Sunday, December 30, 2012

Recipe: Balsamic Steak with Garlic Zucchini (Martha Stewart)

Other than the steak with Worcestershire onions, I also tried another steak recipe from Martha Stewart's website - the balsamic steak with garlic zucchini. I love zucchini (courgette), and it went very well with the steak. However I felt that the balsamic sauce was slightly overpowering for the steak, but this is a matter of personal preference as I like to enjoy the natural flavours of the beef. My mum on the other hand thought the sweet-tangy balsamic sauce was nice and appetizing with the beef.



I would like to thank everyone who joined us in this "Cook Like Martha Stewart" bloghop. Sorry if I have not been visiting and leaving comments on your blog as I'm having a really busy month. Lastly, Happy 2013 to all!


Balsamic steak with garlic zucchini
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 - 12 minutes
Serves 3

Ingredients
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 medium zucchini, cut into thin half-moons
Coarse sea salt and pepper
3 x 250g striploin steaks
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar


1. In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and zucchini, season with salt and pepper, and saute until zucchini is tender and browned in spots, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Clean the steaks under running water and pat dry with kitchen towel before searing to get a nice crust. Season both sides with pepper and rub with 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil. (Note: The original recipe asks to season the steak with salt before searing. However, I always season the steak with salt only after resting, in order not to draw the juices out when cooking)

3. In a large frying pan over high heat, add remaining tablespoon of oil and wait until the pan/oil is smoking hot. Place the steaks in the pan, and start your timer. Every 15-20 seconds, flip the steak. Cook to desired doneness (depending on thickness, this guide is for 1 inch thick steak) - 2 minutes each side for medium rare, 3 minutes each side for medium and 4 minutes each side for well done.

4. Transfer to plate and loosely tent with foil, and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes. Remember to season the steaks with salt before serving.


5. Discard fat from skillet, then add balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Cook, stirring, until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Slice steak; add any accumulated juices from steak to skillet and stir to combine. Drizzle steak with sauce and serve alongside zucchini.


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I am submitting this to the "Cook Like Martha Stewart" bloghop which I am co-hosting with Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Jocelyn of Riceball Eats. To join, simply cook or bake any recipe from any Martha Stewart websites or cookbooks and blog hop with us for the whole month of December 2012.

Your post must be a current post i.e. posted in December 2012 - please do not link older posts.Please mention Cook like a Star in your post and link back to Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids, Jocelyn of Riceball Eats and Baby Sumo of Eat your heart out.

You can get the HTML code here: get the InLinkz code (Click on the link, copy and paste the HTML code into your blog post where you want the blog hop list to appear. Make sure you are in HTML mode when you paste in the code)

Happy cooking! Do check out the other bloggers recipe below:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Recipe: Pumpkin, Sage and Browned-Butter Quick Muffins (Martha Stewart)

Over here in KL, we are able to get pumpkin almost all year round, at a very reasonable price. Usually I would buy a couple and let them ripen nicely before cooking them, either roasted or steamed. Since I'm very much into baking muffins for my family nowadays, I decided to try this recipe for pumpkin, sage and browned butter quick muffins from Martha Stewart's website. Well, actually her recipe makes 8 mini loaves, but I didn't have that many mini loaf tins, so I just made them as muffins.


Pumpkin, sage and Browned-butter quick muffins


I actually made these close to Halloween but saved this recipe posting til "Cook Like Marta Stewart" month. This is a great recipe for using up any of your leftover pumpkin from Halloween. We cut out some ghouls using the fresh sage leaves, for a bit of fun ;)




Although the recipe calls for pumpkin from a can, you can easily make your own pumpkin puree using fresh pumpkin. Just steam or boil the pumpkin until soft, then puree using a hand blender. Use a really ripe pumpkin as it will have a sweeter  flavour. Sage is a herb that goes really well with pumpkin. It is added to the browned butter which lends a rich nuttiness to the bread. I actually used a little more pumpkin than required, so what I got was a muffin with a soft, moist texture which reminded me of kuih bingka ubi kayu (tapioca kuih). It is quite dense and packed full of pumpkin. Great eaten as a snack on its own or served with a soup, as we did here. This muffin is best eaten warm.




Baby C wanted them all! ;)



Pumpkin, Sage, and Browned-Butter Quick Muffins
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30-35 minutes
Makes 8


Ingredients
300g pumpkin puree
85g unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbsp fresh sage, cut into thin strips, plus more, whole, for garnish
105g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
A pinch of ground cloves (I omitted this)
1/2 tsp salt
90g light-brown sugar
1 large egg

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180C). 

2. Line a muffin tin with 8-cupcake/muffin liners.

3. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add sage strips, and cook until butter turns golden brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl, and let cool slightly.

4. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.

5. To make your own pumpkin puree, steam or boil the pumpkin until soft. Scrape off the flesh, leaving the skin, and place in a bowl and puree with a hand blender until smooth. Note: Use a very ripe pumpkin as it has a much sweeter flavour.



6. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugar, eggs, and browned butter with sage. Add flour mixture, and whisk until incorporated.

7. Divide mixture evenly among 8 liners. Smooth tops gently using an offset spatula.

8. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Transfer muffin to a wire rack, and allow to cool completely. Garnish with whole fresh sage leaves before serving.





*Note: This is half the original amount stated in recipe.


*********************************


I am submitting this to the "Cook Like Martha Stewart" bloghop which I am co-hosting with Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Jocelyn of Riceball Eats. To join, simply cook or bake any recipe from any Martha Stewart websites or cookbooks and blog hop with us for the whole month of December 2012.

Your post must be a current post i.e. posted in December 2012 - please do not link older posts.Please mention Cook like a Star in your post and link back to Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids, Jocelyn of Riceball Eats and Baby Sumo of Eat your heart out.

You can get the HTML code here: get the InLinkz code (Click on the link, copy and paste the HTML code into your blog post where you want the blog hop list to appear. Make sure you are in HTML mode when you paste in the code)

Happy cooking! Do check out the other bloggers recipe below:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Recipe: Chocolate Tofu Mousse with Bailey's

Dear readers, did you all have a wonderful Christmas celebration? We most certainly did in our home, had a great day of food and fun. Now that Christmas is over, you can now start planning (again!) for your New Year's eve meal. Here is a simple yet delicious chocolate tofu mousse with Bailey's which you can serve to your guests. 

I am not a fan of using raw eggs in my desserts, so when I saw this recipe on my friend Mich's blog which uses tofu instead, I immediately bookmarked it to try. The resulting dessert was really good, you won't be able to tell that tofu has been used. Silky smooth, very rich and decadent. The addition of alcohol is optional, you can make non-alcoholic ones for the kids. For the adults, I like using Bailey's since it's one of my favorite liqueur in desserts. You can serve it in tall wine glasses or highballs, to suit the theme of your New Year's Eve party.

An elegant dessert to be served at your NYE's party!


Rich and decadent!




Chocolate Tofu Mousse with Bailey's
Recipe adapted from here
Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Makes 4

Ingredients
300g silken tofu, drained
120g high quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate, broken into pieces
30g unsweetened cocoa powder
60ml cup boiled water
1 tbsp almond milk/soy milk/fresh milk
1 tbsp soy milk powder (if using fresh milk)
50g caster sugar
3-4 tbsp of Bailey's Irish Cream
3-4 fresh strawberries, hulled


1. Place the chocolate with cocoa powder, almond milk, water, liquor and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir occasionally. Once the chocolate has melted remove from the heat.

2. Using a hand blender, blend the silken tofu until very smooth, then gently fold into the chocolate mixture.

3. Divide between the serving dishes (you can use a highball glass or wine glass) and chill for at least an hour in the fridge. Garnish with fresh strawberries before serving.



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012, from Baby Sumo

Dear friends and readers,

Firstly... a very Merry Christmas to you all! Wishing you all a wonderful celebration with your loved ones and family. I have been busy cooking up a storm since last night, I can't wait to see the smiles on my kids' faces when they open up their gifts and enjoy our Christmas spread tomorrow :)

Have a great day! xoxo



Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa stopped by to drop their Christmas presents




Snow Bros

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Recipe: Banana Pineapple Loaf / Cake (Martha Stewart)

I originally wanted to bake a Hummingbird cake, and found a recipe for it on Martha Stewart's website. However, I ended up making a less elaborate (healthier but still very delicious) banana pineapple loaf/cake using the abovementioned recipe, minus the frosting and a lot less sugar since I felt the bananas and pineapple offer enough sweetness to the loaf/cake. 

Noone really knows how this cake got its name... one theory says the Hummingbird cake earned its name because each otherworldly bite makes you hum with delight. Another theory is that this Southern layer cake is as sweet as the sugared water used to attract its hovering namesake.

Banana Pineapple Loaf/Cake

The original recipe calls for 2 cups (400g) of sugar but I cut it down to 150g. Despite cutting down the sugar, the cake texture was still fluffy with a nice crust. You can use either canned pineapple or fresh pineapples, which give a nice crunchy (tangy) bite to the cake. The addition of ripe bananas keeps the cake moist. If you cannot get your hands on pecan, you can substitute it with walnuts.


A healthier version of the Hummingbird cake


This banana pineapple loaf/cake is best enjoyed warm. This will be great as a teatime loaf/cake with a cup of coffee or tea. As usual Baby D helped me in the kitchen (mashing bananas, mixing) and the cake was ready by the time Baby C was home from school. Baby D ran excitedly with a slice of cake to greet his sister - how sweet :)




Banana Pineapple Loaf/Cake
Recipe by Baby Sumo, adapted from Martha Stewart
Preparation time: 20-25 minutes
Cooking time: 60-70 minutes
Serves 6


Ingredients
For The Cake
Nonstick vegetable spray
All-purpose flour, for pans
3 cups self-raising flour
150g caster sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (or walnuts)
2 very ripe large bananas, mashed
1 can crushed pineapple, with juice (approx 227g)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp salt

For The Frosting (I omitted this but use this if you want to frost the cake)
1 pound (1 box) confectioners' sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk, or more if needed
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans


1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray or lightly grease and flour a 25x10cm loaf tin, tapping out excess flour; set aside. If frosting, spray and flour three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, tapping out excess flour; set aside.

2. Prepare the cake; in a large bowl, stir to combine sugar, oil, pecans, bananas, pineapple, vanilla, cinnamon, and eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the sifted flour and baking powder.




3. Pour  batter into the prepared tin, smoothing with an offset spatula. Bake for 65-70 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

4. Transfer loaf to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Invert loaf onto wire rack. Re-invert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.








5. For the frosting (if using): Prepare the frosting; in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar, cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk on medium speed until frosting is smooth. If needed, add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to achieve the proper spreading consistency.

6. To frost the cake: Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the first layer on the cake plate. Spread the top of the first layer with 1/4 of the frosting. Place the second layer on top and repeat process with another 1/4 of the frosting. Place the remaining layer on top of the second layer bottom side up. Spread entire cake with remaining frosting. Sprinkle the top with pecans. Remove parchment paper strips; refrigerate until ready to serve.


********************************* 

I am submitting this to the "Cook Like Martha Stewart" bloghop which I am co-hosting with Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Jocelyn of Riceball Eats. To join, simply cook or bake any recipe from any Martha Stewart websites or cookbooks and blog hop with us for the whole month of December 2012.

Your post must be a current post i.e. posted in December 2012 - please do not link older posts.Please mention Cook like a Star in your post and link back to Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids, Jocelyn of Riceball Eats and Baby Sumo of Eat your heart out.

You can get the HTML code here: get the InLinkz code (Click on the link, copy and paste the HTML code into your blog post where you want the blog hop list to appear. Make sure you are in HTML mode when you paste in the code)

Happy cooking! Do check out the other bloggers recipe below:

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Recipe: Homemade Tong Yuen (Glutinous Rice Balls)

Dongzhi Festival, also known as the Winter Solstice Festival is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and East Asians. Traditionally, this is the time for the family to get together and make tong yuen or tangyuen (glutinous rice balls). For the Chinese, tong yuen symbolises reunion and togetherness.


For the past few years, we would buy ready-made tong yuen but I thought it would be fun to make our own this year since the kids are older and they love playing with PlayDoh. Baby C was very good at making the balls, and Baby D soon got a hang of it too.Albeit a little messy, we had loads of fun and it tasted extra sweet since we made it ourselves. Their grandparents complimented them on a great job done.

We decided to use natural food colouring, making them from plants such as pandan leaves (for green), bunga telang (for blue) and also a plant which we think is called 太阳红 which is red and believed to be good for lowering cholesterol. We also used blueberry jam (for purple) and cocoa powder (for brown).


Kids with their edible "PlayDoh"

Usually tong yuen is served with a sugar syrup, but we like to serve it with a gingery syrup, made of old ginger, gula melaka (palm sugar), and knotted pandan leaves. You can adjust the gula melaka and ginger according to your preference. Since our tong yuen is without any filling, we served some condiments on the side, freshly grated coconut and crushed salted peanuts. The tong yuen should have a slight chewy texture, I would recommend that you make them into mini balls (approx 3-4cm diameter).

Homemade tong yuen - so colorful


Coat in peanuts, delicious!


Homemade tong yuen or tang yuan (glutinous rice balls)
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 30-35 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves 6-8

Ingredients
250g glutinous rice flour
200g - 250g water, approx.

8-10 pandan leaves, cut into small pieces and crushed (for green colouring)
2 handfuls red leaf plant, cut into small pieces and crushed (for red/pink colouring)
2 tbsp blueberry jam (for purple colouring)
8-10 bunga telang (blue pea flower) (for blue colouring)
2 tbsp cocoa powder (for brown colouring)

For the syrup
1l water
5 pandan leaves, knotted
1 inch gula melaka, approx. 50g (palm sugar or Malacca sugar)
2 inch ginger, sliced and crushed

To garnish
1 pandan leaf, cut into half and into 1 inch long and then knotted

Condiments
100g crushed peanuts
1/4 grated coconut

1. Firstly, start by making the natural food colouring. For the bunga telang, pandan leaves and red plant, place 80g of water with the plant in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes for colour.  (Note: For pandan leaves, if you want a darker green hue, you need to blend the leaves and allow the paste to sink and should be made a day in advance).

Natural blue food colouring


Natural red food colouring


Natural green food colouring


2. Sift the glutinous rice flour and divide into 5 portions. For each portion, start by adding the natural food colouring and gradually adding more water to form a stiff dough. Place dough on board and knead well for 10 minutes.

3. Roll each portion of dough into a long roll and bread into small even pieces. Roll each firmly into the size of a marble ball. Place rice balls onto a tray.



4. To make the syrup, bring water to boil and add pandan leaves, gula melaka and ginger. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes and remove from heat.

5. Bring half a saucepan of water to a boil. Put in white tong yuen first and cook until they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and drop into a bowl of cool water. Repeat with other colours. Drain the cooked rice balls and place in syrup. Place a mini knotted pandan leaf in each bowl as garnish. Serve with grated coconut and crushed peanuts.




Friday, December 21, 2012

Recipe: Homemade Japanese Nama Chocolate

I first got my taste of Royce Chocolate when I was in my teens. A friend from Japan brought us some Royce chocolates as a gift, and we really loved it. Fast forward a few years, Royce was available in KL too and we would occasionally get a box of chocolates as a treat. A box of Royce Nama Chocolate costs RM45, so when I saw this recipe for homemade Nama chocolate on Nami's blog, I had to try it.

Christmas Gift Idea #1

Homemade Japanese Nama Chocolate

First time making, not so nice edges but still yummy!

"Nama" means “raw” or “fresh” in Japanese, as fresh (whipping) cream being used. This is incredibly easy to make and you only need 3 ingredients - heavy cream (whipping cream), chocolate and cocoa powder and alcohol is optional. The taste and texture is very similar to French truffles, except that Nama chocolate is cut into squares rather than made into balls. It is very rich and literally melts in your mouth. It is  recommended to use good quality chocolate, since that is the main ingredient and ultimately what you would be tasting/eating. You can make this up to 2-3 days in advance. They make perfect gift boxes for Christmas time or served as a petit four after your Christmas dinner.


A tip to my Malaysian readers as well as those living in hot climate countries:

Because of the hot Malaysian climate, I had to place these chocolates in the freezer to firm up rather than the fridge . It makes cutting them up much more easier and neater (clean cuts). When placed in the fridge, I could hardly get clean edges but it's possible when it's put in the freezer. The texture remains the same, still soft and melt in the mouth.

The first batch that I made weren't so nicely cut, but the second batch (put in freezer) turned out perfect. The kids received these Nama chocolates as part of their Advent Calendar gifting, and they really love it! I have also gifted this to a few friends and they also love it. It really makes a great gift, though you must remind your friends to keep these in the fridge at all times as there is fresh cream used. These Nama chocolates should preferably be eaten in under 5 days, but I think that shouldn't be much of a problem especially if you are a chocolate lover ;)

Advent Calendar time!

Big chocolate smile :)


Nama chocolate with dried cranberries and apricot for kids!


The second batch that I made for a potluck party yesterday and I managed to get them in perfect squares with clean edges

Practice makes perfect... I can get them nicely cut everytime now :)



Homemade Japanese Nama Chocolate
Recipe adapted from Just One Cookbook
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Makes 36 squares

Ingredients
400 gram good quality dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate (I used the latter)
200 ml fresh cream (heavy whipping cream)
Liqueur of your choice (optional)
Cocoa powder to coat the chocolate

Note: The ratio of Cream (ml) and Chocolate (gram) should be 1:2.

1. Cut the chocolate into smaller pieces using a knife so that they will melt faster and more evenly.



2. Lay parchment paper (baking sheet) on baking pan or any square tray (about 8"x8"). Choosing the right size tray is important as the height of chocolate is dependent on this.

3. Put cream in a saucepan and heat it up over medium low heat until it almost reaches a boil (ie as soon as you see 1-2 bubbles forming). Turn off the heat.

4. Add the chocolate and stir until the chocolate and cream are completely combined. Add liqueur of your choice (optional). Skip the alcohol if you're giving to kids, however you can add rum, Baileys or even champagne if you like. 

5. Pour the mixture into the tray. Smooth the surface and refrigerate until firm. If you are residing in a country with hot climate, it is advisable to place the chocolate in the freezer, covered loosely with a cling film to firm up for at least 12 hours. I usually make it the night before, and they're ready to cut in the morning.

6. Remove the chocolate from baking tray and chop them into cubes using a warm knife. Make sure to warm the knife after each cutting to prevent splintering. You can use hot running water but wipe it off completely before cutting. (You need to be very quick in hot climate or else the chocolate becomes "sticky" and difficult to cut).

7. Sprinkle the cocoa powder and serve it chilled. You can keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days but enjoy soon. If you store them in the freezer, they can last for up to 10 days.




Happy with her Advent Calendar gift :)

*This recipe was featured on Asian Food Channel's Facebook page on 17 April 2013.
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