Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Power Curry Puff!

Yeah~ It's curry puff day. Was preparing to make curry puffs since adeline and jeannie intended to come my house.. But, it was cancelled.. Anyways, since my relatives from bali are arriving today, i went ahead with the puff plan :) Went shopping this morning alone, since my mum is enjoying herself somewhere else..

I targeted the vege section first, but i couldn't find my POTATOES! (somehow they've changed the layout at GIANT, making it very hard for my to find anything) but, how big can the supermarket be right, i finally found my potatoes and i thought i saw "USA Budget Potato".. why would they want to budget their potatoes??? i thought it's the rice that is depleting?? anyway with a closer look, it turns out to be "Russet" not "Budget" haha~ (can go have a look if u have nothing else to do..) Hmmm.. so I got my potatoes and the rest of the ingredients and headed home-->
I'm waiting to be fried!!

I was struggling whether to make my own or buy the ready made puff pastry. *Meng Ni looks at her schedule(blank) and decides to make her own!* So.. more kneading and Ta dah! unfried curry puff in no time~ Actually, it took a while lah... cos i was carefully pinching and shaping the sides of the puff CAREFULLY. *Please eyeball up by 3 degrees* looks okay right..

The rest was easy.. heat oil > drop puff > fry puff > drain oil.

Look at my golden skin~

Remember Singapore's government encourage their people to prepare more potato based dishes in place of rice? I think they should get me to be their ambassador.. muahaha~ only that it's a bit unhealthy...

It was easy and fast to make (fast if i can *pinch* the sides faster) so.. good for picnic parties i guess..:) Now i need to pick up my relatives.. Happy puffing!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

馒头 ♪♫ mán tou (Part II)

Had another try with the steamed buns today. I've substituted half of the flour with mashed sweet potato this time.. on top of that i've doubled the kneading time, trying my best to make my dough as smooth as possible.. I've also increased the setting time by 5 mins..

Took much effort to make everything as homogeneous as possible, as pretty as possible.. and the product? NOT BAD AT ALL! the buns tasted sweet (of cos! i've added sweet potatoes) the colour is a nice yellow and the texture.. GOOD! heehee.. i'm flushed with excitement.. got itono to taste it and it was confirmed.. it's good.. muahaha~

How i wish my skin could be that smooth and glowy.. damn.. i'm jealous of buns

~yummy yumyum~

Saturday, April 26, 2008

馒头 ♪♫ mán tou

I was asked by someone when i was younger.. probably during elementary school, "Ever wondered why most inventors are westerners?" my answer was "uhhhhh..huh?" The person then told me his version of the answer--> because ang mos are very lazy people making chinese the hardworking bunch.. and so he went on.. "who invented the tv?" (Philo Taylor Farnsworth - an American Inventor) an ang mo.. because he is too lazy to walk to the theater to watch a show.. so he invented something for him to have his dose of entertainment in the comfort of his home. On the other hand, chinese being the diligent group will walk 100miles over the mountains and the seas (i'm exagerating) to watch the chinese opera.

It sounds like a plausible reason for me at that time.. so he went on with more examples.. "and the remote control?" (Robert Adler) another ang mo. You see, they are too lazy to walk to the tv to change the channels and so the remote control was born! Chinese will never think of one because they wouldn't mind making a few steps to the tv every now and then, (they have already saved the time climbing mountains and swimming across seas with the earlier inventions!)

It's just something someone told me about.. BUT! what i made today is going to prove that person right.. not that ang mos are lazy, but that chinese do have indefatigable energy. Today I've attempted to make 馒头 otherwise known as steamed bun.. it goes well with chilli crab but traditionally they are prepared as breakfast.

First i mixed all my ingredients and started kneading (and there's a lot of kneading involved) to get my dough:) and indeed i got my pretty dough (and small muscles developing) after an hour (including time for the dough to set)

Then i need to knead somemore and cut my dough into the desired size. It's the first time i used a food steamer, it's a little too small but still usable. The final product?

i think they look ugly:( but mr. bro said that the taste is okay but not fantastic:( *sigh* i think i should add something to it next time.. maybe mashed sweet potatoes? overall, it's quite fun! only that it took me 2.5 hours altogether.. hmm.. so if i want to have steamed buns for breakfast at 10am i'll have to start preparing at 7.30am! Wonder how long it'll take to make an all day american breakfast.. (scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, harsh brown) probably 5 mins... just buy it from Mcdonalds' hee...

By the way, Man Utd lost to Chelsea today.. feeling very down.. probably, that's why my buns looked so ugly.. *sigh* So! No more food experimenting on Man Utd match days!

Last note: I am really really really x 100 disgusted by Avraham (Avram) Grant. He Sux!

Ultimate Chewy Double Chocolate Cookie

(It's a tiring Friday)~ Got my new mixer this morning-Kitchenaid. By word of mouth, it's more powerful and suitable for heavy duty mixing such as bread dough or other tougher dough. Ha~ and the more important part is that i got it at a promotional price.. saved $300 by the way.. keke. So with the help of my new machine, i baked double chocolate cookie!!! I personally swear by Valrhona Chocolate, so went to do some chocolate shopping before going to clementi to meet Chris to buy the organometallic text. Seems like oragnometallic is a never ending story by itself. First the review, then the lecture notes/textbook/syllabus to study for exams and finally 2 literature studies which i haven't even downloaded yet. What is dear Ms Zhao thinking? We are not doing our masters' or whatsoever, so why the overloading?!?! *Sigh* I really have no mood for it.

Anyways, we went to clementi bookshop and couldn't find the book that we wanted. So we have to go all the way back to NUS to get the text. The text is not cheap, and it's really not worth it thinking that we are graduating soon and we really have no interest in organometallic stuff unlike Jiaen. So, we performed some magic *it shall remain as a secret between us.. hee..* and got what we wanted for $5. How did we do it? THINK!

Satisfied with our evil *accomplishments* we went back home and i started preparing for my COOKIES! It's not the traditional kind.. it's suppose to be chewy and soft. My recipe was from a collection of America's Premier Chocolate Maker. I didn't really like the way they list their ingredients. e.g. 1 cup of packed all-purpose flour. hmm... see the problem? my definition of packed may not be the same as theirs... so to me it's not baker friendly. i would prefer them to state the weight? grams? ounce? anything.. but lightly/tightly packed? ermm... as a chem student we read our burette to the 2nd decimal place leh!

*sigh* and the worst part is after recalculating the ingredients that i need.. ( i'm planning to use 1 packed of chocolate plates but recipe requires 1.5 times.. so i have to scale down the ingredients) i realize that i need 2.3 eggs. Darn.. i'm not going to put 2 eggs.. cos that will make my cookie dry and i'm certainly not going to waste 0.7 egg(s).. for the reason that many people are starving now.. (actually i shouldn't even be stating any reason.. wasting food is BAD!) plus 0.7 egg(s) is not worth the time to heat another pan--> scramble--> remove from pan --> clean pan.. so i added all three eggs into my mixture.. turned out that my cookie became too soft.. *sigh* i had a bad feeling about it.. and yes.. it was confirmed by sheena.. BUT! looking on the brighter side, it's really chocolatey.. the way i like it.. haha! i'm a chocolate fan! i think most girls are..

By the way, this series of photos were taken with a lousier camera. The one that i like to use was taken by my dad to a forest to take pictures of trees...tsk tsk.. Good cameras are really a cook/baker wanabe's best friend. It can make mediocre appear delicious and okay food look like delicacy of the year. Not that my cookings rely on good cameras, they really have standard one k~~

Hmmm.. But i guess i shouldn't be complaining. at least there are still pretty pics that i can use right.. keke..Btw, I'm going to have a new "toy" tomorrow.. look forward to my next post!! Now... to study for my organometallic

p/s. Now that i know that there are actually people (other than eric and my anonymous bro) reading my blog.. i really feel motivated to blog more.. heehee..

p/p/s. Dear Chris, we forgot to pay for the grad dinner.. wah lau~ what's wrong with us huh? i thought we mentioned it twice in the morning and we still forgot about it.. Damn..

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Vanilla, Pear & Cinnamon Crumble

Took a break from my organometallic review (see last post) and thought of whipping up something sweet. This recipe was taken off a shelf in Paragon's supermarket, i love that place, i can spend the whole day there:) Anyways, apparently the recipe is by Curtis Stone, host of Discovery Travel & Living's popular TAKE HOME CHEF series. I actually found it amusing that they introduce him as "one of the sexiest man alive voted by US People Magazine" instead of "the greatest chef on earth!" or something. In any case, i was preparing the ingredients and eric came:) So i thought why not make it a couple couple thing and make something together.. sweet things!

Well, as i was showing off my amateur-ish photography skills, eric commented that all my photos look the same-->they are all close ups. Okay, i do agree to a CERTAIN extent (they look nice what).. so i threw him the camera and asked him to show me how pro is he.. and this is what he got..*scrolls down*

okay lah... i agree that the lighting is quite nice, creating this mysterious look. But who the hell will know that it's a pear right! looks more like an orange to me. So after a short meaningless argument, we had decided that we should carry on with the recipe. bleah~

Now allocating who should do what, i gave him the easier job of measuring all the necessary ingredients and Meng Ni will do the harder task of cutting the pear and cutting the extremely hard butter into cubes. The part that i was doing the harder job was proven right after i got a cut on my finger and have to retire from all the "action" to be the "mentor". Eric was doing a pretty good job and without much waiting, the pears were ready to be baked!

I photographed this while applying pressure on my wound.. I learned the art from a jedi

sprinkle on the crumbs *Eric sprinking* ( sprinkling is such a sissy word)

And the pears were ready to be baked! Btw, I added another 50g of flour and reduced the butter by 30g. How can it be possible to make crumbs from so little flour and so much butter?!?! *sigh* it's probably possible since he's voted the sexiest man alive.. Darn!

Mama frying her improvised tomato scrambled eggs while eric was busy sprinkling..(what's taking him so long?)

After baking for 40mins, we can finally call it a day and taste our product:) Btw again, the recipe says bake for an hour, but my crumbs were browning like mad threatening to be burnt anytime, so i took it out at the 40th min.

I was having doubts about this recipe at first, but it turns out pretty nice, it's really not too sweet and the crumbs are really crispy and tasty:) Probably the sexiest man alive do know how to cook and be sexy at the same time with a little change here and there. If anyone comes across this recipe, i've added 3 sticks of cinnamon sticks and sprinkled on grounded cinnamon to make the taste stronger. I've also used muesli mix with raisins instead of the old-fashioned oats. They're premixed and i think it's tastier that way:)
now, back to my review...

In favor of Curry Flavour *\(^-^)/*

Weekend! It's the time of the week that I can relax, think of nothing and sink into my newly arrived tilam. BUT some lecturer/"new" prof decided to give us an assignment to do--> a review on some organometallic stuff that i really really really have no interest in doing.. (did i mention it must be AT LEAST 10 pages long?) *rolling my eyes* So why did I take that module in the first place? * think.. think.. think..* Ahhh.... That's because Chris is taking and Meng Ni being a super duper "good" friend can't possibly let her take that mod alone right. (yah right.... more like I don't want to take any other mod alone)

Anyways, i was flipping thru my big box of lecture notes and unexpectedly, i found a cookbook! It's hamlyn all colour cookbook-200 curries by Sunil Vijayar. Flipping thru the pages. i've decided. I'm making curry today. Chicken Kofta Curry to be exact.

Chicken meatballs:) they're a little big though

I always like curries. Jap, Indian and especially my mum's! yumyum. *drooling while stirring in the curry paste* But fear not, the curry was not contaminated.

* Please shift ur eyeballs up by 3 degrees * And my morning's hardwork! (can anyone teach me how to make superscripts?) HAHA~ but this is not the end. Everyone knows that we can't have curry all by it's own. So i made naan to go with my curry - from scratch. Note: they are not the ones that you can buy from cold storage, they're a teeny bit salty to me.

It's a plain naan. I think i should make it flatter. But if anyone want's to try. It's really simple:) I used self raising flour, butter, salt, sugar and milk. Done. But I became all nostalgic when i was rubbing the butter in, i thought of the days in Broadrick home econs class. I think we were making pizza crust or something, that's when i first tried to rub butter into flour, i can still remember caroline, charmaine, lilyana (deb wasn't in our econs group) and we were all happily rubbing the butter in.. Ahhhh.. those days...

Anyways, to make different flavoured naans just add the extra ingredient in the first step. e.g. for garlic flavoured naans, add 1 clove of garlic. For coriander naan, add coriander.. so on and so forth. Maybe i should try chocolate naans.. *idea* :)

The curry was a success only that the chicken balls were a wee too big and the flavour didn't really seep through. Darn! the naans? it's okay... plain.. tasteless but great with the curry. I'll seriously try chocolate naans next time.. muahaha! Back to my ORGANOMETALLIC review...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Story Begins with... Creamy broccoli Soup

Being done with school and too lazy to apply for jobs.. I am literally rotting at home.. so i thought.. why not blog? haha~

Anyways, while pondering what to be on my first blogpost, the spirit of my honours project started swimming in my mind ( I still have a final presentation this tues!!). And this gave me the idea of my first post..keke ==> Since my project is based on a cancer suppressant, i thought.. "prevention is better then cure" right... so I looked up the internet and found several anti-cancer food.. and one of them? the BROCCOLI! aka Meng Ni's most hated vege.

I never liked crunchy vegs and certainly not this stalky, tree-like plant. But! There's always a first right.. Of course i'm not goin to just boil and consume it without any processing lah. So I thought of making soup out of it! haha.. and the creamy broccoli soup was born! I spent the whole morning preparing and cooking and this is what I've got!

I think it looks okay.. and the taste? I finished two bowls! muahaha~ I feel a healthier now! nah~ Back to my presentation slides~

A little infomation i found online:

Broccoli's deep-green color signals the presence of plenty of beta-carotene. This precursor to Vitamin A is known as an antioxidant. In the body, antioxidants put the brakes on molecules called free radicals, tough guys who wander about causing invisible damage that eventually leads to aging and increased risk for chronic diseases like cancer.

In addition to its vitamin content, Broccoli boasts at least four kinds of phytochemicals, cancer fighters in food that are neither vitamins nor minerals. With names like sulforaphane, phenethyl isothiocyanate, monoterpene, and indole, you might not believe that these are natural ingredients. But in fact, these tongue-twisting, health-enhancing compounds are abundant in nature.

Unproved speculated benefits
  • Protects against pollutants.
  • Protects against radiation damage to cells.
  • "Detoxifies" body.
  • "Purifies" blood.
  • Protects against cancer