Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Pho Bo - the quick way!

I recently blogged about instant sauces not too long ago and decided to use one of it to try out a Vietnamese beef noodle dish called Pho. I first fell in love with the dish when having it for the first time in Kuala Lumpur at Sao Nam. Yes, yes, yes... I know the original tastes way better in Vietnam, but I have yet to fly there and actually try it. In any case, my cooking senses was up to my ears and thought, if I can't get the original, I might as well give it a go trying to cook it. As what I normally do with my ingredients, I dig out what is available in my fridge. So here's my version of Pho Bo.



The ingredients:

1 Sachet                   Instant Pho Sauce Mix (here I used Asian Food Gourmet)
1 Packet                  dried egg noodles (the original uses flat rice noodles or thin rice noodles)
500 gms                   minced beef - marinated with pepper, chilli oil, light soy sauce and some sesame oil
                                (original normally uses sliced beef)
1 bunch                    romainne lettuce - washed (the original uses bean sprouts, veitnamese basil and mint)
2 stalks                    spring onions - finely chopped
3 bulbs                    shallots - diced
2 large bowls           water
                                pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Heat up soup pot, add in vegetable oil. Then add in the shallots and stir fry till fragrant. Next, add in water and instant Pho Sauce Mix. Bring to boil.
  2. When water is coming to a boil, spoon in small spoonfuls of minced beef. Alternatively you can roll them into balls and then add them in slowly in to the soup. Bring to a boil. When water is boiled, lower the temperature to a simmering consistency to allow beef to cook thoroughly and the marinade to mix with soup base.
  3. In a separate pot, bring to boil a bowl of water, some oil and salt. Add in the egg noodles when water is boiling and allow to cook for about 3 minutes or when noodles becomes soft and easy to manage. Drain water and add in cold water to stop the cooking process. Spoon into bowls accordingly.
  4. After noodles are cooked and separated into bowls, check your soup. This is when you can use your soup to cook the vegetables or rather blanch it. It is way easier than having to boil up another pot of water and blanch it separately. Place the vegetables into the soup. Once you see it turn a darker green, take it of and place it on the noodles. 
  5. Dish out the soup with enough meatballs or minced beef into the bowls, garnish with spring onions and serve.
Whilst the ingredients may not reflect that of the original Pho, it does provide you the taste. I enjoyed it tremendously and had the opportunity to have this version for 3 meals. Notice I did not add salt at all in the soup base. This is because your instant soup mix already has salt in it and the meat has been marinated with light soy sauce as well. The more salt you add, the saltier it gets. So, omit the salt where necessary. Just be aware of what you add in.

If you want the dish to look as authentic as it should be, then use these ingredients:

500 gms               thinly sliced beef
A bunch of           bean sprouts
2 sprigs                Vietnamese basil leaves
2 sprigs                Mint leaves
3                          bird's eye chillies - thinly sliced
A sliver                lime (lemon does not do justice here)

Savoured her craving for Vietnamese Pho Bo,
The Innovative Baker



Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and many many happy returns of the DAY!!!!!!!!

I would like to personally thank everyone who has followed the donnowhat2cook blog till today and for many more years to come. I must say that it has been a fruitful 3 months despite me not having to blog that many times this month. But as a treat for most of you who know of my Chocolate Fudge Cake, here is the recipe. Due credit is given to Channel 4 Food for helping me find the perfect Chocolate Fudge Cake recipe.




The ingredients are (please take note that I have adjusted the recipe from the original to make it smoother):

110gms                   spreadable butter
250ml                      whole milk (truly, it tastes best when you use whole milk and not semi skimmed)
1 tbsp                      red wine vinegar
100 - 120 gms         plain / dark chocolate - melted
15 gms                    cocoa powder (here I used drinking chocolate) - sifted
300 gms                  self-raising flour - sifted
1 tsp                        bicarbonate of soda / baking powder - sifted
225 gms                  golden caster sugar
2                             medium eggs

Chocolate Ganache Recipe: Chocolate Ganache

Method:


  1. Heat up the oven to 180 Degree Celcius / fan 160 / gas 4. Grease a 20cm round cake tin or line with baking paper. Alternative you may use cupcake trays and line with cupcake cups.
  2. Stir vinegar into milk, leave aside. Next beat butter and sugar till creamy (this means the butter looks pale almost like gold as the sugar dissolves into the butter. Add in eggs one by one and continue beating. This process is quickened with an electronic mixer but I prefer to do it by hand.
  3. Next add in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder that has been sifted earlier in portions and not at one go. Slowly mix whilst adding the milk mixture alongside the flour.
  4. Finally add in the melted chocolate. Don't use milk chocolate as the colour will not come out as dark as you would like it to be plus the additional milk in the milk chocolate only tends to fade the colour more.
  5. Once combined, spoon out on to desired baking tin and bake for about 50 minutes for the cake and about 25 minutes for the cupcakes. As cupcakes are in smaller portions the baking time does not need to be that much. Stick a toothpick into the centre of the cake to check whether some cake batter is still sticking or comes out clean. The latter means it is nice and fluffy and bouncy whilst the former means you'll have a gooey centre which is not a problem either. But if you are planning to make a layered cake, then a cleaner toothpick is much prefered.
  6. Decorate with chocolate ganache by using an icing pipe or simply using a spoon. 
The beauty of this cake is that it is extremely flexible. Why? You can do it in many different shapes. So that it suits your taste.

So here is my Christmas gift to everyone. I hope you have a fun time trying it as I have had the joy of baking it many times :)

Here's wishing you a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and Many Many Many Happy Returns of the Day.

In yuletide joy,
The Innovative Baker

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Donnowhat2cook for a party 2




Prawns in home made Mayo in Mini Pita

Following up on the party favours, we always try to find the easiest recipe to prepare for parties. Whilst in London, my flatmates and I decided to have a picnic at the park that ended up in our living room because of the misty weather we had one fine summer morning. Then again, it was good we had it indoors as we could make use of our crockery rather than take away packaging. Finger foods were probably the best bet so I made the Prawns in Home Made Mayo in Mini Pita. What went in?

Ingredients:

1 packet or 500 grams                 medium sized prawns (pre-cooked)
1 packet or a dozen of                 mini pita bread

Home Made Mayo:
A dollop of                                  whole grain mustard (up to your liking rather)
Two                                            egg yolks
1 tsp                                            salt
1 tsp                                            pepper
2 sprigs of                                    fresh basil
a dash of                                      dried oregano
half a bottle of                              olive oil
(Mayonnaise is not for the light hearted)

Method:

  1. First prepare the mayo. Add all ingredients into a mixer except the olive oil. Start blitzing all the ingredients whilst dribbling in the olive oil. When mayo thickens, stop adding in olive oil. Continue mixing for another minute and then set aside.


  2. Wash prawns and pre boil. Drain, and remove shells. Even better when you find pre-cooked prawns and it was save you time.


  3. Combine prawns and mayo together and refrigerate.


  4. Toast mini pita bread in oven or toaster. When guests start arriving, fill mini pita with prawn filling. Serve accordingly.

This recipe is as simple as can be. And tastes great too! Plus, you can also make your own mayo. Fantastic right? If you do not like mustard, then you can take it out. You can add chilli flakes to make it asian tasting. The dish disappeared in one seating, so be sure to make more. The prawns can be alternated with chicken breasts.

Having fun preparing for a party,
The Innovative Baker

Friday, 11 December 2009

Donnowhat2cook for a party?

It has been a while since I have posted something up eh? Workload has been quite busy so hence the missing blogposts. Anyway, whilst sending my thank you messages to my fans on facebook, thank you again!!! Audrey mentioned she does not know what to cook for a pot lucky party for 30 people. I was recently asked to cook for a party here in Duesseldorf that would have been 20 if all came. The menu was predominantly Asian of course although the guests were actually German. The easiest of the dishes was the tossed chinese noodles in heated sesame oil and stir fried vegetables.




Tossed chinese noodles in heated sesame oil stir fried vegetables.

This dish proved to be a hit as it was easy to eat, different and quick to prepare. So what do you need?

Ingredients:

1 large packet                chinese noodles (egg noodles like the ones you get for wanton noodles)
5 medium sized              carrots - julienned (cut into long thin strips preferably 5cm long but no need to be
                                     exact)
1 medium sized              zucchini - julienned like the carrots
1 large packet                french beans - ends cut off and cut into half.
4 cloves                         garlic - finely chopped
2 to 3 tbsp                     sesame oil
1 tbsp                            vegetable oil
                                     salt and pepper to taste
                                     water to cook noodles

Method:

  1. First prepare the noodles. In a pot, boil water with some oil and salt. When water is brought to boil, end in the noodles. You will see the noodles start to soften, normally after 3 to 4 minutes, the noodles would have turned soft. Remove from heat, drain of water and run through cold water to stop the cooking process. Add in some oil to ensure the noodles do not end up sticking to each other. Put aside.
  2. Heat up wok, add in vegetable oil and garlic. Then the salt and stir fry till garlic is fragrant, then add it the vegetables that takes the longest to cook first. That would be the carrots first. After two minutes, add in the french beans, wait another two minutes and then add in the zucchini last. Continue stir frying. Add in pepper and more salt to taste. Transfer to serving bowl.
  3. In the same wok, heat up the sesame oil. Once oil is heated up, pour in a portion of the noodles. There is no need to put in the whole portion as the noodles once tossed will coat the rest of the noodles. Transfer tossed noodles into the serving bowl together with the vegetables and toss like you would a salad. Add in remaining noodles into serving bowl and continue tossing until all ingredients are well mixed. Serve like a salad or immediately.
If you want it to be slightly spicy, then add in some julienned red chillies (seeds removed) when stir frying the vegetables. Or alternatively, add in sambal belacan when stir frying the garlic to bring out the spiciness and then add in the vegetables.

Another alternative tossed noodle version would spaghetti with rocket leaves and pine nuts. Of which you also carry out the same method substituting the sesame oil with olive oil. Another beautiful dish!

Fit for a party,
The Innovative Baker



Thursday, 10 December 2009

Cookie Recipes to be TESTED!


Hello hello fellow foodies,

as a test run, I am trying to gather some fellow bakers in my side of town, London to group bake. I was at a group bake session in Cologne last, this week would be in Düsseldorf and when I get back I would be hoping to do group baking in London as well. So if you have cravings for cookies and would like to have your favourite cookie baked but have no idea how and what ingredients to use, just send me the names of your favourite cookies, and we shall embark on a journey to find the best cookie dough recipe ever!!!

This Sunday's menu is:

Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies
Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Vanilla Lemon Cookies

There will also be some German cookie recipes that would be tested this Sunday so hopefully we would get to bake all of it!!!! Pictures will be taken. Click on the side show that I have on my blog to check out the cookies we baked last Saturday in Cologne. Otherwise, look out for further cookie pictures after the Sunday Bake Off. Or check out Cookie Bake Off for the pictures in Flickr!

Cookie Crowd Sourcing,
the Innovative Baker

Friday, 27 November 2009

Ingredients Series: Instant Sauces

I am of course a fan of preparing sauces from scratch. Gathering ingredients, storing them, using them and finishing them of course. But when time is your question, then having instant sauces for various cuisine help in your preparation for a meal. This trend in actual fact has taken the world by storm with instant curry sauces to even having prepared pasta sauces at your leisure. For a typical Asian, I look for instant sauces linking me to my heritage. 


My loyalty tends to lie towards Malaysian made sauces but Asian Home Gourmet is quite good. Manufactured in Singapore, it has a really nice spread of options for the asian in you. From Singapore Laksa to Vietnamese Pho, including mixes for Fried Rice. I like Brahim's because it has a selection of curries that somehow links the Malaysian in me to my homeland. So nationalistic...:)
However, there are plenty of other instant sauces. Thailand produces quite a number of brands that provides everyone the opportunity to cook thai food. Mae Ploy is probably the single most popular brand for Thai curry pastes. Other instant sauce brands include Mae Pranom and Nittaya. Malaysia does not lack either. Adabi and Baba's are quite staple in the UK. I have yet to find it in Germany but then again, I have not explored all the oriental stores available in Germany.






Going back to the reason why this blog exists, instant sauces does considerably shorten your cooking time. An average proper curry does take up to four hours to prepare with the right ingredients and the proper preparation method. Using an instant sauce satchet would mean only having to cook for 30 minutes to 1 hour. How's that for a quicker cooking process?

So check out your nearest oriental supermarket and see what you can find!

Go instant for a shorter cooking time,
The Innovative Baker

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Hainanese Chicken Rice - The innovative way

After 10 days of eating out due to a hectic work schedule and parents being over, I was not able to cook much. Coming back at 10pm every night does not help either. Today is probably the first day I could cook with ease. Having had chicken in the fridge waiting to be cooked off, I went foraging for ingredients. A small fridge doesn't really allow me to keep much ingredients. In any case, the thought of having chicken rice in Germany sounded excellent. Remembering the basics of the ingredients that Kitchen Virgin and I used when attempting to cook it the first time round gave me enough motivation to go searching for the ingredients.






Hainanese Chicken Rice - The Innovative Way

Thankfully, Germany isn't so bad in terms of ingredients. The lack of Malaysian restaurants means the lack of certain ingredients. But most of what I needed was around. So what went in?

Ingredients:

5 Stalks                  Spring Onions (sliced to about 5cm each, with roots thrown away)
Thumb sized           Ginger (skin taken off and sliced)
4 pieces                  chicken thigh (cleaned and insertions cut into the meat)
1 tbsp                     whole white pepper
2 to 3 bulbs of        shallots (skin removed and sliced into half)
1 tbsp                     vegetable oil
1 cup                      jasmine rice
2 tsp                       butter
1 clove                    garlic - finely sliced
1 tbsp                     soy sauce
                               salt and pepper to taste
A bunch of              lettuce leaves
1 large bowl of        water

Method:

  1. To prepare the chicken, make sure to clean all unwanted parts - feathers left over. Next cut deeply into the chicken so that it has enough space to stuff some ginger and spring onions - use the green part of the spring onions. You can opt to insert the spring onions underneath the skin of the chicken as well.
  2. Prepare a pot, add in the bowl of water and bring to boil. Whilst waiting for the water to boil, add in shallots, whole white pepper, the white part of the spring onions, oil and salt. 
  3. When water is boiling, add in chicken. Reduce the heat to allow soup to cook chicken.
  4. On another pot, wash a cup of jasmine rice. Cooking rice in a rice cooker and a pot is the same. Do not disturb it. But before we actually cook the rice, we add the sliced garlic, butter, spring onions and black pepper. Heat the pot up containing the rice. Ensure the butter starts to melt and constantly stir the rice to avoid it sticking to the pot. The butter will act as the oiling agent for the rice replacing vegetable oil. Here you can replace the butter with oil if you do not want to have it too fatty but trust me it tastes way better with butter. 
  5. Once the rice is coated thoroughly with butter and the spring onions is turning colour into a deep green, add in the right dosage of water. Here one cup of water would need 1 1/2 cups of water. Cover the pot and let it cook. The heat is what will cook the rice. Do not open the cover until after 10 minutes. Stir the rice and then cover again. Let it sit for another five minutes before switching off the fire.
  6. The chicken by now would be ready. Reduce the heat to the smallest flame available. Take out the chicken and let it sit. Using the soup, add in your lettuce leaves to blanch it. This would cook your vegetables and save you time in boiling up another pot of water to blanch your leaves. It also adds flavour to them.
  7. Serve up with chicken, vegetables and rice. For condiments, you can choose to have chilli sauce or for me Chiu Chow Chilli sauce. Not having a blender makes it difficult for me to serve up the chicken rice chilli sauce. But then again, this probably calls for innovative thinking :)
Truly, I ate the whole lot. My landlord came by and had a portion as well. \




As I had no rice cooker, I had to use what was available to me to cook the rice. I used this glass to measure my rice and my portion of water. It goes the same with other glasses. Just do not start using bowls. That would mean an overflow of rice.

The time I took to cook was about 45 minutes provided you have defrosted your chicken or bought fresh from the supermarket. It may be a tad long, but you will relish the taste after that.

Still savouring the taste,
The Innovative Baker

The Iron Cup Cake Challenge - Kitchen Virgin til 27


Hello hello all,

as a special favour to my fellow baker,Kitchen Virgin til 27, I ask all you fellow readers to vote for her at the upcoming IRONCUPCAKE EARTH CHALLENGE!!!! Vote!!!!

Take your time, drool at her cupcakes and vote!

The innovative baker is left with no oven in Düsseldorf, so hence most recipes would lean more towards savouries.

Go go go and vote,
The Innovative Baker

Monday, 16 November 2009

Bak Kut Teh

A good friend, Mel, called up and asked whether we could meet up for dinner before I left for Germany. So we decided to have dinner at my place with me cooking up a very simple dish. Bak Kut Teh! A favourite amongst Malaysians (a very Malaysian dish indeed), it was a good night to have it since the day was windy and cold.




Bak Kut Teh

Essentially, Bak Kut Teh means Meat boiled in Chinese Herbal Tea. The actual ingredients would have consisted of different chinese herbs resembling shards of wood, slices of roots and the like. But being in London means having the next best thing - Bak Kut Teh satchets. Available in various Oriental Stores in China Town, Central London, a packet of Bak Kut Teh would cost about GBP1.99. So what does the recipe call for?

Ingredients:
1 packet               Bak Kut Teh (contains two satchets)
1kg                      meat - preferably pork ribs, if not, pork belly (chicken, lamb and beef is also fine)
1 packet               button mushrooms - it does not matter what kind. Canned mushrooms is also fine.
10 - 15 pieces      dried shiitake mushrooms - soaked in boiling water to soften (do not dispose of water)
1 whole bulb of    garlic
1 tbsp                  whole black pepper
2 tbsp                  oyster sauce
2 tbsp                  dark soy sauce
1 tbsp                  light soy sauce
3 bowls               water, or enough to cover 1/2 the soup pot

Method:

  1. Place pot with water on stove. Bring to boil.
  2. On a separate pot, boil water to pre-boil your meat. This is to get rid of the initial oil that the meat would release when boiled.
  3. When first post of water is boiling, fish out pre-boiled meat from second pot and place into first pot. Dispose of water in second pot.
  4. Next, add in the Bak Kut Teh satchets and mushrooms. Put in the water that was from the mushrooms as well.
  5. Next add in all sauces into pot as well as whole black pepper. Bring to boil.
  6. Once water is boiling, reduce heat and let it simmer. Let simmer for 1 hour.
  7. Test if soup is salty enough once flavours have entered meat. How do you know this? The meat would have changed colour after having to sit in the simmering soup for the last hour. Remove from stove and serve in bowls.
For the rice, you can add in smashed garlic and salt with the rice and cook as usual. If you wish to have more flavour, add in the water from the mushrooms here instead of adding it into the Bak Kut Teh. I personally like white rice with Bak Kut Teh.

For vegetables, there are varieties in which you can use. The normal would iceberg lettuce, mustard leaves (Choy Sum) or Kai Lan. I use the next best thing - Romaine Lettuce. After washing the leaves, I directly place them into the soup to be blanched instead of frying it up. It saves time and lessens the washing up process as well.

So now, you have a perfectly hearty meal for a rainy windy night in London. Mel and I enjoyed it. So will you.

Having a taste of home,
The Innovative Baker



The Donno What Series


Hello hello fellow readers,

It gives me great pleasure to launch two other blogs:

donnowheretoeat
donnowhattoget

Donnowheretoeat already has its first blog up reviewing a Japanese Noodle House in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Donnowhattoget is still under construction but will be up and running once I get all my eggs in a row.

Enjoy browsing through and you'll have a gleeful time exploring this innovative baker has up her sleeves.

Launching the Donno What Series,
The Innovative Baker

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Penne with German Sausages, Brown Button Mushrooms and Rocket Leaves

I arrived Duesseldorf, Germany yesterday to begin a 5 week Work Placement with Messe Duesseldorf GmbH - the famous exhibition organisers for exhibitions like GDS - The Premier Shoe Event, Drupa - The largest Printing Exhibition and many others. I parked at my new abode, a chic studio apartment on the other side of the river, overlooking the Rhein River. 

The first thing I did after putting my bags was grocery shopping. Needless to say food is a very important aspect. So out I set and gathered much needed ingredients for my stay here. Came back all enthusiastic about the prospects of cooking, I forgot to check I did not have the following:


1.     A cooking spatula
2.     A chopping board
3.     A proper knife
4.     A non-stick frying pan
5.     A colander 


I had however pots in abundance, a substantial number of cutlery and probably crockery. So my first meal wasn't the most appetizing - sausages and eggs. But today, I set myself a task and became innovative. Using the tools I had, I was able to cook up Penne with German Sausages, Brown Button Mushrooms and Rocket Leaves.









What did I use to cut the ingredients? A steak knife that surprisingly was sharp. I used a dinner plate as the chopping board. I must say, with limitations, it did not hinder me from actually making a pretty decent dish that was full of flavour. The German Sausages needless to say added the flavour to the dish as it was already salty on its own. The oil that came out of frying the sausages allowed me to add flavor to the other ingredients.

So what are the ingredients?

A bowl              Penne
5                        German sausages – sliced into bite sized pieces
3 large               brown button mushrooms – sliced
A handful          Rocket leaves
A clove of         garlic
                          Salt and pepper to taste.

Method:
1.     First boil a pot of water with oil and salt for the penne. When water comes to boil, add in Penne. Test to see whether Penne is cooked and drain of water. Add in cold water to cool the cooking process.
2.     In another pot, heat up and add in vegetable oil. When oil is heated up, add in sausages to be fried. Halfway through, add in the garlic and later the mushrooms. Continue stir frying until mushrooms look slightly wilted. Add in penne and combine.
3.     Finally add in the Rocket Leaves and stir. Add in salt and pepper to taste.
4.     Serve hot. You can alternatively serve it cold like a pasta salad.
5.     But if you wish to serve as a warm salad, then fry the mushrooms and sausages separately. After tossing penne and rocket leaves together with some olive oil, salt and pepper, let it sit. Just before you serve, fry up the mushrooms and sausages together and serve on top of the pasta salad.

The beauty of pasta is that it acts as a replacement to noodles for us Asians. Germany is not utterly huge on oriental groceries and what you get are the normal ingredients like lemongrass and the occasional finding of Malaysian ingredients. Yet this does not allow many of us to cook Malaysian food. Then again, being Malaysian doesn’t mean that we need to only eat Malaysian food. 


Trust me, this dish was delightful. Simple yet fulfilling.


The alternative Asian in her,
The Innovative Baker


Curried Pork Belly with Carrots, Celery and Cherry Tomatoes






Curried Pork Belly with Carrots, Celery and Cherry Tomatoes

After having deviated a bit with food reviews and competitions, I have returned to posting up what I am supposed to be doing. Featuring simple recipes for singletons who have odds and ends in their kitchen. I am an avid at-home-chef and that explains my ever extremely exploding larder that includes curry powder, chilli powder, paprika, turmeric powder, fresh chillies, frozen chillies, dried chillies and the like.

This time around, I had the basic ingredients for a curry. Plus root vegetables that were not all that fitting for a curry but nonetheless, suited the situation for now. So what did I do? Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:

Curry paste:
4 heaping tbsp                      curry powder for meat
2 heaping tbsp                      chilli powder
4 fresh                                  red chillies - sliced and deseeded
10 whole                              shallots - peeled
4 cloves                               garlic - peeled
a Thumb sized                      ginger - peeled and sliced smaller
3 stalks                                 lemon grass - outer leaves removed, use only the bottom half
                                            salt
                                            fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp                                  water

1 packet                               pork belly - sliced
6                                          carrots - chopped into bite size pieces - diced preferably but not too small
6 stalks                                 celery - chopped into bite size pieces
a whole packet of                 Cherry Tomatoes - halved
2 soup bowls                        water
A can                                   Coconut Milk
                                            salt
                                            pepper (if needed)

Method:

  1. First make the curry paste. Combine all ingredients into a blender. Blitz until it becomes a paste. 
  2. Heat up a sizeable pot and add in vegetable oil. When oil is heated up, add in curry paste. Fry the paste until you see a layer of oil surfacing. 
  3. Add in sliced pork belly and stir until meat is coated with the curry paste slowly sizzling with the heat.
  4. Add in the water. If you do not have soup bowls, just add in enough water to cover half the pot you are using. Not to the brim! This would mean spillage!!!
  5. Whilst meat is cooking, add in all the vegetables and let it brew. Make sure the curry is boiling before reducing the heat to let it simmer. Leave it simmering for about 30 minutes to reduce the water. Whilst simmering, make sure you stir off and on to avoid the curry from burning. (the timing is judged according to the size of pot you are using. So be sure to keep checking). 
  6. When water is reduced, add in coconut milk. Stir only for a bit until coconut milk has combined with curry and is brought to boil. If coconut milk is cooked way too long, the oil breaks and you would end up with a water curry.
  7. Remove from heat and serve! You can serve with rice or bread like what I did in the picture. 
Again, all the ingredients I had were at my disposal and there was no need for me to run out and buy any additional ingredients. I have yet to make a curry with parsnips though that may sound like a weird combination. If you don't have carrots or celery, you can alternatively add in potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and even butternut squash!

I did not want to make a superbly hot curry, so I omitted dried chillies from the paste. You can add in about 4 dried chillies to make it even more spicy. Be sure to soak them in hot water first before blitzing it with the paste.

So now you have a perfectly good curry to eat on your own or even to serve your friends.

Unleashing her Malaysian side,
The Innovative Baker


Iron Cup Cake Competition

When Kitchen Virgin's First Cupcake Competition was nearing (2 weeks ago), she was working hard. I must say her cupcake was divine!!!!









Chai Cupcakes with Cinnamon + Yoghurt Frosting

Kitchen Virgin has grown leaps and bounds and makes the most delicious cupcakes you can find. And this version was actually vegan. So all you vegans out there should try looking out for her and ask for a batch! Other cupcakes that were featured and were amongst my personal favourites (look wise):


















Whilst many looked really good, there were the simple looking ones that tasted decadent.










The winner was the spice girls!!!!!


More photos from the event can be found at The Iron Cup Cake London

I have been asked by Kitchen Virgin to also participate. I am still deciding. Yes or no? In any case, the world of cupcakes is overtaking the traditional cake...

Cupcakes galore around her,
The Innovative Baker

Friday, 13 November 2009

Chocolate Ganache!

In my blog about Chocolate Chip Cheese Cake, I linked my fellow baker, Kitchen Virgin, about her recipe version of Chocolate Ganache. So now I shall give you my version of it. Pictures are at the moment not available as I was busy making it and forgot to snap photos...shame of me for not doing so. But my second blog post Chocolate Fudge Cake in Different Variations displays how I used my chocolate ganache. So what exactly goes in a chocolate ganache?

Ingredients:

225gms                      plain / dark chocolate - broken into pieces
100gms                      butter - chopped into pieces
124ml                        single cream

Method:
  1. Prepare a Bain Marie - a small pot filled with some water brought to boil with a glass bowl placed on top. In the glass bowl, place butter and chocolate pieces in to be melted down. Stir until butter and chocolate have combined and is runny but not watery.
  2. Place glass bowl on kitchen work top and stir in single cream. You can also use double cream but be sure NOT to use the thickened version. Before adding cream, be sure to stir the cream to even out the consistency of it. Continue stirring until cream is blended into chocolate mixture. 
  3. Leave it to set. 
Now you have a to-die-for chocolate cream mixture that you would end up not wanting to waste. My flatmate's boyfriend ended up licking the bowl just because he did not want to see it go to waste. Well that goes the same with the cake batter as well.

TIP: do not over heat your chocolate mixture. To know whether it looks weird, you will see a layer of oil like substance appearing on the surface of the mixture. That's when you know you've over heated your mixture.

In the name of chocolate,
The Innovative Baker


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

A meal with the STARS...not!

As some of you may know, I was in Duesseldorf, Germany for a few days working at the Occupational Safety and Health Exhibition A + A. Normally evenings are filled with dinners with clients but this time round I had dinners with colleagues. It was indeed a different scene altogether. So, this post would be about a restaurant set at the outskirts of the Duesseldorf old town called Basil's. It is an Italian themed restaurant with a dash of German and Turkish in it.


Apparently, this restaurant is patronised by the B and C Class celebrities of Germany. Something like to be seen and to be heard sort of environment. The restaurant's ambience in a whole was indeed dim like...giving the sense that you were not suppose to stare at your neighbours as you dine because they were 'important'. The prices were somewhat affordable with the cheapest on the main course being Euro 15.00 for a simple chicken fillet. I had the Pangasius Fillet (A type of fish) that has picked up popularity in recent years with crayfish and vegetables.





For my starters I had in traditional Autumn style, The Pumpkin Soup.


Both dishes without drinks were about Euro 21.00. The main course cost about Euro 16.50. Whilst the ambience was indeed bustling with activity, it is one of the many restaurants that allow smoking within its premises. So I ended up smelling like used smoke...hhahahahaha... that aside, the food was actually good. The fish was light to the taste and not fishy at all, with a good combination of crayfish and vegetables allowing the fish to stand out. The pumpkin soup was also delightful to the tastebuds. It was not thick with just the right consistency of pumpkin and spices. It was not too watery either making it an absolute joy to partake of.

So where exactly is Basil's? It is located at

Haroldstrasse 30
40213 Duesseldorf
Germany

As to whether I saw the stars? I wouldn't have the slightest clue as unlike England, I have not had the opportunity to watch German soap operas thus my inability to spot a German celebrity... in any case, go not because of the people but because of the food.

Eating her way around Germany,
The Innovative Baker

Sunday, 8 November 2009

English Tea anyone?

My friend Beattrice came a visiting and whilst we were out and about, she said she wanted to have something sweet to settle her growling tummy. So off we set to this well-known tea house called Richoux. It was indeed set in the scene of how old cafes looked like. In traditional english style, we ordered the Richoux Cream Tea. It comes with 4 scones, clotted cream, jam and a hot drink of choice. I ordered hot chocolate but was given cappucino. Nonetheless, it was a pleasure to savour scones on clotted cream.






The texture of scones was more bread like and were small, perfectly sized for tea. Not a fan of jam, neither was Beattrice, we practically devoured the clotted cream. Per order of the Richoux Cream Tea costs GBP8.25 inclusive of VAT. A tad more expensive then what you'd normally pay at a regular tea house, but Richoux does do justice to its name with its devine clotted cream.

How I came to know of Richoux was actually through JQ who recently came to visit me about 3 weeks ago now. Her friends and her met there whilst I was busy attending Raya open houses. She was raving about the clotted cream and by the time I got there, everything was cleaned off the plate. Must say something about the food right? There is also of course the traditional English Tea that comes with sandwiches, scones, a hot drink and other types of food ringing up the cashier at GBP16.50 but that was just about too much to eat for both of us.

In any case, Richoux is indeed very English, even to the service where you'd have to wait to be served and not wave your crazy hand in the air hoping to catch their attention. Perhaps being set in the very up market section of London does call for some air about you.




Note the fine print on the cup says it was established since 1909. So having had the opportunity to patronise such a long established tea house does give me the sense of britishness...hahahaha....

Anyway, for those who wish to visit the place, the link is all over this blog.

Devour your scones away,
The Innovative Baker


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