Monday, December 19, 2011

Easy Butter Cookies Recipe

Yet again an awesome and simple recipe from Ann's blog. I have been meaning to try baking butter cookies for some time now. I felt like I needed to get the most basic of cookies right before continuing to adventure with other types of cookies. I browsed through a couple of blogs but none of the recipes spelt 'simple' as much as the recipe highlighted in Ann's blog. It called for 3 ingredients only - sugar, butter and flour. It had this 1-2-3 thing going on (you'll see). Super simple. And let me tell you about the results later. 

What you need:
100g icing or castor sugar
200g butter - cubed
300g plain flour (sieved)
(1,2,3 - geddit?)

What to do:
Pre-heat oven to 130C. Line your baking tray with baking paper.

1) With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl till pale and creamy for about 2 minutes.
2) Add the flour bit by bit, mixing by hand using a spatula.

3) Once all incorporated, chill dough for 15-20mins.
4) Remove dough from fridge. Divide into two. Use one half to work with and the other half return to fridge to chill.
5) Ball up the dough and place between 2 plastic sheets. Use a rolling pin and roll out about 4-5mm thick. (The dough is superbly easy to work with!).


6) Using a cookie cutter, cut into preferred shape and arrange on baking tray.
7) Bake at 150C for 20-25 mins.

Note: Remove remaining dough from fridge and repeat process until all the dough is used up.

This marks my third successful recipe from Ann's Blog. The first almost a year ago and the second another cookie recipe as well.

Oh yes the results. So far the people who are always my best critics - my husband and sister - totally loved it. The bonus? My 6-year old nephew quietly finishing the whole jar of cookies all by himself as we adults chatted away!!

If you've never baked or have never tried baking cookies, I urge you to start with a simple basic recipe like this.

Tips:
  • Keep an eye while the cookies are baking. For me, I baked them for only 20minutes. You don't want them to overbrown.
  • Just like Ann, I used icing sugar for this recipe as I wanted to finish off my supply.
  • Since I have an ever-ready supply of Pampas frozen puff pastry in my fridge, I just used two of the blue plastic sheets you can find in their packet.
  • I don't have any nice cookie cutters. I need to invest in some interesting shapes. Round is pretty boring.
The Sudden Cook wishes all her readers a very Merry Christmas and Blessed 2012!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Homemade Bak Kut Teh

I was feeling particularly bold one fine day. I wanted to try making bak kut teh at home. I did some massive research online - looking through posts from other bloggers who've tried it. Most of them seemed pleased with the end result. So I threw all caution to the wind, with no expectations at all and decided to go ahead and venture into unfamiliar bak kut teh territory. 

Before that, I must say it is thanks to my dad that my siblings and I appreciate this dish as much as we do. Growing up in PJ Old Town, he used to take us to a famous BKT shop nearby and have our share. I remember everything happening so fast; from the ordering to the eating to the bill paying - it was all over in a flash and we would be on our merry way home. So efficient and so tasty! 

So back to my BKT adventure, I purchased a packet of BKT Herbs and Spices Mix. This particular brand was Claypot. It's sold in most supermarkets and fairly easy to get. 

There are clear instructions in the back on how to go about preparing the BKT. My version is similar but my portion is smaller as it only serves 2. 

Serves 2
Ingredients:
1 packet 'Bakuteh Kau' Herbs & Spices Mix (2 filter bags inside)
350g-400g pork ribs (or other cuts you prefer)
100g enoki mushrooms
Note: I used enoki mushrooms because that's our favourite. You may use other types of mushrooms you prefer.
1.3litres water
Note: You can use more water, up to 1.5l depending on the size of your pot or claypot.
I whole garlic bulb (peeled and single pieces of garlic kept whole)


1 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce 

First you need to blanch (submerge into boiling water) the pork ribs for a short period of time. I find this takes away any 'porky' taste and is an important step. 

Blanching the Pork Ribs
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, put in pork ribs and allow to boil for about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse pork ribs in cold water. Set aside.
The whitish substance at the top is scum and is something you wanna remove by boiling the meat.
Making Bak Kut Teh Soup in 2 Easy Steps!
Step 1
Fill your claypot or pot with 1.3litres water. Place the 2 filter bags in it and leave to boil for 30 minutes.


Start with a high flame, once boiling, you may lower the flame but keep it to a boil.
Step 2
After 30 minutes, add the garlic, dark, light & oyster sauce and pork ribs to the boiling soup. Allow to simmer for 1 hour. Taste the meat at this point and see if meat is tender. If yes, add in mushrooms and switch off heat. Remove filter bags.


Simmer for 1 hour and taste to see if meat is tender. If not, allow to simmer for another 10-15minutes.
Make sure you have the right dishes to go with. We settled for steaming hot rice and Yau Char Kwai which we dunked in the super tasty soup!


Don't forget the chopped cili padi and minced garlic for that extra kick!
Serve hot. I love cooking in a claypot because I can bring it right to the table for serving!
Verdict:
Overall to be honest I was surprised it tasted as good as it did. Nothing against pre-mixes, but I guess I was very unsure how this would turn out. The pork ribs were tender. It took just about 1 hour of simmering. The cooking time would depend on how thick or meaty your pieces are. I got the ribs from Jaya Grocer. The pieces were perfectly cut. All in all, the soup was very tasty, the meaty ribs very tender and mushrooms soft with a slight crunchy feel. Made it twice so far and would definitely do it again. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Step by Step Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe

I've been wanting to try making this cake for a while now. It's a family favourite and a good alternative to rich chocolate cakes or plain butter cakes. My brother in particular loves this cake. I was very happy that I tried it. The results were a delicious light and fluffy cake with a caremel-like texture topped with oven baked pineapple and glazed cherries.

If you haven't baked before in your life and you wish to start with a cake that's not so basic, I would recommend this cake. Easy peasy for beginners.

The first thing you need is the right cake tin. I used my super dependable 9-inch springform tin which I use for so many of my cakes. It's the type of tin where the sides can be removed by unlatching the buckle.

Line the tin:
Using a piece of foil, line the base of the springform tin.
Tip: Whatever piece of 'leftover' foil at the sides, use it to cover the sides of the tin.


Pre-heat oven to 180C.

Get the ingredients ready
What you need for the base:
100g softened butter
100g light soft brown sugar
8 pineapple rings, drained (keep 2tbsp of the syrup for later use) 
Note: The number of pineapple rings depend on the size of the rings as well. If they are smaller than those picture below you may need 9.
Glazed cherries


Use a mixer to cream/beat ingredients.

Note: Use the back of a regular tablespoon to help spread out the mixture on the base.

If you want less cherries, then just place them in middle of pineapple rings.
What you need for the cake filling:
200g softened butter
200g caster sugar
200g self-raising flour (sifted)
4 eggs
2 tbsp pineapple syrup 
1tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla essence

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl till mixed well. Add eggs one by one and beat well. Add in rest of ingredients and continue to beat to a soft consistency. Spoon into the tin on top of the pineapple and smooth the top so that it's level. 



Bake for 35 mins at 180C. Once it's done, let the cake stand for 5mins in the tin. Unlatch the sides of tin and prepare to turn the cake upside down.
Note: You may want to set the springform tin on a baking tray then place in oven. Just in case there is any side leaking.


Then turn out onto a cakeboard/plate.

Tip: I have to say that the temperature you bake it in, really depends on how hot your oven is. If your oven gets hot fast, then lower the temperature to 165C.

I baked it at 180C. However I found the top to be browning really fast. So toward the end of cooking time I placed a piece of foil over the tin.

Cuts really well too. Perfect for simple gatherings, birthdays or just as practice to up your cake baking skills!


Friday, September 23, 2011

Crunchy Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies


I was looking around for a suitable chocolate chip cookie recipe. Though I tried one last December and was pretty happy with it, I was particularly inspired to try a new recipe after reading Ann's blog. I also knew this time I wanted to add in some nuts to give it some extra crunch.

So after reading many a blog on different chocolate chip cookie recipes to try, I decided to go with Ann's recipe from her blog and I'm glad I did! I did vary it ever so slightly to accommodate the nuts. Here's the recipe.

What you need:
150g plain flour
45g corn flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
125g salted butter 
65g caster sugar
40g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
125g chocolate chips
60g roasted pecans 
1 egg

Toast the pecans following these steps:
  1. Preheat oven to 150C.
  2. Line your baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Roughly chop pecans. Place on baking tray.
  4. Toast for 7 minutes.Remove from oven and allow to cool.

What to do:

1) Sieve flour, corn flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2) Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl till mixed together well. Then add in egg and vanilla essence. Cream for 1 minute.
3) Using a spatula, fold in gently the sieved flour, baking powder and salt to the creamed mixture.





4) Add in chocolate chips and pecans and mix using spatula.


5) Cover mixing bowl with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove from fridge.
6) Drop a teaspoon full of dough on baking tray. Don't place them too close together. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes at a temperature of 180C.


Use your spatula to help scrap the dough from the teaspoon onto the tray.

7) Let cookies cool on tray for 10 minutes then place on wire rack to cool completely. 

Tips:
1) To get the cookies in a nice round shape, instead of just dropping the dough on the tray, nicely 'roll' them into a ball shape. Fab tip from Ann.
2) I baked the cookies for about 18 minutes in my oven.
3) Keep an eye on the pecans when roasting them especially if your oven get's hot fast.
4) Be sure the butter is at room temperature. Remove from fridge about 20 minutes before creaming.


Place cookies in airtight container to retain freshness and crunch factor.

Verdict:
They were not too sweet. In fact, I kinda wished they were sweeter. But the more I ate them the more I thought the sweetness was just right.
As you can see - the cookies are not nicely rounded. That's cause I didn't know of the 'roll' dough into a ball shape tip till later. Will definitely put that tip into use on my next try.
The pecans went great with the chocolate chips.
Overall - this recipe is bookmarked come Christmas!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tom Yum Noodle Soup

I love tom yum and not just the soup kind. I would willingly order tom yum fried rice (if I saw it on the menu) or a  pipping hot bowl of tom yum noodle soup filled with thin vermicelli, fat prawns and rubbery squid!!


So when a dear colleague went to Bangkok recently, I asked her to get me two packets of tom yum paste of any brand. Am very aware that you can get these here as well, however I just wanted to be all Bangkok about it. So she bought me the paste (brand: Lobo) and I put it to the test.

You will need 2 of these. Brand: Lobo
Serves 2

Ingredients:
Two 30g tom yum paste packs
1 lemongrass - sliced at the white portion
Couple of chilli padi or bird's eye chillies
About 10 kafir lime leaves - I plucked out the stem and snip the leaf in half
Grey mushrooms - bought these all sliced already from the supermarket
Fresh prawns
100g of meehoon/vermicelli - soaked in water for a couple of minutes and drained

1) Bruise the chilli padi 2) Remove the lime leaf stem and snip in two 3) Use only white portion of lemongrass - sliced
What to do:
1) Bring 1 litre of water to a boil. Cover the pot to ensure faster boiling time.
2) Add contents of tom yum paste and stir. Add in prawns and continue to boil for a few minutes.
3) Add in lemongrass, chilli padi, lime leaves and mushroom. Stir. Add in meehoon.
4) Serve hot.

Tip:
Submerge the unopened packet of tom yum paste (as pictured above) in hot water for 1 minute. This allows the paste to soften.
If you don't wish to add the noodles, then don't. You may also look to this video for a visual on how to prepare tom yum soup using this paste. It really helped!

Verdict:
My husband and I loved it. You can of course add squid or any other ingredients you fancy. Adding the noodles in I think gave it a nice touch. Would definitely recommend this brand. Try and buy peeled prawns - saves you a tonne of time!!!

I have no shame when it comes to using ready-made paste once in a while. I also used one to make this spicy fried vermicelli - da bomb!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Beef Lasagna

Disposable foil tray - a set of 3 for RM7.90 at Presto Supermarket
When I first made this dish, I was happy with the results. The only downside was having to scrub the bottom of the casserole dish I used to remove the sticky bits after finishing the lasagna. So recently I made it again using a disposable tray which saved me a whole lot of washing up. I would highly recommend it! After you're done serving the lasagna, just dispose of the foil tray. Super convenient!

Here's the recipe again:
I packet 250g San Remo Instant Lasagna Sheets (be sure the pack says 'No pre-cooking required - which means you don't have to soak the sheets etc beforehand)
2 tablespoons olive oil
I garlic clove, peeled and crushed
I onion chopped finely
2 large tomatoes chopped
500g minced beef
1 tsp dried Italian Herbs blend from McCormick
250g tomato paste - mixed with 750ml water
200g Tasty grated cheddar cheese
100g shredded mozzarella cheese

Making the meat sauce:
1) Heat oil, add onions then garlic. Stir over medium heat till onion has softened.
2) Add minced beef, stir till meat is no longer pink.
3) Add chopped tomatoes and stir for 3 minutes.
4) Add tomato paste + water mixture, 1 tsp dried Italian herbs, pinch of salt and 2-3 tsp black pepper - stir over medium heat for 5 mins
5) Cover and simmer sauce for 1 hour 
6) After an hour, sauce should not be too watery but very moist. Switch off heat. Taste the sauce and be sure you're happy with the seasoning (salt & black pepper). If you think the sauce is too salty, add a pinch of sugar and stir.

Assembling:

Grease the foil tray nicely at the bottom and at the sides too.
Lay down 3 lasagna sheets (they can overlap slightly - if not that's ok too)
Spread the meat sauce all over the sheets. This is important as the sheets need to be moist in order to cook nicely.
Spread a layer of Tasty cheddar cheese all around.
Repeat by placing another layer of lasagna sheets + meat sauce + Tasty cheddar cheese
Repeat with the last layer of lasagna sheets + meat sauce + Mozzarella cheese

Cover with foil.
Always cover with foil for first 20 minutes of cooking time so the cheese on top doesn't brown too fast.
Place in pre-heated oven at 180C for 30 minutes. 
Note: After 20 minutes - remove the top sheet of foil.

Note:
  • There will be about 15 lasagna sheets in a 250g packet of which you would use 9. Store the rest properly.
  • Be sure when you distribute the meat sauce - you do it evenly for 3 layers. Meaning don't be too generous with your 1st layer cause then you might find yourself short of sauce for the final layer.
  • If you don't have the tiny bottle of Italian Herbs blend, use 1tsp of oregano + a sprinkling of rosemary
  • Lasagna is best eaten once it has 'set'. It cuts properly better too. I would suggest allowing it to cool for an hour or more before serving. 
  • You can even store lasagna in the freezer up to 3 months. Cut into squares, wrap in cling film and store in freezer.

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