30 May 2013

the egg destroyer

Poached eggs - pretty easy right? All you have to do is crack an egg into a hot whirlpool, swoosh it around and scoop it out. Honestly, it's more intimidating than it seems (well, to me at least). But since I recently acquired Rose Carrarini's new cookbook How to Boil an Egg, I thought I'd give the eggs benedict/florentine recipe a try.

With my first egg, I cracked it into the whirlpool and stirred vigorously turning the egg into a hot mess in the saucepan which was briskly emptied into the sink - making a steaming hot mess. I used the cheater poached egg method (cracking an egg into a cling wrapped ramekin) for the second egg but that didn't work out as well as expected. I wasn't too sure about eating an egg that was cooked in cling wrap anyway.

Not giving up, I reread the recipe and I realised the fatal mistake I made. Stir gently after adding the egg, not vigorously. Urgh. Well, that worked better this time, but due to manhandling I sort of split the egg when I was transferring it onto the bacon. At least I can make a good hollandaise sauce! Mmm, butter.

Note: I didn't have vinegar which was required for both recipes, so I substituted in lemon juice.

24 May 2013

spot the monkey

We only got to see the monkeys because there was a group of people who were feeding them despite signs instructing people not to. They went into hiding after the food was gone.

Photos taken on 17 January 2012 at Taman Kebun Bunga (Penang Botanic Gardens).

19 May 2013

pizza night

We have pizza night every once and in a while at home. Pizza night meaning ordering pizza from the local joint on the phone and depending on the weather, walking or driving down to collect them. 

But hey, since we got a bread machine, might as well use that!

Instead of the usual flavours, I tried to recreate the pizza my aunt bought from a pub on Little Collins Street. Baby spinach, sliced mushrooms, ricotta and pineapple were scattered over the thin and crisp base and, I'm sure there were garlic and parmesan as well. Unfortunately, the one I made at home was quite bland compared to the one bought, but the flavours were rectified with Korean chilli flakes and a crack of sea salt for the mini spinach and ricotta pizza I was saving for later.

After two medium? and mini sized pizzas, there is still enough dough to make a couple more mini pizzas! I think I will try making a dessert pizza.

13 May 2013

the little tart

The last cake I made was somewhere during February! No wonder my mum has been hinting that there was no cake around the house as of late (I used to bake a cake every week or so!). So for Mother's Day, I decided to make a Mont Blanc-inspired cake, only that didn't work out as planned so I transformed it into a tartlet instead.

It's chestnut season over here as of late, but I bought a bag of chestnuts from the Asian grocers since I didn't have time to prepare the fresh ones. I expected them to be peeled, but they were shelled! I was impressed for a good few seconds until it hit me. I had to peel them myself and boy, they were a pain in the butt. I ended up breaking most of them but it was fine, as long as I had a few 'perfect' ones for decorating.

Decorating was done in a mad dash, but they seem to look alright (?!) Taste wise, I really enjoyed the chestnut cream and the contrasting textures. Next time, I'd like to try making a whole cake. But if it was in the tart form, to just bake the sponge in the blind baked tart shell so the tart would be more even.

In composition order: pate sucre shell, chocolate sponge brushed with sugar syrup, unsweetened whipped cream, chestnut pieces and chestnut cream. Garnishes used: half a chestnut, thyme and a light dusting of Dutch cocoa powder.

2 May 2013

the second broth

This year I've been saying "I can't believe it's [insert month] already!" quite a bit. But I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling that time seems to go by faster and faster each year. We're one month short of winter, but I definitely felt its chill as of this morning. The weather eventually warmed up in the afternoon though.

Remember that weird looking cake I made last year? I decided to make something that I saw in the the same manga again. This time tonjiru, which is similar to a miso soup but heartier with some sliced pork and vegetables in it. 

I didn't follow a particular recipe and just used whatever I had at home. This time round: nibandashi, pork spareribs, reconstituted shiitake mushrooms, burdock root (gave the soup a really nice Chinese herbal aroma), Chinese cabbage, aburaagekonnyaku, carrot, spring onion, white miso and a pinch of shichimi togarashi to serve. With some steamed rice on the side, it was an easy lunch on the table.