Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kahlua Souffle

The first time I had a Souffle was during lunch with my boss at the Les Amis French restaurant. That was like ten years ago. After that first time, I had the opportunity to lunch there a couple more times and each time, I would ask for the same souffle that was served with a light vanilla sauce.

I have heard alot of 'horror' stories about how intimidaing it can be to make one, the main setback being the souffle doesn't rise or collapsing the moment it leaves the oven.

Yesterday, I had the chance to learn how to make this from Chef Daniel Tay, the owner of Bakerzin, a very popular patisserie here in Singapore. After seeing how easy it was to make one, I plucked up enough courage to do it myself today.

What a sophisticated dessert? All with just 1 egg, 1 tablespoon each of sugar and Kahlua and a perfectly straight sided cup. What could be simpler and easier?


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Teochew Spiral Yam Mooncakes

I finally tried my hands at making this Teochew Spiral Yam (or Taro) Mooncakes.

I am pleased with the overall results and how the spirals turned out. The pastry is very crispy and slightly sweet. I do feel however, that it lacks a certain 'omph' in that it is very flat tasting possibily because it uses only shortening. It just lack the richness in taste from the store bought types. Perhaps a mixture of butter and shortening or pure lard would up the taste factor. Photobucket

The yam filling which is made from scratch is nice ~ not too sweet and a bit chunky as how I want it to be. The addition of shallot oil makes it very fragrant.

I made a total of 16 pieces.

These are two pieces failed me in terms of the spirals as the layers are too far apart.

I still have another 18 pieces of nicely rounded yam fillings waiting to be enrobed in pastry. I may just try another pastry recipe instead of using this same recipe.

Added on 19 Sept 2010 @ 4.30pm
I just made a second batch of the Spiral Mooncakes using a different recipe for the pastry. This pastry uses butter and has salt added. Texture while crispy, it is still 'short' and crumbly and has richness in taste I was looking for.

You can see that I am able to cut quite nicely through the pastry. I was not able to cut through Version 1 above as that pastry was too crispy. The moment I tried to press a knife through it, the whole pastry threatens to flatten and in the end, I tore it into halves with my fingers.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tea-Smoked Yellowtail Fish

Dinner tonight was Tea-Smoked Yellowtail Fish.

I was watching Food Trip with Todd English on the Asia Food Channel and Todd was preparing a meal of tea smoked fishes. It looked simple enough and without much fuss. I decided to try it for dinner and so popped over to the supermarket for the fishes. I chose two Yellowtail Fish, each about 22cm long and here is how it is made:

Tea-Smoked YellowTail Fish

2 yellowtail fish (each about 22cm long)
100gm Demerara sugar
100gm tealeaves
100gm rice grains (dry, unwashed)
Salt & black pepper
Olive oil
Aluminium foil

1) Pat dry the fish and season with salt and pepper both inside and outside. Set aside.
2) Prepare the smoking mix by combining the Demerara sugar, tea leaves and rice grain together.
3) Place a heavy pan over high heat and lay large piece of aluminium foil to cover the entire base of the pan all the way up to the sides.
4) Pour the smoking mix onto the foil and spread it out well.


5) Place another piece of foil over the smoking mix and drizzle with olive oil and place the fish ontop. Drizzle with more olive oil.

6) Cover pan tightly with the lid and smoke the fish over high heat for 15-17 minutes.

7) Test with a chopstick for doneness. Serve fish with a wedge of lemon and some sauteed or roasted vegetables.

Although the smoke has permeated into the flesh, the fish was still moist and flaky, almost like a steamed fish but with a hint of smokiness.

This is how the smoking mix looks like after the heat treatment. Do not attempt to do this fish without laying the pan with alumimium foil otherwise your pan will be ruined.

Madeline & Madeleines

If you have read my last post, you would have known by now that my daughter Sylvia got married in April. She moved into her new home in Holland Village in July bringing with her most, well actually really only some, of her belongings. I am still trying to declutter her old room that has been stashed with her collection of books, toys, clothings etc etc collected over the years. It is like a mini Salvation Army store with some pretty good stuff that she doesn't want anymore and I am setting them aside for the charity.

Found amongst her books is this stack of Madeline theme kiddy invitation cards, serviettes and paper plates. I remembered buying this for her when she was eight years old. It was actually a box set consisting of the party invitations and a CD game relating the the adventures of a little French girl by the name of Madeline. I remembered Sylvia would spent hours intrigued by Madeline and learning a few French words and phrases along the way! The CD and box has long gone but she could not bear to use Madeline paper plates and serviettes and has been keeping them since.


And this reminded me that I have a Madeleines tray somewhere. If my memory is correct, my brother bought me the tray some 4 years back but it has never been used. And so this was what prompted me to bake some Madeleines.

There are many versions of how this pretty scallop-shaped teacakes came about. I used a recipe from the The Australian Women's Weekly magazine and this is the brief one-para write-up on it:

"Legend has it that this recipe was developed by a peasant girl named Madeleine who lived outside the castle of Commercy, in a small village in Lorraine. The ruler at the time, Stanislaw Leszcyriski, was so taken by the cakes, he made them a part of the royal repertoire"
The Australian Women's Weekly, March 2010

Here are my baked Madeleines. What I like about this recipe is that it is not as sweet as the store bought ones as it has lemon juice added to it. It has a citrusy tang and fragrant with the addition lemon zests and also seeds from a whole vanilla bean.

Madeleines ~ What a perfect accompaniment to a nice cup of espresso!