Friday, 23 June 2017

Blueberry Crumble Bars


Blueberries Blueberries. Blueberry pie, Blueberry ice cream, Blueberry cheesecake, Blueberry brownie, Blueberry crumble, Blueberry cookies, Blueberry smoothie, Blueberry cake! ARGH there are a million and one desserts out there that involve this little tiny fruit.


Do not judge this fruit by its size. It’s way packed with all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidant that is good for your body. It’s quite a common fruit here in SG. Infact, they always have discounts in NTUC or cold storage. Although I wish cherries have a better presence here, I shall not be picky as blueberries are pretty yummy too.


So so so I bought 2 boxes of blueberries. Each box was about 150g. I used 2 boxes in total to make a 6” square crumb bar. This yields 9 square brownies of decent serving. You know what the best part is? It’s when you microwave the brownie for a few seconds till it’s piping hot and then you scoop a generous serving of your favourite ice cream on top of the hot brownie. Watch the ice cream melt a little and savor the moment as you put the two in your mouth.



Flavor explosion. If you wanna eat something sweet, might as well go big! Enjoy guys!Recipe adapted from Michele from FlavorMosaic

Blueberry Crumb Bars ( Makes 1 6" Square tray)


1/8 cup white sugar
1/8 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter (60g)
1/2 egg, beaten
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 packets fresh blueberries
1/8 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoons cornstarch


1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190deg C).

2) Line a 6" Square baking tray with baking paper and grease the sides of the tray with non stick cooking spray or butter

3) In a medium bowl, stir together white and brown sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.

4) Add the egg and vanilla to the flour mixture.

5) Using a fork or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly.

6) Pat half of the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.

7) In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Stir in the blueberries.

8) Spoon the blueberry mixture evenly over the bottom crust.

9) Crumble the remaining dough over the blueberry layer.

10) Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until top is slightly brown.

11) You can enjoy it warm of if you wanna snap a clean looking picture, i refrigerated the bars for 30- 1 hour so it's easier to cut them up. Just warm them for 10 secs in the microwave to get them hot and yummy again :)

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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Healthy Sous Vide Salmon


I gotta admit fish was my favourite “meat” while growing up. Given a choice of protein ( Beef, Pork, Chicken, Lamb etc), my first choice will always be fish. The Good Old Humble fish that can be enjoyed several ways- Steam, Fried, Baked, Grilled.

Mummy used to prepare them almost every single day ( Actually she still is). Thus, its daily appearance is nothing to be surprise about. I’ve had a couple of fishes ( or salmon to be exact) that were overcooked thus resulting them being tough and dry. You know what I mean right.



Sometimes that rock do appear appetising but once you take a bite of its flesh, you just wanna throw it away. I decided to utilize my handy sous vide to make the salmon. I’ve read a couple of reviews on what temperature to set the machine in order to get that buttery, slippery soft flesh.

I had it sous vide at 110F for a good 45mins. Took it out of the ziplock and then gave it a quick sear on both sides in a hot pan drizzled with a little olive oil.


Verdict: the skin was crispy due to the sear but the inside of the fish was buttery, smooth and perfectly cooked! Accompanied the fish with Superlifeco’s mushroom quinoa and some vegs.

Sous Vide Salmon (2 Pax) 


2 piece salmon ( Around 200g per)
Salt
Black Pepper
2 Sprig Thyme / lemon slices etc
2 tbsp Olive oil

1) Season salmon generously with salt and pepper on both sides and place in ziplock bag
2) Add oil and leave to marinade in refrigerator for at least an hour.
3) Set temperature on sous vide machine to 110F
4) Cook each salmon for about 30-45 mins.
5) Preheat frying pan with 1 tbsp oil until smoking
6) Quickly sear salmon skin side down for 20-30 secs until crispy
7) Flip salmon over carefully and sear for 15 secs
8) Remove from pan and serve hot


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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Mini Chicken Pot Pies with Flaky Crust


It’s pie day again! Remember the soggy pie I made previously – with too much filling to spare? I was devastated when I saw how runny the filling after cutting through the crust. But nevertheless, the filling was tasty enough to make a pasta dish. If you want a good creamy chicken pasta sauce, look no where else. this super delicious pasta sauce goes really well with pasta, spaghetti or even as a side sauce to your chicken chop or other meat cravings.


Never fear. It’s back to the pie drawing board again. This time round, I opted to make my own crust. Let’s reserve lazy days for another occasion.


This time round, I made sure to cut back on the filling. Not too much broth and milk. The crust was flaky and just the way I like it. If there’s something to be happy about, it’s definitely the way the crust browns on the top and when you scoop a portion of that pie out, the filling to crust ratio is just nice. Mmhhhhh filling yums!



Don’t you think food looks nicer when they are mini. Haha. Cute little mini pot pies instead of a huge pie.

Ingredients for the pie crust (Enough to make 5 mini pies):


2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup (227 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
¼ cup ice water
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 egg yolk plus 2 tsp milk, mixed well, to brush on top of pastry before baking

Steps:


1) In a food processor, combine the flour and salt. 
2) Add the butter and pulse a few times until the butter resembles pea. 
3) Add the water and vinegar and pulse a few more times.
4) Remove dough and mould together until it comes into a ball. Press flat and wrap in plastic wrap.  
5) Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. 


Ingredients for Filling


20g unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup milk
A medium onion, finely chopped
150g frozen peas and carrots
1 and 1/4 cups chicken broth
225g boneless chicken breast/ thigh ( Cube)
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
Salt (to taste)
Ground black pepper (to taste)


Steps


1) Marinade chicken cubes with 1/2 tbsp cornstarch and put in fridge for 30mins
2) In a large saucepan, add chicken cubes and frozen peas/carrots
3) Add chicken broth, cover and boil for 10-15mins until chicken is cooked
4) Drain chicken mixture ( Reserve the stock)
5) In a separate pan, Melt butter and add onions.
6) Stir till onion is almost translucent then add flour and stir until boil.
7) Add the chicken stock slowly.
8) Add milk to the chicken chicken stock mixture and stir till thicken (Simmering takes about 10-15mins)
9) Add black pepper and salt to taste.
10) Stir in carrots and chicken cubes. ( Add more chicken stock if you like a more saucy filling).

Assembly of pie

1) Preheat oven to 400F or 200 C.
2) On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 2 circles, one about 12cm in diameter and the other about 9cm in diameter ( This is to fill a pie casing that is 5.5cm in diameter and 3.5cm in height). You will need a total of 5 sets.
3) Place the 12cm circle dough inside the casing and up the sides. It's ok if the dough overhang the casing by a little because when you place the second piece of dough over the top after filling the casing, you will need to pinch to seal in the filling. 
4) Spoon the chicken filling in. Cover with the second sheet of dough. 
5) Repeat steps 2 - 4 with the other 4 sets of casing
6)Crimp the edges to seal the filling in.
7) Brush the top with egg yolk wash. 
8) Bake for 35-40mins.


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Monday, 12 June 2017

Pear Frangipane Tart




One of my fav desserts is the frangipane tart. Whenever it is paired with Pears, I get super delighted. 


Frangipane is a filling made from almonds and it’s usually used in the same way as a custard just that it is baked together with the tart unlike the latter.


Only a few ingredients are used to make this up – butter , sugar, eggs and ground almonds so it’s rather easy to put together. This recipe makes a 6” tart. If you’ll like to bake a bigger 9” tart, just double the recipe 


For this recipe, I decided to pair it with some cinnamon poached pears. When it comes out hot from the oven, I glazed it with a little apricot gel for shine.


 You can enjoy it with a sprinkle of icing sugar or with your favourite ice cream. 


Pear and Almond Frangipane Tart



Pâte Sablée

3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
63g butter, cold, cut into cubes
1/2 egg yolk


Poached Pears

2 medium pears
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice ( I omitted this)
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt


Frangipane Filling

42g butter, Room Temperature
1/3 cup sugar ( I found the filling too sweet so I would reduce the amount in future)
3/8 cup ground blanched almonds
1 teaspoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 large egg plus 1/2 egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoons almond extract


Steps for pears:

1)  Combine the water, sugar, cinnamon stick, vanilla, and salt in a saucepan large enough to hold all      the pears and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
2)  Cut the pears in half, remove the seed core then peel the pears.
3)  Add the pear halves to the simmering syrup and reduce heat to low. Cover, and let pears poach for about 15 minutes, turning them halfway. The pears will become slightly translucent, very tender,       and easily pierced with a knife.
4)  Let the pears cool until room temperature before using. Drain pears on kitchen towel to remove excess liquid.


Steps for tart shell:

1)   Put the flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
2)   Add the pieces of cold butter and pulse until the butter is like pea size.
3)   Add the egg yolk and combine in several pulses Do not overwork the dough.
4)   Butter a 6-in tart tin with removable bottom. Turn the dough out into the tin and press into the bottom and up the sides with your fingers.
5)   Freeze the tart shell for at least 30 minutes. When you are ready to bake it, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
6)   To partially bake the tart shell, take a piece of foil and butter the shiny side, then press the buttered side tightly to the shell. You do not need pie weights. Place the tart shell on a baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, until the shell is dry and lightly colored. Let cool on a rack until room temperature.


Steps for frangipane filling:

1)    Combine the butter and sugar in the food processor until smooth.
2)    Add the ground almonds and blend together.
3)    Add the flour and cornstarch, and then the egg and egg white. Process the mixture until it is very smooth.
4)    Add in the vanilla and almond extracts just to blend.


To finish the tart:

1)   Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the frangipane evenly into the cooled tart shell
2)   Cut each pear half crosswise into 3/8 in thick slices. Press on the pear to fan the slices toward the top narrow end of the pear. Slide the pear half onto the frangipane. Repeat with three other pear halves until there are four halves on the tart, evenly spaced.
3)   Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, until the frangipane is puffed, golden brown, and firm to the touch. Cool the tart on a wire rack. 

Do comment in the post below or tag me on Instagram: @sherbakes if you attempt your very own. Would love to share your joy in baking adventures


video


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Sunday, 11 June 2017

One Pot Spicy Chicken and Sausage Rice

I was dying to recreate this dish after I saw someone posting the recipe online. One pot dirty rice and chicken. How awesome does that  sound. Actually it was the word ONE pot that caught my attention.


Many a times, cleaning up the dishes can be a real chore. Cooking a simple meal ends up with tons of dirty dishes in the sink. They just somehow magically appear.


One pot dishes are great because everything is fried or cooked or baked in one pot. I always found that investing in a sturdy cast iron pot can be a real life saver. I’m a loyal supporter of Le Creuset pots and pans. I have them in quite a lot of colors and sizes ( But mainly in my favourite shade of pink, red and blue). My first pot was a purple one. ( Not a color I would usually go for but it was on sale!) and I was itching to get one but they didn’t have it in any other colors besides purple and brown I think… In the end, I went with a more forgiving and acceptable “color”.


This recipe calls for quite a number of ingredients. I conveniently left out some because I couldn’t get them at the local store that day.


One Pot Spicy Chicken and Sausage Rice  (For 2 Pax)- Adapted from ChunkyChef


Ingredients (For Chicken Marinade): 


1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika 
1/4 tsp diced onions
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp red chilli pepper flakes 
1 tbsp olive oil 
2 Bone in chicken thighs 

-Combine chicken with above ingredients and let marinade in fridge overnight 


Other Ingredients: 


2 spicy sausages cut into slices ( I use Johnsonville hot and spicy sausages
1 medium onion, diced
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper ( Add more if you like more spicy)
1/8 tsp red chilli pepper flakes( Add more if you like more spicy)
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and Pepper (to taste) 
1/2 cup rice
1 cup chicken stock
Green Onions and Parsley ( to garnish dish) 


1) Preheat oven to 350 Deg F (or 170Deg C)
2) Drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil in cast iron pot ( The one you are baking your chicken in) and heat over medium high. Brown Sausages on both side and transfer onto another plate.
3) Add marinated chicken thigh, skin side down and sear for 2-3 mins on one side until golden brown crust forms
4) Remove chicken and set aside on plate.
5) Lower heat to medium and add in chopped onions and saute for 2-3 mins until softened. Add cayenne pepper, red chilli pepper, garlic powder, salt and pepper
6) Add in rice and chicken stock, stir and let simmer for 1 min. 
7) Add sausages and chicken thighs on top ( Skin side up). Return to a simmer and then cover pot
8) Bake for 20-23 mins covered. Remove lid and bake another 10 mins uncovered. 
9) Garnish dish with green onions and parsley. 
10) Serve warm and ENJOY! 


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Saturday, 3 June 2017

Pastel Wedding Cupcakes with Flower Gumpaste



Hello all you beautiful people! How has your morning been so far? It’s pretty busy here in the kitchen today. 120 delicious cupcakes in red velvet and chocolate, swirled in teal, white and peach for my friend cousins’s wedding. They wanted a garden feel theme and this color scheme perfectly suits the occasion!


Sometimes the simplest designs look the most elegant. All you need is a little flower – in this case I opted for Cherry Blossoms to complete the look. Flower was made out of gumpaste and left to set till harden. (We wouldn’t want any bleeding of colours into the frosting). That’s also another reason why I love to use white fondant because the colours don’t bleed. Nothing is more horrifying than seeing your hard work go to waste.



To get coloured swirls, you will need a white/ cream based frosting. I used cream cheese frosting for the cupcakes.  Add a drop of edible food gel (I use Royal Blue + a little yellow to get this tiffany green/blue, Orange + red to get this peachy color)  to your frosting, mix well and then pipe on those beautiful swirls! There are quite a lot of tutorials on how to get 2 tone swirls. My take on it is just simply place your piping bag into a mug, scoop some coloured frosting on one side and some on the other side and then squeeze. The initial swirl will be a single colour but on the third and fourth squeeze, you should be able to see the 2 tone swirls. Pretty Pretty!


Couldn't decide on a piping tip so I decided to go with my favourite 3. From Left to Right: 8B Open Star, 30 Closed Star, 20 Open Star. 


Top view of the swirls and piping tip! Now now you'll know why i can't pick a favourite because i love them all!


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Sunday, 28 May 2017

Sous Vide Sirloin Steak


My little sous vide toy is here! I’ve always been impressed by food cooked using the sous vide technique. They always turn out perfect and so tender. Years ago, I was introduced to this gadget by my cooking buddy. It was first launched in 2014 as a kickstarter program. They sold at 2 for USD$240. I didn’t get it back then because I was little apprehensive about the usage. Plus I was more into baking rather than cooking. And “Steak” or those that fell into the category of “Meat” was not exactly something I crave for so often. Well well.. Times have indeed changed.. Over the years, this technique has gained popularity and are used worldwide by many famous chefs and homecooks.


I love cooking for the family but that would mean cooking for say 6 paxs. The last time we did steak, we had to cook it one by one and when everyone got their steak, it was cold. It gets pretty messy when cooking for a large crowd. That’s the reason why I love slow cooker meals where everything can be prepared the day before and just reheated right before dinner service.


Sous Vide cooking is basically cooking an item ( say a meat or fish), sealing it in a bag and submerging the bag in a water bath that is heated by the sous vide gadget to a precise low temperature over a period of time. It cooks the meat to the perfect temperature everytime and you can monitor it by pairing it with the wifi or bluetooth on your phone. Again for those lazy or busy cooks, you can actually go walk your dog or do some household chores while cooking your food. It eliminates the inconvenience of having to watch the food over the stove and also reduces the the error of overcooking your food in the oven/ pan etc.

Result is a moist and tender piece of meat or fish ( and obviously a lot more other food you can cook in there). The first thing I knew I had to experiment with this new toy is steak. And as we all like it. Medium Rare. The cut i used for this is Sirloin Steak - about an inch in thickness. Cooked it in the sous vide machine at 131F for about an hour. The steak was then quickly seared for about 1/2- 1 min ( 15 secs on each side).


Sous Vide Steak 


- 1 slab sirloin steak ( or ribeye or porterhouse - depending on what kinda meat you want)
- Salt (to Taste)
-Black Pepper ( To taste)


1) Season Steak generously with salt and pepper on both sides
2) Heat up sous vide machine to the correct temperature. 131F in this case. I guess you like your steak more medium rare, you can adjust accordingly.
3) Place steak in a ziplock bag or vacuum sealer bag
4) Place bag into sous vide machine for an hour
5) Remove steak from bag and set aside
6) Heat pan with 1 tbsp olive oil until smoking
7) Add steak and sear on each side for 15 secs until brown.
8) Remove steak and let set for 10mins before slicing
9) Serve over Japanese rice or just enjoy it plain!


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