The Versatile Blogger Award

I got nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award by Live2EatEat2Live. Thank you very much Mouse!

The Versatile Blogger

Here’s the website: http://l2ee2l.wordpress.com/

The rules for this award are pretty easy, here are the rules:

  1. In a post on your blog, nominate 7 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.
  2. In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.
  3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
  4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
  5. In the same post, include this set of rules.
  6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.

So here we go:

My seven nominations:

  1. http://pepperbento.wordpress.com/
  2. http://themodernhomeeconomist.wordpress.com/
  3. http://lezoemusings.wordpress.com/
  4. http://junkstarbuddy.blogspot.com/
  5. http://tsqueenenterprise.blogspot.com/
  6. http://unclephilipsg.blogspot.com.au/
  7. http://astrographer.wordpress.com/

Seven random pieces of information

  1. Favorite dessert: Ice Kachang
  2. Loves durian to pieces
  3. Loves Mathematics and Numbers
  4. Favorite drink: Chendol
  5. Loves Easter Bunnies
  6. Plays the piano
  7. Enjoys playing Columns

Thank you again to Live2EatEat2Live for the nomination.

Cheddar Cheese Buns and Elves’ Shoes

Below is recipe for the white bread which you can shape and fill with all kinds of fillings including sausage, tuna fish, sardines etc. This is the kind of fancy bread commonly sold in bakeries back home in Singapore.

Ingredients for a 2 pound large dough (makes 32 buns):

1 1/2 cups of water at room temperature

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

3 teaspoons of granulated sugar or honey

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (I added only a pinch as the ham is salty)

4 cups of bread flour

1/4 cup of nonfat dry milk

2 teaspoon of active dry yeast

Ingredients for a 1 1/2 pound medium dough (makes 16 buns):

1 1/8 cups of water at room temperature

2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter

2 1/4 teaspoons of granulated sugar or honey

1 1/8 teaspoons of salt

3 cups of bread flour

3 tablespoon of nonfat dry milk

1 1/2 teaspoon of active dry yeast

Ingredients for a small 1 pound dough (makes 8 buns):

3/4 cups of water at room temperature

1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 1/2 teaspoons of granulated sugar or honey

3/4 teaspoons of salt

2 cups of bread flour

2 tablespoons of nonfat dry milk

1 teaspoon of active dry yeast

Filling for the Elves Shoes:

Oscar Meyer Ham

Kewpie (Japanese Mayonnaise)

Filling for the Cheddar Cheese Buns

Cheddar slices cheese

Castor sugar

Egg wash:

Ratio:

1 beaten egg : 1 tablespoon of water

Method for making the dough:

Use a bread machine, set it to white bread mode and remove the dough after the kneading and rising cycle, just before it starts baking.

If you don’t have a bread machine, you can use a cake mixer to knead the dough well for 20 minutes. Let the dough rise in a bowl covered with a damp cloth for 45 minutes at room temperature. Keep dividing the dough into halves until you get 32 small pieces of dough for a large 2 pound dough.

Methods for making the bread:

For the elves shoes, cut each piece of Oscar Meyer sliced ham into thirds. Make a small cut in the middle each piece of ham without cutting it all the way through. Then curl two pieces of ham with ends overlapping to form a circle. Next, press the two pieces of ham onto a flattened piece of round dough, fold the dough over the edge of the ham without covering it and pinch the ends tightly so it looks like an elf shoe. Fill the gap in the middle of the ham with kewpie and sprinkle some parsley flakes on top of the kewpie.

For the cheddar cheese buns, cut each slice of cheese in thirds. Then stack two pieces of cheese together, fold the dough over the edge of the cheese and sprinkle castor sugar on top of the cheese.

After shaping the bread, brush the egg wash over them.

Bake the bread at 350 degrees in the oven for 20 minutes.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Hock Chew Or Kueh/ Fuzhou Oyster Cakes

I first had Fuzhou Oyster Cakes also known as Hock Chew Or Kueh when I was working in downtown Singapore. My coworker, a very sweet lady brought me to all the famous food stalls in that area including this stall at Telok Ayer Food Center that sells their famous Or Kueh/ Oyster Cakes. There would always be a really long queue of people waiting to buy the oyster cakes. I do not have their secret recipe, but this is the best I can do to replicate their famous oyster cakes. My husband and I attempted making these a few years ago. This is our second attempt. I am fortunate that he is a pro at deep frying and he helped me fry them.

You need some kind of big metal ladle to use as a mold for the oyster cakes.

Ingredients:

2 pounds of medium size oysters

4 cups of multipurpose flour
2 cups of self raising flour
6 cups of cold water
20 spritzes of cilantro chopped
1/2  level teaspoon of ground sea salt
2 tablespoons of white ground pepper
1 tablespoon of black ground pepper

Method:

Give the oysters a quick rinse under cold tap water in a colander. Strain excess liquid out and set aside.

Mix the multipurpose and self raising flour well with the cold water. Stir well to break up the clumps or use a mixer to blend well. Add in chopped cilantro and seasoning. Mix well.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer up to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure that the deep fryer is not over filled with oil. There should be a maximum oil level marking. Do not pour the oil above the marking. Be very careful deep frying the oyster cakes because they are going to be fried without the lid over the deep fryer.

Do this away from the deep fryer:

Using the ladle as a mold for the oyster cakes, scoop a dollop of oil from the deep fryer into the ladle. Use another smaller scoop to transfer some batter into the ladle as shown in the pictures below. Then, add four to five oysters on top of the batter and cover the oysters with more batter.

Now lower the entire ladle carefully into the deep fryer.

Fry the oyster cake for 3 minutes or until it is solid enough to be popped off the ladle with a fork. After popping the oyster cake off the ladle with the fork, turn it over, so that the other side can be cooked evenly. Then fry it in the deep fryer for another 3 minutes until the cakes become golden brown. You can make another oyster cake on the ladle after the first one has popped off and have two oyster cakes going at the same time.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Fried Rice with Chinese Spam

Fried rice with Chinese spam was commonly cooked in my mom’s household to use up extra overnight rice. It can be as simple as frying up the rice with eggs and dark soy sauce. I prefer freshly cooked steamed rice as they break up more easily. I got the idea of using green onions from Yangzhou Chao Fan that we often ordered at restaurants. They always came with freshly scattered, barely cooked green onions that were added last in the cooking. Fried rice just isn’t the same without green onions. A small amount of chopped fresh cilantro can also be added at the end of cooking if desired.

Ingredients:

3 cups of freshly cooked Thai jasmine rice (cook the rice in rice cooker while preparing the other ingredients)

3 tablespoons of oil

6 beaten eggs (add a dash of Thai fish sauce, 1 teaspoon of white ground pepper and 1 teaspoon of sesame seed oil)

1 can of Chinese cooked ham or 1 can of Western spam, cut into small cubes

1 bunch of green onions, chopped finely

1 pound of frozen carrots, peas and corn (thaw under warm tap water in a colander)

Lee Kum Kee mushroom flavored dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon of white ground pepper

1 tablespoon of black ground pepper

Method:

In a non-stick pan pour in oil and beaten egg mixture before oil heats up. Rotate pan to let egg mixture coat the entire pan like making a crepe. Cover in high heat until the top of the omelette is almost 80 percent cooked. Remove lid, cut the entire piece of omelette into quarters with the spatula and flip over. Fry till the other side is golden brown cutting the omelette into smaller pieces with the spatula before the other side turns golden brown.

Dish up the eggs and set aside.

Now, fry the cooked ham or spam until both sides are golden brown..

Then, add carrots, peas and corn and lightly stir fry these ingredients.

Add in hot, steamed rice and break up the chunks. Add mushroom flavored dark soy sauce, just enough to cover part of the rice or as desired. Mix the rice up well with the soy sauce and other ingredients. Then, add the eggs last with the ground pepper and mix into the rice well.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Crab cakes and smoked salmon cakes

This is my hubby’s and my idea of a sit back, relax and watch a movie with finger food dinner with a bottle or two of our favorite Irish beer, i.e. Guinness Stout.

Ingredients for crab cakes or smoked salmon cakes:

1 lb of fresh crab meat or smoked salmon meat, discard skin and chop finely

1 tube of Ritz low salt crackers

2 eggs

1/2 tablespoon of white ground pepper

1/2 tablespoon of black ground pepper

5 stalks of green onions, chopped

Cold water

Method::

Put the Ritz crackers in a zip lock bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Mix crab meat or smoked salmon with the other ingredients well and shape each piece of crab cake with hands by pressing a dollop together. Add very little cold water if the dough is too dry to be press together. Lay flat on a cookie sheet. Heat up enough oil to cover frying pan, sprinkle black pepper on each side of the crab cake and fry one side till golden brown before flipping to the other side.

Do the same for smoked salmon cakes.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Cheese Rolls

I think cheese and bread is a combination that can’t go wrong. I came up with this recipe for cheese rolls as I wanted melted Parmesan cheese on it that has caramelized granules of salt that gives it the extra bite.

Ingredients:

4 cups of white bread flour

1 1/2 cups of milk or water

3 tbsps of salted butter

2 teaspoons of yeast

3 tbsps of honey

1/4 cup of dried low fat milk

Topping:

Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Garlic Salt

Onion Powder

Method:

Bread Machine Method:

Put all ingredients in bread machine. Set menu to white bread mode. Allow the ingredients to go through the entire kneading and rising process. When the machine beeps to prompt that it is going to start baking, remove the dough from the machine before the baking process.

Mixer Method:

Put all ingredients in a mixer and knead well in mixer for 20 minutes. Then put dough in a big bowl and cover bowl with a damp cloth. Allow dough to rise at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Divide the dough into 24 equal portions. Roll each little dough into a ball, twist it around twice and lay on baking pan. Sprinkle garlic salt, onion powder and Parmesan cheese on each dough.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 minutes.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Fishball Bee Tai Mak/ Lai Fun

This Singaporean Chinese food is the equivalent of comfort food like Mac and Cheese in the West.

Ingredients:

2 one pound bags of frozen Lai Fun

7 cups of boiling water

1 pound of pork belly, minced in food processor or meat grinder

1 packet of Do Do frozen fishballs

1 tablespoon of white ground pepper

2 shakes of garlic powder

2 shakes of onion powder

1 teaspoon of sesame seed oil

1 small bunch of green onions, chopped

1 heap teaspoon of Dong Chye/ Brown Chinese salted vegetables that comes in a clay jar

1 – 2 tablespoons of fried shallots, add more or less if you like

Dipping sauce:

Dark soy sauce and chopped red and/or green chilli padi (small Thai chillies)

Method:

In a big pot, bring water to a boil. Add in minced pork belly and seasoning. Boil until pork belly is completely cooked. Add frozen fishballs and bring to a boil, then add frozen lai fun and dong chye. Bring to a boil. Next, add sesame seed oil, chopped green onions and shallots, and turn off heat.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Yellow Curry Vegetables

Growing up, my mom would cook this curry very often on weekends. She typically used fishballs, yong tau foo (assorted tofu and vegetables like bitter gourd and egg plant stuffed with fish paste) and a bunch of vegetables.

Ingredients for simple curry paste:

(Scroll to the bottom for my mom’s homemade curry paste recipe)

2 heaping tbsp of Mae Ploy yellow curry paste or homemade curry paste

5 wedges of garlic chopped

2 big shallots chopped

2 inch knob of ginger peeled and chopped

2 tbsp of garam masala

2 tbsp of peanut oil

Method:

Add oil to frying pan, stir all ingredients for curry paste together with a pair of bamboo chopsticks. Stir fry until garlic and shallots turn slightly golden brown. Put everything in a food processor and grind until paste-like.

Ingredients for curry:

Vegetables:

1 bunch of green beans, cut of ends and cut into 2 inch pieces

2 big carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally about 1/4 inch thick

2 russet potatoes, peeled cut length wise into half then cut each half into 4 pieces

1/4 of a big napa cabbage, cut of stem by 1 inch and cut the remaining into 1 inch width pieces

1 can quails eggs or hard boiled quails eggs

1 packet Shirachiku vegetable fish cakes, cut each piece into thirds or half

3 small pieces of firm tofu or 1 big piece, cut into 1 inch by 3/4 inch pieces or small equal pieces

1 small packet of pre-fried brown tofu skin (Tao Ki)

1 packet of tofu puffs (Tao Pok), about 9 pieces

1 big can of coconut milk

Method:

In a large pot, add potatoes, carrots, green beans and napa cabbage, add just enough water to cover vegetables and bring to a boil, them simmer until you can poke through the potatoes with a fork.

Add the other ingredients and stir in curry paste and coconut milk, bring to boil, then turn off heat.

My mom’s homemade curry paste recipe:

(Grind each ingredient separately, need rubber gloves and goggles/ sunglasses)

1) 2 lbs Red Chilies (Wear rubber gloves, cut open chilies after washing, remove seeds and rinse them off, strain excess water in colander)

2) 1 handful Thai Red Chillies

3) 1 handful dried chilies

4) 20 shallots – peeled, cut ends off and sliced thin

5) 5 Garlic

6) 7 Buay Keras/ Candle Nuts (Cannot be eaten raw)

7) 3 stalks of Lemon Grass

8) 1/2 inch knob of Fresh Tumeric

9) 1 inch knob Galangal

10) 3 inches Ginger

Method:

Add 4 tbsp of palm oil or peanut oil to a deep non-stick frying pan. Heat up the oil. Add shallots and garlic. Stir with bamboo chopstick until fragrant. Add the three different chilies, stir for 3 minutes, add  the  lemon grass, tumeric, galangal and ginger, stir for another 3 minutes then add the candle nuts. Stir until the paste starts bubbling a little. Turn off heat, let it cool down completely. Store in plastic containers and freeze for later use. Add curry powder when cooking.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Vietnamese Beef ball Pho

I decided to make my own version of Vietnamese Beef ball Pho after being tired of paying 8 bucks for a bowl of Pho with very little noodles and too much MSG.

Ingredients:

1 package of Great Wall Frozen Beef balls thawed

4 small bundles of rice noodles, enough for 3 to 4 people (or add as little or as much as you want)

7 cups of water

1 teaspoon of black pepper

1 teaspoon of ground white pepper

1 level teaspoon of Korean beef stock seasoning

1/2 teaspoon of Better than Bouillon beef seasoning

2 shakes of dried cilantro or 3 spritz of chopped fresh cilantro

2 shakes of dried basil

1 small shake of dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder

1/2 stick of cinnamon (discard after soup is done)

2 star anise seeds (discard after soup is done. Caution: Choking hazard, do not serve or eat)

1 teaspoon of sesame seed oil

Method:

Put everything except rice noodles in a big sauce pan. Bring the soup to a boil. Add rice noodles. Turn off heat once rice noodles soften. The rice noodles cook really fast.

Serving size:

3 – 4 people

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise

Mini Chicken Pies

My favorite mini chicken pies were the ones sold at a neighborhood bakery in Serangoon Gardens in Singapore. The bakery is no longer around and the owners opened a small stall in the food center in Serangoon Gardens. Their mini chicken pies were only 60 cents each back in the 80’s. One mini chicken pie was already a meal by itself for me when I was a kid. To bring back the fond childhood memories, I made my own mini chicken pie using a muffin non-stick baking pan.

Crust

Ingredients:

4 cups multipurpose flour

2 cups of butter (½ salted, ½ unsalted)

4 tablespoons of shortening

Cold water

1 egg and 2 tablespoons of water for the egg wash

Method:

Cut butter into small pieces and rubbed into the flour to form coarse crumbs. Add shortening next and rubbed in like the butter to form coarse crumbs.

I used both unsalted and salted butter but did not add salt to the dough. Next I added very little cold water at a time until I could press everything together into dough. I did not refrigerate the dough because it will be too hard to roll it out.

You need a big round cookie cutter to cut the dough into circular pieces and roll them out thin for shaping into the muffin cups. The cut and rolled out dough needs to be bigger than the muffin cups so that there is excess that can be folded over the top. You need another circular piece to seal the top of the pie. Press the edges of each pie after covering them with dough with a fork to seal them and prick holes on them. Brush the pies with egg wash. Bake in oven (non-convectional) for 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

Filling

4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 handful of carrots and peas

2 sticks of celery

2 tablespoons of oil

Garlic Salt

Garlic Powder

Onion Salt

Onion Powder

Black pepper

White ground pepper

1 chicken breast cut into small pieces

1 can of Campbell crème of chicken soup

3 cups of broth from boiling the potatoes, carrots peas and celery

Grease from frying the chicken breast

Flour

Cornstarch

Method:

Boil the potatoes. Remove them from water when they can be poked through by a fork. Then use the same water to bring the frozen carrots and peas and chopped celery to a boil. Remove them from water with a scoop with holes or drain with a colander.

Cut chicken breast into small cubes. Brown them in the frying pan with a little oil and garlic salt, garlic powder, onion salt and onion powder.

Then cook one can of Campbell crème of chicken soup with 3 cups of the broth from boiling the potatoes, peas and carrots and the grease left over from frying the chicken breast. Stir well. Thicken the gravy with flour and/or corn starch, adding and stirring gradually.

Add this gravy to the chicken breast, potatoes, carrots, peas and celery. Season with white ground pepper and black pepper or add them to chicken when frying it. Let the filling cool down before filling the pies.

Copyright 2012 From the Kitchen of Eloise