class. To her, maybe a vegetarian is like a hero who helps save the world from catastrophe. I was quite interested at that time but I think no one can stop me when it comes to eating MEAT. I'm truly a meat-lover! But I just don't know why I'm still a skinny girl no matter how much I eat. This is also why I can't be influenced by the theory that overstates the benefits of being a vegetarian, hahahaha...

In cooking Chinese food, which my mother commonly cooks, there is a wide range of meat processing methods. Pork is the favorite item used in Chinese cooking. It can be roasted, boiled, fried, and many more. There are indeed many delicious food made of pork, such as Cha Sio and Sio Bak

I used to think Cha Sio (a name derived from local Hokkian dialect, means fork-barbeque) and Sio Bak (also from Hokkian dialect, means roasted meat) were the same. Certainly they're completely different.

Sio Bak is made of brined pork belly. It is roasted till the rind/skin turns brown and crisp. Yummy! Absolutely a perfect 'companion' for rice! You can refer to this blog to know more about Sio Bak.

What about Cha Sio? Unlike Sio Bak, this Canton-originated cuisine uses pork loin to produce better texture of Cha Sio, even though pork belly is sometimes included. The color is reddish brown, tastes a little sweeter than Sio Bak but less crispier. Ooohh, I love both of them!

In order to make a fine Sio Bak, particular techniques and instrument are actually required. That's why famous Sio Bak is quite costly in Medan (around IDR 150.000 - 300.000/kg). Cha Sio making is quite easier. Luckily my mother knows how to make it.


All you need to do is to clean the pork loin and marinate it with soy sauce, sugar, arrack (Chinese liquor), and crushed salted soy beans (tauco) for 1 until 2 hours. Then just heat the pan/wok with a little vegetable oil and cook it with the pan/wok covered. Don't forget to open and turn the loin every two or three minutes until it is dry and done. Afterwards, slice it and serve with rice or buns!

Happy cooking! ^^

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wolfberry and Raisin?!!

It’s been a while since the last post! Things were quite tough back then but we still have to move on, right? Haha...I’m so pleased to continue posting about delicious food on this blog so hope you’ll like it! By the way, now I have my own DSLR camera to capture beautiful food photos! Yihaa! It’s NIKON and I’m gonna learn taking better photos with it.

Amid my busy daily activities, I am lucky to have a little time doing my hobbies. I also have a great mother who always provides her family nutritious meals everyday. Sometimes she likes to do some experiments too. A few days ago she made steamed buns (again) but with special filling.  She scattered some dried fruits, such as wolfberries and raisins, on the rolled dough. Wolfberry is fine but raisin...! Oh no, not for me!

My mom said they were good for health. I know wolfberry, or goji berry, can help prevent vision-related diseases, which means it is good for eyes. While raisins...hmm, I myself prefer fresh grapes to the dried ones but since my mom loves it, I tried to accept it. Well, this was how the buns looked like, came out freshly from the steamer! 



Surprisingly, the taste was not as bad as I thought. Quite delicious! Maybe the sourness of the raisins was slightly covered by the sweetness of the bun and wolfberries. Suitable for breakfast and snack time, indeed!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bakcang (Zong Zi) – Cultural Heritage and A Mother’s Love


Last Saturday was actually the d-day of the Duan Wu Jie (Dragon Boat Festival) but since I was so busy till the weekend, I couldn’t post anything about this great event. Luckily now the internet connection is quite good and my tasks are done so it’s time to blog! ^^;
Duan Wu Jie (Dragon Boat Festival) is a cultural event celebrated mainly by Chinese people on the 5th day of the 5th month according to the Lunar calendar. It was first held to commemorate Qu Yuan, a faithful servant of the Zhou Dynasty, who was accused of betrayal due to opposing the King’s new ally. To prove his innocence and show his disappointment, he committed suicide by drowning himself in a river. The people who knew he was a good man, made Zong Zi (glutinous rice dumplings wrapped with bamboo leaves) and threw them into the river so the fish would not eat his body. Some people also believe that Qu Yuan turned into god because of his good deed in life.
Recently, Duan Wu Jie has become a festival celebrated globally. There are several places that held international competitions last Saturday, like dragon boat rowing competition in Macau which attended by various countries and international lion dance competition in Medan last Sunday.
For the food, of course Bakcang (the popular name of Zong Zi for Chinese people in South East region, derived from Hokkian dialect) is one of the symbols of the event. Even though now people do not make it merely for commemorating Qu Yuan, eating Bakcang has been an irreplaceable custom of Chinese descendants all over the world.
The rice dumpling is commonly divided into two types, i.e. salty Bakcang and sweet Cang. Both of them are made of glutinous rice for the outer but they differ in the fillings. Salty Bakcang usually contains mushroom, pork, chestnut, salted duck egg yolk, la chang (Chinese sausage), and small dried shrimps; while the sweet one commonly contains red bean paste, or just plain.
Glutinous rice

Salty Bakcang fillings
No matter sweet or salty, Bakcang is one of the seasonal foods that we longed for, hahaha…. Since the market price was so high, my mom decided to make it by herself. Her skill in cooking makes me so proud of her! I took a picture of her when she was wrapping a Bakcang.
My lovely mother ^^
The results of the home-made Bakcangs were so successful that I encouraged my mom to make more next year and sell them to get extra income, haha… Here are the results:
Salty Bakcang


Besides the common glutinous rice Bakcang, she also tried to make another Bakcang of different color which was never seen before. It was black! 
Black Bakcang! One of a kind!
Hoho…maybe there’s no place on Earth that sells black Bakcang like my Mom’s. It was actually made of a mixture of black rice, carrot, and corn with the same fillings. Surprisingly, it tasted better! It was not as rich as the glutinous rice and moreover, it was healthier. That was surely a symbol of love from Mom to the family. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

ITADAKIMASU!

Hi!
It’s always nice to write something related to Japan. Haha…it’s one of my favorite countries in the world and a place that I always dream to go. Japanese people are innovative in creating products and always have fresh and unique ideas in building an image. Even Japanese culture is also one of a kind! They have intricate eating manner and foods which are not only delicious but appealing as well.
Many people dislike eating sushi but for me, it’s yummy, no matter what topping or filling it has! Unluckily, Japanese food is so costly in Medan. I have to think twice before entering the restaurant to enjoy a plate of Dragon roll sushi.
Thus, I tried to make one at home (of course with my mom as the supervisor :P). We never go to any sushi-making class. We just learned by observing how the sushi chef worked in the open-kitchen when we were having a dinner once :P
We prepared a lot of things to make our first sushi. We bought sushi roller (a set of bamboo sticks tied together), dry roasted nori, canned tuna, cucumber, vinegar, etc. from the nearest mini market and started our first trial. It was fun to learn how to roll sushi and put various fillings like sausage, tuna, etc. I also found out that it was not easy as it looked to roll sushi. If we did not grab it tightly, the sushi would break and look messy because the fillings would fall from the rice. At first we intended to use Japanese rice to make sushi but it was not sold in the minimarket. It was also quite hard to find that kind of rice in Medan so we decided to use common local rice to make. However, we cooked the rice with more water so it would be stickier then my mom mixed it with the white vinegar.
Afterwards, we sprinkled some drops of water onto the nori, added some rice and the fillings, and rolled it with the bamboo roller. Voila! We’d got a pretty sushi! ^o^/
My yummy sushi ;P



Pretty Sushi ^^
Let’s eat and say “Itadakimasu!”

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Seafood and Smoked Ham Soup en Croûte

Last month a friend of my mom faxed a recipe for her. She recommended my mom to try it. It was a cream soup recipe.  Hmm… sometimes my mom cooks cream soup for lunch so this recipe was not completely new to her. However, the different thing was that the recipe said the soup is eaten with puff pastry which is pasted above the soup. It is just like the one sold in Pizza Hut restaurant. Interested in the recipe, mom finally decided to try it one day. Of course, I did not forget to take some pictures of the results. They were as yummy as the one sold in cafes or restaurants!
Puffy Cream Soup ^^
Soup en Croute/Puffy cream soup
Serve it hot!

Later, I realized that there is a particular name for this kind of food. Look at the title and you know the name. Yup, it’s soup en croute. The term “en croute” is derived from French. The term refers to food that is wrapped or covered with pastry and then baked. The word "croute" itself means crust. It was so fascinating to hear the crisp sound of the puff pastry when I was breaking the crust, hoho…! Afterwards the mouth-watering smell of the soup rising from under the crust really whetted my appetite! That was an unforgettable delight, haha…
Are you curious about the recipe? Here I share it with you!
Ingredients:
30grs Onion – chopped
2 tablespoons Butter
50grs Shrimps
100grs Sweet corn kernels (canned corn is fine too)
250cc Cooking cream (ex.: Elle&Vire)
550cc water
2 pcs Bay leaves
2 pcs Smoked ham
Salt, pepper as desired
2-3 tablespoons multi-purpose flour (optional)
Puff pastry sheets – take out from the freezer and set aside to let it melt

Cooking Methods:
  1. Clean the shrimps and remove the shells. Heat the pan, sauté the shrimps with onion and butter until half-done.
  2. Chop the smoked ham. Pour the corn and smoked ham into the pan, stir well.
  3.  Next, it’s time to add the cooking cream. While stirring the cream mixture, slowly pour in water.
  4.  Add the bay leaves into the soup. If you think the cream soup is not thick enough, dissolve the flour with some water and pour it into the mixture, stir well.
  5.  Season the mixture with salt and pepper. If you see boiling bubbles appear while stirring, it’s time to turn off the stove.
  6. Remove the bay leaves from the soup. Pour it into bowls and let it chill.
  7. After the puff pastry has turned supple and the soup has cooled down, cut the pastry a little bigger than the bowl. Stretch and tighten it to the surface of the bowl. Make sure not to touch the soup. 
  8. Beat an egg and spread onto the puff pastry. Oven it until the color turned golden brown. 
HAPPY COOKING! ^o^/'

Friday, April 20, 2012

Carrot Cake


Hi!
It’s so exciting to post about cake again as I am a cake-lover, hahaha!
This time it is a little different. It is baked, not steamed one which I posted before. Thus, it has thicker aroma and flavor.  Moreover, it contains something healthy. What’s that? Shredded carrots! That’s it!
By adding some fine shredded carrots does not affect the tastiness of the cake but in contrast, it improves the nutrition level of the food! As a result, this cake is a healthy treat for the whole family especially for kids who do not like eating vegetables/ carrot. 
 
Carrot is a root vegetable that contains a lot of nutrients like Vitamin A, B1, B2, and C. It has high beta-carotene so it is good for our eyes. Carrot is useful for nourishing our body as well. If your child dislikes eating vegetable, then you need a creative and effective way to let him/her eat it. Simply cut the vegetable into small pieces and mix it with other ingredients or make it into soup, just don’t let your child know it.
Even though I am okay with carrot, it is always nice to explore different kind of carrot processing, haha… making it into a carrot cake is also a good idea! 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Breakfast with Cereal

Hello! 
I have a question. What do you usually have for breakfast? Is it a complete meal of rice and its side dish? Or toast with jam and peanut butter? 
Hmm...talking about breakfast, I feel uncomfortable with the fact that I often eat the first meal of the day in a hurry >_<'||
Indeed it is a bad habit. Eating must be done in a proper way. We have to focus on our food while eating since that will help our digestion. That's why we should not read or do something distracting while having meal.
However, commonly on Saturday or Sunday morning, I can enjoy my breakfast in a more relaxed manner. I always love having noodles, pancake, or porridge for breakfast on Saturday or Sunday. Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, my mother - who always wakes up earlier than the others, likes to serve us a rich and nutritious breakfast. I am really grateful for that!
I remember a day when my friend and I were talking about foods, she laughed at me after knowing that I still loved cereals for breakfast. She said cereal was only for small kids! I frowned. She was wrong! Where did she get the notion from?
In fact, cereals also provide enough nutrition for adults and thus it is a good meal for the whole family. By the way, corn flakes is my favorite, haha...It always tastes great to be eaten with warm milk, yum!

Corn flakes with milk ^^
My Favorite Cereal

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Feng Gan – Chinese Fried Meatball with Minced Liver and Preserved Yolk


Hello bloggers!
When I was thinking of the next stuff for this blog update, an inspirational program was on TV. It was a documentary about historical progress of cooking methods in China. That was an interesting one! An idea appeared in my mind out of the blue! I would post about Oriental food! I remembered I had taken some pictures of a delicious food and I knew that would be a good material to share with you!
Do you like Chinese food? Haha, I love it! It is one of the foods which exists in many countries. You can easily find Chinese restaurant in countries where there are Chinese people! The taste of Chinese food in each countries have been suited to the taste buds of local people and due to this, Chinese food has developed into a wide variety of styles!
This time let me share about a food that my mother will usually make for the feast on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Its name is Feng Gan () or Phoenix’s Liver, in English. Cool huh?
Feng Gan can be steamed or fried. It is a mixture of minced pork and shrimp, pig’s liver, mushroom, and garlic, with a preserved duck egg yolk in the centre (after soaked in brine for a particular time, the yolk becomes round and firm). The uniqueness of this delicious meatball is not only the filling but it also lies in its wrapper. All the mixed ingredients are wrapped with pig’s abdomen membrane. Some people who cannot get it may substitute it with dried bean curd/tofu skin.  
It is a delicious food, indeed. Just try one if you visit Chinese restaurant or simply make it at home! These are the pictures that I’d taken last month. Look at how they look like!  

Feng Gan - Phoenix's Liver

肝 - Phoenix's Liver
They look yummy, don't they? Well, if you need the recipe, you can e-mail me or simply write on comment form! 

See ya!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

We Need a Break

Hello!


These days everything seems tormenting to me. Abundant assignments, upcoming thesis exam, and problems dealing with my job have given me anxiety and insomnia. I can hardly breathe due to these depressing matters. Do you feel the same way? Or maybe you feel even worse? Hmm… if so, I think we need a break.
A short rest is absolutely important to refresh our mind and body. That precious moment may not be accompanied by a lavish surroundings but it must be a cozy one. Actually, with only a cup of warmly brewed tea and some snacks, a sunny afternoon can be a good time to recharge and calm ourselves.  One day, when I was having a break after homework, I found out that a cup of tea with those pineapple pastries looked pretty under the sun. Therefore, at once I took the picture with my camera. Voila!

Elvy's tea time

Oh ya, this was a cup of fine black tea. I am a tea lover, too.  I love almost all beverages made of tea, such as milk tea, lemon tea, iced tea, etc. Maybe because of the caffeine substance in it, a cup of tea is able to freshen up my body. Do you know? Tea is able to normalize blood pressure and reduce depression! That’s why it is a suitable drink for people with high level of stress, like me. Hehe… ^^
Well, let’s live a joyful life! ^o^

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It’s A Piece of Cake !

Yippee! This time I’m so delighted to publish about something I’d always love to taste… Cakes! Yum! No matter butter cake, sponge cake, meringues, chiffon, cupcake, gateau, or whatever the type is, it can always cheer me up. Besides, the cake that I usually eat at home is my mom’s creation. I can feel her warmth of love in every bite of the cake and that feeling is something I will always treasure.  

Baked cakes are indeed delicious, but do you know? A cake does not always have to be baked in order to create an appealing result. Why don’t try to steam it? Steamed cake tastes good too! One thing is needed to make a steamed cake tastes better: keep it in refrigerator before serving it.

My mom had made a vanilla steamed cake for a special day. She cut it in half and spread blueberry and cream on it. Taraaa… it’s so pretty that I must preserve the look of the cake!  

Blueberry Vanilla Steamed Cake

Another thing that should be kept in mind while steaming the cake is that you must not open the steamer’s lid to take a look at it, or else, your cake will not rise perfectly and result in a lumpy and dense texture, not a soft one. 

So, how do you know whether the cake is ready or not? The only way is to follow the recipe and keep experimenting. Also, the length of steaming time may differ based on steaming heat, size of steamer, and the size of the cake itself. 

Blueberry Vanilla Steamed Cake

Well, any comments or questions? Please do not hesitate to let me know!

Happy Cooking! ^^

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Corn Jelly – A Nutritious Dessert

Hi readers!

What do you usually have after meal? There are many choices of desserts eaten today, such as fruit, ice-cream, pudding, etc. and indeed they are popular.

Talking about that, I ever made jelly for dessert. It was a little different from common jelly sold in supermarket, like strawberry, chocolate, or plain jelly. I added an ingredient which helped enhance not only the whole taste of the jelly but it also added extra nutrition to the dessert. As we know, jelly powder is made of seaweed and it is rich in fiber and minerals. Most instant jelly products state that they have been fortified with vitamins; however, it is not enough to fulfill your need of nutrients. The best way to increase the level of nutrients is by adding natural ingredient. This is what I have mentioned above as something different in my jelly. The natural ingredient that I added was corn essence.

Corn (Zea mays) is an amazing plant that contains antioxidant, like beta-carotene, which is good for health. The antioxidant in corn is effective to slow ageing process, help digestion, prevent memory loss, and maintain good vision. According to WHFoods, a cup of corn (149 grams) contains 13.6% vitamin C, 12.5% vitamin B3, and 11.8% vitamin B5. A corn is also rich in Vitamin A and E. Having abundant nutrients and natural sweetness, corn essence is a suitable flavor and nutrient enhancer for any desserts. 

The corn jelly that I made was indeed a healthy food for all ages! Hahaha…this is the photo of my home-made corn jelly!


In making corn jelly, there is a way to produce a fine result. A smooth texture of the jelly can be achieved by separating the corn liquid from the hulls. How to do that?

First, remove corn kernels from the cob.
Second, pour the corn kernels into food processor, crush them until soft and the liquid comes out.
Third, strain/filter the liquid to separate the hulls of corn from the corn essence. What you need is only corn essence liquid.
Fourth, boil some water. Pour in jelly powder and some sugar (as desired).
Fifth, add corn essence to the jelly mixture, stir well until sugar dissolved.
Sixth, pour the jelly mixture into mold and let it cool.
Seventh, serve the jelly with cream or chocolate for a richer taste.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Perfect Tea-Time Delicacy!

Hello how’s your day? I hope everything’s fine!

And for you who are having problems or feeling bad, I’m glad to recommend you enjoying a kind of food that can help you feel better. It’s always a great idea to lounge and have a break with a cup of tea/coffee and some snacks! This time I recommend you a pastry that is suitable for breakfast and tea time. Children will love it too as the flavor is so irresistible, haha…

It’s Hong Kong Style Egg Tart! Sometimes it’s also called as Chinese style or Cantonese style egg tart. Does it really come from Hong Kong? 

Yup, egg tart was first introduced in Hong Kong in 1940s by local tea houses (cha chan ting) and coffee shops. Because of its delicate flavor, Cantonese style egg tart has been included on World’s 50 Most Delicious Food by CNN Go in 2011! Find out more on Wikipedia
 
Also, egg tart is my favorite food! Every time it comes out from oven, the sweet smell, taste, and texture are always able to whet my appetite. The flaky outer crust of egg tart is somehow a perfect match for the soft and sweet custard filling, yum!

Home-made Egg Tarts, yummy!
Here, I provide the recipe of this lovely egg tart just for you!

Cantonese Style Egg Tart                                                         
 
Ingredients

-        Crust
600 grams            All-purpose flour (the brand of all-purpose flour in Indonesia is Bogasari Segitiga Biru)
350 grams            Margarine (or butter)
100 grams            Granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon Custard Powder

-        Filling
8 eggs
350 cc Milk
200 grams Sugar
100 cc Water
Vanilla essence as desired

Cooking Method:
1.   Preheat oven to 200˚Celcius.
2.     Blend in the eggs, butter/margarine, and custard powder. Then pour in the flour, mix well.
3.     Put the dough into refrigerator for half an hour.
4.     Roll and cut the dough into pieces and place in small tart mold. You do not have to grease the mold with oil.
5.     Making pastry filling: Stir in milk, eggs, vanilla, water, and sugar together. Afterwards, strain the liquid to separate egg white lumps in order to produce a smooth filling for the tarts.
6.   Finally, pour the liquid into the pastry crusts.
7.   Bake for 45 minutes.

This recipe can produce around 53 pieces of egg tarts. You may also decrease the quantity of each ingredient to suit the amount of egg tarts you desire.