Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wholemeal Chocolate Marble Toast Bread 可可双色土司

My new Oven is in action!
It has been a while since I last baked. Part of the reason was work while another was the condition of our house that underwent a major renovation for an extended period of time.
I was waiting to get the new kitchen ready with a new oven before I could start to try out new baking recipes. However, it took us more than 4 months to get the house ready before I could put on an apron to try out a new oven in a whole new revamped kitchen.
I was quite excited waiting to play with this kitchen new toy, thinking that I could finally retire my little desktop oven and shelved it in a storage room.  However, to my disappointment the very moment I switched on the oven, it tripped the power supply to the entire house! It took another few weeks for us to arrange for warranty claim and technical support to fix and reinstall the oven before I got to use it again.
Finally, we had a pilot by baking Vanilla muffins last month; Ming Ray was the main master chef in coming up with a successful batch of baking from the oven.
Subsequently, that night I used it for my signature roast pork.  The pork was a bit burnt out, as I was still trying to play around with the oven temperature. This new oven was a bit more sophisticated than the one I used in Auckland.  It had more heating functions, more choices of heating elements and if desired the option to turn on a fan to help circulate the heat inside the oven. I was not familiar with it initially, definitely far more complicated than my little desktop oven! J

Last weekend, I finally made my 1st loaf of bread in 2012.  This was another recipe adapted from Tangzhong (water-roux) bread from Taiwan famous baker 孟老师的100道面包. If you’ve been following my blog you would know Tangzhong was one of my favourite bread baking method which guaranteed a soft and fluffy bread texture.
Actually this was not a new recipe to me, I did try this recipe back in Auckland in 2010, however it was a failure back then. (Read the post mortem report here).
This time, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly; I had made minor adjustments because some of the ingredients required was not available in my pantry. I left out cheddar cheese while making Tangzhong, I didn’t mix in chocolate chips and also replaced a portion of high protein flour with wholemeal flour. I wanted to get rid of the balance of 30g wholemeal flour which I had on hand.
Nevertheless, when I saw the dough rise nicely, I knew these minor adjustments wouldn’t matter much. True enough, the bread came out nicely, soft and fluffy and the brown and white swirl of marble look effect gave great color combination.

Overall, the bread tasted not as sweet as expected as I didn’t place any chocolate chips. The sweetness of the bread depends on the kind of chocolate chips added in and the coco powder used. If milk chocolate chips or sweet coco powder is used, it will be sweeter. I found even if it was not sweet it was still good to eat on its own. J

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Teochew Style Steam Fish 潮州式蒸鱼

年年有余() To be abundant, to be plentiful year after year
I know this post comes a bit late since Chinese New year was over for 2 weeks now, better late than never I guess. J
It is customary for Chinese to have a feast of symbolic dishes to welcome the Lunar New Year. There are a few “must serve” auspicious-sounding dishes during the Chinese New Year Eve "Family Reunion Dinner". Other than the usual chicken, duck and pork, fish is one of them that plays major role in festive celebrations.
Fish in Mandarin is pronounced as “Yu".  A homonym of fish, is the word abundance/surplus (). Hence it is a Chinese ritual to serve fish during the reunion dinner to signify a wish for abundance and plentiful harvest year after year年年有余 (nian nian you yu). In addition, the fish is to be served whole, with head and tail attached, symbolizing a good beginning and ending for the coming year.
For this dragon New Year, it was our first CNY since we got back from Auckland. We were delighted to have a bigger group of 30 family members in celebrating reunion dinner. We joined my dad along with all my brothers and sister and her in-law Lee’s families’ to dine at Red Rock Hotel, Tian Tian Restaurant.

The following were some of the signature New Year dishes we had from our 8 course sumptuous reunion dinner.
Prosperity salmon Yee Sang
Braised abalone, sea cucumber, mushroom and broccoli
Last but not least the FISH!
Soya sauce steamed grouper
For the 2nd day of CNY, my 2nd sister-in-law suggested to have simple homemade family lunch at home.  In view of the fact that during the first few days of Chinese New Year, dining out was very difficult because many restaurants were close for the New Year break, I gladly supported her idea and contributed my help in the kitchen.
The following was one of the dishes that I helped my sister-in-law to prepare. Steamed fish in Teochew Style, a favourite steam menu I often cook at home.
Teochew Style Steam Fish 潮州式蒸鱼


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