Sunday, October 29, 2006

Strawberry Yoghurt Marshmallow Cheesecake

For Amrita, Jennifer and Anonymous:




200g digestive biscuits - crushed
80g melted butter

Mix biscuit crumbs with the melted butter and press into an 8" springform or cake ring. Refrigerate 20-25 minutes to set the base.

Cheese Layer
250g cream cheese - room temperature
40g sugar
160g strawberry yoghurt
30ml lemon juice
160ml whippping cream
30gm plain marshmallows (abour 4-5 big ones)
8gm gelatin powder
50ml water
3-4 strawberries, diced and absorbed extra moisture on a paper napkin
3 big marshmallow, cut into dice (use kitchen scissors dipped in cornflour to cut)

1) Doubleboil or microwave creamcheese and marshmallow till softened. Mix in the sugar and stir till dissolved
2) Bloom gelatin powder in the water and microwave or doubleboil till gelatine is dissolved. (Do not overheat as heat kills the gelling action)
3) Whip the whipping cream till soft peak.
4) Add yoghurt & lemon juice into the creamcheese and blend into whipped cream.
5) Add in the gelatin mixture and stir well.
6) Lastly stir in the diced strawberries and marshmallows.
7) Pour mixture over prepared base and chill overnight till set.

Mirror Topping
400ml cranberry juice
11g gelatin
1-2 tbsp sugar*

1) Microwave or doubleboil till gelatin and sugar are dissolved. Cool slightly.
2) Slice strawberries and lay them on paper napkins to absorb any excess moisture.
3) Lay the strawberries over the set cheesecake and gently spoon just enough jelly over the strawberries.
4) Chill the cheesecake for about 30 minutes to set the layer of jelly.
5) Spoon remaining jelly over the cake and let set completely before serving.

*Depending on how sweet or sour the cranberry juice is, you can adjust the amount of sugar to your taste.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

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For my birthday yesterday, something simple, a non-bake Strawberry Yoghurt Marshmallow Cheesecake.

I simply love strawberries and yoghurt. As for marshmallow, I grew up eating these fluffy confections and I could not resist melting some into the creamcheese and also throwing in some bite-size pieces into the mixture. The cake is deliciously smooth with a tangy undertone coming from from yoghurt and cranberry mirror jelly.

Served with stawberry puree:
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Sunday, October 22, 2006

October Babies

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October is month of mass birthday celebration in our family.

There used to be nine of us celebrating our birthdays this month. However this year, the figure has gone one notch up with a new addition in the form of a precious little girl named Krisalyn (my nephew's baby daugther). Krisalyn is just over 2 weeks old.

Tonight, all the birthday babies gathered at my brother's house for the bash. The youngest are celebrating their 19th birthday (my daughter & my niece) while the oldest is celebrating his 61st birthday (my second brother). Baby Krisalyn and her mommy did not join in the party as they are both still in confinement. Coincidentally, Krisalyn and her mommy shares the same birthdate!

My brother also invited two of his very good friends who are also October babies to join us in the merrymaking.

The task of making the birthday cake fell on me. I decided to make twelve individual cupcake baby for the each of us and one centrepiece symbolising a gaily wrapped birthday gift.

The cupcakes are vanilla flavored with an tangy orange curd filling. They are covered in buttercream before being topped off with a gumpaste baby sleeping snugly under a peppermint flavored marshmallow fondant (MMF) blanket. The blanket is then further individualised by an alphabet representing the person's name.

So I had A=Anna Alvin, C=Clarence Charles Crisalyn (my mistake, I thot it was spelt with a C), G=Ginny (hey that's me!), J=Joey, L=Leana, R=Riana, S=Susan Sylvia (my daughter) and finally Y=Yvonne.

The gift cake is a cappuccino sponge sandwiched with a layer of butter cream and black cherries and covered with the same peppermint MMF. (Hmmm come to think of it, both the cappunccino and peppermint flavor did not come through strong enough!). The pink bow is made from gumpaste

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As the party is a potluck thingy, I also made a Japanese Style Salad Parcel. To serve, you place sticks of raw vegetables (carrots, capsicum, celery, cucumber), ham, Japanese glass vermicelli and a spicy minced meat mixture onto a lettuce cup. The parcels are light and refreshing. Absolutely delicious!
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The rest of the spread:
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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Halloween Eyeballs

Stop starring! Boy am I glad these are just chocolate coated peanut butter eyeballs. If this had been a real starring incident, I am sure a fight will ensue soon.

These eyeballs are made by combining peanut butter, butter and icing sugar together. They are very sweet. The original recipe did not have this but I added a salted peanut in the centre to give it a crunch and a tinge of saltiness.

Preparation is easy, coating them is not. It is quite a finicky task and I gave up after coating only this many eyeballs. The rest I just covered it entirely in white chocolate. So those became blind eyeballs with no irises. Gross!

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Finally, I am Ready

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Yes, finally I am ready to post the recipe for the Lap Cheong, or Chinese Sausage.

Since I first posted Of Chinese Sausages & Hot Dogs and then Chinese Sausages Again , I have received many enquiries and requests for the recipe. I did not want to post the recipe then as I was not satisfied with the results. So after three tries, I am ready to share my recipe.

So for Jo of JoDeli, Lance, Vivien92130, the numerous Anonymous readers and my friends who either telephoned or emailed me, here is the recipe:

350-400g fatty meat
1-1/2 tbsp Gao Liang wine

1kg Lean Pork (from the hind leg)
1 cup sugar
2-1/2tsp salt
2-1/2tsp msg (okay, I know some of you are opposed to msg. Omit if you wish)
1/2 cup Gao Liang wine
1-1/2tsp cinnamon powder
2tbsp fish sauce
Ponceau 4R (光红) food color or char siew food color

Sausage casings - about 5m

Things you will need: a funnel, a pin, parcel twine tied into loops, small strainer.
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1) Absorb all excess water from the fats and cut into 1cm cubes.
2) Mix with the Chinese wine and leave in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour.
3) Absorb all excess water from the lean pork and cut into 1cm cubes.
4) Mix with the seasonings and leave in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour.
5) Cut the sausage casings into your desired length x 2 + 10-12cm for tying. Soak in water to soften. Give it a few squeeze under running water to remove any dirt and squeeze out excess water.
6) After marination, mix both the fats and lean meat together. Use the strainer to drain off excess marinating liquid before filling.
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7) Tie one end of the casing, attach funnel to the open end and start to stuff the meat into the casing.
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8) Ease the meat to the end of the casing as you stuff.
9) Use a pin to burst any air-pockets that forms between the meat.
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10)The meat must be quite tightly packed but do not overfill otherwise the casing may split open.
11) Once casing is filled, tie up the other end. Visually divide the sausage into half and twist it to make into 2 links. Tie the twine loop at the link.
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12) When all sausages have been filled, use a piece of clean cloth that has be wringed out of excess water to wipe down the sausages before drying them.
13) Dry by blowing with a fan at it's highest setting non-stop (yes non-stop). I blew the sausages for 48hours and then followed by another 48hours air drying.
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1) I cut my casings into 55cm length.
2) For the first knot, you can tie as close to the end of the casing as possible.
3) After filling, it is quite difficult to tie the second knot if you do not have sufficient casing left over. For me, I need about 7cm of casing to comfortably tie the knot.
4) When tying the second knot, do not tie too close to the fillings as you need to give some slack when you twist the length into two links. If you tie too close, your casing may burst due to the pressure applied when twisting.
5) Always inspect the filled sausages for air-pockets and burst them before twisting.
6) These sausages are not too 'sweet', if you prefer a sweeter sausage, you can either omit the fish sauce or add extra sugar.
6) I chose Gao Liang Wine because the alcohol content higer and it helps to prevent the meat from turning bad7) The above quantity yields 8 pairs of sausages based on a finished length of 22cm each sausage, which is longer than the commercial sausage.
8) As no preservatives is used in the process, please store the sausages in the fridge.
9) Sausage casings can be purchased from:
Chop Leong Aik Leong
Blk 333 Kreta Ayer Road #01-28
Singapore 080333
Tel: 6222-0234
Price is S$10/bundle of approx 5m.
Gaoliang Jiu on Foodista

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Happy Birthday Sweetheart

This is for my daughter Sylvia, who is turning 19 in a couple of days.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart. Since the real bag is not within my budget, you will have to make do with this one for the time being. Will buy you the real thing when the time is right. That's a promise!

A strawberry yoghurt buttercake sandwiched with cherry-buttercream filling. The cake is covered with marshmallow fondant.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ghostly Witches' Fingers

Since Halloween is just around the corner, I thought I'll post this cookie recipe for those who are interested to make them. These cookies were made last year. My daughter and I had so much fun shaping the fingers. It can be quite scary looking at all the 'amputated' fingers lying on the tray as they are so life-like.
The cookie dough is very soft and you will need to refrigerate the whole batch in the fridge till it has hardened. Take just enough dough to work with leaving the balance in the fridge. Make sure the almond is pressed in firmly otherwise it will drop off upon baking. You can give the 'nails' a manicure by painting them with a little red food color. Lastly, do not roll the fingers too fat as the dough expands quite a bit on baking.

250g butter
50g castor sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg
20ml cold water
4 tbsp Bailey's Irish Cream
380g All Purpose Flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g Ground Almond
1 tbsp Grated Lemon Peel
3/4 cup Almonds, whole blanched (for finger nails)
1/2 tsp almond extract
Red food coloring (optional)

1) Cream butter, sugar, salt, eggs and vanilla essence with an electric mixer until a light and fluffy texture is achieved.
2)Add in cold water and Bailey's to the mixture and build in the rest of the ingredients to form a soft dough. Refrigerate dough for about 30 minutes before use.
3)Work with one quarter of the dough at a time and keep the remainder refrigerated.
4)Roll heaping teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and then into finger shapes.
5)Using two fingers, roll across the fingers to form the knuckle.
6) Press almonds firmly on the one end for the nail.
7) Using a paring knife, make slashes in several places to form the knuckles.
8) Place on lightly greased baking sheets and bake in a 160C oven for about 20-25 minutes or until pale golden. Let cool for 3 minutes.
9) You can paint some slashes on the finger with red food coloring as the blood.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Holy Smoke!

Gosh! The whole island has been enveloped in a thick layer of haze and acrid smell of deliberate deforestation fires set by the Indonesian farmers waft through our noses. The PSI is climbing towards the 150 mark and yet we are having a BBQ party outdoors. As the smoke rises from our grill, I guess we must be the most environmentally unfriendly people 'contributing' to the haze.

Inspite of the haze, it was a great party meeting up with good old friends, making new ones and especially meeting Yvonne, my hostess's niece, whom I have not seen since she was a child some 20+ years ago.

There was plenty to eat and drink. I just love Sally's Japanese Style Salad Rolls which are so refreshing and a nice accompliment to the grilled food. I brought along a dish of Cola Ribs and also made Vi's famous Tirimisu which was so well received by the other guests.

Tirimisu Garden, with flowers made with gumpaste.

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Cola Ribs
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When you are in good company, time flies and goodbyes were eventually said well after midnight.

Thank You Frank & Jenny for hosting a wonderful party. Looking forward to the next gathering.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Mid Autumn Festival

Today is Mid Autumn or Lantern festival. On the Lunar Calendar, it falls on the 15th day of the 8th month.

What are your memories of the Mid Autumn Festival as a child?

I recall each year the excitement of following my mother to Chinatown to select my lantern. They were the traditional type that is fashioned out of bamboo and cellophane paper or crepe paper. I remembered one year, my mother bought me a lovely bunny lantern made out of white crepe paper. Alas, the lantern got burnt as soon as we reached home as I was so anxious to light it up. The rabbit was promptly replaced with a goldfish the next day but this time, my mother hung the lantern high up in the kitchen to prevent me from playing with it too soon lest I should destroy it again. She brought it down only on the night of the festival.

Then there were the memories of the table laden with numerous plates of mooncakes, fruits, kei ji paeng (mooncakes without fillings), pomelos, mini yams and water-caltrops as offerings to the Moon Goddess. Mother would wait for the moon to reach it highest peak before lighting the joss sticks and offering her prayers.

(Clockwise from top: Pomelo, Mini Yams, Water Caltrop, Chinese Spinning Top, Assortment of Mooncakes)
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In the meantime, a mini lantern parade would be started by all the children from the little private estate that we lived in. Even the children from the Indian and Malay families would join in the fun and we would parade around the huge field surrounding our house till our parents called us home. It was such fun then.

And then there was this Chinese Spinning Top that my brother would make for me with water caltrops. A piece of sturdy bamboo skewer would be pushed through two pieces of water caltrops. A little window would be cut into the second caltrop and the flesh dug out leaving only a hollow shell. A piece of yarn is then attached to the bamboo skewer though this little window. To spin the top, you would have to wind the first caltrop so that the yarn gets taken in through the window. Then you tug at the yarn and the top will spin round and round in both directions, much like the recoil action on a yoyo.

The Chinese Spinning Top
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Still very much a child at heart, my brother-in-law would make me this spinning top so that I could relive my childhood memories. I would unabashedly spin this toy much to the amusement of DH, DS and DD, who could not understand why I get so giggly over it. If you have not seen this Chinese Spinning Top, here is a short video (and I mean short, it is only ten seconds in length) showing how the top works. Yup that's me spinning the top while DS uses his mobile phone to film me in action.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Traditional Mooncakes

With just two days to the Lantern Festival, I thought I had better quickly make my Baked Mooncakes before the festival is over.

Mooncakes filled with White Lotus and a single salted egg yolk to up the cholesterol level.
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Very sullen looking handshaped piggy mooncakes:
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