Friday, 23 December 2011

MasterFoods Herbs And Spices

MasterFoods brand products use only the finest premium ingredients for every range of products and they are mainly available in supermarkets across Australia and New Zealand. In Singapore we do have a wide range of MasterFoods products which are easily found in local supermarkets such as NTUC and Cold Storage.

Above are 3 of my favourite MasterFoods range of seasonings which I could not find in Singapore. And thanks to my brother who recently went Sydney for holiday to bring back these for my pantry.


Portuguese Chicken Seasoning:-
Brings together the flavours of lemon and chillies to create traditional Portuguese Chicken (recipe HERE) at home and this sure come perfect during Christmas season.


Pri Pri Seasoning:-
A hot spice seasoning with a hint of lemon which is excellent on fish, prawns, shellfish or chicken. To in-cooperate them, sprinkle some on the meat before grill, pan fry or BBQ on medium heat. This spice is also good for rice dishes such as paella or spice risotto.

Thai Seasoning:-
I love this spice which can be use to brush with oil on chicken or beef kebabs before grill or barbecue. And for a quick dish, sprinkle some over prawns when stir-frying or use in a Thai noodle salad and curries.

Other than the above, I also have some other MasterFoods products in my pantry which comes in handy while preparing pasta, pizza and etc.

Italian Herbs:-
It consists different types of herbs such as Marjoram, Basil, Red Bell Peppers, Rosemary, Oregano, Parsley, Thyme in a bottle. This is great for adding to spaghetti bolognese, lasagne sauce and fresh tomato sauce.

Chilli Flakes:-
Chilli Flakes are the chopped, diced fruits which is a popular hot spice with bite. This can be added to meat sauces, all Mexican dishes using meat, beans or vegetables. I love to use it in salads or salad dressings as well as rice or pasta dishes.

Will update more on new Recipes using these wonderful herbs and spices. Stay tune.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Palm Sugar (Gula Melaka) Syrup

Gula melaka or also known as Palm Sugar in English is made by first extracting the sap from the flower bud of a coconut tree. Several slits are cut into the bud and a pot is tied underneath the bud to collect the sap. After which the sap is boiled until thickens before pouring into bamboo tubes between 3-5 inches in length and left to solidify in order to form cylindrical cake blocks.


GULA MELAKA SYRUP


These homecook gula melaka syrup can be used as topping or sweetener for dessert such as Chendol, Chendol Agar Agar, Sago Gula Melaka, Bubur Terigu and etc. These cooked syrup can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks up to 3 months.

Ingredients:
200g Palm Sugar(Gula Melaka)
Knot of Fresh Pandan Leave
80ml of Water

Method:-
1. Bring Palm Sugar(Gula Melaka), pandan leaves and 80ml of water to boil.

2. Lower the heat and simmer till the palm sugar cubes melt and syrup slight thickened (about 10 minutes).

3. Remove pan from heat and sieve syrup into a sterilised glass jar and cool completely before storing in the fridge.


Thursday, 10 November 2011

The Goodness of Kiwifruit

In Singapore you can easily get a pack of these yummy ZESPRI Kiwifruit from any leading supermarkets or fruit stalls. And do you know ZESPRI Kiwifruit are the most "nutrient dense" of popular fruits that belong in the "Super Fruits" category. Each bite contains more essential nutrients than the other 27 most popular fruits.


GETTING THE BEST OUT OF KIWIFRUITS


ZESPRI Kiwifruit also contains more than 210% of the recommended daily intakes of Vitamin C which gives you 2 times more Vitamin C than an orange. Furthermore it is also a good source of folate which is essential for healthy development of the foetus in early pregnancy.

Remember to always avoid kiwis that are very soft, severely shriveled or have bruised, damp spots as these are usually inductors of damaged kiwis. Instead, select those that yield gently to pressure (hold the fruit between your thumb and forefinger to gently appear pressure) as these are normally the sweetest. And the easiest way to peel a kiwifruit is to cut it into half and scoop out the ripe fruit from the skin with a spoon.

There are also alternative methods to speed up the process of ripening and the easiest way is to leave them to ripen for up to a week at room temperature. Alternatively, you can speed it up by placing kiwis in a paper bag with an apple, banana or pear as the ethylene emitted from these fruits are able to do so.


SIMPLE KIWI SKIN FIRMER


Bursting with vitamin C and antioxidants, these kiwifruits can be used as a weekly mask to rejuvenates dull tired skin, leaving you with a beautiful natural glow. And for another variation you can also add olive oil instead of honey to the kiwifruit mixture. For your information this skin firmer mixture can be used on both face and body as it is extremely nourishing and besides kiwifruit seeds are also considered to be a natural defoliators too.


Mask recipe extracted from June 2008, Food & Travel Magazine.
(Preparation: 5 minutes)

Ingredients:
1 Ripe Green Kiwifruit (peeled)
1 Teaspoon Honey


Method:-
1. Mix the kiwifruit in a blender or mash with a fork, if it is soft.

2. Strain the excess juice and add honey to the mixture.

3. Apply it on the face for 10 - 15 minutes before washing it off thoroughly.


If you wish to try your hand on some Recipes using Kiwifruits, do click on the image shown below for more details.



Friday, 26 August 2011

Water-roux Method - 烫种法

Tangzhong, or the water-roux method(烫种法) is the best method if you are looking for some way to retain the soft and fluffy texture for homemade bread which can stay fresh for up to five days. Thus by incorporating tangzhong into your bread it will give bring a soft and fluffy bread that has fine crumbs and springy texture.

For your information, the flour-to-water ratio for tangzhong is always 1 (bread flour) : 5 (water). For instance from the recipe shown below you can make a batch of approximately 150g tangzhong.

Ingredients: (able to make 2 loaf of bread with 350g bread flour)
25g Bread Flour
125ml Water(could be replaced by milk, juice or 50/50 water and milk)


>Method:-
1. Mix flour and water in a small saucepan until without any lumps.

2. Cook over medium low heat, stirring consistently with a egg whisk or wooden spoon to prevent the mixture from burning while cooking.

3. The mixture will thicken up (takes about less than 2 minutes) while cooking, so once you see “lines” appear in the mixture or it starts to form a dough. It is done.

4. Transfer the cooked dough into a clean bowl and cover with a cling wrap sticking onto the surface to prevent it from drying up.

5. Cool it completely before use. (I have tried using it while lukewarm and it works well too)


Do check up my latest recipe on Homemade Bread shown below.




Friday, 12 August 2011

Bread Flour And Instant Yeast

I have tried using both "Red Man" and "Prima Flour" BREAD FLOUR which turns out equally good with price ranging from S$2.80 - S$3.00 depending on the supermarkets. Whereas for the INSTANT YEAST I have do a swap on my last two recipes from "Bake King" to "Saf instant"(comes in a box of 5 packets each weighing 11g) upon recommended by Sherie and a few baking friends.



BREAKDOWN OF TIME SPENT 

FOR MAKING THE BREAD


I am sure some of you are just like me, whenever we scan through any bread related recipes we are always hesitate to try out the recipe due to the long proofing hours. But physically what it required is about only 15 - 20 minutes of hands-on such as preparation plus kneading of the dough(for those without bread machine at home) whereas the rest of the time taken is more for proofing of the dough. Below is the breakdown for your reference:-

~ Preparing Tangzhong/Water Roux: 3 minutes

~ Preparation plus Kneading: 15 minutes

~ 1st Proofing: 45 - 60 minutes or double it's original size (you can do other household chore while waiting)

~ Shaping: 5 - 7 minutes

~ 2nd Proofing: 45 - 60 minutes or double it's original size
(Check the dough after 45 minutes by pressing it lightly with a fingertip, it is ready when the dent springs back slowly. But if the dent stays as it is, the bread is overproofed.)

~ Adding Toppings/Baking Time: 20 - 30 minutes depending on the recipe.


Below are some Bread RECIPES:-



OR click HERE for more recipes.


Thursday, 4 August 2011

3M Scotch Premium Kitchen Scissors

Recently while sourcing for some kitchen utensils I saw these NEW 3M Scotch Kitchen Scissors at one of the FairPrice Xtra hypermarkets. And base on the description from the packaging it seemed that these scissors are made using high quality Stainless Steel and electro-polished blades to resist corrosion as well as for easily cleaned and thus reducing the risk of bacteria growth.

But as you can see the prices of these premium scissors are slightly higher compared to those that we often purchase which is perhaps less than S$8.00. So with such thought I decide to do a survey on facebook (read more HERE) and ask for suggestions and feedback  from those who had bought or current using these scissors.

And so coincident, just a couple of weeks back I also received these two scissors as sample for selected household homemakers to try out these products.  These Kitchen Scissors comes in two different designs and functions such as - detachable, shown on the left photo above (S$19.90 with GST) and non-detachable (S$15.90 with GST).

As you can see from the above photos, the Scotch Kitchen Scissors is ergonomically designed with a symmetrical shape for comfortable cutting and shearing compared to the rest of the scissors shown. Their soft and comfort handle make it great for those who has bigger palm as well as provide handy grips on the handle for both left and right handed.

For your information these 3M’s Scotch Kitchen Scissors’ used Japan-made JFE SUS420J2 Stainless Steel that is treated using 3M’s unique electro-polishing process for superior smoothness in comparison to generic stainless steel. The metal’s polished coat not only results in a higher tassle and increased hardness, but also enhances the material’s ability to resist corrosion.

From the above photo you can see the comparison result whereby one of the Scotch Kitchen Scissors is put to test together with another 3 different brands of kitchen scissors on 3 weeks daily kitchen chores experiments.  To my surprised, the cutting blades for the Scotch Kitchen Scissors still remains new and shiny compared to the other three pairs with corrosion blades.

The micro-serration blades of these Scotch Kitchen Scissors also add an extra level of sharpness, so the device is strong enough to cut through meat and bones and yet delicate enough to snip fresh herbs and fruits. Furthermore, the detachable blades of the scissor also makes it easy cleaning and quick drying, thus allowing for longer-lasting hygiene and durability.

So I guess it is still quite worth to invest in a pair of durable kitchen scissors whereby it will served multi-purpose from cutting to snipping chores in the kitchen. Example like the photo shown above, you can easily use the Scissors to cut both raw and cooked poultry instead of the old method on using chopper and chopping board.


Friday, 17 June 2011

Fresh Pandan Juice

Pandan or Screwpine is a type of plant that grows in tropical areas of Asia. This Pandan leaves have a sweet, unique flavor that is commonly used to enhance both desserts and savory dishes. The leaves are long and bright green, and when pounded or grind they will release a sweet taste and aroma that found in most desserts and drinks.

Below is a simple recipe on how to make your very own fresh Pandan Juice for making flavour dessert, rice and cake.

Ingredients: (makes 3 Tablespoons Juice)
10 - 12 Pandan Leaves
50ml Of Water

Method:-
1. Rinse and clean the pandan leaves, cut into 1cm size pieces and blend it together with 50ml of water.

2. Using the electric blender, pulse the pandan leave mixture for about 3 minutes till it form paste like shown in the photo above.

3. Strain the leaves mixture over a sieve to obtain the fresh Pandan Juice.

Alternatively:

*3. If you do not have a blender, use the stone pounder to pond the juice from the leaves without add the 50ml of water.


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Asparagus

Asparagus is high in vitamins B6 and C plus fiber, folate and glutathione as well as with anti-carcinogen and antioxidant. Although asparagus comes in three different colours such as: white, green or purple but the the green variety is the most common to be found.

Asparagus spears can be thick or thin but most important factor is to select those straight, firm, uniformly sized spears with closed tips. Since asparagus deteriorates rapidly try to select bundles that are refrigerated or on ice. And take note is it best to used it within two or three days of purchase.

You can eat asparagus with nothing more than a drizzle of good-quality olive oil or use them in different dishes like: in soups, salads, stir-fries, scrambled eggs, pasta and etc. Do check up my latest recipe on Caramel Olive Asparagus shown below.




Friday, 27 May 2011

Fermented Black Bean - 豆豉

Douchi(黑豆豆豉)is a fermented black beans commonly used as a flavoring in most Chinese cuisines as well as an key ingredient to make black bean sauce. These fermented black beans are especially used to flavor fish or stir-fried vegetables such as Steamed Spare ribs with Fermented Black Beans(豉椒排骨)and Fermented Black Beans (豆豉鯪魚).

Some of the RECIPES featuring Fermented Black Bean:-



OR click HERE for more recipes.


Thursday, 26 May 2011

Yacon - 冰山雪莲果

Yacon(冰山雪莲果) is a sweet and crunchy vegetable that has a flavour similar to an apple. The actual vegetable is called a "tuber" which is a thick stem or root that grows underground which similar to a potato. Yacon grows in a variety of different colors including pink, orange, white or purple. In the United States, Yacon that is sold in markets is typically white compared to the orange type that we have in Singapore.(if you seen any purple colour Yacon do share a photo of it with me as I am curious on how it looks like)

According to some google read-up this vegetable is very high in fiber and low in calories which makes it a healthy and nutritious snack. Furthermore Yacon has also been known to improve digestion by promoting the growth of bacteria beneficial to human health in the intestine too.(more information HERE)

I have used this Yacon to make two different type of soup such as "Yacon And Lotus Roots Peanut Soup" and Yacon with Sweetcorn Pork Ribs Soup. Both these soup taste refreshing with a light and sweet fragrant from the Yacon.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

[revised and updated] Fried Shallot Oil - Microwave Version

Fried Shallot Oil is a common fragrance oil use in cooking or as an condiments to impart particular flavor to a sweet or savoury dish and gives it a special touch to perfect the taste. Likewise you can either make this on your own or get the pre-packed dried version crispy shallot flakes (without the oil) from any local supermarkets or grocery stalls in the wet markets.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Cupcake Pop Mold

Ever since I saw and bought these cute cupcake pop molds it has being sitting in my cupboard got quite sometime until I recently took it out and try making some Assorted Cream Cheese Cake Pops(recipe HERE). I have always wanted to make these Cake Pops which is one of the latest trend among online bakers other than cupcakes and macarons.


What is Cake Pops? Cake Pops can be defined as little/mini cakes on a stick that is coated with chocolate/icing and decorated with all sort of sprinkles or toppings which made famous by Bakerella( read more on the link HERE).

These cute Cupcake Pop Mold can be purchased from "My Little Cupcake" site or "Shop N Bake" or you can refer to more details HERE.


Friday, 11 March 2011

Fresh Lily Bulbs (鲜百合)

Lily bulbs taste slightly sweet and is slightly Cold in nature. It benefits the Lungs and Heart as well as nourishes the Lungs, stops cough and calms the nerves. It has certain effects on cough and helps with anxiety and insomnia. Lily Bulbs are rich in proteins, phosphorous and carbohydrates which is one of the good body tonifying and nerve calming Chinese medicine for those suffering from cough due to coldness and loose stools should not eat.

Fresh Lily bulbs are rich in glucose that promotes digestion and they are commonly used in cooking and desserts. You can purchase Fresh Lily Bulbs at most local supermarkets near the vegetable chiller section. Choose those with white and clean bulbs which can last for at least a week in the fridge.  Price: S$2.20 - S$2.50 per packet

Some of the RECIPES featuring Lily Bulbs:-



OR click HERE for more recipes.


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