Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Peking Crispy Duck - The Story of Lucky Duck

This was my duck for today, her name was Lucky Duck, She weighed 1.8 kg and she came all the way from Netherlands. Really, her name was Lucky Duck, I am not bluffing you. She was really cheap, I got her for 7,50 euro, from the freezer section of a chinese supermart in Wijnegem.

This was how she looked like before I put on any makeup for her.  White and chubby.

This was how she looked like after a mini makeover and a little "tattoo".  Just with a little bit of 5-spice powder and salt, I managed to turn her into an oriental beauty. See the diamond/lattice tattoo I did for her?

She wanted to lose some weight, so I put her in the oven.

And after 1 hour, she successfully lost some fats and became like this. 

After another hour (2 hours later), in addition to losing weight, she also became tanner, I almost couldn't recognise her.

After yet another hour (3 hours later), her transformation was complete, she turned into a peking duck lookalike, although she was still very much a belgian dutch duck at heart.

So this was the life story of Luck Duck, she ended her short life in the stomachs of a young family in Belgium.

Ok, let me show you how to make Peking Crispy Duck (北京脆皮烤鸭) at home.
Here is my own simple improvised recipe :

1 duck, fresh or frozen
2 tbsp chinese 5-spice powder
2 tsp fine salt
an inch of ginger, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, julienned
few stalks of spring onions, julienned

Dipping Sauce
Lee Kum Kee Peking Duck Sauce (highly recommended, gives the best taste)
or Lee Kum Kee Plum Sauce
or Lee Kum Kee Hoisin Sauce

1. If you are using frozen duck, remove from freezer the day before and leave it at room temperature to let it thaw overnight. Pat the duck dry with kitchen towel and rub it thoroughly with 2 tbsp of 5-spice powder and 2 tsp of salt, this is for a duck of about 1.8kg. Stuff a few small slices of ginger into the cavity and seal the cavity with toothpicks. Let it rest for at least an hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius. Prepare a roasting pan and a rack (I am using a round baking rack). Use a sharp knife and score the duck skin with a diamond/lattice pattern, this will allow the duck fat to drip out during roasting.  If you don't know how to prepare the duck skin, check out this link

3. Fill the roasting pan with a little water, this is to prevent the dripping duck fat from splattering onto the roasting pan and making a mess in the oven. Put the duck on the rack (with breast side up), and the rack on the roasting pan. Make sure the duck doesn't touch the base of the pan or the water. You don't want the duck to sit in a pool of duck fat. Place the roasting pan at the lower 1/3 of the oven so that the top of the duck is right in the middle. If you place the roasting pan in the middle of the oven, the top of the duck will be too near to the heating elements on top, and the duck will be burnt easily. Let it slow-roast at 170 degrees celsius for 1 hour.

4. After 1 hour, remove from oven, poke the duck skin all over with a toothpick to release more duck fat, turn the duck so that it is now breast side down and put it back to slow-roast again at 170 degrees celsius. If you have already poked the skin at the beginning before roasting, you will realise that it is better to poke the skin to release the duck fat after 1 hour of roasting, when the skin is more supple.

5. After 2 hours, again remove from oven,  poke the duck skin, turn the duck over to breast-side up and put it back for another hour.

6. After 3 hours, the duck should be ready. Most of the duck fat would have dripped out into the roasting pan and the duck skin should be hard and crispy. Remove the duck from the oven and allow it to rest for a while until it is no longer piping hot. Cut the duck into small pieces, prepare some ready-made chinese pancakes or springroll/popiah skin, fill each pancake with some duck meat with skin, some julienned cucumber and spring onions and 1 tsp of LKK peking duck sauce.

(Note: I am using the bigger version of popiah/springroll skin from a famous Singapore brand called Tee Yih Jia (第一家). I find it too big and a bit too chewy especially if you wrap it too many layers. Traditional peking duck is not tightly wrapped and rolled this way like a springroll or popiah, instead it is always loosely wrapped in a round pancake. Next time, I should attempt to make my own chinese pancakes if I have the time. :)

Voila, your homemade crispy peking duck pancakes are ready to be served. Smakelijk eten! :)

This is just my simple fuss-free way of preparing the Peking Crispy Roast Duck (北京脆皮烤鸭), if you find it not challenging enough or you want to spend more time and effort, do check out these few links below to get more inspiration:

- Best way to roast a duck
- Crispy Duck ala Nigella
- Sunflower Food Galore's Crispy Duck (Steam and Fry method)
- Ken Hom's Peking Duck videos part 1, part 2, part 3
- Homemade pancakes and homemade plum sauce

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tomates Crevettes / Tomaten met Grijze Garnaaltjes

This is a very typical belgian starter/appetizer that you should try if you have a chance to visit Belgium. Or you can prepare it at home, and I will show you how. This dish "tomatoes with grey shrimps and mayonnaise" is very refreshing and absolutely delicious. It is very easy to prepare, and there is no cooking involved, just cut a hole in the tomatoes and fill them with grey shrimps and mayo, as simple as that.

When hubby saw me preparing this dish, he said, oh you have not prepared this for a very long time. I said, yes indeed, it's a long time since we had this. 

Since it was still snowing and freezing cold despite being the start of spring, I almost didn't feel like making this dish since we normally eat this cold during the hot summer season. But I really needed something quick and easy to serve as dinner, as the 2 kids were chasing each other in the living room, my almost-4-year-old boy was chasing my 1 year old baby girl round the dining table and you could hear them giggling away. 

So, here is the recipe for Tomates Crevettes / Tomaten met Grijze Garnaaltjes. Enjoy!

I am submitting this dish to the Little Thumbs Up event (March: Tomatoes) organized by Mui Mui of my little favorite DIY at this link and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Healthy Mango Rice Salad

Mangos were on special promotion in Colruyt, I bought 2 of them last week at 1.05 euro per piece, wrapped them in a plastic bag to ripen and completely forgot about them. I wanted to do a mango cake or a mango tart, but we just had 2 cakes yesterday, a chocolate fudge cake and an apple crumble pie. So why not try something healthier and less fattening, I thought.

Very colourful isn't it? I was attracted to the vibrant colours when I first saw a picture of the dish, so many different colours and flavours, yet so easy to prepare. Just steam the rice in advance and allow it to cool, then it will just take you less than 15 min to put everything together. A very lovely cold mango rice salad with coconut milk dressing. The coconut milk was creamy, and very flavourful with a tinge of palm sugar, fish sauce, lemon juice and chilli.

Will upload the recipe soon, stay tuned.

As promised, here is the recipe, adapted from Caroline 's blog (in Dutch)

Ingredients (for 4 persons)
2.5 cups of thai rice
250g prawns
1 small cucumber, peeled and diced into small cubes
2 not-too-ripe mangos, peeled and diced into small cubes
2 to 3 tbsp of nuts (roasted cashew nuts or peanuts)
a pinch of salt to taste
3 spring onions, finely chopped
a stalk of fresh coriander, finely chopped 

Salad Dressing
75ml of canned coconut milk
1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
fresh lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp thai fish sauce
1 tsp palm sugar/gula melaka/brown sugar

1. Cook the rice beforehand, set aside and let it cool. I am using 2.5 rice cups of thai rice cooked in a rice cooker.

2. For the dressing, mix the coconut milk, red chilli, lemon juice, fish sauce and palm sugar together in a mixing bowl, stir well and make sure the sugar is well dissolved.

3. The recipe uses gekookt rivierkreeftjes (cooked small crayfish), but the supermarket has run out of stock, so I am using prawns. Just peel them, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, add some virgin olive oil in a frying pan and fry till they are cooked, then set aside and let them cool down.

4. Mix the cooled rice, prawns, cucumber, mango, spring onions, coriander and mix everything thoroughly. Add a pinch of salt to taste

5. Pour the coconut milk dressing over the mango rice salad and sprinkle some roasted cashew nuts or peanuts over it before serving.

- I used thai cooked rice instead of brown rice, prawns instead of small crayfish, cashewnuts instead of peanuts, and I left out coriander.
- The mango must not be too ripe, otherwise it becomes difficult to handle. What I did was to slice a big chunk of mango flesh off each side of the mango, very near to the seed, then dice them into cubes of 1 cm.
- If you are serving this to children, remember to remove the seeds of the red chilli, it wasn't spicy at all when I removed the chilli seeds. If you want it spicier, you can add in more chillis with seeds.
- The amount of salad dressing is for 4 persons and is just nice, without making the mango rice salad too wet. If you like it wetter, just increase the proportions accordingly.

The Ultimate Apple Crumble Pie/Tart

My FIL bought a big bag of apples last week, you won't believe it, 3 kilo for 3 euro! 24 apples for about 4.80 SGD! He bought them from a apple farmer who sold his apples from a van-turned-makeshift-stall at the hiking event organized by the local hiking club. Straight from the apple farm, no middle-men, that explains the ridiculously cheap prices. They were very good apples, mind you! Still very hard, no bruises, very sweet and juicy.

I quickly flipped through my thick pile of recipes for apple-related recipes. I wanted to try an apple pie recipe I bookmarked from AllRecipes.com, but then I remember seeing an apple crumble pie/tart recipe belonging to my sister's friend. 

So this was the result last Saturday, I was very pleased with this apple crumble pie/tart, so pleased that I made it again on Monday for my FIL's birthday. All his belgian guests gave a thumbs-up for this apple pie and said that "het is zeer lekker" (it is very delicious). Coming from belgian ladies who all know how to make a good (belgian) apple pie, I take it as the highest compliment that I have ever received on my bakes. :)

I like the crust, it was thin and crispy and yet so easy to make that I could use my bare hands to rub-in and knead, without the help of the dough hook. I like the buttery flavour of the crumble topping too, it reminds me of the crumbly taste of my pineapple tart. Not to forget the juicy apple fillings, oh I shouldn't be singing so much praises. I am gonna jot this down in my dog-eared-and-sauce-stained recipe book and keep this recipe for years to come! Unless and until I come across another recipe that will rival this recipe, this will remain the Ultimate Apple Crumble Pie/Tart recipe that I will refer to in future. You know what, I am actually afraid of attempting new recipes, the fear of failure and disappointment is something which I don't really like but which is absolutely necessary in baking.

Meanwhile, the apple of my eyes, Her Majesty (my 1-year-old baby girl) has recently begun to walk around like a big boss and play with my pots and pans while I am not looking. In fact, she was toying with a box of chicken bouillon cubes all the time I was baking. Haha, she hasn't seen my collection of baking tins and what-nots, I am sure she will be delighted when she sees them. I believe she has mama's genes for fooling around baking and cooking in the kitchen, so I am gonna pass all my pots and pans and precious recipes to her when she is married, at least that was what my mum said to me too. :)

Thank you, my (sister's) friend for this recipe!

[Updated on 21 Mar 2013] My sister's friend (Itsy is her pen name) has kindly granted the permission to link to her recipe. If you like to eat sugee cakes, you can visit her bakery at her online webstore The Buttered Cat or at her FB fan page The Buttered Cat

Note: In order to make a 9-inch tart, you need to make adjustment to the quantities stated in her recipe which she used to make a 9-inch and a 6-inch tart. 

I would type out my adjusted recipe when I have the time....

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chocolate Fudge Birthday Cake

This is a chocolate fudge cake I baked on Monday and decorated yesterday. I wasn't very happy with how I did the ganache, in fact I did it right the first time, it was quite flawless, I should have taken a picture of it. But being a perfectionist, I wanted to do it even better, so I thought of the idea of  warming up the cake in the microwave so that I could re-apply the ganache and make it even smoother, needless to say, it became worse and worse. :)

1st lesson of the day: don't be a smart aleck!
2nd lesson of the day: 见好就收! (stop when it is good)
3rd lesson of the day: don't sweat over small stuff!

So I covered it up with sponge fingers at the sides and sprinkled some icing sugar over the pencil stencil to cover the not-so-smooth ganache. But in the end the paper stencil wasn't done nicely either, the paper shifted and everything went haywire, haha. I must be getting old and senile!

Chocolate Fudge Cake is so troublesome and messy, I wonder whether I will attempt it again?

Recipe adapted from Aunty Yochana's Chocolate Fudge Cake, baked in a 8-inch springform. There is this good video from JoyOfBaking on how to cover a cake with ganache, do watch it before you start.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mum's Braised Tomato Pork Ribs 妈妈的古早味番茄排骨

Tomato Pork Ribs served on top of rice in a traditional korean bowl.
In the background, korean style pork rib radish soup.

This is a recipe which I picked up from my mum during my recent Xmas trip to Singapore. It was a new recipe she invented recently, I have never tasted this recipe when I was young. Maybe she had already cooked this several times for my siblings in the last 4 years I was away from home, but I never got to taste it. :( But I really liked the dish the first time I ate it, it was so simple and yet delicious, makes me think of my childhood days. :)

I tried replicating this dish last week, based on my mum's recipe. My mum didn't actually tell me how exactly she made this dish, and I didn't want to trouble her over the phone. You know how old folks are when they cook, they will just tell you "agak-agak", like rub some salt (how much? just sprinkle a handful of salt lah) onto the pork ribs (how long? long enough until it's marinated lah) and let it cook for some time (how long? oh, until it's cooked lah)...

You only need 3 ingredients for this dish - salt, tomatoes and pork ribs. And yet you can cook up a storm with these 3 ingredients. It's really simple, here is how it goes.

3/4 tsp fine salt
500g big hard tomatoes, cut each tomato into 2 halves
700g pork ribs (I am using pork ribs with a lot of fatty meat, what they called vleesribben here in Belgium, not those pork ribs with only bones and little meat. )

This is how I put the tomatoes on top of the pork ribs in the beginning.

1. Rub the salt and marinate the meat for at least 1 hour, the longer the better. Rule of thumb is 1 tsp salt for every 1 kg of meat. I removed the rib bones and chopped them into smaller chunks for easier cooking.

2. Heat up a non-stick frying pan to medium-high heat, add in the pork ribs and let the fat sizzle so that the ribs will be fried in its own fat. You can add in a little bit of oil if your wok is non-stick but it's not necessary if you have a teflon non-stick wok. 

3. After a while, once the ribs are browned and slightly cooked, you can add the tomatoes on top of the ribs with the tomato skin facing up (see picture above). Lower the heat, cover with a lid but not completely and let the tomatoes and pork ribs simmer. 

3. The tomato pork ribs are ready when the tomatoes are cooked soft and the pork ribs tender, about 45 to 1 hour. If you don't like your tomatoes to disappear into a gooey red blob, then make sure you choose hard tomatoes, don't cut the tomatoes too small and don't let it simmer for too long. You can serve the dish once the ribs are tender.

This recipe is very easy, right? It's very simple and yet really delicious, do try it!


I am submitting this dish to the Little Thumbs Up event (March: Tomatoes) organized by Mui Mui of my little favorite DIY at this link and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids.

This dish is also submitted to Aspiring Bakers #29:Heirloom and Local Dialect Recipes 家传菜/ 籍贯菜 (March 2013 ) hosted by FHL of Faith Hope Love.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Korean Style Radish Pork Rib Soup (韩式白萝卜排骨汤)

I bought a very big white radish this Monday at Antwerp Chinatown. Originally intending to make radish kimchi, but the radish was SO BIG (about 750g!) that I decided to use 2/3 to make radish soup, leaving just 1/3 to make radish kimchi tomorrow. 

This soup was really quick and easy, I was surprised I didn't have to boil it for hours. It took me just 10 minutes marinating, 3 minutes frying and 15 minutes boiling and the soup was ready to be eaten. If you are tired of eating chinese style radish soup, why don't you try this korean style? It does not require any particular korean ingredients, just ordinary ingredients that you will find in a chinese kitchen. The original recipe used beef (any cut of beef) but I decided to use pork ribs instead, and the result was just as nice. Very cheap and simple ingredients yet very nourishing soup!

This soup is called Beef & Radish Guk (소고기 무국, SoGoGi MuGuk), but I am using pork ribs instead of beef.

Recipe adapted from Aeri's Beef & Radish Guk, for 4 servings

250g pork ribs, chopped into small pieces
1 pound of white radish, about 450g
5 cups of water, about 1.2 litres
2 spring onions (also called green onions/scallions/jonge uitjes in Dutch)
2 to 3 tbsp light soya sauce
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp salt - optional

* I am using pork ribs with a lot of fat and meat, which they call vleesribben in Dutch. 1 kg costs about 7 euro.

Meat Marinade
2 tbsp spring onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tsp light soya sauce
1 tsp chinese cooking wine
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Chop the meat into thin slices and combine the meat with the marinade ingredients in a big bowl, mix well and set aside for at least 10 minutes.

2. Take 1 pound (about 450g) of white radish, remove the skin and dice it into 1-inch cubes.

3. Heat a soup pot to medium-high heat, add 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil, throw in the marinated beef and cut radish and fry it for about 3 min on medium-high.

4. After 3 min, add 5 cups or 1.2 L of water into the soup. Increase the heat to HIGH and let it boil. Once it starts to boil, cook for another 13 min on HIGH heat. During boiling, remove the foam from the surface of the soup when necessary.

5. After 13 min, add light soya sauce to taste. I suggest first adding 2 tbsp, taste it for saltiness then add the last tbsp if necessary. I added 3 tbsp of light soya sauce and omitted the 1/4 tsp of salt. Note to self : maybe I should limit to 2.5 tbsp next time.

6. Last but not least, add 2 chopped spring onions (cut into 2-inch lengths) and cook for another 2 more minutes. I didn't have any more spring onions, so I just serve after 13 min of boiling :)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My Lunch Today - Noodles with Kimchi :)

Kimchi again! What's wrong with me? Nothing wrong, but homemade kimchi with instant noodles are simply delicious! Goes well with plain porridge too!

This was my lunch for today, egg noodles with kimchi. I ran out of korean instant noodles which I brought from Singapore, and the instant noodles in the chinese groceries store here are so ridiculously expensive that i swear not to buy them even if I am filthy rich, imagine 80 cents to 1 euro for 1 small miserable packet! The bigger packets cost 1,20 euro! I curse and swear every time I think of how much they cost back in Singapore, why must they mark up the price here by so much? 

Anyway, I still have 2 big bottles of napa cabbage kimchi sitting pretty in the fridge, they are 1 week old and ready to be eaten. I made 4 bottles last Wednesday, one was given away to a chinese friend living near where I stay, and another was finished off by myself within 3 days. :) I have to shift the remaining 2 bottles from the garage to the fridge bcos the temperature is getting quite warm these few days, 15 degrees!

If I am in Singapore, my mama will help me eat them. She loves my napa cabbage kimchi, I have made them 5 times, once per week during the 5 weeks I was in Singapore. I am considered quite an expert now, hehe. All in all, I have made napa cabbage kimchi 7 times (including twice in Belgium), using the same recipe! Ok, now I am getting bored, time to switch to making other types of kimchi. ;p

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rice Cooker Cake #4 - Steamed Moist Banana Cake (again) !!!

This is my 4th rice cooker experiment to date. And I think I am getting better and better at "baking" cakes in my rice cooker. 

This afternoon, His Majesty (my 4 year old son) came home grouchy, sulking and complaining of hunger. He wanted to eat the piece of cake which his classmate gave him yesterday (apparently it was somebody's birthday), but I have already finished off the cake after discovering it in his lunchbox late last evening, when he has gone off to bed. So he cried and whined and refused to eat his lunch. I promised him I would bake him a cake right after lunch, if only he would eat his lunch. He did, and I had to keep my promise. 

So I opted for something quick and easy, and with minimal wash-up. My easy peasy steamed banana cake immediately came to mind, I have done it twice  in a steamer (once with a cake-mixer and once without), but this time round I wanted to try it out in the rice cooker to see how it works. I was thinking if it worked in the steamer, it should work in the rice cooker, but with different timing and setting of course, since there is only one "COOK" button you can press, and you can't just adjust the heat to low, medium or high unlike for a steamer.

So I tweaked the recipe a little, reduced the quantity of the ingredients to 3/4, so that it would be cooked within 1 hour. Somehow, my gut feelings told me that if I were to stick to the full recipe, it would take more than 1 hour and would end up three-quarter-cooked like my marble cake, hence it's safer to reduce to 3/4. And you bet, I am RIGHT! After one hour, here is my rice cooker cake #4, nice or not?

I am very happy with the result of my experiment. It shows that I now have a better understanding of how my rice cooker works with cakes. Using my marble cake as a "bad example" and my matcha green tea cake as a "good example", I came up with a rule of thumb : as long as I keep the amount of butter, sugar and flour and wet ingredients to a certain limit (as indicated by the good example - the matcha green tea cake), the cake batter will cook nicely within 1 hour in my Toshiba rice cooker. If however, the quantities of the dry and wet ingredients exceed that of my "bad example", it would probably end up as another "bad example". Here I am talking about my Toshiba RC10L-MI, a pretty small rice cooker WITHOUT a baking function and with max 5.5 cups white rice capacity.

So just a quick recap, the original steamed banana cake recipe which was previously steamed in a steamer at HIGH heat for 45 to 50 min, can be cooked/baked in a rice cooker for 1 hour if you use 3/4 of the recipe and the result is almost the same! Marvellous isn't it? What's more, this is a cake that doesn't require a cake-mixer, just a non-stick pot plus a wooden spoon or spatula will do! I am beginning to feel like a guru in rice cooker cake baking! :)

Let's get started, let me show you how to make a banana cake in a rice cooker, it's really easy! Here is my rice cooker banana cake recipe, adapted from my steamed moist banana cake recipe, reduced to 3/4 of the original quantity.

[Important : I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do, and I would be happy if you could give credit where credit is due, and link back to this post if you do make this cake and share it on your blog or facebook. Remember plagiarism is not the best form of flattery.]

3 eggs
110g sugar
110g melted butter
200g very ripe bananas (weight without skin)
160g plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt, less than 1/8 tsp


1. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a big bowl, set aside. Melt the butter and sugar in a non-stick pot and set aside to cool a while. Mash the bananas with a fork and set aside.

2. Add in beaten eggs to the melted cake batter from (1) and mix well using a manual whisk or spatula. (You can continue to use the same pot for mixing for the rest of the steps, without transfering to a mixing bowl.)

3. Add in mashed bananas, mix well using a spatula.

4. Finally fold in sifted flour mixture (over 3 times) using a spatula.

5. Pour the cake batter into the greased rice cooker bowl. Press "COOK" and allow it to cook for at least 1 hour. (In my case, I pressed "COOK" 3 times. Each time my rice cooker has finished cooking, it will beep and automatically switch to "KEEP WARM" mode, so I just have to press "CANCEL" and press "COOK" again. It took me 30 min + 17 min + 17 min = 1 hour 4 min in total. This is a cake that works in a rice cooker without the cake-baking function. Note that cooking time may vary based on the capacity of your rice cooker. Mine has a 5.5 cup capacity. )

6. Allow the cake to cool for a while, before turning out. (My cake flipped out easily in a split second even without using a knife to loosen the edges. And look at the crust, how I love the crust of a rice cooker cake!)

Before pressing the "COOK" button
After 1 hour 4 minutes of cooking

[Update on 4 April 2014] For those who would like a bigger taller cake, I am listing the ingredients here for a slightly bigger cake for easier reference. This was for a 8 inch round cake pan to be steamed in a steamer at high heat for 45 to 50 min, but it can also be baked in the rice cooker. If this is still not big enough for your 10-cup rice cooker, pls feel free to multiple the 3-eggs version by 1.5x or 2x, baking time will be extended of course. Don't ask me how long, you have to observe and decide yourself!

Ingredients for 4 eggs version:
4 eggs
170g (3/4 cup) sugar
170g (3/4 cup) melted butter or vegetable oil (or mixture of butter and oil)
300g very ripe bananas (weighed without skin) *
250g (1 cup) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt

Note on 14 Mar 2013:
If you have tried my rice cooker banana cake recipe or any of my other rice cooker bakes, I would like to hear from you! I would like to know what kind of rice cooker you are using, and whether you made any adjustments to the method or timing. Please help me spread the love of rice cooker baking! =)

Update on 21 May 2013:
One of my readers, Irene N from Singapore, has emailed me photos of her banana cake steamed in her Midea pressure cooker with multi-cooking function but no baking function. It was her first time making a cake and first time steaming one in a pressure cooker. Thank you Irene for your positive feedback and the marvellous photos!

Update on 20 June 2013:
I received a lovely comment with photo attached from Charmine on 18 June 2013, who successfully cooked her banana cake within 50 minutes (pressed one time) in her Panasonic rice cooker. I have posted her comments below under the comments section. Here is the lovely photo of her rice cooker banana cake. Thank you Charmine!

On 29 Sep 2013, Amy T (so sweet of her) sent me these fotos of the rice cooker banana cake that she cooked in her Mistral 8-cup rice cooker. She said "Dear ms B, big thk u 2u for the amazing recipe. I followed exactly coz I never bake nor do any cooking. And it turn out so well. My family loves it too! Am so happy & sense of accomplishment. I din modify anything... followed ur recipe like a cookbook for dummies! Merely added abit of vanilla essence for fun. I cook from 7.50pm-8.35pm. Juz kept pressing cook button when it pops back to warm mode." Thank you Amy!

On 28 Oct 2013, Janet K emailed me a picture collage of her lovely banana walnut cake, and said "Hi Miss B, I followed your recipe and it turned out moist and yummy. My hubby gave me thumbs up for baking my first cake in my philip rice cooker. I added walnut in the cake n on top of the cake." Thank you Janet!

On 13 Nov 2013, Agnes T emailed me a picture of her lovely banana cake witha additional slices in between, along with this message "Hi, I did this today and it turns out well :) I add on additional slices of banana in between. Thanks for the nice recipe you have." Thank you Agnes! 

On 27 Nov 2013, littlehevn sent me a picture of her lovely banana cake made in her Hanabishi rice cooker, with the message "I used one of those old-fashioned one push-lever rice cookers with a stainless (non-teflon) pot and glass lid. This proves that yummy baked goodness CAN be had, even without fuzzy logic rice cookers". She said "the result was INCREDIBLE...very fluffy, moist, super-rich and flavourful." Thank you for your kind comments, littlehevn!

On 3 Jan 2014, HS Ong sent me a lovely email with the following message "Hello Miss B, Your blog inspired me. I am so into baking RCC now. I got a Tefal RC from my hubby on Christmas.  I followed your banana cake and the butter cake recipe. I wanna share a few photos for you to enjoy. Im going to follow more of your recipes soon. Thank you again." Here is a picture of her rice cooker banana cake. Thank you HS!

On 8 Mar 2014, I received an email from Yuuki, a young guy who lives in Japan. He said "I tried it for the first time and even though I don't know how to cook at all, your instructions were very simple to follow and I think my first attempt turned out pretty good! I had to press the cook button on my Zojirushi cooker three times with a five minute wait between each one, so it took around 80 minutes or so to bake all together and came out of the pot easily." Thank you Yuuki!

[Note] If you are new to rice cooker baking, do read this FAQ before you try out your first rice cooker cake. If you would like to receive more updates, do click like on my Facebook page.  

Wanna check out our Rice Cooker Cake Challenge #2 Roundup?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

My Favourite Roast Chicken with Malt Whisky and Mixed Herbs

This is a regular dish in my household, I have cooked it at least 20 times or even more in the last 3 years, so many times that I have lost count literally. Whenever I need to roast a chicken, I would only use this recipe and nothing else. In fact I have not looked at other roast chicken recipes ever since I perfected my way of roasting chicken. The 2 most important things you need to have for this roast chicken is brandy or whisky and mixed herbs. But if you don't have brandy or whisky, you can try using D.O.M, Yomeishu or Elixir d'Anvers. Rum may also work, but I have never tried it. Hard liquors such as brandy or whisky are expensive and high in alcohol content of course, but we are just using 2 tablespoonfuls, so it won't knock you out even after finishing the whole chicken. :)

Today I am using a malt whisky called The Famous Grouse (aged 18 years), it happens to be the only bottle of hard liquor I have at home, seems to be a gift from one of my hubby's friends. This time round, I also did a slight variation from the original recipe, instead of using honey which I always did, I use Korean Rice Syrup; and instead of using a whole chicken, I use 2 big chicken thighs and 2 big chicken fillets. 

Recipe adapted from my old post dated May 2010, but reproduced here for easy reference.

2 big chicken thighs and 2 big chicken fillets 

2 tbsp hard liquor such as brandy or whisky
2 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey or 2 tbsp Korean Rice Syrup/Corn Syrup
1 tsp fine salt
0.5 tsp white pepper

0.5 tsp each of thyme, rosemary, oregano and basilicum
(The original recipe used 1 tsp of mixed herbs but I prefer to use 4 different types of herbs to give it an intense aromatic herbal flavour. If you have to buy the bottled dried herbs and you prefer to buy just 2 types, then just stick to thyme and rosemary, make it 1 tsp each)

1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Place the chicken thighs and fillets in a oven-proof glass dish, use a fork to prick a few holes in the chicken pieces, pour and rub the marinade all over them. Set aside for at least 1 hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.

3. Before putting in the oven, use a spoon to bask the chicken with the marinade in the glass dish. Then place it in the oven and let it bake for 30 min at 200C. 

4. After 30 min, spoon the marinade all over the chicken again, turn the chicken around and continue to bake for another 15 min or until golden brown.

Note : 
The roast chicken is ready once you see that it has turned golden brown and the marinade is sizzling and you can smell the aroma of brandy or whisky in the air. 

- If you prefer to use one whole chicken, do refer back to the old recipe for detailed steps. Using cut chicken thighs and fillets will only take you 45 min instead of at least 1 hour for a whole chicken. You may need to make more marinade (1.5  to 2 times) for a whole chicken if you realise that there is insufficient marinade to bask the chicken.

- If you use honey, just use 1 tbsp will do and watch out that the chicken skin doesn't get burnt easily, because honey cameralizes easily, so you gotta set the timer and turn the chicken around half-way through to get it evenly roasted.

I am submitting my post to Aspiring Bakers #28: Chicken Feast hosted by SSB of Small Small Baker.

Korean Potato Side Dish (GamJa JoRim 감자 조림)

This is a new dish which I just learnt to cook using a new sauce which I have just bought - Korean Rice Syrup or Korean Cooking Syrup. Thanks to the chinese groceries store in Wijnegem, I am buying more and more korean cooking supplies since they stock enough korean foodstuff for me to experiment and venture out of my comfort zone into unknown territory. Kamsahamnida 감사합니다! If you have been following my blog, you would know about my experiments on making korean kimchi and korean spicy pork, so now I am taking one step further and trying out my cooking skills on other korean side dishes.

Korean Rice Syrup

Anyway, the reason why I cooked this dish was because I knew that His Majesty would refuse to touch the smoked salmon and feta cheese in the pasta which I prepared last Thursday, for some reason or another. So in other to appease him (otherwise he would fly into a rage and refuse to eat his dinner and papa would send him to sleep without eating), I set aside a portion of the pasta with only cherry tomatoes and no other ingredients. At the same time, I cooked this korean potato side dish specially for him.

This korean potato side dish is called GamJa JoRim (감자 조림). I hope I copy-and-paste correctly, hehe. It is sweet and flavourful due to the addition of the Korean Rice Syrup, and from what I understand, this is a side dish that kids love to eat in Korea. Actually adults too! His Majesty loved this dish, he had his plain pasta with cherry tomatoes and a serving of this Potato JoRim, and after eating his portion, he asked for a second helping and a third helping and he finished them all! 

This dish is cheap, simple and nourishing. Some Belgian kids eat french belgian fries everyday as staple food. In our family, we eat rice and pasta instead of fries, fries is an ocassional treat, say once every 2 weeks when we bake a steak or cook some beef stew. We are the exception rather than the norm in Belgium, I think. In my humble opinion, this is a healthier alternative than deep-fried fries. What's more, it is very delicious!

Recipe adapted from Aeri's Kitchen

3 medium sized potatoes (I used 5 small potatoes)
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp oil
2 to 2.5 tbsp light soya sauce
1 to 1.5 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp Korean Corn Syrup (I am using Korean Rice Syrup as shown above)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp sesame seeds (I left this out as I ran out of sesame seeds!)

1. Peel the skin of the potatoes and cut them into 1/2-inch cubes

2. Heat up a non-stick pan to medium-high heat, add 2 tbsp oil and fry the chopped potatoes for about 5 min till 1/3 cooked. Note that your potatoes have to be chopped into 1/2-inch bite-size cubes, otherwise it will take a longer time to cook.

3. After 5 min, add water (1/2 cup), light soya sauce (2 to 2.5 tbsp), korean corn syrup or rice syrup (2 tbsp), sugar (1 to 1.5 tbsp) and minced garlic (1 tbsp). Cook for another 5 min at medium-high heat. [already 10 min]

4. Now taste to see if you need to add a pinch of salt, I thought it was flavourful enough with 2.5 tbsp light soya sauce, so I skipped adding the salt at this point.

5. Cook until the liquid is reduced to a paste, which should take another 5 min. [already 15 min]. 

6. Reduce temperature to medium and cook for another 5 to 7 min. I have already reduced the temp to medium after 12 min or so, and my potatoes were done before 20 min was up. [total 20 min]

Note: If you don't have Korean Corn Syrup or Rice Syrup, you can try using maltose or honey, but the amount has to be halved, since maltose or honey is much thicker. But I would strongly recommend you to get a bottle from the nearest korean supermart. It is very cheap, only 2,20 euro for a 700ml bottle!

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