Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pizza Adventure - Part 3

Today I made pizza dough again. I've let 3/4 of the dough to proof overnight in the fridge. When you let the dough to proof overnight in the fridge, it definitely tastes better. This time I added chopped pineapples and capsicum for the topping. My grandfather made sure he stayed back to try the pizza.

2-in-1 benefit of making the pizza dough - a freshly baked pizza crust and a upper body workout from kneading the dough :)

Tomorrow will be a feast of pizzas, muffin and carrot halwa ;)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Korean Gastronomical Delight

Last week after watching Madagascar 2, we dined at Korean House restaurant at Bukit Baru, Malacca - it is situated opposite the Man-made Waterfall. We enjoyed the ambience - although parking was a little problem. The service was superb - with lots of attention - a great place to dine.

We both ordered Bi Bim Bab (Mix vegetables rice with chicken) - and it was accompanied with 11 side dishes for us to indulge. I missed the Korean experience I had when I was in Seoul last June for a conference - it was priceless. According to Chin Lay, the Korean dishes in Mahkota Parade is more palatable to our tastebud.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Nice Weekend

Alfred and I had a great weeekend just chilling out and resting - on Saturday we drove up to Bukit Tinggi and chilled out there savoring the fresh air and the beautiful view. It was refreshing to just sit back, relax and enjoy. Alfred's motto now is 'Relax, Smile, and Enjoy' - each time he says that, it certainly helps us to cope in times like this. We are certainly keeping a positive outlook despite having some negative thoughts creeping up on us now and then - but each time he says his motto with a smile on his face, we end up cherishing every moment we have.

We had a fabulous meal at the rest stop in Genting Sempah - a perfect place to sit and enjoy your meal accompanied by a great view. A perfect weekend - just relaxing and spending time with each other - just the two of us :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pizza Adventure - Part 2

I have been reading about the art of making a tasty and crunchy pizza crust. There are so many differing opinions and views about what constitutes a good crunchy delicious crust. I found one where the writer mentioned that it's not necessary to let the dough to rise - and that will produce a nice crunchy thin crust. And I also read it somewhere that salt kills yeast - but there are recipes which suggest mixing salt with yeast. I have been noting all the tips and secret ingredients - and am determined to try 'em all out - and decide for myself which one produces the best crust ever!

Today I tried making the dough using a different recipe. I've rolled out a quarter of the batch of dough I made today in a baking tray without letting it to proof (I did leave the dough at room temperature for about 15 mins or so since it was 'not behaving' when I rolled it out). For the remaining 3/4 of the dough, I've set it aside to proof in the fridge overnight.

The recipe as follows:

Thin-Crust Pizza Dough:
Step A: Proof Your Yeast
1) In a medium-sized bowl, add 2 tsp of yeast.
2) Add 2 tsp of sugar.
3) Add 1/2 cup of warm water (heated to about 37-41 degrees Celcius).
4) Mix the mixture until everything is combined.
5) Set aside for about 10 mins before adding it to the dough.
You can make the dough the day before and proof it in the fridge overnight; or in this case I straight away used some of the dough and kept the rest in the fridge.
Step B: Making the Dough
6) Add 4 cups of flour in a big bowl.
7) Add 1 tsp of salt to the bowl.
8) Add 1/4 cup of olive oil.
9) Add the activated yeast mixture to the bowl.
10) Add a cup of warm water and mix everything with a fork to get the flour absorbed.
11) Sprinkle some flour on a flat surface and turn the dough out and knead it.
12) Knead for about 10 mins or so or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
13) You can put the dough in the fridge and let it proof overnight or use it straightaway.
You can release some of the air bubbles trapped in the dough by dorking it (poking the dough with fork). The first time when I made the dough, I think I didn't give the dough enough kneading since the texture wasn't smooth.

The batch of pizza I made today is different from the first time: this time I added 2 tsps sugar to the dough; and I didn't let the dough to proof; I used cheddar cheese as the topping; gave the dough more kneading; and I added warm water to the flour and salt mixture. This is definitely a better tasting crust than the first one.

Tomorrow, I will be taking out the 3/4 of the dough which I left to proof in the fridge overnight and compare it with the one I made today. More updates tomorrow...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thin-Crusted Pizza

After dining at Bianco in Damansara, I have been craving to try my hand at baking thin-crust pizzas. So, this weekend I set myself to indulge in pizza baking and eating, of course. I made the dough from scratch and it was fun! With lots of mess to clean up afterwards, though. Of course I need more practice in tossing the pizza like a master-chef, hehe. And I am determined to go through all the practices that it takes to perfect the skills of making pizzas.

There were many recipes for the dough and that gives me more reasons to make pizzas frequently to experiment the best recipe for the crust. The outcome - turned out well I guess. But I still need lots of practice to make it better - especially with the oven temperature-control as well as more time for the dough to proof (allow dough to rise) - it would have been better if the dough is left to proof overnight in the refrigerator. The toppings for the pizza - eggplant, mozarella, mushrooms, and basil leaves. My sister enjoyed it :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mango Mousse Cake

Today I was itching to bake again and decided to make a non-baking cake - a mousse cake. Honestly, I am not a fan of mousse cake - so only try this recipe if you really are a mousse-cake fan - if not don't bother. I just wanna experiment with new types of cakes and am more interested in checking-out the outcome and also the joy of watching people enjoy the cakes rather than my indulgence in the cake itself. The texture of the cake turned out well and it's pretty nice (if you are a mousse cake fan). I used a packet of milk chocolate digestive biscuits as the base - most mousse cakes’ base are made using sponge cake - so it depends on your preference. As for me, that will be the tastiest part of the cake, hehe. My panel of judges (which are my family and friends) haven't sampled the cake yet - so the review has to wait.

Herewith is the recipe:
Ingredients for the base:
- crumbs from a packet of milk chocolate digestive biscuits (you can use as much as you want depending how thick you want the base to be)
- melted butter
Steps for the base:
1) Melt butter in a saucepan and mix the biscuit crumbs with the melted butter (the amount of butter that you use should be sufficient to get a wet-sand-like texture when you mix it with the crumbs)
2) Press the crumbs on the base of a springform pan.
3) Refrigerate.
Ingredients for the mousse cake:
- 200 gm mango puree
- 1 tbsp gelatine + 50 gm water (soak together for about 5 mins)
- 2 egg yolks
- 30 gm sugar
- 150 gm whipped cream
- some chopped mangoes
1) Boil mango puree and sugar together till boiling. Take off from heat.
2) Add in egg yolks to the puree+sugar mixture and stir till smooth.
3) Put back onto stove and then add in gelatine mixture and stir till dissolved.
4) Leave to cool till lukewarm.
5) Add chopped mangoes and fold in the whipped cream.
6) Pour on top of the base (the milk chocolate+butter crumbs) and leave in the refrigerator to let it set.
7) Decorate with some chopped mangoes.
8) Serve chilled.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Deepavali 08- Part 1

This year's Deepavali was a celebration among close friends and family; had fun spending quality time with my best friends, family, and cousins. Just catching up and makan-makan.

With my best-friends

Uncle Khoo and his grandchilden - I had lots of fun with the kids

She just fell asleep in my arms - montelnya

Deepavali 08- Part 2 - The Baking and Eating

The highlight of Deepavali this year was that I was eating non-stop - almost displaying an OCD-symptom. My eating spree of the cookies began much earlier than the Deepavali itself - much to my mom's 'likings'- I was behaving like a rat - tip-toeing to the cookie-storage room and 'stealing' the cookies - and I was unstoppable! My mom would just smile and shake her head in disbelief. So, it went on and on and on until my mother has to bake more pineapple tarts and the 'achi murukku', hehe.
Almond cookies covered with white chocolate icing

Caramel Nougat flakes

Baked cornflakes with raisins and almonds

Layered chocolate cake with ganache

The chocolate ganache-d cake was made specially for Alfred; but he couldn't come. But it was couriered to him anyways :) Most of the pieces made way into my sister's, mom's and cousins' stomachs :)