Sunday, 29 December 2013

German Potato Salad (From the Deutsche Supperclub kitchen)


For those who have attended the Deutsche Supperclub series at my humble abode, know the reputation of this German potato salad. From the time I remember serving it, I've only had pittance left to soothe my aching soul. Note, that this variation of a German potato salad was taken from the cookbook - Grandma's German Cookbook and added my little touches into it. Ordinarily, German potato salad only has potatoes. But different parts of Germany have different versions of it. But what makes it German anyway? The dill and chives. Here's mine:

Ingredients:

5 medium sized US russet potatoes
5 medium sized eggs
10 bacon rashers (can be pork or beef)
10 mini gherkins 
1 packet fresh dill
1 packet fresh chives
1/2 packet fresh Italian parsley
1 tub sour cream (210g)
1 tub fresh plain yoghurt (210g)
2 tbsp German mustard
salt and pepper

Method:
  1. First boil your potatoes by filling up half a pot of water and place the potatoes in there to boil together. Do not peel your potatoes yet. Boil them whole.
  2. Then boil your eggs by placing the eggs in a half pot of cold water and bring it up to a boil. Once the water is boiling, switch it off and close the lid and let it sit.
  3. Meanwhile, chop up your bacon rashers into bite size pieces (roughly 1cm thick) and dry fry. No added oil is needed because the bacon will naturally emit its oils and fries up the bacon til a crispy golden brown. Drain the oil to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Next, prepare another bowl of ice water for your eggs also to stop the eggs from continuous cooking. Let it sit in the ice bath for about 5 minutes. You will notice that your remove the egg shell a lot easier after this. Remove egg shells and slice the eggs however you want it - wedges or sliced into rounds.
  5. By this time (about 20 or so later) the potatoes would be ready. Use a knife or fork to pierce through the potatoes. As long as it slides easily into the potato and comes out as easily, then the potatoes are ready. Drain the hot water out of the pot and replace it with ice cold water to stop the potatoes from cooking. You can drain the first round of cold water as it would turn warm fast due to the hot pot. Then refill again with cold water and let it sit.
  6. Use a knife to remove the skin. It'll come off easily from the potato. Once done, slice them into rounds. Place them into a big salad bowl.
  7. Next chop the gherkins into rings as well and toss them in. Add in the cooled down bacon rashers. Chop the fresh herbs any which way you see fit but not too finely. You need to have a bit a bite! Add the chopped herbs into the bowl as well.
  8. Then add in the sour cream, yoghurt and german mustard together with the salt and pepper to taste. Toss it around. Finally add in the sliced eggs on top. Stir only at the end so that the eggs aren't too mushed up.
  9. Serve with...just about anything :-)
Something perfect to end the new year with maybe? But keep a look out for my German cheesecake recipe with a twist! In the meantime, I'm off to eat my German potato salad...

The Innovativebaker

Friday, 6 December 2013

Italy met Malaysia in the United Kingdom



15th November 2013 marked my first return supperclub in London by teaming up with the formidable Backdoor Kitchen. A collaboration waiting to happen since a year ago, it finally materialised with both Rob and I agreeing to the Italo-Malay supperclub. It was definitely a fun night as guests who came were very friendly, and included my parents and superb friends like @edible_exp and @erikme and Jeanette who brought along a team of superb friends and eaters.. Thank you.

The fact that the supperclub was remotely organised, me in KL and Rob in London, we were initially wondering whether it would take place since it was a slow start to the ticket sales. A week later and my prodding loads and offending others (sorry @john2man), we sold out. So all those jitters were confounded! Lol...

The menu? simple, using the same basic ingredient, we each came up with our own traditional dishes for the crowds to eat, savour and enjoy. Courtesy of Jeannette Ng, these are some photos that were taken that night:

That's me talking about what the supperclub is going to be like

Rob's Saltim Boca (i forgot the spelling)

The couscous

My nasi ulam

The Assam Fish

A baked version of the ayam percik

Bubur Cha Cha

One side of the dinner table

The experience of course was definitely fantastic. Two chefs, two ways of behaving in the kitchen but we worked like a well-oiled team I think. The difference was definitely in the tastebuds of our guests who enjoyed every morsel til a point that they were so full, they couldn't eat anymore.

I take away from that day a real sense of achievement. I always believed that cuisines can be matched and presented together for an enjoyable meal and Rob's mash up idea was simply fantastic. Who knew we'd play host to 13 wonderful guests, 2 photographers, one trusty and secret Malaysian assistant hailing from Finland and two insane chefs... lol!!

Would I do it again? Of course! I wouldn't trade this experience for anything else in the world :)

Hoping to kick ass again in London's supperclub scene,
The Innovativebaker

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Nasi Ulam (Malaysian Herb Rice Salad)


In my recent supperclub with BackDoor Kitchen in the Italy vs Malaysia Battle, I thought I'd try my hand at making something ultra traditional from Malaysia. (A second post on my experience cooking with Rob, the brains behind BackDoor Kitchen will follow). Nasi Ulam, is not one dish you'd think you'd find yourself making as it roughly consists of more than 20 ingredients, finely chopping almost 3/4 of the ingredients and prepping a ton of it way before hand. As the picture can tell you, it does have a ton load of traditional Asian ingredients that either you as an Asian (in this case South East Asian) can figure out or when you're typically Malaysian.

I for one have never made it before so exploring this really made my day. The comments I got was most certainly encouraging and of course super fantastic spurring me to write this post so that you too can also make nasi ulam. Quoting Wen from Edible Experiences:

"If no one wants the leftovers, I'll tapau (doggy bag) it home"

So ingredients:

The rice:
3 cups thai fragrant or basmati rice
1 - 2 cups coconut milk
2 cups water
4 to 5 screwpine leaves, tied into a knot
2 - 3 lemongrass, pounded
salt to taste
1 tsp turmeric powder (optional)

Everything else (finely sliced):

4 - 5 sprigs laksa leaves (vietnamese mint / daun kesum)
10 - 15 wild betel leaves (daun kaduk)
10 shallots
10 - 15 lemon basil leaves
1 - 2 torch ginger flower (bunga kantan)
30 mint leaves
1/2 cup pounded dried prawns
2 - 3 lemongrass 
3 heaping tbsp sambal belacan
1/2 cup pounded or minced salted fish
3 - 4 red chillies - finely diced
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup toasted desiccated coconut
5 long beans
2 medium sized limes
10 - 15 kaffir lime leaves
1 salted egg (optional)

Method:
  1. Firstly prepare the rice and cook it the night before for it to rest and dry over night.
  2. Simply add 1 1/2 cups coconut milk and 1 1/2 cups water to 3 cups thai fragrant rice. If you are using basmati rice, then 2 cups coconut milk and 2 cups water to 3 cups basmati rice.
  3. Add the screwpine leaves, pounded lemongrass and salt to the rice and cook over medium heat. If you are using a rice cooker, just flick the switch and don't worry about it. The turmeric powder is optional if you like your rice to have a yellow tinge.
  4. Next fry up the salted fish and let cool before mincing. Do the same with the dried prawns. This enhances the flavour to both ingredients.
  5. Toast 1/2 cup dessicated coconut til golden brown and leave it to cool.
  6. You can also make the sambal belacan the night before as the longer it sits, the better it tastes. The recipe is highlighted above.
  7. The next day, start to finely slice all the herbs. (do not do this the night before as the herbs will wilt in the fridge). If you cannot find the salted egg, it isn't a problem. Leave it out.
  8. Then combine everything in a bowl and toss as usual. Serve like a salad or as an accompaniment to a curry or dish with gravy.
This is one dish I'd definitely want to make again if not for its immense amount of preparations but also because the flavours and aromas that you get from the dish is simply heavenly.

Have fun making it!

Writing up my experience in the Italian-Malaysian mashup,
The Innovative Baker


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Why we do Supperclubs: Yummychooeats


Selina is second from the right.
(Pic taken from her Facebook page and from a recent pop up event in London)


Selina Peri-Peri, or her Twitter handle: Yummychooeats, a fellow friend and fantastic Mauritian supperclub host and pop-up chef, is a formidable individual, whose passion to spread the word on Mauritian cuisine, has taken her through leaps and bounds. Here's what she has to say about doing what she does.:
“I had the passionate aim to get authentic Mauritian home cooking out there to educate people, if you will, as not a lot of people know what it consists of,” says Selina Periampillai, a Mauritian cook now finding her supperclub business branching out into the world of pop-ups.
Selina began running the supperclubs from her home in Croydon, but given its location and the growing popularity of her events, demand lead her to expanding through South and Central London and seeking out perfect locations for a Mauritian pop-up. Her first  pop-up outside her home was set against the backdrop of a cosy cafe in Brixton. With the extra space and covers allowing for more diners and entertainment, it also allowed her to get closer to replicating a laid back Mauritian vibe, Selina says. It’s clearly set a precedent as she’s preparing for her next two pop-ups in Warwick Avenue and Covent Garden, again allowing for added quirks including themed Sunday dinners and Palm House dining for a tropical feel.
A self-taught cook who grew up around food has led Selina to where she is now, through experimenting, eating out, dining in and taking inspiration from restaurants has helped her business evolve. Not to mention, as she puts it, “having the motivation and determination to learn new things and read more cookery books.”
But besides the freedom to tailor each occasion to suit your theme, what can go wrong?
“Lots of small issues can come up,” says Selina. “From not having enough space or having to fit people in, last minute cancellations and having a Plan B in case things don’t work out last minute food-wise. It means you always have the creative hat on to make something out of nothing. You need to delegate in the kitchen for it to be successful and check food goes out on time. Being organised is a must!”
Selina busy in the kitchen during another pop up event
Pic taken from her Facebook page

“Pop-ups have become more about the dining experience as well as the food and everyone offers something unique. There are still so many restaurants to go to, but the amount of pop-ups and supperclubs is increasing and people want to try something different,” says Selina. “It’s great for people who can’t afford to set up a restaurant or just want to test the market. And social media opens a perfect avenue for marketing, advertising and communicating with potential customers.So for a keen home cook, the model of a pop-up has led to Mauritian cuisine gaining good word of mouth and evolving into a full-time business in the form of supperclubs, cooking classes and collaborations with other chefs from the street food market scene and beyond.
“People are tired of conventional restaurants. Pop-ups can give you budding hot new talented chefs and cooks creating menus in quirky spaces — there’s nothing not to love!”
For details about Selina’s upcoming events, visit her Yummy Choo Edible Experiences page, or follow her on Twitter.
Original article from: Digest Mag
Yours in the name of supperclubs,
The Innovativebaker

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Italy meets Malaysia - First collaborative cross culture Supperclub

Yeap you read right! Both Backdoor Kitchen and moi will be collaborating this November in London for one night only.

First of their many collaborations, we have joined forces to represent what both our supperclubs represent. While I represent a very varied cuisine of choice (Malaysian offerings in London while I cook my way through Europe in Malaysia), Backdoor Kitchen have been what I would say the tour-de-force in any Italian supperclub based in London. Rob, the headchef takes you through an epic journey round and across Italy with his traditional dishes derived from inspirations from his family. He even hosted a supperclub in Singapore last September to raving reviews. 

Yes, some of you who do catch up with this blog know I used to host the Budaya Kusina supperclub together with Baz of The Paleo Larder (formerly cheapeatsblog). We of course intend to continue it once we both actually are in the same country for a longer period of time. Lol!

Anyway... this one night only collaboration is on the 15th November somewhere in Bermondsey, London.

Want to know what is featured on the menu?

Drink (Lyn's): 3 Layer Tea (iced -  layer of palm sugar syrup, one layer of evporated milk and one layer of black tea) you can actually see 3 layers!
Caponata di Orata (Rob's) - sweet and sour Sicilian cold salad with courgette, pine nut, sultana, red pepper, seabream, pancetta and basil EVOO
Ikan Masak Assam (Lyn's) - a sour and spicy fish dish traditional to the Malay and Peranakan cultures, it blends beautifully with the Rice herb salad accompanying this dish.
Nasi Ulam (Lyn's) - Malaysian Rice Herb Salad (contains fish as well as loads of different herbs, vegetables and spices) - Nasi Ulam, a tradition to the many Malays in Malaysia may be a laborious dish, but a delight to the discerning eater.
Cous Cous alla Trapanese 2.0 (Rob's) - Cous Cous warm salad topped with a lentil, cherry tomato, anchovy, garlic, chilli, parsley, caper wine sauce and slowly cooked squid. Food rave in your mouth.
Drink (Rob's): Shakerato all'Ananasso - a special Aperol based cocktail with vodka and pineapple juice
Ayam Percik (Lyn's) - Grilled chicken marinated over a course of 24 hours with coconut milk, a mixture of Malaysian spices -dollops and dollops of sauce to go with it from the drippings of the chicken while grilling.
Saltimbocca (Rob's) - Chicken fillet topped with San Daniele ham, mature cheddar and sage and slowly cooked in wine. Signature dish.

Dessert:
Bubur Cha Cha (Lyn's) - a coconut based sweet soup with melt in your mouth tapioca, yam and tapioca pearls.
Secret dessert (Rob's) - as custom with the Backdoor Kitchen
So now you know what's in store. How to book? Click here. Limited to 14 seats. Book now or regret not going. 
Excited,
The Innovative Baker

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Reminiscing and Contemplating - Why I do supperclubs :-)





Like what Julia Child said, I seem to think people who love eating, seems to always have a jolly smile on their faces. And this is why I do supperclubs. 

How did I get involved in one, why did I even consider hosting a supperclub are all the questions that many have asked throughout my last few months in London and ever since I got back to Malaysia and decided to feed my passion for cooking. Mind you, I will never open a restaurant, so you would have to bear with the fact that my supperclub are far too scarce (once in 2 months) but once you're booked in, and do come, you'd be a very happy bunny...

Well firstly what is a SUPPERCLUB? There have been many definitions from different people. But the best of summing it up is from Wikipedia:

"A supper club, traditionally, refers to a dining establishment that also functions as a social club. The term may describe different establishments depending on the region, but in general, supper clubs tend to present themselves as having a high-class image, even if the price is affordable to all."

My definition? well, I'd say that a supperclub is a gathering of like minded people wishing to experience new things over a table of great food cooked by an avid home chef. And since my embarking on this endeavour, I have met a ton of like minded people, became good friends with great home chefs turned cookbook writers, pop up hosts and restaurateurs, cafe owners, pastry chefs and most importantly home chefs. The hard part behind it is the preparation, the blood, sweat, tears and kitchen failures that we do get when cooking for a supperclub. Why? Well, a supperclub can range from 4 to 30 people. Essentially 10 is the maximum number of guests I'd think is ideal to produce some delectable food for, but the evolution of the name has since seen the number rake up to 50.

But put that all aside...the whole point of this post is to say why I do supperclubs and why I still do them. From the chef's point of view (taking a moment from my last supperclub in September 2012 where the guys in the kitchen called me chef and I had like the biggest most gleeful smile ever being called one), it is a time when you decide what dishes you as a chef would like to cook and that can best represent your skills as a chef. I got into it purely because my friends, far and wide, said COOK FOR PEOPLE ALREADY!!! Ana and Teresa of Flavours of Spain can attest to that along with Mark, one half of the Mark and Ce team and Jeanette, a fellow foodie. They were the first ever supperclub tasters and the results were phenomenal. Well at least in my books. That started me on my journey of hosting my first supperclub together with Baz, my partner in crime in the kitchen, that resulted in 2 other supperclubs before my final adieu from London.

Those three supperclubs sealed the deal for me. The smile on people's faces when they eat your food, puts a happy smile on your face. But of course the butterflies in your stomach always strikes just before you serve because you don't know whether your guests would eventually love what you've dished out. My cooking skills were put to the test including time management, budgeting, organisation and being patient and calm. Oh my lord, if you could only hear the curses coming out from my kitchen (it is true when Gordon Ramsay swears when something doesn't go right in the kitchen) especially when my desserts don't go my way, you'd wonder why I put myself through it. 

Despite all the kitchen mishaps, the cuts, the burns, the OMG moments when you run out of ingredients, I still love having a supperclub. I meet the most amazing people. They come from all walks of life, professions, mindsets, countries, cultures and well eating habits! But...we all share one common passion - FOOD! And for what its worth, the blood, sweat and tears that we put into having a supperclub is only because we love sharing. The beauty of seeing the coming together of your menu and the fact that it does what it does, and keeps people coming back just goes to show that it is 100% satisfaction...for me at least and hopefully my guests who are now my fellow friends, foodies, mates and kick-ass buddies. 

So a huge shout out to my great great great friends in the foodie world -

Marta, Ce and Mark - whose constant encouragement and willingness to be guinea pigs every time I cooked truly paved the way to my wanting to actually have a supperclub
Wen - for having given me that benchmark to have my last supperclub in London before I left for good together with Baz.
Jason - for being the guy who said come on over and join me at my Peranakan Palace supperclub together with Goz.
Goz - for setting the tone for Asian supperclubs and now having a cookbook to his name
Selina - my Mauritian sexy chef foodie mate who never stops smiling and was definitely the hostest of the mostest!
Ana - one half of Flavours of Spain who encouraged me to have a supperclub and now is a great friend
Teresa - the other half of Flavours of Spain who adds the crazy in the Flavours of Spain and also supported my decision and didn't mind being fed to the brim
Rob and Fabio - you guys are like the epitome of Italianness. I truly enjoyed our time together!
Jaime - The awe inspiring Le Cordon Bleu pastry chef graduate whom I met over Twitter and is now a great friend!
Shuhan - for sharing an equal passion for the love of cooking
Christine - for her bubbly nature and sexy steamed buns that somehow I never got to taste
Greg - for assisting Baz and I when we needed a car to shop and a car to transport ourselves to our supperclub locations
John - who became my eating buddy every time we needed to go somewhere. And for definitely showing me the ropes when I went back to London for 2 weeks and had the eating time of my life
Sam - the micro brewer whose beers are sure to take the world by storm.
Erik - the quiet subdued Swede who definitely shares a love for food and a passion for life much like mine.
Cherry - the great Cantonese chef whose food I still remember and salivate to this day.

and to Baz - if not for you and your SURE WHY NOT attitude, we wouldn't have had Budaya Kusina in London and your patience for letting me run things. You are a great chef!

To those whom I haven't mentioned, not that I haven't forgotten you, but there's just too many of you to name in person. But thank you to every single one of you for taking the risk in eating Baz and my food. And for insisting I still run a supperclub here in Malaysia. 

It has been a rollercoaster of a year but this has been the best year yet! Here's to a year's worth of Supperclubs but more importantly here's to all the PEOPLE who make SUPPERCLUBS what they are!

Much love from the Straits of Melaka,
The Innovativebaker

Stay tuned for a guest post from Selina, the Mauritian Supperclub host hailing from Croydon.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Deutschesupperclub feiert OKTOBERFEST! (Deutschesupperclub celebrates Oktoberfest!)


It is Oktoberfest time!! Yes.. seriously and true to my word the Deutschesupperclub's fourth time will be so thematic you cannot say I didn't try! The menu has expanded (so has the price but only for specially themed supperclubs) and a collaboration with Ales & Lagers to pair beers with the dishes planned for the night!

Deutschesupperclub 

celebrates OKTOBERFEST!


Zum Starten:

Bratwurst mit Kartoffelsalat Berliner Art
(German Sausages with Berlin Style Potato Salad)
Brezel

Obatzter
(Cheese Spread)

Brezel / Langenstangen
(German Pretzel)

Hauptgerichte:

Muscheln Reinischer Art
(Mussels cooked the Rheinvalley style)

Schweinebraten mit Bratkartoffel und Rotkohl
(German Roast Pork with grilled potatoes and purple cabbage)

Schnitzel vom Huhner mit hausgemachte Mayonaisse
(Chicken Schnitzel with home made mayo)

Kaesespaetzle
(Cheese Spaetzle - German Egg Noodles)

Wurstsalat
(Sausage Salad)


Zum Ende:
Mystery Dessert

The desserts will remain a mystery as I love throwing in surprises! This time round with Ales & Lagers in tow, the price has slightly changed:

Just the meal will be RM120 (already including the processing fee on Plateculture.com)
With the beer pairing will be an additional RM60 (with about 6 - 8 beer pairings - 100ml portion of beer - this will be paid on the day of the meal). So how does it work?

Pay for your meal in full on Plateculture and then update me via donnowhat2cook@gmail.com or DM me on Facebook or Twitter that you want the beer pairing too. 

So why turn up in blue and white like the Oktoberfest logo and join in the festivities!

So when? where? how? what do you do?

When: 26 October 2013
Where: Location to be revealed on confirmation of booking on Plateculture
Time: 8pm onwards
Seats: 8 (3 tentatively reserved)

Are you allergic to anything? Lemme know at least a week before so I can prepare an alternative.

So quickly book b4 it sells out... there won't be any supperclubs until December.

omm paa paa omm paa paa going in the background,
The Innovativebaker

Monday, 19 August 2013

Durian Cake - not like you know it!


Yes it is DURIAN season here in Malaysia. Every corner of PJ and KL and probably the rest of Peninsular Malaysia will have a make shift stall selling the various types of Durian Kampung (Village Durians), Breeds from D24, 88, Musang King and the lot. I was always intrigued in using Durian as an ingredient in a cake rather than making it into frosting. Much like banana cake / bread where bananas are used to substitute sugar and or added for additional moisture, I used the durian pulp exactly for that purpose.


My first attempt at baking this was not much of a success following an existing recipe found on someone else's blog. Well, the picture was definitely a fantastic looking Durian Cake so I figured, eh, what's the harm right? But soon, I realised that the batter, after baking, was wet and did not rise as it should (despite using self-raising flour). So I decided last night to make my own using my own measurements and voila the results were great! So here's the recipe for all those who want to make it too :-)

Ingredients:
250g self-raising flour (sifted)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
200 to 220g of butter - softened at room temperature
150g caster sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
310g durian pulp (this can be done a night before or when softening the butter at room temperature)

Method:
  1. First heat up your oven to 180 Degree Celsius. Then butter and flour your loaf tin and lay a piece of greaseproof paper. Set aside.
  2. Next, beat the sugar and butter together until pale and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, fully incorporating each egg into the batter before adding the next one.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. You'd be surprised at how the salt adds another depth to the cake.
  4. Then add the dry ingredients and milk intermittently. Once incorporated, remove from the cake mixer and fold in the durian pulp.
  5. Spoon into the loaf tin, levelling it and then bake for about 50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
  6. TIP: 10 minutes before the cake is done, cover the cake with tin foil to avoid it from becoming too brown at the top. This also encourages the centre of the cake to continue cooking.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes before removing from the loaf tin to cool completely.
  8. Serve with TEA!

I couldn't wait so I had a slice as soon as I could. And boy was it heavenly. So why not try this version out instead of always resorting to having a creamed cake? Certainly a lot healthier right? 

NOTE: the sugar content in the recipe is a lot lower than usual because of the natural sugars that the durian pulp has. So, this adds as a way to replace too much sugar in a cake recipe :)

Recipes becoming a norm,
The Innovativebaker



Sunday, 18 August 2013

Deutsche Supperclub Nummer Drei - Deutschland triff Osterreich (Deutsche Supperclub No 3. - Germany meets Austria)

Yeap! Deutsche Supperclub Nr. Drei is here and eagerly awaiting to serve up great food once more. This time Germany's close knit neighbour, Austria will also be highlighted through its cuisine and closely related ties shared between the foods both countries share.

So what is to be expected at the next Supperclub on the 21st of September? Here's the MENU:

Zum Starten:

Zwiebelkuchen
(Onion Tart) - A traditional dish served up during Fall.

Nuernburger Bratwurst mit Kartoffelsalat
(Nuerburger Sausages with Potato Salad) - A tradition in Germany to have at least some kind of Sausage

Haupgerichte:

Bierfleisch mit Rote-Rueben-Salat
(Beef braised in Beer with Beetroot Salad)

Wiener Schnitzel mit Pommes
(Pork Schnitzel with French Fries)

Zum Ende:

Sacher Torte
(Traditional Viennese Chocolate Cake with Apricot Compote and Rum Filling)

An all new menu, with a little Innovativebaker Twist here and there... just know you would not go home hungry... 

What are the details of the next Supperclub?

Date: 21st September 2013
Day: Saturday
Time: 8pm onwards
Price: RM96 (RM80 + booking fees on Plateculture.com)
Seats Available: Maximum 8 (first come first serve basis)

Book your seats now! 4 Seats have already been reserved... so book the remainder or wait til the next date gets announced :)

Bis dahin sage ich erst,
Die Innovatifbaeckerin




Friday, 9 August 2013

Roast Pork - nuff said!


The Roast Pork, probably the most sought after Chinese Roast there is next to BBQed Pork and Roast Duck. The Germans and similarly with the British, this dish also appears in their top of the list go to dishes for Sunday Roasts in Britain and every day meals in Germany (Yes...no kidding).

So I know many have asked how does one make this dish? I have had varying degrees of success with this one and I think it all depends on the cut of the meat, how big it is and how you have rolled it up. I think sometimes, leaving it flat does provide better coverage for the pork skin to crackle up better then rolling it up. Rolling only helps when you have a spit that rotate thus equally cooking your rolled up pork belly. Hence why the Germans call it Spiessbraten (Spitroast). Anyway, enough rattling on to the ingredients:

The general prefered cut of meat is Pork Belly. Ask your butcher to recommend the cut suitable for roasting, clean the skin, punch holes into the skin and scour the meat side.

Spice Mix for Chinese Roast Pork:

5 Tbsp five spice powder
5 Tbsp fine sea salt

Spice Mix for German Roast pork:
3 1/2 Tbsp sea salt
5 Tbsp of a spice pre-mix for roast meats that contains the following: cumin powder, coriander powder, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper

Method for both types of Roast pork
  1. Firstly marinate the meat by rubbing the spice mix on the meat side. Then the salt on the skin. Wrap in cling film or a ziplog bag and leave in the fridge for 24 hours. 2 hours is also ok though the meat may not be as flavourful.
  2. Take out the meat after the desired length of marinating and leave it to come to room temperature. Never roast the meat cold. It will contribute to uneven cooking.
  3. Heat up your oven to 180 Degree Celcius. Scour the pork skin with your knife but only half way.
  4. If you intend to roll your pork belly, then use kitchen twine. Tie the twine at one end first and use the twine to encircle the rolled up pork belly. Tie at the other end of the pork belly and cut remaining twine off.
  5. Sit the meat on the grill section of the roasting pan. This is the grill attachments that comes with a deep roasting pan. In the roasting pan, add about 2 to 3 cups of water. This will help with keep the meat moist when roasting.
  6. Next cover with tin foil. Then place in the oven to cook for about 2 hours. 
  7. After 2 hours, remove the tin foil and place it back into the oven for another 15 minutes before cranking up the oven to 220 Degrees to make your crackling. (Just before cranking up the oven, remove the kitchen twine to avoid it being burnt!)
  8. Then you will see the pork skin starting to pop, crackle and pop even more. This should take about 20 minutes give or take.
  9. Remove the roast pork from the oven and let it rest on the roasting pan first before serving. This is to encourage the juices to remain in the pork and not flow out of it.
  10. The pork oil and juices at the bottom of the pan can be used to make a sauce. Entirely up to you.
There you go! It is relatively easy to make. Just a long cooking period. But from what my diners and family members have said, this is a winner.......

The Innovativebaker 

Monday, 29 July 2013

Gluten Free Series: Recipe No 1 - Death By Chocolate


This cake recipe is featured actually in the Great British Book of Baking Edition 1 that I thought I'd give a try and see where it heads. And lo and behold the recipe worked! And since I posted up the photo on Facebook, many have asked for the recipe...so here you go!

Ingredients:
5 medium sized free range eggs
300g dark chocolate
150g salted butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
100g sugar

Method:
  1. Firstly heat up the oven to 180 Degree Celcius and butter and flour a standard sized baking pan.
  2. Then heat a small sauce pan with some water at the smallest fire. Then place a heat proof bowl.
  3. Next chop up the chocolate and butter into cubes. Place into the heat proof bowl for it slowly melt. Stir occassionally until both chocolate and butter have dissolved. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  4. In a cake mixer, add in the eggs and vanilla essence. Lightly stir the eggs first before adding in the sugar. Then beat at the highest speed until egg mixture has increased in volume by about 5 times and turns a pale shade. To test whether the mixture is ready, lift the beater and see whether it falls ribbon like. Then count up to 5 seconds when the egg mixture falls from the beater and stays slightly stiff. That's when it is ready to be mixed with the chocolate mixture.
  5. Using a metal ladle / spoon or spatula, fold in the chocolate mixture. This is where is it crucial. Take your time to fold both mixtures together. Make sure no chocolate mixture is left at the bottom of the mixing bowl.
  6. Pour the batter into the baking pan and pop into the oven for about 35 minutes. Prick a toothpick or a cake tester in the middle of the cake to see whether it comes out clean. Then remove and let it cool completely in the cake pan.
  7. Serve with whatever frosting you wish to have.
It proved an instant hit with guests at my nephew's birthday party. So at least now you have a gluten free option to make a chocolate cake with flour or almond mehl.

Still owing the Spiessbraten recipe...
The Innovativebaker 



Thursday, 25 July 2013

Deutsche Supperclub Nummer Zwei (German Supperclub No 2)


Yup you read right! Deutsche Supperclub Nummer Zwei is back! There are some slight adjustments to the menu but most still remain the same. This is to ensure that you get the best possible authentic German cuisine I can cook for ya!

Zum Anfang:

Frikadelle mit Gurkensalat
(Fried Meat Patties with Cucumber Salad*)
*for the lactose intolerant, it will have a lemon and dill dressing without yoghurt

Currywurst mit Pommes
(German Pork Sausages served with homemade spiced ketchup and special curry sauce with homemade French Fries)

Hauptgerichte:
Deutsche Kebab
(The German kebap - Grilled chicken marinated for 24 hours served in homemade Turkish flatbread)

Spiessbraten mit Kartoffelpuree und Rotkohl
(German Roast Pork with Mashed Potatoes and Purple Cabbage)

Am Ende:
Apfelstreudel mit Frische Vanilleneiercreame
(German Apple Strudel with fresh vanilla custard)

Kaffee / Tee / Digestive

I know some people do not eat beef and are lactose intolerant, so I will replace them with an alternative dressing / or full porky patties to ensure everyone is happy!

When is it?

Date: 3rd August 2013
Time: 7.30pm onwards
Alcohol Policy: Bring Your Own Booze (No Corkage charged)

At this point in time this supperclub is fully booked! But if you are interested, drop me a line and I'll update you on the next one!

Cooking up another Deutschesessen,
The Innovativebaker

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Spaghetti in Cream Sauce with Parma Ham


Another 15 minute meal provided you have everything out and ready to go. Well technically the cooking took all but 10 minutes? And the preparation was about 5 minutes. So for those who do think cooking is tedious and long think again because this certainly was done in 15 minutes.

The Ingredients:

About a handful of spaghetti (40 sticks or so)
1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
2 to 3 sprigs of spring onions - cut into 5cm length
1 tsp chilli flakes or 2 fresh birds eye chillies - finely sliced
About 1/2 cup heavy / double / whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste
4 to 5 slices of parma ham

Method:
  1. First prepare the water in a pot half way through and set to a boil with some oil and salt.
  2. Then prepare the garlic, spring onions and chilli.
  3. When the water begins to boil add in the spaghetti and cook according to packet's instructions. It usually varies between 8 to 10 minutes. 
  4. When the spaghetti is almost cooked (In the 6th minute), warm up your frying pan with some oil and add in the garlic and chillies. The spaghetti should be ready then. Remove from the stove and steep the water. Run it under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  5. The garlic and chillies should be fragrant now, so add in the spring onions to just cook it slightly before adding in the heavy cream.
  6. Let it simmer and not cooked through because the cream can curdle if over cooked. This should be 30 seconds. 
  7. Now toss in the spaghetti, and add in the salt and pepper to taste. Make sure to toss the spaghetti in the sauce and then ladle it on to a pasta bowl.
  8. Layer the parma ham on top and serve!
Parma Ham tastes better when you do not cook it on the stove and let it steep slowly with the warm sauce. You can even omit the salt from the sauce as the parma ham is salty enough.

This all done in 15 minutes... yum...

I still owe you guys the Spiesbraten (German Roast Pork) recipe. Give me time and it'll appear...soon!!

Prepping for a big birthday cake in the shape of a fish....
The Innovativebaker

Saturday, 8 June 2013

the Asian Food Channel Foodie Face Off 2013 Kuala Lumpur


Yeap you read right! Yours truly decided to join the Asian Food Channel's Foodie Face Off 2013. Which dish did I decide to feature? Well based on feedback...I thought why not something really traditional like my Otak Otak Nyonya Style that I served up at the Second Budaya Kusina Supperclub in London.

Otak Otak Nyonya Style


The Face Off is to happen on the 29th of June. But in order for me to qualify, I need to be amongst the top 50 photos for the judges to decide on picking the top 20 finalists. So we have til the 19th of June to vote!!! So vote for me by clicking on the link here or on the title of my dish above and lets send me to the finals!

This already sounds exciting!!!

Can't wait to actually cook in an actual competition,
The Innovative Baker

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Corned Beef Spaghetti with Bird's Eye Chillies and Basil Leaves


Okay so I have this habit of taking photos via Instagram and forget to use my own camera. So I figured I'd use my instagram photos instead to kill two birds with one stone.

I've always been meaning to make this pasta. I remember a friend talking about it and how his relatives raved about it. Then somehow I saw a tv show that also did something with corned beef. Making it from scratch that is. But time is of the essence and this dish took probably 15 minutes in total to prepare and cook.

So what went in?

Ingredients:

Half a can of corned beef (Yes, this is a quick dish as you can see)
2 birds eye chillies - finely sliced
1 bulb of garlic - finely diced
A bunch of coriander leaves - should be about a handful - finely chopped
A bunch of basil leaves - whole
olive oil



20 to 30 sticks of dried spaghetti
salt and pepper to taste

Method:
  1. Firstly boil up a pot of water filled three quarters of the way. Add some olive oil and salt to the water while waiting.
  2. When the water looks like there are mini bubbles starting to form, start to heat up your frying pan. Add in the olive oil to heat up before popping in the chillies and garlic for a quick stirfry. Meanwhile, add in the pasta in the boiling water to cook according to the packet's instructions.
  3. When garlic is fragrant, add in half a can of cornef beef and mash it with your cooking spatula or wooden spoon. Making sure to get the beef cooked through.
  4. Just then, the pasta should be ready. Remove one to test by either eating it or throwing it against the wall. If it sticks its cooked! If it still a little cruncy to the bite, even better, this means it is al dente. Take a small ladle full of the pasta water to be added to the corned beef pan. Then drain off the remaining water before ladling out the pasta into the corned beef mixture.
  5. Then quickly incorporate the pasta with the beef and add in the chopped coriander before switching off the heat. The pepper and salt comes last. But you might not require salt as the corned beef is salty enough.
  6. Then dish it up onto a plate and garnish with whole basil leaves.
  7. Serve while still piping hot!
This was certainly a hearty dish! And I must say such a quick way to churn out a perfect meal.

I used canned corned beef only because it gives the desired effect. You can still make your own corned beef but that would mean a day's worth of your time. So a decision left to you to decide.

Next in line, using leftovers to make another pasta dish and also the promised recipe for the German Spiessbraten,
The Innovativebaker


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

What went down at the Deutsche Supperclub

The most recent and 1ST ever Deutsche Supperclub was held last Saturday to much success! Within a week of announcing, I have 4 spaces booked and then a week after everything was sold out! Whhioopppiieeee!!! Jumping like a hot potato, I set myself to make sure this SUPPERCLUB was one to remember. I even had my good friend Jaime of Jaim's Kitchen from London come along to it brought who along 3 others friends of hers. Together with her, ChicGorgeous - the beautiful Joanna also made it to the Supperclub with her sister in law and to round the bevy of beauties was the one and only handsome guy friend - Nicholaus - the one without a blog but with a big happy appetite. 




The printed menu along with beers bought from Ales & Lagers made its star début on the 25th of May 2013. It was also coincidentally my close friend's birthday - MARK BOWMAN. You know who you are. Getting on... what was served? 

Die Karte
(The Menu)

Zum Kosten (To Taste):
Weihenstephaner in 2 Sortiment: Dunkel und Weiss
(2 types of Weihenstephaner Beer: Dark and Clear)

Zum Anfang (To Start):
Frikadelle mit Gurkensalat
(Fried Meat Patties with Cucumber Salad)

Currywurst mit Pommes
(German Frankfurter Sausages with Spiced Tomato Sauce and Curry with French Fries)

Hauptgerichte (The Mains):
Doener Kebap
(Germany's version of the Turkish Kebab served with a yoghurt dressing)

Spiessbraten mit Bratkartoffeln und frische Krautsalat
(German Roast Pork Belly with Sautéed Potatoes and fresh pickled cabbage)

Zum Ende (To End):
Apfelstreuselkuchen mit Vanilleneiercreme
(Apple Streusel Cake with Vanilla Bean Custard)

Coffee / Tea
Petite Fours

So as the guests arrived, everyone was having a happy laugh and getting to know each other. 


Monkeying around as the guests were being served the first course.

(Frikadelle mit Gurkensalat)

(Excuse some of the pictures, some were taken from Instagram, while others were pictures from Nicholaus)

As I made the yoghurt dressing for the Cucumber Salad, I somehow remembered how it would taste if it was from Germany. One taste and woo hoo it hit the mark. Yes no kidding. Lol... based on what I remember, the guests were mentioning how good the cucumber salad was. I added slices of pickled gherkins too to add additional kick! The meat patties were a combo of beef and pork and a mixture of herbs that went well with the cucumber salad. 

The next in line was the sausages:

(Currywurst mit Pommes)

I slogged at the stove to come up with the home made tomato ketchup, which at the end one of the guests decided to 'TA PAU BALIK' (take away).


The home made tomato ketchup infused with basil, marjoram, bay leaves, rosemary, paprika, cayenne pepper, chilli powder and sugar.

I must say, that the compliments so far (despite the rather soggy fries) was very encouraging, with many saying the tomato ketchup is sweet yet has a kick to it! YUM!

Then came the mains. Both the chicken and the pork belly were marinated for more than 24 hours. Sitting in the fridge with my secret spices, the chicken and pork belly turned out magnificently or so I think.
The Doener Kebap
(Complete with homemade turkish flatbread, roasted Mediterranean spiced chicken and vegetables) and a side of yoghurt tzatziki dressing.

Bread was never my forte. However, I figured store bought bread was not going to cut it. So I made it. With much sweat and tears, the bread turned out!

The bread before it was sliced.

I gather from the whispers and sometimes oh so quiet moments at the dinner table, the guests were pleased with their offerings. Oh and in case you're wondering why certain dishes were served in boxes, I wanted to provide the guests the feeling that when they were eating street food, it would be served in take away boxes. And that's what both the Currywurst and Kebab was - take away street food. 

The star of the night as the guests put it was the Spiessbraten:

(Spiessbraten - German Roasted Pork Belly)

Spiessbraten mit Bratkartoffeln und frische Krautsalat
(German Roasted Pork Belly served with Sautéed Potatoes and Fresh Pickled Cabbage)

As I cut into the skin of the pork belly and heard the crunch, I was so excited. The bits that fell off, I placed it in my mouth only to than ooh and aah at how yummy it was! I knew it was a success! But to now wait for the guests to eat and see what they say. Result? Silence at the dinner table, then crunch crunch crunch, and then...mmmmmmm.... yummy!

I was very pleased! One of the guests also asked to take away another slice of the pork belly. How rad is that?

The finale was dessert:

Apfelstreuselkuchen (Apple Streusel Cake before being sliced)

Apfelstreuselkuchen mit Vanilleneiercreme (Apple Streusel Cake with Vanille Bean Custard)

The cake was the BOMB! The custard flew off the shelves and someone asked for the seconds. Need I say more? Lol... not one to compliment my own cooking as I always think that there is room for improvement, the smiles on my diners faces was enough to let me enjoy and savour the moment. 

The dinner ended with a German aperitif - Killepitsch (only found in Duesseldorf and German Airport Duty Free), guests who did try it were pleasantly surprised but not put off by it. This lot of diners were definitely adventurous.

So how did the supperclub go? Fabulous! Wunderbar! Tres Bien! Buonisimmo!

I eventually cleaned up and went to bed around 1am. But heck, the joy of my diners enjoying my food was good enough for me. I went to bed with a smile and knowing I wouldn't mind having another supperclub.

So I hope to see you at the next one!

The ever so adventurous chef,
The Innovativebaker









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