jeudi 29 octobre 2015

A Waldorf Salad by Any Other Name

As I joked about in the video, a fruit salad has to be pretty damn good to actually get a name, and the venerable Waldorf salad is certainly worthy. 

I realize that there are a small group of you who won’t be able to wrap your heads around mayonnaise with fruit, and that’s a shame, since it means you won’t get to enjoy one of the great combinations of all time. By the way, if you are one of the aforementioned people, but like mayo slathered all over your sandwich, containing slices of sweet, ripe tomato, and caramelized onions, then you have some explaining to do. Also, coleslaw. I rest my case.

Embellish this as you see fit, but I really like it best with just the four ingredients seen here. Things like dried cranberries can add a nice seasonal touch, but for me, the chewy fruit gets in the way of that addictive crunchy/crisp texture. I really hope you give this old-school, but timeless Waldorf salad a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for about 1 cup dressing (enough for 2 Waldorf salads below):
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup crème fraiche or sour cream (I used CF)
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper
pinch cayenne
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon

For 2 large or 4 appetizer sized Waldorf salads:
2 large crisp, sweet apples, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup small cubed celery root
1 cup quartered seedless grapes
1/2 cup toasted walnuts pieces

mardi 27 octobre 2015

Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts – Less Time, More Skin = Better Breasts

Cooking up a few chicken breasts should be a fast, easy, and delicious experience, but for many people it’s actually a slow, hard, and disappointing one. There are several reasons for this, and hopefully this demo for how to pan-roast chicken will eliminate them.

The most important factor is doneness. By “pan-roasting,” you can easily monitor the internal temp, and as I recommend in the video, start the pan sauce when the meat reaches about 150 F. By the time your sauce is done, and the chicken is covered in its hot, buttery goodness, it should have reached 155-160 F., which is what I shoot for.

At this temp, the chicken will be perfectly safe, while remaining moist and tender. I know many recipes, and reference sites, call for longer cooking times, and internal temps of 165-175 F., but that’s just crazy. Unless, you want tough, dry meat; in which case, that works wonderfully.

Also, I think it’s very important we leave the skin on. Not only does this add a lot of flavor, but also much-needed moisture. Even if you’ve been brain-washed into thinking the skin is “bad” for you, which it isn’t, you can peel it off before you eat it, but I recommend leaving it on during the cooking process.

And yes, we’d be getting even more flavor and moisture if we just left the breasts on the bone, but the whole point is for this to be fast to make, and effortless to eat. Otherwise, we might as well roast a whole chicken.

If you’re not into creating your own boneless, skin-on breasts, like we did in the video, you can have the butcher at the market do this for you. You’ll have to go to a larger store where they cut up their own chicken parts, and tell them exactly what you want, but they’ll hook you up at no extra charge. I really hope you give this easy, and very effective technique a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 portions:
4 boneless, but skin-on chicken breasts
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs, optional
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup *vinegar
4 tbsp cold butter, cut in smaller pieces
a splash of chicken broth or water, if needed to thin sauce

*I used apple cider here, but literally any vinegar will work. Some of my favorites are sherry, balsamic, rice, and champagne vinegar.

dimanche 25 octobre 2015

Old School Buttercream Cake

A recipe from my friend and I fall in love with the soft and fluffy texture after one bite .

It uses chiffon cake method and that explains the fluffiness and pairing with swiss meringue buttercream, it is really yummy.
So happy that I can make use of the ingredient I have in pantry to decorate the cake.

This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Ingredient for 1 rectangular tray  13" x 12" / 1 x 7" (2 layer cake)

A) Vanilla Cake

Group 1 
10 Egg Yolks (around 50g each)
70g Caster Sugar
Vanilla Extract .Essence (Optional)

Group 2
90g Milk
90g Oil

Group 3
180g Cake Flour
Baking Powder 9g((1/2 tbsp.)

Group 4
9 Egg White
135g Caster Sugar

1) Whisk egg Yolk with sugar and extract till pale and fluffy
2) At low speed, add in milk follow by Oil till well blend 
3) Fold in Group C -dry ingredient lightly , do not overmix and set aside
4) Using medium speed, whisk egg white till foamy and add 1/4 sugar and
    continue to whisk and add in remaining sugar gradually till stiff peak.

5) Fold in egg white into the yolk mixture till well combined. Don't over fold,
    the mixture should be thick and fluffy and not runny.

6) Spread evenly onto your line baking tray and bake at 180C for 15-18 mins. or when skewer come out clean form centre of cake.

* Springfoam  -160C @40mins.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

150g Egg White
90g Caster Sugar
250g Salted butter(Slightly soften and cut into cubes)
1 Tbsp maple syrup (option)

1) Mix Egg white and Sugar and place over a double boil under low fire and
    stir till suger dissolved.(no grainy when touch or use thermometer 65-75C)

2) Whisk egg white till firm and add in the soften butter gradually when the egg
    white has cool down.

3) The buttercream will look lumpy and curdle texture , whisk till creamy and smooth.
4) Add in maple syrup and mix well.

Piping Jelly
Ground Peanuts
Chocolate Rice

Prata with Nutella spread

An easy and quick to prepare snack with ready prata dough and nutella spread.
Even a kid can make it. :) Have fun!

Watch video - prepare by kid

4 sheet of ready made puff pastry
4-8 tbps. Nutella (or any spread of choice, spread thick or thin to your own taste)
1 egg to glaze

vendredi 23 octobre 2015

Shakshuka – Say It With Me Now

This Shakshuka, or Shakshouka if you prefer, is why I’m so glad the show/blog/channel is called, “Food Wishes.” This North African one-dish-meal is so fast, easy, and delicious, but it probably wouldn’t have occurred to me to do a video for it, unless someone sent me a request. 

I always appreciate these types of reminders, and seeing "Shakshuka" in a subject line does catch your attention, but now I have a little problem. I can’t stop saying it. It has basically replaced using profanity for me. Yes, now when I stub my toe, I yell "shakshuka!"

I know we did an Italian-inspired version of this idea, served in individual ramekins, but this is supposedly the original. The sauce is quite different, and I think more interesting. The peppers and mushrooms add another layer of flavor, and the spicing is much more complex. Not to mention, a large pan of this is much more of a showstopper.

Just be sure to cook your sauce until the veggies are nice and soft and sweet. I don’t think you want crunchy onions and peppers in this, so take a little time building the base. You will also have to monitor the liquid level as it simmers, but that’s very easy to adjust by adding a splash of water or broth.

Once the eggs go in, you can finish covered on the stove, or just pop the pan into a hot oven until they cook to your liking. I go for just barely set, and the advantage of that system is, if you do want them cooked more, you just need to stir the egg into that hot sauce, and it will firm-up instantly.

No matter how you like your yolks cooked, this makes for an impressive breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. And if you’re serving a large group, you can scale this up to any size pan or baking dish. I really hope you “shakshuka!” very soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 6 small portions:
(one egg per portion as appetizer - double for a main course)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
large handful of sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 cup diced red bell peppers
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
28-oz can (about 3 cups) crushed San Marzano tomatoes, or other high-quality plum tomatoes. Of course you can use fresh tomatoes in season.
1/2 cup water or broth, or as needed
6 large eggs (or as many as you can fit in you pan)
crumbled feta cheese and fresh parsley to finish

mardi 20 octobre 2015

Creamy Pork Stew – Easy Does It

I didn’t want to end my vacation by filming anything too strenuous, so I went with this creamy pork stew, which is one of my favorite cold weather dishes of all time. This comforting stew is very delicious, quite easy, and ready to accept all sorts of seasonal produce.

As usual, I kept the ingredient list to a minimum, as not to get in the way of demonstrating this simple procedure, but things like squash, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, mushrooms, and root vegetables, would all be wonderful swimming around in the subtly sweet, just-rich-enough sauce.

As I mention in the video, you always want to buy a nice hunk of pork shoulder, and cut your own chunks. If you want to save five minutes of work buying the pre-cut stuff in the package, go ahead, but please know you’re paying more money for a lower quality product. Not to mention, you can’t control the size and shape of the cut.

If pork isn’t your thing, this would be lovely with veal, beef, or chicken thighs. No matter which meat you use, simmer it until tender, and this simple, cider-spiked, cream sauce will turn it into a big bowl of autumn goodness. I really hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 large portions:
2 tbsp vegetable oil for browning meat
2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp horseradish
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chicken broth, or as needed
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 cup sliced carrots
a few sage leaves
2 sprigs thyme
2 small sprigs rosemary
*Fresh herb note: I just tossed mine in whole, but if you don’t like that texture, you can simply pick and chop herbs before adding.
1 dry bay leaf
pinch of cayenne
1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
fresh apple strips and fresh chive to garnish
- Serve on steamed rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles.

lundi 19 octobre 2015

Pooh Bear macaroon(Italian Method)

My first using Italian method after I have got used to the French method.
Studied few recipe and find it too troublesome and didnt want to waste time or ingredient for fail macaron, i decided to pay $95 for 3.5hrs lesson but its worth it!

Rachael-Make & Bake, the young and pretty baker was very patience with us and the step by step guides makes you feel confident baking this babies and making them too adorable to be eaten.

Many ask for the recipe but I highly suggest that you go for the lesson to create this delicate sweet treats and that's why they are so expensive Range from $1.5 - $3.5 per piece.

This is a very sweet treat as it needs high sugar content to form the "Feet" of the macaron. If you cant take sweet snacks, I advise that you don't waste money on this and try out other goodies. 

dimanche 18 octobre 2015

Lychee Mango Cake

My first time taking a paid baking class which you will get some valuable tips from the professional bakers/studio - Bakers Brew Studio (opposite Sembawang Shopping Centre)
Own by young bakers, its a baking studio and a café as well.
The kitchen is not very big but can fit probably 40 pax, I guess.
You can book the class through their website , payment must be made to confirm your slot for the class.

Was looking at few lesson but thought it will be good to try one out before booking rest of the class. Be warned, slots will be filled up very fast even one month before. Check out their website occasionally to see last min. classes.
My 1st baking lesson - Lychee Mango Cake $88 (promo rates) 3 hrs duration.
We will learn how to bake a basic sponge cake /buttercream , crumb coat and frosting a 6" cake. You will bring home your own decorated cake(box provided) .Washing the dish you use is part of the experience.
Partner with a  SHC member, Irene and had fun at the session.
Few of the popular class- Flora Cake /Indeh Ondeh/Lavender Early Grey.
Waiting for the next available slot for the flora cake which will teach you only the frosting and piping of flowers. Cant wait!


lundi 12 octobre 2015

Chef John is on Vacation!

Just wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be on vacation this week, so you'll have to rely on re-runs for your Food Wishes fix. I'm looking forward to a short, but relaxing break, where I do as little as humanly possible. We’ll continue to publish your comments and questions, but I won’t be around to respond to the small fraction I usually do. That means, as usual, you’ll have to rely on each others expertise. That should work out just fine. Thank you for understanding, and we’ll see you next week!

dimanche 11 octobre 2015

Chocolate and cream cheese fruit tarts

This is a easy chocolate tarts which uses digestive biscuits as the base. the texture is smooth so rich chocolaty.

It's sweet to the eyes and really cheer one mood when looking at it, for me at least.  Did another version using Crème Fraiche and whipped cream.
A light and creamy or rich chocolate texture, which do you prefer?

Chocolate Tart Recipe
This recipe yields one 4" round tart (removable base)
200g digestive biscuits 
80g unsalted butter (Melted)
Chocolate Filling
100g dark couverture chocolate
95ml whipping cream
56g unsalted butter
1tsp of brandy (optional)

Crème fraîche whipped cream and topping:
1 cup (240 ml) heavy 'whipping' cream (cream with a 35-40% butterfat)
1 tablespoon buttermilk or plain yogurt
1 cup cold heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup creme fraiche
Fresh fruit for decoration 


  1. Crushed the digestive biscuits till sandy texture and blend it with the melted butter
  2. Scoop the dough into the tart mould and compressed it using metal spoon
  3. Leave it in the freezer for an hour to set.

Chocolate filling
  1. Warm the whip cream till bubble forms
  2. Put in the butter and chocolate into the warm cream
  3. Stir the mixture after 5 min till the chocolate and butter completely dissolved and add in brandy and stir till smooth texture.
  4. Pour the chocolate filling into the tart base and let it set for an hour

Crème fraîche and whipped cream and topping:
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
    1. In a small bowl, whisk the crème fraîche with the sugar until smooth. In a separate large bowl, whip the cream with an electric hand-held or stand mixer until the cream firmed.
    2. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, gently fold the crème fraîche into the whipped cream. Spread over the crust.

    Crème Fraiche
    • In a medium saucepan, over low heat, warm the cream to about 105 degrees F (40 degrees C). Remove from heat, transfer the cream to a bowl, and stir in the buttermilk or plain yogurt.
    • Let this mixture sit at room temperature (70-75 degrees F) loosely covered with plastic wrap, until thickened (like mayonnaise or thick yogurt) with a tangy, slightly nutty flavor. (This will take anywhere from 24 to 36 hours, depending on your room temperature.) When ready, stir the cream and then cover and place in the refrigerator until well chilled (at least 8 hours, preferably overnight). Creme fraiche can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.


    jeudi 8 octobre 2015

    Pumpkin Zeppole – You “Can” Do It

    It may sound strange, but the only way to mess up this pumpkin zeppole, is by using a fresh pumpkin. Like virtually every other pumpkin dessert, I think using pure canned pumpkin will give you the best results. That really is the trick to this Halloween treat.

    If you take a pumpkin, roast it, and scoop out the flesh, it may look similar to the canned stuff, but you’ll be surprised at how little sweetness and flavor it actually has. It sounds like a great way to go, but in reality, it is not. And what about “sugar pumpkins;” that smaller variety of pumpkin specially grown for cooking? They are definitely better, but still, it’s been my experience that even those don’t have as concentrated a flavor.

    Like all things cooking, people will vehemently disagree with me, and claim they can achieve results that are just as good using fresh, but even so, that’s a lot of work for something that’s basically the same. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide.

    By the way, if you can't get canned pumpkin, roasted butternut squash (just like we did for this soup) will work very nicely!

    Special thanks to my old friend, Jennifer Perillo, for this recipe was adapted from one of hers. I’m not above stealing a recipe from total stranger, but it’s nice knowing the foundation for a recipe is coming from someone who actually knows what they’re doing. I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!

    Ingredients for about 24-30 depending on the size:
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon fine salt
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    1 cup (8 ounces) fresh ricotta cheese, well-drained
    1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree (or roasted butternut squash)
    1/4 cup white sugars
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Canola oil for frying

    lundi 5 octobre 2015

    Crab Rangoon – Rhymes with Swoon

    Many people are surprised when they find out that crab rangoons are about as Asian as Buffalo chicken wings, but it’s true. Even though they’re commonly found on Chinese and Thai menus, they were actually invented in San Francisco, at Trader Vic’s, in 1956.

    While not “authentic,” these crispy crab and cream cheese wontons are one of the most addictive, delicious, and crowd-pleasing appetizers ever created. That is, if the filling has enough crab in it. Most of the restaurant versions I’ve had are probably 3 or 4 parts cream cheese, to 1 part crab, but here we’re using a 1 to 1 ratio, and the results are amazing.

    Besides being generous with the crab (or lobster, or chicken), the other critical factor is the “warhead” fold. Even though you can fold these over once to make a simple triangle, I highly recommend using the method shown herein.

    The “turnover” fold is easier, but you don’t get nearly as much crispy goodness, and that’s what makes these so great. It’s that contrast between the warm creamy center, and those four crunchy edges that makes this such a magical bite I really hope you give them a try soon. Enjoy!

    Ingredients for about 60 Crab Rangoons:
    8 ounces cream cheese
    8 ounces crab meat, drained well
    1 clove crushed garlic
    1/3 cup chopped green onions
    1 teaspoons soy sauce
    1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
    1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
    1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    pinch cayenne
    60 square wonton wrappers
    canola oil for deep-frying

    For the sauce:
    (Note: I only made a half batch in the video. This should easily be enough for 60 rangoons)
    1 cup ketchup
    1/4 rice vinegar
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce, or to taste

    jeudi 1 octobre 2015

    Easy English Muffins – A Model of Buttery Deliciousness

    I don’t watch a lot of food television, but every once and a while I’ll catch a show where celebrity chefs sit around describing the best things they ever ate, and this English muffin was inspired by one served at the Model Bakery, in Napa, CA.

    These muffins were fried in clarified butter, and looked (and sounded) absolutely amazing. I didn’t actually use their recipe, since I wanted to experiment with a simpler, faster method; but if it makes you feel any better, I did cook them in clarified butter.

    Speaking of which, I’ve never done a video for clarified butter, but you don’t need one, since all we do is melt some unsalted butter (the only kind I ever use), and once it’s melted, take a spoon and skim off the white, foamy milk solids from the top. That’s it. Once clarified, you can use it without fear of the butter burning from high temps, or long cooking times.

    If you want, you could just briefly brown each side and finish these in an oven until cooked through, but I did mine all the way in the pan, a la Model Bakery, and it worked out fine. They took about 7 to 8 minutes per side, and really took on a great buttery flavor.

    Over the years, I’ve tried several different methods, including the traditional batter cooked in ring molds system, but I think this technique is much easier, and produces something very close to a classic English muffin. I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!

    Makes 6 English Muffins (recipe can easily be doubled):

    - First mix:
    1 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup warm water
    - Wait 15 minutes to see if yeast is alive, then add:
    2 tsp vegetable oil
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 egg white
    1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup warm water
    - Mix dough and let double
    - Form 6 seamless balls of dough, press on to a lined baking pan, coating both sides  with non-hipster corn meal.
    - Allow to double in size and fry in clarified butter for about 7-8 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Let cool before splitting!

    Crispy Swirl Durian mooncake(Recommended)

    Saw this recipe from one of the SHC members -Inspired kitchen and decided to try her recipe and am glad I did.

    The crust seem to be crispier than my other recipe but the swirl didn't turn out as obvious as hers.

    Guess I will be sticking to this recipe till I find another that can gives crispier crust.

    Crust recipe adapted from Inspired kitchen

    A. Water skin - 60 g each 
    • 200g Plain flour 
    • 12 g sugar
    • 70 g butter / margerine 
    • 90 ml ice water
    • 1 tsp salt

    B. Oil skin - 40 g each 
    • 160g Cake flour  
    •  90 g shortening 
    •  2 tbsp custard powder

    Filling -Yam
    • Yam paste - 50 g each
    • 500 g steamed yam, mashed
    • 50g peanut oil/butter
    • 30 g wheat starch (Optional)* mix yam, potato and sugar in a wok over low heat.
      Add oil slowly . Stir until thick then add wheat starch . Continue to stiruntil the paste leaves the sides of the wok . Cooled completely before used.
    Filling - Durian

    450 gm durian flesh - mashed

    100 gm sugar 

    3 tbsp. Oil

  • Put 1 tbsp oil in a non stick saucepan. Add in durian flesh and sugar. Stir and
        cook till dry [takes about 20 minutes.
  • Gradually add in oil, 1 tbsp at a time. Stir continuously on low heat until
        paste is dry and looks shiny. 
  • Dish out to cool completely before storing in refrigerator for later use.

  • Method for skin
    1. Mix A and rest for 30 mins
    2. Mix B. Then divide both dough into 3 portions.
    3. Use A to wrap B.
    4. Roll up twice (like making swiss roll) . Rest for 5 mins .
    5. Cut the rolled up dough into half , making 6 pieces .
    6. Place the cut dough on a board with the spiral design facing up .
    7. Press down the dough and roll into flat round shape .
    8. Wrap the filling with tbe spiral design facing out.
    9. Bake for 25 - 30 mins @ 170°c or until golden brown

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