For the past two weeks, I’ve been making Fried Rice. I’m always scared of cooking as most of the time the food I cook doesn’t look and taste like what I’ve imagined. While scrolling through Facebook videos, there was a video by emmymade on how to cook fried rice. So, I muster up my nerve and followed the steps. I didn’t have spring onions so I omitted it from the ingredient list.
The verdict: my husband loves it and I liked it too. There are a lot of variations to fried rice. For proteins, you could use fish, chicken, pork, beef. You can make it vegetarian. You can use just egg white. You can add those tuna in cans. You can add salted fish. Whatever you want your fried rice to be, you can do it. Common ingredients in fried rice are eggs, rice, and vegetables. I tried the frozen vegetables with broccoli, baby carrot, peas and potato, it didn’t jive with the rice.
With my current work, I’m usually off on Thursday. That means I get to bake or make desserts. Today, I decided to try a brownies recipe from The Bailiwick Academy. As brownies are considered entry-level baking, I imagine it will work out fine. Looking at the recipe, I noticed that it would be too sweet for my guinea pigs. I tweaked the measurement and the ingredients and came out with this delectable walnut fudge brownies which passed my guinea pigs sweet tooth.
Verdict: After 25 minutes in the oven, the top part got burnt while the inside was still a bit soft and gooey. I added 10 minutes baking time at 325F. I’m not sure if the temperature in my smaller oven is correct or I really need to get an oven thermometer to check temp. It’s not the first time I baked there where the outside got burnt and the inside is not yet cook. In any case, it still taste yummy and it is best serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for Brownie ala mode.
With lots of downtime during my recent visit to the US, I decided to attend a baking class near my area. While searching online, artisan + no knead got me hooked at this class at Baking Arts in San Mateo. Sure enough, no kneading is necessary but only long proofing time before you can get eat a piece of this bread.
Artisan Style “No Knead” Bread
3 cups (400g) unbleached bread flour
1-1/2 tsp salt or 1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp instant or active dry yeast
1-1/4 cup (300g) cool tap water
Corn meal for dusting (optional)
Yields: 1 large 10 inch round loaf
Shelf life: 2 days in room temperature
1. Mix flour, salt and yeast in a medium bowl. Add water to bowl, mixing until you have a wet sticky dough, about 1 minute. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside at cool room temperature for 12-18 hours.
2. Line a colander or medium sized strainer with parchment paper and sprinkle with optional corn meal. Set aside.
3. Generously dust a work surface with flour and using a dough scraper, gently coax the dough out in one piece. With well floured-hands, gently nudge and tuck the dough under to form a round ball. Transfer to colander. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
4. Thirty minutes before the dough is finished rising. Place a covered 5-6Qt heavy pot on the lower third shelf of an oven and preheat to 475F. If the lid of your pot does not have an oven safe handle on lid, remove it before placing in the oven.
5. Lightly flour the top of your dough, if desired, and use a razor blade to decoratively slash the dough about 1/4 inch deep. Carefully remove the lid from the pot and immediately place the dough, parchment and all, in the pot. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid (be cautious, steam from inside the pot can hurt unprotected hands) and bake 15-20 minutes more. Remove bread from pot and cool at least 2 hours before eating.
Fresh from the new addition to The Hutong’s Baking Made Easy class is a pie making class. I never like pies but I’m intrigued with the process. Moreover, the class promised to create two types of pie: savory and sweet.
For the savory pie, we made Mrs. Hering’s Famous Chicken Pot Pie. For the sweet pie, we made the classic Apple Pie. I didn’t know making pies was easy and fun. I’m planning to recreate the apple pie in the near future because it was that good. Moreover, even if it’s not freshly baked when eaten, it’s still so good.
Classic Apple Pie
Ingredients: (one large pie)
1 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
150g cold butter
3 tablespoons ice cold water
4 apples (peeled)
170 gm sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 220 C.
Mix the flour and sugar together. Cut the cold butter into small pies and using two butter knives or your fingers, rub the butter with the flour/sugar mixture until well mixed and looks like bread crumbs.
Add 60ml water and knead with your hands until the dough just holds together. If needed, add a little more water.
Divide dough in half and roll each half into a disc, wrap with plastic and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Peel, core and chop the apples into slices or small pieces. Add all remaining ingredients to the chopped apples and mix well. Let the apples drain while you are waiting for the dough.
Grease the pie pan with oil. (Tip: Pour some oil into the pan. Using a tissue, wipe the oil in the pan. Make sure that the inside including the sides are greased.)
After 30 minutes, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll one half of the dough out to a 30cm circle. Use flour to coat the dough if it’s too sticky. Using a rolling pin, place the dough in a pie pan and press it to cover the entire pan.
Add the apple mixture to the pan. Roll out the other piece of dough to a 25cm circle and place over the pie.
Pinch the edges to seal. Whisk an egg yolk and using a brush, coat the top part of the pie. Using a sharp knife, make 4 or 5 slits on the top of the pie.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes. The pie is done when the apples feel tender when pierced with a toothpick and juices start to bubble up from the slits.
After attending my cookie class and saw how easy it was to make cookies, I searched for recipes online to experiment on. Initially, I was planning on recreating my cousin’s white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies but ended up with a chocolate chip cookie due to the cost of macadamia nuts.
I have baked this cookie several times with different results each time. The only thing that is consistent is the soft and chewy texture in the middle and the slightly crunchy texture in the edges. It’s one of the most requested items by my friends during parties.
Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie
Ingredients: (yield 24 medium-sized cookies)
2/3 cup butter (151g)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2/3 cup all purposed flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
6 ounces chocolate chip (I just pour whatever amount I want)
Pre-heat oven to 350F or 175C
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs then stir in the vanilla extract.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
Gradually stir into the creamed mixture the flour mixture. Preferably in two parts.
Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.