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Showing posts from 2007

Food Forecast for 2008

Now that we have come to the close of 2007, I thought maybe I ought to sit down and think about the direction of this blog for the upcoming year.


I guess I could call this year a milestone for me cos I have finally managed to do a few things that I hadn't think I would achieve.


+ Bento Lunches +

This year saw me making a few bento boxes to office. It has been really fun and challenging. Though I have accumulated quite a sizable stash of bento equipment, I did not make it to Bento #14. So I thought that maybe for the new year, I would include in my foodie resolution to make bento lunches for Hubby.


+ Freezer Forays +

Since starting to read up on bento blogs, I have came across discussios about freezing foods. With the books I acquired from Japan, my freezer is now chocked full of food which are all prep-ed and ready to use. But I am now only at the very basic level whereby I only freeze raw food. So hopefully next year I would take this into the next level of freezing pre-cooked foods.


+…

筑前煮 - Chicken Stew with Root Vegetables

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This is a really wonderful one pot dish. Lots of vegetables and a soothing broth that goes really well with rice. Great for lazy day cooking.

My version is not according to the recipe cos I used fresh shiitake mushrooms instead of dried one and also I threw in some beancurd puffs. Can't really see the chicken here cos it is stacked beneath. This is also my first time cooking with bamboo shoots. I am always wary of cooking with bamboo shoots cos I am afraid of the strong smell regardless of the amount used. But I am happy to say that the smell is really overpowering and it tasted quite well.
However, when I was cleaning the bamboo shoot, I noticed that there are some white solid bead-like particles in between the gaps in the middle of the bamboo short. It quite reminded me of chalk. I wonder what is it. Hmm....
Anyway, there are lots left over and I guess I will be having that for dinner again later. (*^.^*)
Merry Christmas to all my readers!

イギリス食パン - English Bread (Well, almost)

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I found this recipe which I thought it was quite promising. I substituted the water for milk, so I guess I would have to call this English Milk Bread, right? I have no idea why this bread is called English Bread or what makes a bread an English Bread. My end product didn't look nor taste much different from my previous attempt though. Hmm....

Here's my English Milk Bread.
And the cross section of it.Here's how I made it...*******************************イギリスミルク食パン - English Milk Bread *******************************Bring 18g of butter to room temperature.Measure out 227g of milk and warm to about 40degC.In a mixing bowl, measure out 350g bread flour, 18g sugar, 7g salt, 7 g instant yeast. Add the warm milk to the mixing bowl and mix until you achieve a dough is formed. Add a little milk or flour, if necessary. Scrape the dough onto a lightly flour surface and knead until the dough is soft and elastic. Roll the dough into a ball and place in a bowl to proof until double in siz…

Banana & Choc Chip Muffins

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Two days ago when I picked up my princess from school, her teacher handed me a sticky plastic bag. She told me that this was her art and craft work - ladybird of half an apple, poky sticks, raisins and chocolate chips. But whatever that I was holding didn't looked like any ladybird I can imagine of and I was half hoping that she wouldn't want to eat it afterwards. Alas, when we were in the cab, she asked me to give her some chocolate chips. So I looked hard to find where they were. Just as well they had all melted (much to her disappointment). Then I promised her I would buy her some chocolate chips.
So the next day, a bag of choc chips ended up in my shopping bag. Initially I had wanted to make choc chip scones, but we have 3 spotted bananas screaming at us to do something about them. So I made these instead.

I have adapted the recipe from Joy of Cooking '97 ed. so that I would be able to incorporate some of the choc chips in it. It was really easy to make and it took care…

How Much Time Do You Spend In Your Kitchen?

Once after a visit to my grandmother's, my Hubby commented that she was in her kitchen the whole time we were there. Well, we were both sitting at her dining table in her kitchen with her standing over her sink/stove/working counter. My guess will be that either she had lots to do or that was the place where she was most comfortable.

That visit was a few years back. And now I find that most of my "me-time" are spent in the kitchen too! Alot of items on my to-do-when-baby-is-asleep list will take place in the kitchen.

I once read that kitchen is the heart of the home where lots of sharing of food and your daily happenings takes place. That's what it was when I was living with my mom and now I hope create that environment in my own home too.

However, I would think that most of my peers would not share the same thought. I have yet to meet someone who can really cook and/or loves cooking. Given the modern day living here, one's kitchen may consist only a kettle and a sm…

やわらか食パン - Soft White Bread

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This was the bread I was making when the firemen came to check on my neighbours.I think I am most satisfied with this attempt. The crumb was soft and the crust was not as thick as the previous Milk Bread. Perhaps it has to do with my playing around with the baking temperature. The bread tasted light and slightly chewy.

I am quite surprise how fast and easy it was to make this bread. Although the waiting time for the proofing usually takes 1 - 1.5hrs, mine was done in about 50mins. I am really encouraged by this and I am hoping to try out more of the Japanese recipes. (^.^) Hopefully, I can finish up this new bottle of yeast before it losses its effectiveness!


Here's how to make the bread.

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やわらか食パン - Soft White Bread
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Bring 20g of butter to room temperature.

Warm 200g of full fat milk to about 35 - 38 degC.

In a mixing bowl, combine 150g bread flour, 150g plain flour, 30g sugar, 4g instant yeast and 4g salt. Be sure…

Midnight Drama

I am still on the bread making spree and this time round, I am trying out some of other recipes for soft white bread which I have seen online.

Well, as usual, the moment my girl has drifted off to dreamland, I jumped off the bed and started to prep my ingredients. Within 10mins I was ready to mix the dough. Can it really be that fast? Yes!

But (there is ALWAYS a but), the moment I touched the dough to start kneading, I knew it in my bones that something was very wrong.

I didn't warm up the milk. DUH!

Well, blame it on my poor translation skills. Cos you see, the recipe is Japanese and my Jap hasn't progressed much further than lesson 4 of the Elementary level. So go figure.

Anyway, the milk part was not the drama mentioned in the title.

I was in the process of working the butter into dough when I smelled intense smell of burning plastic. I thought to myself: geez, my dryer plug fused again (it happened before and the dryer had just completed a cycle). So I worked my dough quickly so…

The Tale of the Midnight Baker

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The morning after the my failed bread making session, I marched to the supermarket and dumped in a bottle of instant yeast. My Hubby gave me the "you-gonna-bake-again?" look. Yup and this time round I am happy to say that I've managed to churn out something decent.

After putting my princess down for the night, it was already 11.15pm. I went through my recipe again to make sure that I understand everything in it. Then I saw the active dry yeast in the ingredient list, but I only have instant yeast. Thank goodness there was internet, I did a quick check on the difference. And then I was on my way.
At 1.50am, this was how the bread looked for the first proof.

At 2.52am, this was how the bread looked after being shaped and proofed for the second time. I tuck the bread to bake in the oven at 3am and then woke up to take it out at 3.50am and went back to bed. Guess who came out to check the bread on the table in the morning?At 6.50am, my princess woke up and went to the table and…

Bread Reflection

I have a love-hate relationship with bread. I love eating and making bread, but I can't seem to get good breads out of my oven.

Since that crushing failure with my bread, I have been re-examining what I have done wrongly, or rather, what have I not done. Well, I have narrowed it down to a few things that went wrong and one thing for sure is that my yeast is the main culprit. I realised that it was due to expire on 31 Dec 2007. Okay, not exactly overdue, but it was old yeast.

However, upon going through my cookbook word for word again, I realised that I have used instant yeast rather than the required active dry yeast. What's the diff, right?

BIG DIFFERENCE!!

Here's an article on the 2 types of yeast, if you are interested.

Well, I am suppose to be slightly the wiser now, so I am off to make my bread (again!). Wish me luck. (^.^)

Teriyaki Fish in a Saucepan

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While packing food for freezing, I began to wonder why some recipes are simply called teriyaki chicken/fish, while others are called saucepan teriyaki chicken/fish. Initially I just wasn't bothered, but the more I think about it the more intrigued I was. Then I had an "Ah-ha!" moment. But this is only my best guess.
Teriyaki in Japanese literally means "glossy grill". How it is usually done is this: throw meat/fish over the grill; lightly salt it; when it is almost done, brush it with teriyaki sauce on the cooking surfaces. So this is the real mccoy.
But the same yummy goodness can also be achieve by using a saucepan. Just lightly marinate the meat/fish with soy sauce and sake; wipe dry and pan fry in saucepan; when it is almost done, pour teriyaki sauce over it to simmer for a while.
Since I am too lazy to set up the grill and brave the scornful look from hubby while he cleans the aftermath, I opted for the saucepan version. We all love this version, but I guess…

Utterly Deflated

I suffered a complete defeat last night.

I was betrayed by my aging yeast.

My bread didn't rise.

Too ashamed to write more.

(-.-)

Books Ahoy!

If you noticed, my book wish list is much shorter now. For a simple reason: I have finally placed my order with Amazon. The estimated time of arrival is 26 Dec. Hope it comes sooner than that!

Now, where am I going to find more shelf space ...

肉じゃが - Beef and Potato Stew

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Made this for Hubby's supper. Easy and quite to make. 20 mins from start to the stew being ready to be toned down for simmering.

This is my new definition of comfort food. Meat and veggies with a little warm nourishing sauce.
************************ 肉じゃが - Beef and Potato Stew ************************ 2 potatoes, cut into bite size 100g beef, sliced 1/2 onion, sliced A handful of green beans, cut into bite size Cooking oil 2 tbsp sake 3/4 cup water 1/2 tbsp sugar 1 tbsp soy sauce
1. Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Add potatoes in and boil for 10mins. Drain.
2. Heat oil in saucepan and add potatoes. Saute lightly and add onions. Saute onions till slightly soften. Add beef.
3. When beef starts to change colour, add water, sake, sugar and soy sauce. Bring to boil and turn down the first to let it simmer for 15mins or until the liquid has thickened slightly.
4. Add green beans and let simmer for a further 5mins. Off fire and serve.

Stolen

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Before I start talking about the title of this blog, I thought it apt to digress slightly to talk about Love. Yes, roll your eyeballs but please indulge me for a while.


I once read this: "Love is like ghost. Many claimed to have seen it, but few actually have." So for those who have, have you ever wondered what it would be like to have loved and lost?


So what does all these blabbering gotta do with Christmas stolen? Well, cos for me it definitely felt this way in my encounter with this glorious food. I can't recall when was the first time that I tasted a Christmas stolen, but what I can tell you is that once I have tasted it, there was no turning back. I fell in love with this and I fell real hard. To compound the matter, I didn't even know the name of this glorious food for a long while. Almost akin to a hopeless romantic soul searching for that other half whom he/she had loved but lost.




What's so special about this stolen? Well, to put it simply, a stolen is like …

Banana Bread

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My girl has recently developed a fondness for listening to my childhood stories. Stories about my schools, friends and all sorts of things that I did when I was little. But I am going to leave out parts like the fact that her mommy joined a gang of boys racing bicycles, and maybe the reckless stories of me in a monsoon tunnel with fish nets catching guppies. These will have to wait until when she's older, I suppose.
One of her favourite stories goes like this: "When Mommy was a little girl and Aunty Nemo (aka Bigfoot) was a little girl, Mommy and Aunty Nemo like to bake cakes together. One day, Mommy and Aunty Nemo made a banana cake in school. So Mommy put the cake into the oven. But Mommy forgot to turn off the oven, and the cake got burnt. Aunty Nemo took out the burnt cake and it was black. Our teacher was very angry with us for burning the cake."
The above was based on true story except that I changed it somehow so that she could understand. We (Bigfoot and I) were ma…

うどんなべ - Udon Nabe

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Something that I have noticed while flipping Jap food magazines is that the focus has shifted to warm comfort food for winter. And earthern pot dishes seems to be one of them.
なべもの(鍋物) Nabemono - A class of dishes cooked at the table and served from the pot direct. (From A Dictionary of Japanese Food by Richard Hosking)
Well, I didn't cook my nabe at the table but instead on the stove and then we eat at the table out of the pot. The food keeps warm until we were almost three quarter way.

Raisin Scones

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It has been a long while since I baked anything. Scones has always been my favourite bakes for one reason that it is very simple to make. In fact my first cookbook was probably a book about scones, muffins and teacakes! So you can see my love affair with scones went way back then.

I have always thought that the scones from my supposedly first cookbook were great, but the moment I bit into these, I wonder why haven't I tried this recipe earlier. This recipe is from The Joy of Cooking ('97 ed.) and it is called Classic Currant Scones in there. These scones are really flavourful, moist and cakey. Yum!

I realised that one of the reasons I don't bake often is that I can't stand the prep work required for baking. Unlike my cooking, my baking still needs to follow strictly to the books and that means that I would need to measure everything. The actual making of the scones takes less than 10 mins and the baking took another 17 mins, but the prep work took me almost an hour! Don&…

れんこんと豚バラの炒め煮 - Simmered Lotus Roots With Pork

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In all my years, I have had lotus roots in soup only. Never have I seen it otherwise until I started reading Japanese cookbooks. So here is my first foray into cooking lotus root in a non-soup style.
豚バラ I think refers to pork belly, but I substituted it with sliced lean pork.
The original recipe can be found here.

Kimchi Vegetable Stew

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This seems to be our regular weekend dish cos it is so easy to make and it is good for dumping all those odd and end veggies in the fridge. We recently found a shop that sells lots of Korean foodstuff. So we loaded up on kimichi, kimichi paste and hot chilli paste. Yum!
If you are interested, the shop is located at Burlington Square. Sorry can't remember the exact details of the shop. (^.^)

Green Peas Rice Balls

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This is essentially shaped fried rice. I had heaps of leftover rice in my fridge and came up with this.

Baby Curry Lunch

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I made a mild Japanese curry for our little princess for lunch today. When I tasted it, I it reminded me of those curry that my primary school canteen served in the past. Sweet and thickened with starch. She had seen us eat curry and other spicy dishes many times and had asked to try. So I promised her that one day I would make some "baby curry" for her and so this is it.

Prodding her curry ....

"Where is the meat?"Splattering everywhere ...And this is the close up ...She left a quarter of the food in the container, but I thought that having half if it in her is already a battle won. However, when I asked her if she liked the curry, she told me she didn't really like it. Oh well, at least she tried. Maybe next time when she is older and we'll try with real curries instead. (^.^)

Review Of My 2007 Food Forecast

With just about 10 or so more weeks to go before the year ends, I can't help but look back on of how my food resolutions for 2007 had turned out so far.



* Bake Bread
Despite owning and having read (and still reading!!) quite a few books on bread making, I didn't even turn out a loaf of bread! Yes, I had made bread, but they are more like trying out the wonderful book, Dough. So I won't say that I have completed this resolution.* Go JapaneseOh yeah, I have not only gone Japanese in my choice of food but also gone to Japan and learning Japanese now! (^.^) * Go ThaiThis area is still currently unexplored. The only progress I have made on this was that I bought this very interesting book on Thai cooking.
* Eat your veggiesWell, I didn't actually made an effort to eat my veggies, but in my cooking of Japanese food, I had cooked dishes with lots of veggies in it. So, yeah, in a way, I am eating my veggies.



It seems I scored 2 out of 4 so far. If you are wondering will I be bring…

*Meow* Bento Dinner

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Found this bento box at Daiso - Plaza Sing. Small (340ml) but a good size for toddlers. She was so hungry that she wanted to lick the lid of tiny fish bits!

Her dinner contents: Steamed cod fish, stir fried green beans with carrots and chicken, and brown/white rice.All done with dinner. Can I play now??

Kiddy Lunch Bento

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I took out another bento box today which my sister has carted back from Japan. This is a two tier box (top 330ml, bottom 250ml). I love the bright cheery orange colour!

We were watching The Incredibles and she was a bit distracted.



Opening up the box ...



Let's try some items ...



Here is a close up of what is in the box.



Here lunch box is made up of breaded pork fillet, spring rolls and steamed cauliflower with brown/white rice. She didn't like the spring rolls. Sigh... if I had known I won't have bother with it, cos I had to do major cleaning up of all the oil splatters! (-.-')

Here a pic of the two tiers.



As I mentioned in the earlier blog that the volume of the box roughly equals the calories, obviously this box was just too big for her to handle. She finished 2/3 of the rice 5 finger size pieces of breaded pork and most of the cauliflower.

If you are interested to learn more about the volume and calories thingy, check this site. It is a wonderful site packed with lots of in…

Happy Anniversary '07!

Hubby and I have been married for 6 years and counting! (^.^)

Although he is not featured in my blog here like my little princess, he is an staunch supporter of my cooking and baking. Throw anything at him and he is game enough to try. Sometimes I think he ought to go for Fear Factor challenge. *Gulps* But of cos, my food are not Fear Factor quality type of food, alright! *Grin*

鶏肉の鍋照り焼き - Chicken Dinner

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Back to my Japanese cooking books again. Had some chicken thigh sitting in my fridge to clear. So I made these. They were slightly different from my previous teriyaki-style chicken. Lighter and jucier.
This was how it looked in the sauce pan.Gave one to my little princess for dinner. I served her dinner in a bento box just to make things more interesting. The major plus points of serving in a bento are that I am able to tell if she is eating enough for dinner (Hubby said that my expectations were too high) and she was able to help me bring her dinner to her table without fear of spillage (cos of the lid). I read from somewhere that for a kid her age, she should be taking about 350 calories per meal. That bento box is about 380ml and if filled to the brim and packed in proportionate amount of carb, protein and veggies, the volume is roughly equal to the amount of calories.She was so excited to open up the box.And this is her checking out the contents ...And as usual, I had to quickly gr…

Kiddy Dinner

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This was requested by my little princess. Her favourite breaded fish with bread cubes.
I had to grab my camera quick!And here's the first bite! Crunch, crunch...I had the honour of cleaning up her leftover of 2 tiny bits of fish. (-.-') The plate that she was using came from my mom who had used it when me and my sister were young. My sis had a major hang-up then about seperating the foods that she eats, so my mom got this plate. Thank goodness she out grown that!

Pan-seared Eggplants Pasta

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Watched David Rocco Dolce Vita last night (or was it the night before?) and he made this seriously sinful pasta dish of fried potatoes and fried eggplants tossed with simple tomato sauce. Yes, tossing fried potatoes into your pasta! Sounds weird to me at first, but when I looked at dish when plated, I know there is nothing weird about it.
Here, I took his idea of frying up the eggplants, but pan-seared for my case. The tomato sauce is from the bottle, but I jazzed it up with all the things I can find from my fridge/frezezer. So in went the sliced onions, sliced carrots, diced tomatoe, pan-seared eggplants and frozen cooked chicken (deboned). My little princess had the same thing too, except hers was not tomato sauce based. She has never liked tomato nor cared for tomato sauce, so I made hers with Japanese dashi stock instead and thickened it slightly with starch. But guess what? Right after she finished her lunch and I was having mine, she digged into my pasta as well. Yeah! So we have…

Back From Flu

September has been a very trying month for our family and hence my sparodic postings in this blog. There has been many changes and we are all trying our best to cope. And on top of that, we were all down with flu and cough. *Sigh*

Well, that is episode is almost over now and we are on our road to recovery. After weeks of suffering from lost of appeitite, I have alot of catching up to do! *Wink*

Kiddy Lunch

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Made this for cherub's lunch today. The poor girl has been sick for the past 2 weeks and I thought that maybe a little of her favourite lunch item would jot her appetite abit.

The breaded chicken made before hand and frozen. Yes, you can freeze breaded stuff too. Just think of Bird's Eye Fish Fingers/Fillets. Get the idea? The whole lunch only took me about 15 minutes to prepare. Of cos, that is before counting the washing up, which is still waiting to be done in the sink. The next time round, I am going to try making frozen broccoli to see if it will work for us. (^.^)

She can't wait till I grab my camera to start her lunch.


Here is how she fared:


And, that's all folks!