Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cranberry Beans & Peanut Soup 珍珠豆花生汤

Lately, I have been doing spring cleaning whenever I have time.  Not that I have much time but there is noone else to do it if I didn't do it. I'm trying to stay away from the computer to get more things done because my computer chair seems to some invisible glue on it.  Once I sit on it, I'm stuck. :P

So, here's a quick post on another soup that my family love. Best of all, it's easy to prepare.

  • 1.8 litre Water
  • 250g Pork Ribs
  • 150g Cranberry Beans (Zhen Zhu Dou) 珍珠豆
  • 120g Raw Peanut
  • 6 Red Dates (Hong Zao) 红枣
  • A handful Wolfberries (Gou Qi Zi) 枸杞子
  • Salt to taste

How to do it:
  1. Blanch ribs.
  2. Put all ingredients excluding salt in a pot of water.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce a simmer.
  4. Remove any scum that surface.
  5. Simmer for 2 hours.
  6. Add salt to taste.
  7. Serve.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mini Marbled Cupcakes

Last week, my son's Korean schoolmates received cupcakes from their classmate as birthday favours. They were so kind to share their cakes, so I thought I'll bake some cakes to return their kind gestures.

The marble effect on this cake isn't very obvious as the chocolate I used has a lighter chocolate colour. You can use add a bit of cocoa powder to make your chocolate batter darker if you like or use dark chocolate.

This recipe is very easy and fail proof. You just need to mix all ingredient together but I still prefer to mix the ingredients one at a time.

  • 175g Butter, softened
  • 160g Caster Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 175g Self raising Flour
  • 2 tablespoon Milk (I used fresh milk)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
  • 60g Chocolate, melted

How to do it:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
  3. Add one egg at a time and continue beating.
  4. Add milk and vanilla essence and combine well.
  5. Gradually add in the flour.
  6. Beat till mixture is smooth.
  7. Divide the mixture into 2 bowls.
  8. Add melted chocolate to one bowl.
  9. Mix well till well combined.
  10. Scoop a spoon each from both batter into paper-case.
  11. Use a toothpick to stir a little.
  12. Bake for 11 minutes; use toothpick test to check.
  13. Cool on rack.
I'm using 12 hole mini muffin pan. Bakes about 40 mini muffins.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How to crack open a coconut

Not to long ago, my friend, Sha, asked me how to open up a coconut for its juice. Maybe, there was some mis-communication somewhere in our conversation, she ended up with lesser juice than expected and a damaged cleaver. :P

Hence, I made a simple video on how it is done. This is specially for you, Sha! ;)

To make the video shorter, I have cracked the coconut slight first. The coconut I bought was without the husk. If you are from Singapore, you can get them is some wet markets, NTUC and Shop N Save.

Sadly, there wasn't much choice for me to choose from today. So the coconut I bought, as seen in the video, was a bit old. Hence, the pulp was thick and hard and slightly more difficult to open. I should have used the coconut used in the photo above instead.Younger coconut will have very tender pulp which is very nice to eat. :)

The steps to crack open the coconut is as follows:
  1. With one hand firmly holding the coconut, hit it with the back of the cleaver. Very important to make sure noone is behind or beside you!!
  2. Turn the coconut around and continue to hit on it until you see a crack-line around the coconut.
  3. An 'old' coconut will have thick and hard pulp. Don't force it open with your hands. You will end up having coconut juice splashing all over.
  4. Use a fork or spoon to poke in-between the crack-line into the coconut.
  5. Twist a little to force open the coconut.
  6. You can now drain out the coconut juice from the opening.
  7. Open up the 'top' of the empty coconut to scrape out the pulp.
  8. If you have problem opening up the coconut, use a knife to cut the pulp first.
  9. You will be able to open up the coconut easily now.
  • You can control how big the opening you want by hitting on a position of the coconut. Hit it closer to the top, you have have a smaller opening. It's good if you want to drink the juice straight from the coconut.
  • Hit it on the position about 1/3 from the top, you will have a larger opening. Good if you want to scrape out the pulp.
Here's the video as mentioned ...

Now, I'm off to crack some coconuts to make coconut jellies. :D


Monday, April 5, 2010

Chicken Soup with White Fugus 雪耳鸡汤

I was told that White Fungus or White Wood Ear (mushroom) 白木耳 bai mu er, also called 银耳 yin er  or 雪耳 (xue er), is said to help to strengthen the lungs to prevent common cold and reduce the symptom of asthma.

For my mother, who used to say that white fungus is the poor's alternative to bird's nest, it's more of a beauty must-have.  She said if eaten regularly, it will help improve the complexion, reduce wrinkles and fine lines. I should have started having it long ago. Never to late to start. ;)

I was taught to choose (dried) white fungus that is not too white as it's most likely to be bleached.  It should be slightly yellowish. I prefer those that are smaller as the bigger one tends to be more chewy.

I like the add it in soup for the additional 'crunch' and is often served as a in a refreshing dessert called Cheng Tng 清汤 too.

  • 900ml Water
  • 2 Large Chicken Drumstick
  • 15g Bai Mu Er 白木耳 (White Fungus)
  • 16g Yu Zhu 玉竹 (Solomon's Seal Rhizome)
  • 10g Gou Qi Zi 枸杞子 (Wolfberries)
  • 6 Hong Zao 红枣 (Red Dates)
  • Salt to taste

How to do it:
  1. Soak white fungus in water for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the hard yellow part of white fungus and set aside.
  3. Blanch chicken.
  4. In pot of water, add all ingredients except white fungus and salt.
  5. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  6. Skim off any scum.
  7. Continue to simmer for at least 2 hour.
  8. Tear white fungus into smaller pieces if preferred.
  9. Add into soup and continue to simmer for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  10. Add salt to taste.
  11. Serve.

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