Melt In The Mouth Pineapple Tart / Cookies 黄梨酥/黄梨塔

Cookies are very popular during Chinese Nee Year. If you are observance, you will surely see that despite the many 'cookies competitors', pineapple cookies emerged as the most popular amongst all. Pineapple signifies 'arrival of good fortune'. With such a good omen and great taste, you can find them in almost every bakery shop when the Chinese New Year is approaching. 

I used to be the only one who loves pineapple cookies at home. This is how it works- I bought home a few containers of it, and I finished 'em off all by myself (mirror mirror on the wall, where is my waistline?? O_o) As my little girl GG growing up, she now appreciates it as much as I do. Food shared taste the best! 

Melt In The Mouth Pineapple Tart / Cookies 黄梨酥/黄梨塔

If you are a pineapple tarts lover like me, you will surely know that there few types of pineapple cookies. From the appearance, there are enclosed type,  and opened type; texture-wise, there are those melt in the mouth type, milky type, and those with slight crunch. Which type do you love most? For me, the enclosed melt in the mouth one!


Melt In The Mouth Pineapple Tart / Cookies 黄梨酥/黄梨塔
Makes 34 pieces

Ingredients
  • 122g butter, softened
  • 20g sugar
  • 15g powdered milk
  • 170g plain flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 270g pineapple filling*
  • 1 egg yolk, for egg wash
Cooking Directions
  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and pale.
  2. Add in yolk and beat until well combined.
  3. Mix in flour, knead until well combined.
  4. Divide pineapple filling to 8g each.
  5. Divide dough to 10g each
  6. Wrap a portion of pineapple filling into a portion of dough.
  7. Finish with egg wash.
  8. Bake at preheated oven at 165C for 23 mins.
* I homemade the pineapple filling by blending one de-skinned  pineapple (around 1.4 kg skin-inclusive weight) and cook until thick (I cooked for around 3 hours). I didn't add any sugar but please feel free to add as much as you desired.  If you would like to speed up the cooking process, you may separate the juice  by sifting it out (boil the juice separately as juice can evaporate fast with higher heat, when the juice thicken then add in the remaining pineapple purée and cook together with lower heat till thick) in order to save time. I did this and I managed to make the paste in 1.5 hours. Otherwise, you can remove the juice completely (just drink it!) but you will surely need to add sugar to make up the sugar loss.

Tips:
1) Pineapple paste without sugar added can go spoilt easily, please try to finish the tart/cookies as soon as possible.

2) Freshly baked pineapple cookies will be crunchy, you will need to wait a day for the melt in the mouth effect.


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Best Melt In The Mouth Pineapple Tart / Cookies 黄梨酥/黄梨塔
做34粒
材料
  • 122克牛油,软化
  • 20克幼糖
  • 15克奶粉
  • 170克面粉
  • 1粒蛋黄
  • 270克菠萝/黄梨馅*
  • 1蛋黄,用来刷面

做法
  1. 把黄油和糖打到泛白蓬松。
  2. 加入蛋黄打到混合。
  3. 拌入面粉,揉至混合。
  4. 将菠萝/黄梨馅分成每个8克。
  5. 将面团分成每个10g。
  6. 一分面团裹入一分菠萝/黄梨馅。
  7. 刷上蛋液。
  8. 在已预热烤箱里烤165℃,23分钟。
*我用自制黄梨馅-将黄梨用搅拌器搅碎,炒到收汁即可(大约3个小时)。我没有加糖,如果喜欢甜的请自行加糖。如果想要比较快煮好,可以考虑将黄梨汁分开来煮(黄梨汁可以用大火比较快煮干,干了再加入黄梨泥用小火煮到收汁)。我分开煮只用了1.5 小时就完成了。如果完全不用黄梨汁也是可以(当作果汁拿来喝),不过就一定要加糖了。


贴士:
1) 切记不加糖的黄梨陷容易坏。要尽快吃完。

2) 刚烤好的黄梨酥皮是脆的,须等一天才会松软。

Fried Arrowhead Chips / Ngaku / Ciku 香脆茨菇

This one comes with many names, arrowhead, ngaku, ciku, chi gu.... etc., but most importantly, it makes addictive chips! The seller told me that it can be used to braise meat too, but I have yet to try.

Usually, arrowhead are quite hard to comes by, but you can find it easily when Chinese New Year is approaching. It looks like a hybrid between water chestnut and button mushroom to me. I almost mistaken it for something else until the person beside me shouted 'look, ngaku!'. It appeared that I was there at the right time, or often in Chinese it is called 天使地利人和(the right time, the right place, and the right people). Now I have my homemade ngaku chips to indulge on! Kriuuuk kriuuk...


Fried Arrowhead Chips

Ingredients
  • some Arrowhead bulbs
  • some oil for frying
Cooking Directions
  1. Peel off the skin from arrowhead bulb. Reserve the long stem for easier slicing.
  2. Slice the arrowhead bulb (the chips below are sliced with knife. However, use a slicer if you have, it will be faster and the slices will be of even thickness).
  3. In a wok, heat enough oil using medium heat.
  4. Deep fry arrowhead slices until the color turn golden brown.

Tips: 

1) Slice while frying, or else you will need to put in each slice one by one to prevent them from sticking to each other.

2) Here is a little gem I found in Daiso, cheap and amazingly practical! The size of the slicer is just nice for storage, and it comes with a holder to hold small pieces of food. This is especially useful when you had reached the end of the food pieces and you are risking your finger get cut, ouch! 


3) After peel out the skin, keep the arrowhead bulb in the fridge uncovered for at least 4 hours to dehydrate it so that the chips will stay crisp longer.

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香脆茨菇
材料
  • 适量茨菇
  • 适量油


做法
  1. 剥去慈菇的皮。保留长茎以方便切片。
  2. 抓着慈菇的长茎,将慈菇切片。
  3. 用中火热油。
  4. 油炸慈菇片,直到颜色变成金黄色。
贴士:

1) 一面削一面炸,否则,须将慈菇片一片一片放进锅以预防粘在一起。

2) 这个在Daiso买的,便宜又好用。当食物被刨得剩一丁点时,可以把食物放入圆性的把柄里。抓着把柄刨,就不怕割伤手了。

3) 茨菇削皮后,冷藏(不加盖)4小时让水分蒸发,这样炸出来的茨菇比较脆!










Bak Kwa / Jerky 肉干

Bak Kwa, or commonly known as 肉干 (rougan) in Chinese is a kind of sweet jerky very popular in Singapore and Malaysia, especially during Chinese New Year. Originated from Fujian province in China, bak kwa was traditionally simply air dried as a way to preserve meat. Now, bak kwa is getting more interesting in flavor with the many marinations used. It is now being char grilled to impart the smoky flavor to the meat. 

Bak Kwa can be made with mince meat or sliced meat. There are even bacon bak kwa! For those who prefer softer and juicy texture, mince meat bak kwa will be a better choice. Those made with sliced meat are generally tougher and drier. 

Bak Kwa / Jerky 肉干

自制肉干,吃得安心!刚刚烘出来小瓜就迫不及待吵着要吃了。我怕弄脏面杆,用一支汤匙就能将肉碎压平了!


Bak Kwa
Recipe for a 9" x 10" baking sheet

Ingredients
  • 230g minced pork
  • 40g sugar (preferably brown sugar)
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp cooking wine
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp dark sweet sauce (I used ABC Kicap Manis)
  • a dash of 5 spiced powder
  • 1 tbsp honey, plus extra for glazing
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix together all ingredients, use a pair of chopstick and keep stirring the meat until the meat turning from lumpy to gooey (around 10 minutes).
  2. Refrigerate it for at least 3 hours.
  3. Spread the meat across a baking sheet. You may use rolling pin to flatten it (put a layer of cling wrap on top of the meat so that you wont dirty your rolling pin), else, a spoon will do just fine too.
  4. Bake in preheated oven at 160C for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and cut into desired sizes.
  6. Return into oven and bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Use a brush to brush honey on the meat and continue to bake for 1-2 minutes (again, there comes my magic spoon).
  8. Flip all the bak kwa pieces and brush a layer of honey on top.
  9. Return to oven and bake at 180C for 2-3 minutes or until the color turn darker.
Tips: The secret to those pretty shine is the honey glaze!

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猪肉干
做一盘9" x 10"
材料
  • 230克猪肉末(我用腿肉)
  • 40克糖(用黄糖会更香)
  • 2茶匙酱青
  • 1/2茶匙料酒
  • 1/2茶匙鱼露
  • 2茶匙蚝油
  • 2小匙麻油
  • 1/2茶匙黑甜酱(我用ABC Kicap Manis)
  • 少许五香粉
  • 1汤匙蜂蜜,再加上额外的用于刷在肉干上


做法
  1. 所有材料混合在一起。用一双筷子,不断搅拌肉,直到肉起胶(约10-15分钟)。
  2. 冷藏至少3小时。
  3. 将肉均匀铺在烤盘。您可以使用擀面杖将肉碎压平(铺一层保鲜纸在肉碎上面以防弄脏擀面杖),否则,用汤匙也可以(不要笑我哦!)。
  4. 在预热好的烘箱中以160℃烤20分钟。
  5. 从烤箱中取出,切成所需大小。
  6. 返回到烤箱以180℃烘烤10-15分钟。
  7. 刷上蜂蜜(我的万能汤匙又派上用场了!),继续烘烤1-2分钟。
  8. 将所有肉干翻转,然后刷上一层蜂蜜。
  9. 返回烤箱,以180℃烘烤2-3分钟或直至上色。
贴士:要有油亮表面的肉干,秘诀在于刷上蜂蜜。



I had been eyeing on a deep fryer for a while. Deep frying without having the oil spilling all over, how tempting is that!

Then airfryer came into the market. Frying without submerging the food in oil, less oil = less fat = more healthy, I was even more tempted to get one!

Meanwhile, with neither deep fryer nor airfryer, I decided to make a healthier version of tonkatsu by baking them with my beloved oven. No spilling of oil, not much dishes to wash, you can make the preparation ahead and leave the baking to last minute. 

Baked Tonkatsu 日式猪扒(烤箱版)


Baked Tonkatsu

Ingredients
  • 4 pork loin (cut to 1cm thickness, around 100g each)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1.5 cup breadcrumbs
  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp oil
Cooking Directions
  1. Make a few slits on the meat to cut off the connective tissues (so that the meat won't curl up when cooked). Be careful not to cut through the meat.
  2. Tenderise the meat by using meat pounder / back of the knife or any other tool.
  3. Season the meat with salt and pepper
  4. In a frying pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil and pan fry breadcrumbs until golden brown.
  5. Dredge the meat in flour (dust off excess flour), then dip the meat into egg mixture and lastly coat the meat with breadcrumbs.
  6. Let the meat rest for an hour in the fridge.
  7. Baked in a preheated oven at 200C for 20-25 minutes, until the meat turn golden brown.
  8. Serve with shredded raw cabbage salad and tonkatsu sauce.
Tonkatsu Sauce
Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp ketchup
  • 5 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Instruction
  1. Combine all ingredients and heat up gently.

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If you are a fan of nyonya food, you should be rather familiar with this ayam Pongteh - a salted fermented soy bean based chicken cooked with mushroom and potato. Started off with more liquid, this dish is cooked until the gravy reduced and thickened to brown color sauce, coating the sweet tender meat. After long cooking, the flavor of the sauce goes right into the meat, rendering every bite pleasantly tasty and satisfying. Despite its humbly looking, ayam Pongteh is commonly prepared for celebration or festive especially during Chinese New Year or birthday celebration.

Food are best consumed fresh. However, the leftovers had never failed to impress us with all the flavors left to infuse overnight. We would deliberately make a little bit more just so that there will be some leftovers to be enjoyed the next day. Since when having leftover becoming such a fun?

Ayam Pongteh / Nyonya Chicken and Potato Stew 娘惹豆酱土豆焖鸡

Salted soy bean paste goes very well with garlic, which impart a rich pungent flavor to the dish; and a bit of sugar neutralize the saltiness from the bean paste and bring out the savory sweetness from the beans. This is a simple dish not to be missed!


Ayam Pongteh / Nyonya Chicken and Potato Stew

Ingredients
  • half chicken
  • 10 shallots
  • 10 garlics
  • 2 tbsp taucu
  • 4 dried shitake mushroom, soaked
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 potato
  • 1 tbsp ABC Kicap Manis
  • 3/4 cup water
Cooking Directions
  1. In a pan, heat oil and saute shallot and garlic until golden brown.
  2. Add chicken, taucu, dark soy sauce, potatoes, mushroom and water. Allow to boil.
  3. Add sugar, simmer for 20-25 minutes till the sauce thicken and the meat becomes tender.
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娘惹豆酱土豆焖鸡
材料
  • 半只鸡
  • 10颗葱头仔
  • 10颗蒜头
  • 2汤匙豆酱
  • 4个干香菇,浸泡软
  • 1汤匙糖
  • 1颗土豆
  • 1汤匙ABC Kicap Manis
  • 3/4杯水

做法
  1. 在一个锅,热油爆香葱头和大蒜,直到金黄色。
  2. 加入鸡肉,豆酱,ABC Kicap Manis,土豆,香菇和水。煮沸。
  3. 加入白糖,文火煮20-25分钟,直到酱汁浓稠,肉变软。
Best Ever Chocolate Muffin 巧克力妈芬

Muffin is always the last thing on the shelves that I would choose from a bakery. Without beautiful topping like their cupcake counterpart, or fanciful filling like bread, muffins were simply 'boring'.

Until one day, a colleague of mine decided to leave her job in order to further her studies. On her last day in the office, she brought to office boxes of homemade muffins. Believe it or not, that was probably the best memories I had about her. The muffins that she made totally changed my pre-conception about boring muffins. Biting down the dark colored, crackly top muffin, the moist within immediately striked me with the many chocolate chips melting in my mouth. The muffin was soft and velvety. With just enough sugar, the mellow bitterness from the chocolate was  lingering at the back of my mouth, prompting me to bite down some more. One wasn't enough.

Over the years, I wasn't able to find a muffin that is close to that. Until now, upon many trials and errors, referencing to even books on science of cooking, I had finally made muffins that I really love, and thus put an end to my search for the perfect muffin.

Best Ever Chocolate Muffin 巧克力妈芬

When the muffins were just out of the oven, it formed a layer of crust that was slightly crisp, and the middle was soft and moist with fine crumbs. The chocolate? Yes, they melted in the mouth the moment you pop it in. That, is the muffin that I love, and I hope you will love it too!

Best Ever Chocolate Muffin
Make 6 muffins.

Ingredients

A
  • 60g milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
B
  • 70g flour
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
Others
  • 57g butter
  • 60g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 60g + 1 tbsp chocolate chips
Cooking Directions
  1. In a bowl combine A together.
  2. In another bowl, combine B and mix well.
  3. In yet another bowl, cream together butter and sugar until the color turn pale and fluffy.
  4. Add egg in a slow stream while continue to beat.
  5. Add half of B, then half of milk mixture and fold gently. Add the rest of B and the rest of the milk and fold until combined.
  6. Add chocolate chips and gently mix well.
  7. Pour batter into cups. Top each cup with some chocolate chips.
  8. Bake in preheated oven at 180C for 20 minutes.
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巧克力妈芬
做6个

材料
A
  • 60克鲜奶
  • 1汤匙柠檬汁
  • 1茶匙植物油
B
  • 70克面粉
  • 20克可可粉
  • 1/4茶匙小苏打粉
  • 1茶匙发粉
其它
  • 57克黄油
  • 60克糖
  • 鸡蛋1个
  • 60克+1大匙巧克力豆
做法
  1. 在一个碗里将A混合。
  2. 在另一个碗里,结合B搅拌拌匀。
  3. 再取另一个碗,将黄油和糖一起打发直到颜色泛白和蓬松。
  4. 慢慢加入鸡蛋,同时继续打发。
  5. 加入一半的B,然后加入一半牛奶,并轻轻地切拌。加入其余的B和剩余的牛奶,切拌直混合。
  6. 加入巧克力豆,轻轻拌匀。
  7. 将面糊倒入杯子。每个杯子上面撒上一些巧克力豆。
  8. 在已预热烘箱中以180℃烤20分钟。
Hamburger buns 汉堡包面包

I used to think that it would be great if I could just eat burger whole day. The idea of having a piece of meat drenched in sauce and sandwiched in between hamburger bun sounds magical to a little girl that I once used to be.

Today is a day that I would like to relive my magical childhood dream... Yummy!

Hamburger buns 汉堡包面包

P/s the patty used is made using Swedish meatball recipe, only to flatten the meatball into patties. There were tomatoes, salad, bacon and cheese in my burger.

Hamburger buns
Makes 6

Ingredients

Sponge Starter Dough
  • 210g bread flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 120ml water
Main Dough
  • all starter dough
  • 90g bread flour
  • 10g milk powder
  • 3g salt
  • 40g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 60g butter

Cooking Directions
  1. Mix together starter dough and let it ferment 2-3 hours.
  2. Pour flour into the starter dough and mix well. Add in the rest of the ingredients (except butter) and knead.
  3. Add in butter and mix until incorporated.
  4. Divide the dough to 6 and shape it round. Let it rest for an hour.
  5. Egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  6. Bake in preheated oven at 190C for 15 minutes.
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汉堡包面包
做6个
材料

海绵种
  • 210克面粉
  • 1小匙即食酵母粉
  • 120毫升水
主面团
  • 所有海绵种
  • 90克面粉
  • 10克奶粉
  • 3克盐
  • 40克糖
  • 1个鸡蛋
  • 60克牛油
做法
  1. 海绵种混合在一起,让它发酵2-3小时。
  2. 面粉倒入海绵种。揉好。加入其余的材料(牛油除外)揉好。
  3. 加入黄油,揉到混合。
  4. 面团分成6份,做成圆的造型,发酵1个小时。
  5. 涂上蛋液,撒上芝麻。
  6. 在已预热烘箱中以190℃烤 15分钟。
Spinach Roulade with Smoked Salmon 菠菜熏三文鱼肉卷

'I am strong to the finich, cause I eat my spinach. I'm Popeye the sailor man...'

Turns out, Popeye is right, spinach does make you stronger, and it has been proven by modern science. Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm conducted a study and found that nitrate, a natural occurring substance in spinach, can help to tone up muscle. The intake of nitrate prompted the increase of two proteins found in muscles, which are responsible for muscle contraction. The result? Stronger contraction of muscle. So, more spinach = stronger, mystery solved. 

This roulade contains not only the goodness of spinach, but also fish, egg, and cream cheese. It taste good, it is vibrant in color, and is not difficult to make either. You can make it in advance and let it sitting in the fridge, chilling out while waiting for you to devour it. It makes an convenient make-ahead lunch if you are on diet too!

Spinach Roulade with Smoked Salmon 菠菜熏三文鱼肉卷

吃腻了瑞士卷来个菠菜卷。有菜,有鱼,有芝士还有蛋,算是营养的一餐了吧!

Recipe adapted from The Clean Dish.


Spinach Roulade with Smoked Salmon'
Makes one roll

Ingredients
  • 2 eggs, yolks and white separated
  • 226g / 1/2lb frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, grated
  • 115g / 4oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 100g / 3.5oz smoked salmon
Cooking Directions
  1. Blend spinach, egg yolks and nutmeg until smooth.
  2. Beat egg white, together with one teaspoon of lemon juice until stiff.
  3. Fold spinach puree into egg white. Pour it on a baking sheet (I used a 9 inch x 10 inch baking sheet). Spread to even out the surface.
  4. Bake in preheated oven at 180C for 15-20 minutes until the spinach turn a bit darker in color.
  5. Meanwhile, combine cream cheese with the rest of lemon juice, mix with a fork until spreading consistency (if the cream cheese is still too stiff to spread, can add a bit of milk).
  6. Remove the spinach layer from oven, allow to cool.
  7. Carefully peel off the spinach from baking paper.
  8. Spread cream cheese on top.
  9. Layer smoked salmon.
  10. Roll it up like swiss roll.
  11. Refrigerate 1 hour before cutting.

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菠菜熏三文鱼肉卷
做一卷

材料
  • 鸡蛋2个,蛋黄和蛋白分开
  • 226克冷冻菠菜,解冻
  • 1/4茶匙豆蔻,磨碎
  • 115克奶油奶酪
  • 1/2颗柠檬的汁
  • 100克熏鲑鱼

做法
  1. 菠菜,蛋黄和豆蔻混合在一起,用搅拌器搅直顺滑。
  2. 蛋清和一茶匙柠檬汁一起打到硬性发泡。
  3. 菠菜泥与蛋白混合,轻轻搅拌。倒在烤盘(我用的是9寸×10寸烤盘),把表面铺平。
  4. 在预热好的烤箱烤180℃15-20分钟,直到菠菜颜色有点暗。
  5. 同时,混合奶油奶酪与柠檬汁,用叉子搅拌直到混合(如奶油奶酪仍然过于僵硬,可以加一点牛奶)。
  6. 从烤箱中取出菠菜层,等待冷却。
  7. 小心将菠菜剥离烤纸。
  8. 把奶油奶酪涂在上面。
  9. 放上熏鲑鱼。
  10. 像瑞士卷一般的卷起来。
  11. 放入冰箱冷藏1小时才切割。


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