EOWTTA*: U is for Udon and the Unexpected

Friday, April 30, 2010

*EOWTTA=Eating Our Way Through The Alphabet

Ha, bet you thought I’d given up. Or forgotten all about this EOWTTA thing didn’t you?

The truth is, I was actually uninspired. There aren’t that many edible things that begin with the letter U, and most of those that do are actually in Japanese : Unagi (eel), Umeboshi (type of pickled fruit) and Udon (noodles).  I suppose there’s also Ugli fruit, but I have no idea what it actually is or where to find one.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a massive fan of Japanese cuisine, I just feel a little unworthy of actually attempting any “proper” Japanese food.  After watching Japanese Food Safari , and listening to a sushi master discuss his art, I felt even more intimidated.

But, the show must go on as they say, so I’ve attempted to make my own Udon. As you know, udon is a type of thick, wheat noodle, and it can be served in a variety of ways, from cold to hot dishes.

The method is simple enough, and can be found here. I followed the ingredient list and instructions with a few minor changes.  I used slightly less salt and also added the water in a little at a time rather than all at once.

(Don't think a noodle master would approve of my cutting method)

It was pretty easy but I think I actually made the noodles a bit too thin. Still, they cooked up well and I turned them into a “surprise” dinner (definitely not a traditional Japanese dish).

“Surprise” dinners usually come about because I have been too busy/tired/lazy/forgetful to pick up groceries so I need to work with whatever is at hand. Think of it as a game show, if you will:
“Contestant number one, you have a quarter head of red cabbage, some eggs, a half-forgotten paper bag of mixed Asian mushrooms, shallots, a dash of tamari, mirin and sesame oil and 5 leftover roasted chestnuts. Plus the star ingredient: home-made udon noodles. Take it away Shaaazaaa!”. (cue cheesy game show music).

“Surprise” dinners usually need to be made fairly quickly because they manifest at the end of a long/busy/tiring day and the two velociraptors mini-critics are quietly eyeing each other off.

Luckily, the “Udon stir-fry surprise” went pretty well and I still had two whole children left at the end of the evening.

Here’s how I averted cannibalism: Get all the ingredients ready: red cabbage – shred finely, mushrooms – clean and slice appropriately, shallots – dice, roasted chestnuts – peel, dice and fry in a little oil until crisp.  Pre-boil the udon noodles until al-dente. Beat some eggs with a pinch of salt  (as many as you wish, I usually work with 1 for each diner plus one extra for good luck). Heat a wok and add a little oil, swirl to coat so that the wok is well coated but no oil is pooling at the bottom. Pour the beaten egg in and gently fry until set but not browned. Slide out onto a plate, roll it up and cut into strips, keep warm.

Add a bit more oil if necessary, then stir-fry the shallots and cabbage until the cabbage is starting to become tender, add a tiny bit of water if needed but don’t drown it. Add the mushrooms and keep stir-frying until cooked. Throw in the noodles and add a dash of tamari, mirin and sesame oil. Lower the heat if needed and stir-fry to coat everything in the sauce and until the noodles are heated through. Dish up, top with the omelette strips and some nori strips if available, then scatter with the chestnut bits. Add some sliced cucumber for a touch of green.

Not what you’d expect for Udon, but still tasty enough. And speaking of unexpected (shaz the segue mistress strikes again!), here are a few pics of some dudes breakdancing. What on earth has it got to do with this post? I snapped it after a visit to our favourite sushi train (shaz the tenuous-link woman also rides).

Have a great weekend folks ☺

Happy Birthday Mr. Kitchen Hand!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

 Would you believe it if I told you that Mr. Kitchen Hand isn’t really that big a fan of cake?  It’s a texture thing - he prefers something a bit more toothy and chunky, like apple pie.

“But putting a candle on top of pie just isn’t the same!”
I cajoled. Plus, we had Nana and Pop Hand dropping in to visit for the weekend, and I definitely wanted to have something cakey to nibble on with cups of tea.  So I flicked through my favourite book of the moment, Belinda Jeffery’s Mix and Bake, and found a cake that I thought he would like. The fact that it contained a splash of rum turned things in my favour.

This caramel butter- crunch cake turned out so tasty that slices of it ended up disappearing before we had a chance to sing happy birthday with a whole cake. (The missing slices were bartered for babysitting which was a pretty good exchange I think!)

Mr. Kitchen Hand eventually got a chance to blow out a candle stuck into a wedge of cake. Best of all, he really enjoyed eating this cake, as did all of us. It was rich and moist with a slight tang, and every now and again, our forks would reach the gooeey, sugary, crunchy layers in between. Mmmmmm.  When we found a last slice hiding in the container about 3 days later, he was elated ☺  And being the lovely guy that he is, he even shared that piece with me.

And being the nice girl that I am, I think I’ll share the recipe with you.

Seeing double? I bought another copy for Nana Hand as an early Mother's Day present :) Quite fitting considering I bought my book thanks to a book voucher she'd given me for my birthday. 

Caramel Butter Crunch Cake
Recipe from page 88 of Mix and Bake
Serves 10-12 (or 4 adults and 2 kids over 3 days)
(I’ve rewritten the method in my own words so please don’t hold it against the book!)

1 cup (250ml) sour cream
½ cup (125ml) plain yoghurt
1 ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
75g roasted walnuts or pecans
1 ¾ cup (385g) castor sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I added a wee bit more)
3 cups (450g) plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt (I only added a pinch because I used reduced salt butter)
3 eggs
250g unsalted butter, at room temp, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon overproof (dark) rum (I may have added slightly more than this)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
icing sugar for dusting
double thick cream (to serve)

1)    Preheat the oven to 180˚C, then butter and flour a medium sized (8-10 cup) kugelhopf tin. I’m not sure if my tin was a kugelhopf or bundt (what’s the difference again?), and I think it must have been smaller than the recipe indicated because the batter looked alarmingly as if it would overflow during baking. But it all worked out well in the end.

2)    Place the sour cream and yoghurt into a bowl (I used a glass measuring jug). Stir well until thoroughly mixed then add in the bicarbonate of soda. Leave it for about 15 minutes or so, it will start puffing up, so make sure the vessel you choose is tall enough to accommodate this.

3)    Pulse the nuts, ½ cup of the sugar (110g), and cinnamon in a food processor until fine. Tip into a bowl. Then place the flour, salt and baking powder into the processor and pulse to make sure it’s well combined. Empty this mixture out into a different bowl.

4)    Next add the eggs and the remaining 1 ¼ cup sugar (275g) into the processor and process for about a minute. Then add the butter and process again for another minute. The recipe warns that the mixture will look curdled, and it does, but don’t worry because it will still work out.

5)    Add the rum and the vanilla to the sour cream mixture and stir, I used a thin spatula for this. Scrape this into the mixture in the processor and pulse  a few times until incorporated. If your processor is big enough, add the flour mixture into the processor and pulse until well mixed. Otherwise, tip the mixture in the processor out into the flour mixture and fold until just combined.

6)    Spread a thin  layer of the batter into the prepared tin, then scatter about a handful of the nutty sugar mix over this. Shake the tin to even it out. Then add more cake batter, then another layer of nuts (use up all the nutty mix). Finish off with a final layer of  cake batter. You’ll end up with  these layers : cake, nuts, cake, nuts, cake.

7)    Bake until a skewer comes out clean. The recipe recommends about 50-60 minutes, but everyone’s oven is different. Cool in the tin. The recipe recommends 5 minutes but I think it needs more. Gently loosen the edges of cake from the tin using a metal spatuala. Turn over onto a cake rack to cool completely. When I tried to tip it out after 5 minutes, the cake broke! I quickly stuck the pan back onto it and left the whole thing to cool that way. Luckily the sugary layers acted like glue to bind it all together and we just lost a tiny bit of the sugary filling.

Serve dusted with icing sugar and thick cream. My own contribution is to add some dice crystallised ginger to the cream.

The cake lasts for 3 days at room temp in an airtight container. The recipe recommends warming it up to restore the texture before serving but we didn’t bother with this step and it still tasted great. It does smell a little bit strong though, from the yoghurt I think, but seriously, the taste will overcome any reservations. (The cake can be frozen for 3 weeks too, use an airtight container).

Now what else will I make from the book?  At last count , I’d made 3 cakes, 1 brownie, 1 scone and 3 biscuits already, and there are so many more to try!

 It was Mr. Kitchen Hand's birtdhay but I got presents, like this massive squash - I sauteed it with butter, garlic and lemon rind. The skin was a bit tough so proably should have peeled it first.

Chillies! (More presents)

Daring Bakers April 2010: A right proper pudding innit?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hi friends, sorry to disappoint but I’ve had to postpone this week’s Malaysian Monday. The weekend flew by too quickly and I’ve just realised it’s THAT time of the month again. Yes, time for the Daring Bakers to strut their stuff.

This month’s challenge was indeed very challenging and I have to admit I only managed to be half-daring. The dish itself was very simple, we had to make a proper British pudding, but I found the secret ingredient a little too intimidating.

April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

(Recipes can be found here at the Daring Kitchen)

Suet is raw beef or mutton fat usually found around the loins and kidneys. As much as I wanted to,  I couldn’t bring myself to use it. If you’ve been around here before, you’ll know that I really enjoy fatty dishes like pork belly and duck, so why should a different fat freak me out so much?

I think it was the thought of crumbling this raw fat into a sweet pudding. So I looked at using the sanitised packaged suet that could be bought at the supermarket instead, but then balked at the last minute. How is that stuff not going rancid in the box? How many preservatives are in there?

I was just going to use butter but after reading various web recipes, it was obvious that butter wouldn’t give the correct texture. So I compromised by using lard instead. I know, it’s still a big hunk of animal fat, not really too different from suet, but somehow my brain could handle this a bit better.

I made a Rhubarb Roly-Poly based on a recipe found at The Pudding Club website. I have to say that my tummy was doing little flip-flops as I mixed the lard through the flour because lard smells quite full-on. The greasy feeling left behind on my hands was also quite off-putting. I was seriously wondering how the finished pudding would smell, so I added a dash of vanilla extract just in case.

The end result was surprisingly good. The texture of the pudding wasn’t wet and sticky as I expected, but it was very moist yet “short” – a bit like a cross between a crumble and a shortcrust pastry. Needless to say it was also very, very rich, so I’m glad I’d paired it with something clean flavoured. To serve, I made a caramel sauce using lemon juice and lemon balm, and again, the clean, “herby” flavour of the sauce helped cut the richness.

As tasty as it was, I don’t think I’ll be making another pudding this way again because the family just weren’t that into it, and would prefer crumble or pie instead. However, when I do get a bit of time, I’d like to try the sponge-based steamed pudding which uses butter instead of suet – I think it will go down very well in the dark days of winter. (Yes, I exaggerate, I know)

So thank you Esther for pushing me outside my comfort zone, I think this has been my most daring challenge so far. Do have a look at what the other Daring Bakers made.

Rhubarb “Roly-Poly”
(adapted from a jam roly-poly recipe found at The Pudding Club)

180g self-raising flour (I made my own using the following ratios,  1 cup plain flour:1 tsp baking powder: ¼ tsp baking soda : pinch of salt – actually I found that this ratio left quite  a strong aftertaste of baking soda, so try reducing the amount)
2 tbsp Demerara sugar plus more for dipping the rhubarb in
90g lard
lemon rind from 1 lemon
dash of vanilla extract
¼ cup water
2 stalks rhubarb if thick, 4 if thin

Butter a loaf tin well. Prepare the steamer (I used a trivet sitting in the bottom of a wok).

Place the flour, lemon rind and sugar in a large bowl, then mix in the lard. I did this using a combination of “cutting” it through with a spatula and rubbing it with my hands. When the lard has been incorporated into the flour, and the dough looks a bit like breadcrumbs, add the water a little at a time until the dough binds together (add the vanilla at this point).  I found that the sugar doesn’t dissolve well and the dough will have grains of sugar through it but it doesn’t affect the end result.

Take a small piece of dough, smaller than a tennis ball, then gently roll out the rest into a rectangularish shape onto a piece of plastic wrap (it’s very soft and may need to be refrigerated for a few minutes to help with handling). Make sure the length will fit into the loaf tin. Use the extra dough to roll into a sausage shape that is as long as the flattened dough. Cut the rhubarb into lengths that will fit along the length of the dough. I had six rhubarb pieces in all. Dip the rhubarb in some of the sugar, then space it out on the dough. Place the other sausage of dough in the middle of the flat piece, and on top of the rhubarb. Using the plastic wrap, try to roll everything up into a log shape, the stalks of rhubarb should be evenly distributed in sort of a circular pattern wrapped around that sausage of dough in the middle.

Carefully unwrap the log into the loaf tin, aiming to get the seam side down. A tip I found somewhere (I think it was on the Pudding Club), recommends placing something heat-proof (I used wadded up aluminium foil) under one side of the loaf tin to tip it up so that it rolls into the edge of the pan– this helps the log hold its shape a bit better.

Cover the loaf pan tightly with aluminium foil. Steam until done – mine took about an hour and fifteen minutes. Top up the water as necessary.

Serve warm.

For the caramel sauce, I steeped some lemon balm in about ¼ cup hot water and added a few tablespoons of lemon juice. Then I made caramel by cooking about half a cup of sugar with a couple of tablespoons of water. When the sugar reached the brown caramel stage, I turned the heat off and carefully poured the lemon balm infused water into the hot sugar (careful it will spit!). Add more water or lemon juice if needed to thin the sauce down to pouring consistency.

Now to figure out what to do with the leftover half block of lard. Any ideas?

Have a good week ☺

Feeling LOST?

Friday, April 23, 2010

This one is for you LOST fans, and for a birthday of one fan in particular :)

Mr. Kitchen Hand and I used to be fans too, until about the end of Season 4. Then erratic TV scheduling intervened and new shows beckoned, but I do still have a soft spot for these island dwellers. Who knows, maybe we'll go back there one day, but in the meantime, I entertained myself by making this cake. See how many references you can spot.

The cake is basically made up of three layers (2 chocolate and one orange), sandwiched with a Conitreau flavoured chocolate ganache. The ganache was made with half milk chocolate and half dark chocolate, then a tablespoon of Cointreau added at the end. I covered the cake with ready-to-roll fondant icing and the models were made out of modelling paste. The ocean and jungle were painted with gel paste colours diluted with vodka.

Have a great weekend (long weekend if you're in Oz) and do take a pause to remember them. We've got visitors this weekend, so if Malaysian Monday doesn't appear on time, do be patient (I know you wonderful readers always are).

You do the math, I’ll bake cupcakes

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Not too long ago, MC Senior came home from school with this cryptic message  -  “I have to cook something for homework.”


After reading the homework note properly, it turned out that she was learning about fractions at school and could do an optional assignment at home. The suggested item to make was playdough, but where’s the fun in that? We needed something edible.

Enter these Red Velvet Cupcakes. I’d never had a “proper” RV cake, although I’ve seen them on a lot of blogs and even attempted a beetroot version last year. This time, I wanted to bake from an authentic recipe to find out what all the fuss was about.

I stumbled upon this recipe by Amy Butler at Design Sponge, after visiting Cannelle et Vanille one day. (See, I knew all that blog-reading would pay off). We followed the recipe faithfully, with one exception. I just couldn’t bring myself to add that much food colouring into the cake, so we used a little bit of Wilton red “no-taste” gel and about a capful of liquid food colouring. The resulting cake wasn’t as red as the original.

Overall, the recipe was really easy to understand except for the part about adding the food colouring to the cocoa but “do not stir”. How confusing - I stirred gently with a toothpick and left the crumbly colour/ gel / powder mix it to sit. (We were using less that the required amount of colouring though, so there may be a reason there we didn't quite grasp).

The final results looked very pretty, and we did learn about fractions along the way – quarter cup, half cup, one cup etc, but I have to admit that I don’t really get the appeal of this cake. Yes, the texture is quite incredible but the flavour is a bit commitment-phobic for my tastebuds. I can taste a tiny hint of cocoa but then it sort of waffles around and morphs into something else - mostly it just tastes sweet. I guess if I’d grown up with this cake, it would probably be a different story.  The MC’s loved it so it does have a lot of kid-appeal.

As for the frosting, I’d read a few forums along the way, and purists insist that the only true frosting for Red Velvet cake is the type of cooked frosting given in the recipe. I must say the whole idea of cooking flour and milk together to make the frosting was a teeny bit off-putting. Also, I got a little confused and used powdered sugar / icing sugar instead of caster sugar. In the end, I swore I could still taste flour, but this was because I knew it was there. Nobody else had any problems with it.

 Quite the opposite was true in fact. I’d sent a batch to Mr. Kitchen Hand’s office and the response was so overwhelming, I had to make another batch to send in. This time, I reduced the flour in the frosting to about 4 tbsp and used caster sugar. The general consensus was that this frosting was perfect. And just for the record, there were a couple of expat Texans in the judging panel.

Who knew that homework could be this much fun ☺

Malaysian Monday 33: Sardine Sandwiches

Monday, April 19, 2010

I can see your raised eyebrows from here ok. Don’t ask me how, I just can.

Granted, they don’t sound like a very Asian dish, and sardine sandwiches just don’t have the same ring as say, a PB and Jelly sandwich. But let me tell you, if you’ve had a Malaysian childhood, you’ll know that sardine sandwiches are definitely a staple.

When I took a bite of these sarnies, I tasted nostalgia. I tasted birthday parties, camping trips, buffets, gatherings, lunches, picnics and road trips. These sandwiches are to Malaysian kids what Vegemite sandwiches are to their Aussie counterparts.

There are very few ingredients in a classic sardine sandwich. You’ll need sardines of course. But not just any sardines – they have to be the ones in tomato sauce. Then you’ll need some finely diced eschalots, finely diced chillies and a squeeze of lime juice. Mash it all together and place on buttered, white bread. Sorry, wholemeal or wholegrain bread is out of the question. It HAS to be white, soft, crustless bread. Cut into diamonds and tuck in.

Unfortunately, the rest of the family just rolled their eyes when I offered them a bite. Even my adventurous little eater MC Senior balked at the idea. “Sardines?!! In a sandwich?!!! No thanks”.

Never mind, all the more sardines for me. I even made these rolls the next morning. Get some crustless bread, flatten gently with a rolling pin, then butter and place the the sardine filling along one end. Roll it up, seal the edge with some beaten egg, then dip the whole thing in beaten egg and deep fry until golden. Serve hot with sweet chilli sauce. I actually shallow fried these babies and they didn’t have the same “blistery” egg effect as their deep-fried cousins, but they were tasty enough. I ate them up for breakfast. Yup, you read that right – breakfast ☺

Have a good week!

Toot!Toot! It's Thomas.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Here's a decorated cake to share with you today.

I thought I'd also show you some of the "tools" I regularly use.

The best investment ever has to be my pastry mat. It's non-stick so I can roll the fondant icing out without having to dust with exra icing sugar, and the non-slip backing holds it in place. Easy to clean and rolls up for storage, gee, I could make a living spruiking these things! Apart from a few cutters, and proper piping tips and bags, the rest of my "equipment" is non-specialist - just bits from around the kitchen. I also use a lot of toothpicks (to colour icing), skewers (for all sorts of job) and empty egg cartons and baking paper (to help prop up icing bits that are drying).

As for icing, I've found that the Orchard white icing that can be bought at the supermarket (just over $4 (aussie) for 500g) is actually more economical and much easier to work with than the "professional" icings that I've tried. (I usually end up using about 2 1/2 to 3 boxes of icing, more for larger cakes). I don't skimp on colouring though, I only use Wilton gel colours because I find them far superior to the others I've tried. (I have not been paid to plug any of these, just so you know. You can pay me retroactively if you'd like *wink*)

Now that you've seen the tools, here's a quick "behind-the-scenes" of how I put this Thomas the Tank Engine cake together.

The body is put together using two "sheet" style cakes (lamington pan sized), one loaf cake trimmed, and one small round cake for the head. The caboose is made up of trimmings from the loaf cake and one sheet cake. I didn't notice this at the time but I should have carved the loaf cake lower because I gave Thomas a bit of a "humpback" appearance. I used ganache for filling and for "glue".

Cover the whole thing with ganache, let set, then cover with a layer of ready-to-roll fondant icing tinted to suit. Unfortunately,  I was rushing this cake a bit so the end result had a few "cracks" and marks, but the overall effect is still distracting enough that most folks would (hopefully) not notice the imperfections too much.

Add on features and evrything else using more coloured fondant icing.

He looks a bit like a scary toothless old man at this stage!(Please don't be offended if you are toothless, or an old man, I don't think all toothless old men are scary)

Very pleased with how I did the wheels. See how they are only "half-wheels"? But reflected they are whole!

I know it's not an extremely detailed post, but I hope that it's given you a bit of a glimpse into how I go about making a novelty cake. In my net-travels, I found this site that gives you a step-by-step on how to cover a Thomas cake using buttercream.

Have a great weekend :)

When things get intense...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

it's time to get into a tent.*
(*actual words made up by Mr. Kitchen Hand when MC Junior requested a campfire song ;P) 

As you've probably guessed, we love camping.


Well, we kinda like just hanging out :

Plus, the scenery is pretty good too:

(The speck in the middle ground is the Skewer family)

And there are marshmallows:

Not to mention the new friends we get to meet (pardon the pics, these wildlife models were a tad skittish)

 (Clockwise from top left: Kookaburra, Monitor lizard, unidentified bird and possible dingo)

 I thought I'd also share a few pics of my camp "kitchen" with you:

 Top: Kitchen table, Bottom L: Stove, R: Kitchen Sink


And this wouldn't be a food blog if we didn't have any food - some makeshift crepes and sauteed apples.

 I meant to jot down how I made the crepes but forgot, I'm sure you have your own favourite recipe anyway. As for the apples, I peeled, cored and thinly sliced 2 apples. Then I heated some butter in a pan and cooked the apples very gently over med-low heat. I added about a tablespoon or two of sugar and kept cooking until the apples were very soft and almost translucent. A squeeze of lemon juice added a tart finish. 

And guess what? I'm finished too :) 

Belated Malaysian Monday 32 : Mee Hoon Kueh (a type of torn noodle soup)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

*sniff *

Hi all, sorry for the belated post. We had a great time away, but I woke up yesterday with a sore head and hacking cough, so spent the rest of the day sleeping it off.  The most industrious thing I did was to prepare this dish for lunch. It was perfect for what I needed - something warm and comforting but easy enough to throw together with minimal pantry staples (if you keep an asian pantry that is).

We ate Mee Hoon Kueh quite often when I was growing up, usually for brunch, at the hawker stall round the corner from home. It was fascinating to watch the Mee Hoon Kueh “aunty” dexterously stretch and pull pieces of dough to toss into the pot of boiling stock. Unfortunately, my fingers aren’t as nimble and I made quite straggly looking shapes, but it was close enough to the real thing.

The “noodle” dough is pretty similar to pasta dough and is made of plain flour and eggs, plus a little oil and water. To assemble the dish, the “noodles” are cooked in an ikan bilis (dried anchovies) stock. Slices of pork or chicken meat are also added to the dish, as well as rehydrated shitake mushrooms, green leafy vegetables, and crispy ikan bilis. Sometimes, fried onions and the onion oil are drizzled over the top of the dish too. Sliced chillies and soy sauce are served on the side.

I couldn’t really taste my lunch, thanks to a blocked nose, but the Mini Critics polished their serves off. MC Junior declared it “the best lunch in the world!” I think she was just being kind because she could see how sick I was ☺

This was the extent of my cooking for the day though. Dinner was jam sandwiches for the mini-critics and Mr. Kitchen Hand found a serve of lasagne in the freezer. Luckily, I feel much better today and things should return to normal in the Skewer kitchen. I’ll hopefully be able to post some camping pics tomorrow too, time permitting.

Have a great week!

Mee Hoon Kueh

(I made this up as I went along based on some emailed instructions from Mum)
 Plain flour – about 3 cups (it makes a rather large quantity of  dough, probably enough for 4 adult serves, so I’d probably halve it next time)
2 eggs
about 8 tablespoons vegetable oil (mild flavoured)
just over ¼ cup water
pinch of salt

To serve
Ikan bilis stock  (I actually didn’t have any raw ikan bilis in the pantry but found some chicken stock in the freezer so used that instead.)
Small handful of crispy deep fried ikan bilis per person (I had some left over from a different dish)
A few leafy green vegetables per person (I used English spinach)
2 dried shitake mushrooms (rehydrated and sliced thinly)
Add some sliced chicken or pork (usually coated with tapioca flour) if desired. (I didn’t have any on hand and couldn’t drag myself to the shops for love or money.)

Place the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the eggs and oil into the well and beat with a fork, drawing the flour in from the sides. Add water a little at a time and start to knead the dough by hand. Use enough water to get a soft dough. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.

The dough can be prepared in advance and stored wrapped in plastic wrap. The oil will seep out of it, but can be kneaded back in.

Bring some of the stock to a rolling boil, then take a small piece of dough and stretch it until it is quite fine and translucent. Pull off pieces and drop it into the boiling stock. Don’t make too many at a time. The “noodles” will float. Depending on the thickness of the pieces, let it boil for half a minute or so, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. I actually like to make quite thick and chewy pieces. Don’t let the noodles boil for too long otherwise they’ll get too “soggy”. It’s best to cook an individual serve at a time to prevent the stock from becoming too “starchy”.

Once the desired quantity of noodles have been cooked, put the mushrooms and meat (if using) into the stock. When ready, pop the vegetables in very briefly to wilt. Ladle the stock, along with meat and vegetables over the noodles. Serve with the crispy ikan bilis on top.

Add lashings of cracked pepper to unblock stuffy noses ☺

Making a swift egg-xit

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Brace yourself, there are more egg-sellent puns ahead ;P

We’re about to head off camping again. Seems as if we’d only just got back from the last trip, but we thought we’d fit in a last hurrah before it gets too cold.

But before I leave, here’s my post for Mactweets : MacAttack 6. The idea was to make macarons influenced by an April holiday.

Instead of a specific day, I’ve decided to celebrate the egg. Not only do eggs feature at Easter time, they pop up in other festivals and celebrations too. This humble little orb is often laden with symbolism and is used in both pagan and religious ceremonies.

Not convinced? Well then, I’ve also discovered that April 16this National Eggs Benedict Day (in the US).

And of course, macarons are possible thanks to the eggs-traordinary behaviour of egg-white proteins. 

So here’s my Egg-macaron - the shells are egg flavoured :D and the filling is a dark/milk chocolate ganache.

It has been very egg-citing sharing my little Mactweet with you but now I must make my eg(g)ress.

Have a great weekend. Don’t fret if you leave a comment here and it doesn’t seem to appear for awhile- there’s no mobile phone reception where we’re headed.

See ya real soon! Got to go pack some eggs.

Egg macarons:

I made a French macaron using the following ratios: 67g egg whites (two whites), 80g almond meal, 20g caster  sugar, and about 130g  pure icing sugar.
There’s a little tutorial with photos on the Mactweets site if you’d like to know how to put a mac together.
I set aside a little of the batter and tinted it yellow, then piped small dollops onto the tops of the larger macarons to make it look egg-like.

For the ganache
200g dark chocolate
200g milk chocoalate
250 ml thick cream (that’s all I had on hand).

Chop the chocolate into very small pieces and place is a large heat-proof bowl. In a separate saucepan, scald the cream then pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let sit for about a minute then stir very well until the chocolate has melted and the ganache is shiny. Place in fridge if things need to be speeded up a little, but return ganache to room temperature before using.

This makes quite a lot of ganache (I needed it for something else), so adjust quantities as necessary.