East Malaysia Cooking Trip – Part 1

brinjals

Hello my blogger friends, greetings from Hong Kong! For those who have been following my blog, I’ve finally settled down in this city that never sleeps. It’s been more than two months since my last post and I hope you will still get to see this in your reader or email 🙂

I am preparing to start cooking and baking soon but for now, I would love to share with you an amazing trip that I’ve made before my move. For this trip, I get to stay with my relative in Sarawak, East Malaysia who owns a little vegetable garden right in front of the house. Of course, you know my itchy hands wouldn’t leave those gorgeous plants alone. Hee hee!

chinese squash

These are oriental squash which are great for making clear soup with dried scallops and pork short ribs. Boil them together for an hour and all you need is just a little salt to flavor it.

be different

While most squash are long and straight, some just prefers to be different.

robot oven

dough in robot oven

I would like to introduce this powerful oven that looks more like an alien in scifi films which can pre-heat to 220C within 10minutes. The only thing to be careful is that the heating element is at the top so attention is needed to avoid the crust of my bread from getting burnt. Yes, I baked bread with it and the result is very satisfying.

foccacia

I made this foccacia bread with dried Italian herbs using that robot. It was really crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The bread was very well received and before I knew it, the pan was empty.

12 hour overnight poolish 

150g strong flour, 150g warm water, 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast

Mix everything together  and let it ferment overnight.

Main dough

278g strong flour, 150g warm water, 1 & 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast, dried Italian herbs, 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, 2 tablespoon olive oil, poolish

Mix everything together and work your dough till it is smooth. Let it rest for 45 mins. Stretch and fold the dough and let it rest for another 45mins. Pre-heat oven to 200C and bake for 20mins. Sprinkle with grated parmigiano if desired.

harvesting egg plant

I just can’t keep my hands off these gorgeous brinjals or long eggplants. I’m so lucky that they are at their best when I was there. Green on the inside with no seeds yet.

pasta with brinjals

With limited ingredients, I turned the brinjals into this pasta dish.

brinjals, cut into circles

red chili, chopped

1 onion, chopped

italian herbs

1 big lime juice

olive oil

sea salt

black pepper

your favorite pasta

Fry brinjals in olive oil till caramelized and set aside for later use. With the same oil, saute onions till caramelized and put in red chili, sea salt and pepper. On another burner, cook pasta to al dente and keep some pasta water. Back to the frying pan, add in lime juice and pasta water follow by a good handful of italian herbs. Put in pasta, brinjal and toss well. Serve with grated parmigiano and perhaps more chili.

It’s been a great trip. I’ll share more recipes in part 2 okay?

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BRUCE LEE MOVIE SPECIALS

This is another happy moment! My Bruce Lee promo just garnered another Gold award two days ago at Promaxbda World competition held in L.A. Too bad I wasn’t there to witness the win.

gotasté

This is a happy moment!

I can still recall the number of compliments that was received from my boss, colleagues and friends when they saw this movie trailer on TV five months ago. Many told me it will win an award. Such wishes add on to my stress for the desire to hope that it will eventually happen for real. So I decided to put that thought away and keep my fingers crossed while waiting patiently for the day of the event.

The broadcast industry recognizes Promax as the Oscars of TV promotion. Yesterday night was the annual Promax Asia Awards ceremony. Like everyone else, I was among the audience hoping for a present from Santa to end the year with joy.

Just into the first quarter of the awards show, the category of my entry was up and I heard a familiar title being announced. Before I can receive…

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Rosemary Chicken

rosemary chicken

This is one of those moments where I know that I can take cooking as a hobby for life.

It is amazing to discover how a few simple ingredients can work together with temperature and time to create magic

and produce wonderful flavor and texture least expected.

This is an impromptu recipe when my mom came over to stay for an enjoyable two weeks

left me with some frozen chicken pieces in the fridge.

I am glad I have made it right.

Chicken pieces (fresh ones are even better)

Lots of paprika

Lots of fresh rosemary

Sea salt

Crushed black pepper

Lemon

Season the chicken pieces with all ingredients except lemon.

Bake at a temperature of 200C for 45 minutes.

It works even when I start from a cold oven.

Squeeze over some lemon juice and serve while it is still hot and crispy.

LEMON TARTS

tarts

I happen to be at Savour Singapore last Friday just in time to join a free baking class. I was overjoyed when I know that we are making lemon tarts. This is my first tart with the flavor I love.  Honestly, I was quite afraid of the amount of egg yolks, butter, sugar and cream that goes into it. I will probably cut down on the sugar if I make it again. 

It was a 90 minutes session which leave us with not enough time to do a proper knead and rest the dough. Bain Marie was done in a rush and the finish product was unable to set in the fridge long enough to be ready for garnish.

I did an untidy job in pressing the dough to the cups which turns out ugly but it was still a great experience and I am not afraid to start making desserts now.

me

 

recipe

PECORINO ROMANO

pecorino romano 1

This is one of the most precious ingredients in my fridge brought all the way from Tuscany. Having little knowledge about Pecorino, I don’t want to waste it without the right recipe. So far, I enjoy it only with sandwiches and wine.

My dear blogger friends, if you have recipes that go well with this cheese, please share with me. I would love to try them out.

Grazie! 

FRENCH BATARD

photo(88)

This is a happy moment!

From basic white bread to artisan bread that bakes in a pot, I’ve been trying to search for the recipe to make the kind of crusty bread that I like to be my daily staple. It was until I chance upon a 6 part video posted by King Arthur’s flour baking factory (click here for the first video) demonstrating French Baguette and Batard using the traditional way. It seems time consuming but the result is amazing and just the way I like it.

photo(85)

The overall preparation time takes 5 hours but I realized it is not a trouble at all as I normally spend Sundays tidying up my home and explore new recipes so I can still carry on with my activities while the dough is rising.

The little drama came during my second attempt when my dough was in the final rising stage. During pre-heating, my oven decides to retire after a 10 good years of partnership.

photo(86)_2

In that split moment, I was lost. Don’t know what to do with the dough. Throwing it away is my last option. Purchasing a new oven won’t make it in time. Then Mr Raju appears in my mind. He is the helpful neighbor who brings us nice food during Deepavali. When I approach him for help, he stopped whatever he is doing and lends me his oven without a slight hesitation.  

The over rising time and the transferring flattened the dough. My hard earned French Batard came out a little flat but it was good just the way I like it.

photo(87)

This recipe makes one small loaf.

1/4 tsp dry instant yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp sugar

All-purpose flour (enough to mix until it sticks together and away from the bowl)

 

My Sunday routine

8:00 am- Mixing and Kneading

In a bowl, mix two cups of flour with salt and sugar. Mix yeast into water. Pour yeast with water into flour and start mixing. Add in more flour and mix until the dough sticks together into a ball and away from the bowl. Sprinkle some flour on table and knead dough for 10 minutes. Sprinkle more flour when dough gets sticky during the kneading process. Place it back to the bowl and cover with moist towel to rise for 2 hours.

8:20am – Morning run

10:00 am – Folding

Sprinkle some flour on table. Spread dough on table and stretch out on 4 sides. Fold all sides inwards like wrapping a present and place dough seam side down back into bowl. Cover with moist towel to rise for 1 hour.

10:05 am – Breakfast and grocery shopping at the local market

11:00 am – Pre-shaping

Sprinkle some flour on table. Place dough seam side up and pat on it to release extra gas. Fold the sides to the centre and shape it into a ball. Place dough seam side down back to bowl. Cover with moist towel to rise for 1 hour.

11:05 am – Tidy up home

12:00 noon – Final shaping

Sprinkle some flour on table. Place dough seam side up and pat on it to release extra gas. Shape it into a Batard and place dough seam side down on baking dish. Cover with moist towel to rise for 1 hour.

12:05 pm – Rest and relax

1:00 pm – Baking

Pre-heat your oven to 425F. After slitting the dough, spray with water and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

I am now baking with my new oven that produces great results.

french batard 1b

french batard 2

 

BRUCE LEE MOVIE SPECIALS

This is a happy moment!

I can still recall the number of compliments that was received from my boss, colleagues and friends when they saw this movie trailer on TV five months ago. Many told me it will win an award. Such wishes add on to my stress for the desire to hope that it will eventually happen for real. So I decided to put that thought away and keep my fingers crossed while waiting patiently for the day of the event.

The broadcast industry recognizes Promax as the Oscars of TV promotion. Yesterday night was the annual Promax Asia Awards ceremony. Like everyone else, I was among the audience hoping for a present from Santa to end the year with joy.

Just into the first quarter of the awards show, the category of my entry was up and I heard a familiar title being announced. Before I can receive all the handshakes from people sitting around me and settle myself down, my work was already playing on the big screen. It’s my turn to walk down the aisle and up the stage to receive a Promax Gold.