27 Sep 2010

quanjude + teriyaki sauce

enoki filled beef rolls +2
Earlier last month, my family and I dined at Melbourne's Quanjude (the main branch is in China) for dinner. Actually the main purpose was to try their Peking duck, since they are famously known as "the duck specialist".
It was a tasty experience despite staff calling us at 10 PM confirming the reservations. I've also eaten this dish in Malaysia and Taiwan. From my experience in Malaysia they only slice the crispy skin for the wrapping. The other part of the duck is usually deboned and mixed with stir fry noodles and chopped up. Same with the roast pig, only the crispy skin is served.
Photobucket
The chef thinly slicing a freshly roasted Peking duck
food03
We also tried some prawn, wagyu, hot pot dishes as well and one of the dishes that caught my uncle and dad's eye was the thinly sliced wagyu wrapped around enoki mushrooms which were priced at around $4~$5 per roll. Dad remade this ate home with scotch fillet (seen above) whilst my uncle and I had a teriyaki sauce cook off.
Apparently my sauce was better because it was sweeter which matched the flavour at the restaurant, but Uncle's sauce was good too. I reckon they tasted pretty similar except Uncle's sauce had a dash of chili powder added to it. I don't know his secret recipe but I'll post my not so secret recipe :P
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teriyaki sauce
ingredients:
  • 100 ml mirin
  • 100 ml cooking sake
  • 100 ml soy sauce (Kikkoman)
  • 25 grams sugar
method:
  1. Place all ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a boil stirring so the sugar dissolves. Lower the heat to simmer and let it reduce by a quarter.
  2. To thicken, dissolve 1 tsp of potato starch into 2 tsp of water and add it to the boiling liquid.
    Stir until thickens.
***
Note: Uncle said it will taste better if I add a tad more sake to it. Will do more experimenting on it. But for now, this sauce is good enough for me to eat it with plain rice :D

22 Sep 2010

strawberry compote

ichigo +1
Ah! Photos look so much better without shadows :)

Compared to other months, sales of strawberries have peaked! Currently, we buy around 3 -5 punnets of strawberries each week because they are so sweet now :D Did I mention they're also cheaper? Well, that's the only perk in the upcoming Spring. Definitely not looking forward to the heat!

french toast & strawberry compote +1
The idea of creme brulee french toast was stuck in my head since Christine mentioned it a while back. Instead of the usual mix I dip the thick sandwich slices in, I tried to dipping it in raw creme brulee mix instead. The result? There wasn't really a difference except that the cream flavour was more prominent (even though I did a 50% cream and milk ratio).

But never mind that, it was still a good snack to the point where my sister wanted a slice o_o Now that's RARE!

The recipe for this week is the strawberry compote that went with the french toast. Nothing too hard and doesn't take too long to make a small batch and add it to your favourite sweet breakfast or brunch!

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strawberry compote

ingredients:
makes 2 small servings (about 125 ml)
  • 1/2 punnet strawberries, hulls removed and quartered
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

method:
  1. Place all the ingredients into a small pot.
  2. Stir constantly for 8 - 10 minutes on low heat.
  3. When the strawberries are soft, squash them roughly with a wooden spoon.
    When the liquids are slightly thick, the compote is ready.
    Cool and refrigerate for later use.
* Mix with plain yogurt and freeze for a frozen treat.

toast

17 Sep 2010

caramelized almonds + nut and crunch brownies

brownie cake
I do feel I have an attachment to the melt and mix method whether for cookies, muffins and cakes and making scones with either the rubbing in method or "whisking" method (for cream scones). Reason being, scones were the very, very first baked food I made by myself at school, 4 years ago. As for the melt and mix method? was because of this very brownie recipe.

All I can remember is that this brownie "cake" we made at school won the hearts of many, that day. Even the guys like it! I wouldn't see why we didn't. The cake had a crunchy crust, a moist and soft innards. Dusted with unlimited amount of icing sugar, we became sugar-high after a first bite. Good times!
I recently asked Heolin for the recipe (because I lost mine, very organised I know :P) and 4 years later, it's still a winner in my books.

This time round, I tweaked the recipe just a bit!

Unfortunately I did not have any walnuts in the pantry, and didn't like the idea of almonds in the brownies so I decided to roast some almonds. I was thinking of caramelizing them with hard caramel, but decided not to as making hard caramel is the most disastrous thing that can possibly ruin my mood and leave me with a pot hardened with caramel. Fortunately, I came across two recipes which saved me from chaos :)

almonds
Dagmar's recipe was another winner! The almonds were crunchy and slightly sweet. It reminded me of the warm honey roasted cashews and peanuts my dad used to buy. I loved them, but always ended up with a coughing fit eating them as they got stuck and irritated my throat. These almonds were no exception, but I had a mug of water in one hand and a small plate of these in another hand ;)

***

caramelised almonds
adapted from A cat in the kitchen

***

nut and crunch brownies
adapted from food tech class and Heolin's email

oven:190°C conventional

ingredients:
makes a 20 cm cake
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa
  • 3/4 cup self raising flour
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional
method:
  1. Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease a cake tin with butter or line with baking paper.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar.
    Leave to cool. Meanwhile sift the flour and cocoa powder.
  3. When the melted mixture is cool, whisk in the eggs and vanilla essence.
  4. Add the sifted flour and cocoa powder and mix to combine.
    Add in the chopped walnuts, if using. Mix well.
  5. Pour the contents of the pot into the greased or lined tin.
    Bake for 20 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when inserted.
    (If baking time increases, tent (cover) cake with aluminium foil if necessary)
    Invert cake and cool.
Happy 18th Birthday Thangstahh!!

10 Sep 2010

strawberry shortcake

strawberry shortcake +1

The last of my eight items for my food tech folio. Now that the fun part is over, I have to continue the boring theory component. If only the food tech exam was a practical...now that would be FUN! Too bad my cake got slightly squished from the transportation process :(

By the way, I will be decorating more cakes, so watch this space :)

Random fact for the day: I rarely listen to English songs, but I discovered ELLEGARDEN yesterday! They're a Japanese rock band that sings in English. Unfortunately they're on hiatus at the moment. One of their songs, [Salamander] describes how I feel right now about the upcoming exams...

how I feel inside
losing my concentration
now I need more time, somehow I'll make it through
I just need more time

strawberry shortcake