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Showing posts from December, 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

筑前煮 - Chicken Stew with Root Vegetables

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)

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 unt

Banana & Choc Chip Muffins

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

やわらか食パン - Soft White Bread

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. ************************************* やわらか食パン - Soft White Bread ************************************* 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

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 doug

The Tale of the Midnight Baker

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

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

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 gues

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

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.


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 lik