Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bento Days

It is surely a harsh winter this year. Not much snow but the plunging temperature made ice of everything and being outside for 5 minutes is already turning all limbs numb. Almost all parts of America is going through the same bitter cold days and with a bi-weekly forecasts of below freezing temperatures, no one is going anywhere and I too, cooped inside my house looking at recipe books and relishing the glorious food photos all over the internet.

Although I have been lazy in other cooking and baking, making Bento is the one thing that I have never given up. Since my last post, I have made numerous but just simply lazy to post them up here! I guess I have to thank my kids for having to bring lunch to school everyday or else I might cast aside all the lunch tools and boxes too like my baking tools.

Valentine's Day is near and everywhere I look, I see hearts, pink, red and chocolates. Although I should be excited about Chinese New Year first since it will be this Friday January 31st, I simply don't have that much enthusiasm. Sometimes I wonder if my interests in everything else is slipping away too?

For today's Bento, I digged out some of my rice moulds and found a heart shape one. Brilliant ! With a small cookie cutter I cut out heart shapes from an apple and patched it to the rice with a little bit of mayo. I totally forgotten to brighten up the contents with my 100s collection of food picks and I do have Alot of hearts' picks! For the chicken pieces, I marinated the chicken in some BBQ sauce overnight and pan fried them with sesame seeds. This particular dish can be used as a sandwich filling too when the ham and cheese is starting to get very boring.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Kimchi Pancake

As the Chinese New Year approaches, the longing for my hometown in Malaysia looms. I can only imagine the lively atmosphere there with all the family gatherings and friends visits. Together with the abundance of auspicious named banquet food dishes and the continuous feasting from day 1 to day 15, it is just the best yearly celebration for all.

My interest in baking usually subsides in the beginning of every new year, possibly too much was done at the end of every year and I don't fancy working with butter for a while. My appetite for all taste Asian will suddenly creeps up during this time of the year and spicy being the main choice during these cold months, I went for Kimchi Pancake.

A bit of a surprise on how easy this was to make! And why didn't I thought of it earlier I wonder. Right on track with my plan to cook simple and easy this year, this recipe was a very good start. The only thing is patience is required when pan frying the batter as the addition of Cabbage kimchi made the batter heavy and thick, hence taking more than 8 minutes to pan fry on each side. The making of the batter was a cinch, simple with these ingredients:
2/3 cup all Purpose Flour; 1/2 cup water;pinch of sugar and as much or as little cabbage kimchi that you like. Mix all together and pan fry on both side till firm.  Cut to smaller pieces and serve. This only yield one 9 inch large pancake and the recipe can be doubled easily.

I served the pancake with Pork Congee and Chinese Black egg. Great to have this combination on a relaxing Friday night.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Green Tea Chinese Steamed Buns

This year I plan to try out more easier and simpler recipes from every resources. After last X'mas baking and chowing down mostly on Roast and Grilled Meats, it is time to settle down and do a palate cleansing and detoxification of the stomach, so to speak.

I have always thought making these Chinese Buns must be easier than Western breads and bakes, mainly because of the lesser amount of ingredients needed and the steps involved are almost half of that of making a loaf of English bread. Having said that, I think I have successfully produced a Steamed Bun but somehow I think the use of high heat while steaming kind of spoiled the appearance of these buns. And I used the usual All Purpose flour which I suspect lacking in some sort of ingredients in those specialty flour for Buns that is sold at the Asian grocery stores.

I followed the recipe from here and substituted green tea powder in place of the cocoa. I am glad that cooking and baking videos are plenty now showing the actual process of everything but as with all Chinese Cooking, the video did not tell how many buns this recipe yield. I cut up about 10 and they steamed up huge!Taste wise is fine and only the appearance is not that appealing. This gives me the urge to try again next time with the specialty Bun flour from the Asian groceries and perhaps I will only place the raw Buns when the steamer is hot and ready rather than placing it any earlier. And I would reduce the size of each bun.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014

What a year 2013 had been! I was so caught up with everything that I totally lost interest in updating this blog!

As of this year, I will make life simpler for myself and I have incorporated all my other blogs into this one for 1 finger access! As the years go by, I find that it is getting more difficult to multi-task and manage too many stuffs. Perhaps the "fire" that I possessed when I started this blog in 2008 has slowly dimmed or rather contained!

Anyways, I hope to do more this year in the kitchen, with healthy cooking as priority and once in a while adventurous with new tools and sauces.

All the best to my Cooking & Blogging friends.