Saturday, May 28, 2011

Glassy-Eyed Over Glass Noodles!

Mine! - Cook's Treat!
I just love Glass Noodle Salad!  I can have it alone without any other accompaniments because I feel it has all the makings of a complete meal; the carbohydrate, the protein, the vitamins and the minerals!  The only thing that it doesn't have is oil or fat!  Not a single trace of it!  That's what makes it so good!

This dish, just like the Beef Rib Soup, is a once-in-a-while thing, not because of the cholesterol content, but because it takes such a long time to prepare.  However, the result is staggering.  If you like an all-in-one dish, I think you will like this!

The vegetables and herbs

Since it is a salad, you will require the following, all julienned and mixed as in the picture above.
  • 3 stalks lemon grass
  • 2 ginger torch flowers
  • 1 red chili
  • 15 birds eye chillies
  • 5 shallots
  • half a carrot
Then you need the protein part, that is a piece of chicken breast slowly simmered with some garlic, lemon grass, salt and pepper.  When done, lift out, drain and shred the chicken breast and pour the hot stock over the glass noodles.  This will cook the noodles.

Poached Chicken Breast

Cooked glass noodles
Of course for a salad, you will need a dressing which is simple to make.  Just mix together 4 tablespoons each of sugar, fish stock, water and lime juice.  Finally toss all the ingredients and voila, Glass Noddle Salad is ready.  Enjoy!

P.S.  You can also opt to replace the chicken with squids or prawns prepared the same way as the chicken.

Beefy Beef Rib Soup!

Today is the first day of the first semester school holidays; first of ten days that is (I exclude the two Saturdays and Sundays because they are already public holidays!)  And one of the dishes that my children request for during holidays is Beef Rib Soup.  Of course I don't have it too often in my menu repertoire, not least because beef ribs are expensive (it is!) but more because of the high fat content of the meat!

So, maybe like, once in three or four months, we would have this soup.  I usually buy the beef ribs fresh and cook it the same day, par-boiling it slowly for at least one hour.  I then let it cool down totally to remove all the fat that has made a frozen layer on top of the soup.  The soup is then boiled again for another hour before it is served!  It's like French Fries!  You need to twice-fry it to get fries that are crispy outside and creamy inside.  I guess that is the reason behind me twice-boiling this soup!  Give it a try!

  • 2 kg beef ribs
  • 1 cup soy beans (pre-soaked)
  • 1 tbs coriander
  • 1 tbs cumin
  • 10 cloves
  • 5 star anise
  • 10 cardamoms
  • 1 large quill cinnamon
  • 10 pieces garlic -  pounded
  • 10 pieces shallots  -  pounded
  • 3 inches ginger  -  pounded
  • 6 liters water
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley  -  chopped
  • 1 bunch spring onions  -  chopped

Clean and wash the ribs then being boiling slowly.  Dry fry the coriander and cumin then grind until fine.  Add this, together with the rest of the ingredients (except the flat leaf parsley and spring onions) to the beef ribs and continue boiling.  Follow as per instructions mentioned earlier.  You may want to remove the soy beans after the first boiling to avoid the beans from totally disintegrating resulting in a milky looking soup!

Garnish the soup with the flat leaf parsley and spring onions together with some fried shallots and a wedge of lime.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Care for a Carrot Cake?


Tomorrow will be the last pot-luck for this semester for our teachers' common room, a tradition I and a few other senior teachers initiated last year when I was the Chairperson for the school's Staff Club.  Initially the pot-luck was organised on a weekly basis, that is every Wednesday.  We chose that particular day since it is a co-curriculum day and all teachers would be in school until 5.00 p.m.  It was later reduced to once every fortnight partly due to the constraint of thinking up recipes to prepare for the pot-luck menu but mainly due to the school's canteen operator's dissatisfaction at the lack of number of teachers who go to eat there on that particular day!

I actually wanted to make a Victoria Sandwich for tomorrow's pot-luck, but after second thoughts I decided to make a simple Carrot Cake, one that I have made countless number of times, successfully.  Even though it was not difficult to make, I didn't want to make the Victoria Sandwich because I was too lazy to make the butter cream icing.  Plus the Carrot Cake was much easier to make.  Check out the ingredients plus the procedure!  Simply easy!

This batch is for the pot-luck

  • 8 ounces self-raising wholemeal flour (I used ordinary self-raising flour!)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 5 ounces soft brown sugar (I used caster sugar, since that was what I had!)
  • 4 ounces grated carrot (I always have carrots in the fridge!)
  • 2 medium sized eggs
  • 4 ounces walnuts, roughly chopped (I always have these too!)
  • 180ml sunflower oil
  • 1 tbs milk

Weigh and measure all the ingredients then put them all in a bowl and mix until well blended.  Bake for 50 minutes at 180 C.  The 8" x 8" cake tin, needless to say, needs to be lined and greased before use, since this is a very moist cake and would definitely stick to the tin!

I have also decided not to put the cream cheese topping because I will be using it in another recipe which will be coming to this blog soon!  Until then, have fun trying this truly simple Carrot Cake!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Berry Strawberry Cake!

The first slice was for my youngest daughter!
I remember the first time I baked a cake was when I was doing my degree in the UK.  It was done out of necessity, where with Hari Raya around the corner and with no one amongst us who knew how to bake a proper cake, that was when I decided to give it a try.  I did not only surprise myself, but also surprised my colleagues with my Walnut Coffee cake (recipe to come soon in this blog!).  And, the rest as they say with much cliche, is history!

Call it a knack or what ever you like, I quite like baking and today was no exception.  I remembered I had a punnet of strawberries (a week old!) and a small carton of whipping cream hidden behind a bottle of mustard and a can of tomato juice, in the fridge.  And my youngest child had been pestering me to make a strawberry cake for almost three weeks now.  I was just too tired to bake today but she was almost to the verge of throwing a tantrum and tears (with shrieks!) were starting to roll down her chubby cheeks.  And so I gave in and baked a Strawberry Cake with the following recipe!  Do give it a try (before your daughter starts crying!)

I thought  the split cake looked more delicious!

  • 8 oz self-raising flour
  • 7 oz butter (I simply used margarine, since it was what I had in the pantry!)
  • 7 oz castor sugar (actually I was 1 oz short, so I made it up with icing sugar!)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 165g strawberries, sliced
  • 1 small carton whipping cream
The hot weather quickly melted the cream!
First cream the butter and sugar until pale, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Incorporate the sieved flour carefully, followed by the vanilla essence and the sliced strawberries.  Pour into an 8-inch round cake tin and bake for 45 minutes in a 170 C oven.

When cooked, cool the cake and split into two.  Beat the whipping cream until stiff and spread half onto one part of the split cake, then top it with the other half of the cake.  Pipe the remaining cream onto the cake using a star nozzle and top each cream-shape with a fresh strawberry!