Smoke Salmon Salad with Salmon Roe and Lava Egg

Today is the last day for National Salad Month.

It seems that I am slightly late in sharing this. Anyway better late than never and who says that salad has to be boring. Today I  will be sharing a favourite salad of mine which is totally easy to make and can be made the night b4fore or the day itself, packed with a ice pack, you can bring it to work for lunch. Smoke Salmon Salad with Salmon Roe and Lava Egg. Also because the egg yolk and the salmon roe already has so much favour, there isn’t a need for any salad dressing at all.

Well there is not much to teach in the preparation for this dish. You can use whatever greens you love. I use the green and purple lettuce with a handful of spinach. The lava egg recipe can be found here (I  have omitted the marinating part). The smoke salmon and salmon roes are store bought. Just put them together and you will have 1 of the most amazing lunch ever. 🙂

As I have always said, one of the most important factor in making a salad for work lunch, is to wash and drain dry the vegetables well. I love to packed my salad dressing in another container or bag so that I do not get a box of soggy salad by lunch time. Ice-pack is definitely one of a MUST-HAVES because it not only keeps all the greens fresh and crisp, it also helps to maintain the goodness of the meat and salad dressing.

There this is how I love to pack my salad or food if I am bringing them out for work.

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Satisfying Both My Chocolate and Cookie Cravings

Updated on 17th April 2013 for Verdict and a soft center variation

Hubby and I walked pass a store today and I had actually wanted to buy a bag of chocolate chips cookies. He stopped me and asked, “why do you want to buy that when you can do-it-yourself?”

Well so I put it back sheepishly like a kid who has been rejected by mum. Anyway that incident left me thinking crazily about cookies the entire day and eventually craving for it. I am not so sure to say if I am lucky or unlucky to say that I am just staying above a 24 hour supermarket which means I can get almost anything I want at anytime of the day or night (more $$ spent). So when hubby saw me buying butter, chocolate chips and eggs at 8.30pm, he can only shake his head (-_-“).

Seriously the craving is so great that I decided to bake some Triple Chocolate Chips Cookies Yum………… :). The recipe is very much similar to my American Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe except that I substituted a portion of the flour for cocoa powder and  this time I added in baking powder and white chocolate chips of course. 🙂

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Look at how deliciously sinful this cookie is. My kids were already placing orders on how many of these yummies that they will like in their snack box in school.

Here you go. This recipe makes about 50 cookies.

Ingredients Needed:

  • 280 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 400 g Top flour
  • 76 g Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 280 g light brown sugar
  • 224 g granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 250g White Chocolates ( I use Nestle)
  • 300g Chocolate Chips (I use Hersheys)

Method (With some random photos)

  1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream butter to incorporate air.
  3. Add sugar and salt, whisk till light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in eggs one at a time till creamy.
  5. Mix in vanilla essence.
  6. The wet mixture (butter, sugar, vanilla essence, maple syrup & eggs) should be creamy in texture.
  7. Add in the set-aside sifted flour mixture to the wet mixture. Mix till well combined.
  8. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  9. Press a piece of plastic wrap on the dough and refrigerate for 24-36 hours preferably . (If you can’t wait like me tonight, I just chilled the dough for 30 mins.)
  10. Before baking, preheat oven to 175°c
  11. Scoop 1 tablespoon to form a golf-ball size dough onto baking paper.  Leave plenty of room for spreading. Bake for 18-20 minutes or till golden brown. (I bake mine for full 20 minutes)
  12. Transfer to cooling rack for cooling. Store in airtight container to last about 1 week (though my hardly last more than a day or 2.
Whisking the egg into the butter, sugar and salt mixture

Whisking the egg into the butter, sugar and salt mixture

Sifting in the dry mixture

Sifting in the dry mixture

Combine both wet and dry mixture well

Combine both wet and dry mixture well

Add in the chocolate chips

Add in the chocolate chips

Scoop with a rounded spoon to form "golf balls

Scoop with a rounded spoon to form “golf balls

Place on baking paper and bake at 175 degree for 20 mins

Place on baking paper and bake at 175 degree for 20 mins

Let it cool before storing.

Let it cool before storing.

Now its all ready for me to bring to school. :)

Now its all ready for me to bring to school. 🙂

*Things to note: The middle part of cookies will still be soft, but it will harden on standing. Leave to cool for about 10-15 minutes.

P.S: As I am writing now and waiting for those cookies to cool down, I saw my hubby dunking in those cookies in milk when he’s the one who is so against me making them. (“,) 

The Verdict and A Soft Center Variation

The taste is great but hubby thought it will be great if we can have bite size pieces instead and because I also like the center to be slightly softer, here is what I did with my remainibg batch of dough:

Instead of rolling then into a “golf ball” size, I half the size as well as the baking time down to 10 mins..

You can see from the initial 6 giant cookies, I can now bake 12 smaller cookies at half the time.

You can see from the initial 6 giant cookies, I can now bake 12 smaller cookies at half the time.

The outcome was beautiful with a crispy edge and a chewy center. Also becaue of its smaller size, it was relatively easy to eat. 🙂

More recipes can be found here.

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Eating Into A Healthier 2013: Miso Soup

Already going into the 2nd week of 2013, I have never been happier and motivated before. 2013 started well with my love ones all with me especially my little boys (What can be better than that right?). My family and I of course have our own simple resolutions and 1 of them is definately a healthier lifestyle.

Other than going for our weekly Sunday walks, one of them is to eat healthier.So I am really making an effort to COOK breakfast instead of the usual quickie cornflaks and cold milk. One of the cooked breakfast that I try to make for my boys at least once a week is the Miso soup with a tablespoonful of cooked short grain rice and 2 slices of tamagoyaki. This I will usually do it on a Monday as Clemens have PE (physical Education) right after recess which of course makes sense to give him a more filling and nutritious breaky and a lighter snackbox (eg. salad) for recess.

My Boys' Hearty Breakfast

My Boys’ Hearty Breakfast

It might sound tedious and a handful to make cooked breakfast especially when your hear SOUP. However do you know that in my opinion, the miso soup is the fastest soup to make especially if you have prepared your dashi stock the night/day before. It took me less than 30mins to make them.

Talking about miso, the miso paste has it own whole loads of goodness (Read Here) and drinking the soup in the morning not only warms the stomach of my boys but it really energizes them for the morning (so that they can concentrate better at school) and it aids digestion of the other food in the intestines.

I use a mixture of the white and aged miso.

I use a mixture of the white and aged miso.

Infact having miso soup is not at all surprising when the Japanese have been doing it along for many years.

The 10 scientifically researched benefits of eating miso

1. Contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.

2. Stimulates the secretion of digestive fluids in the stomach.

3. Restores beneficial probiotics to the intestines.

4. Aids in the digestion and assimilation of other foods in the intestines.

5. Is a good vegetable-quality source of B vitamins (especially B12).

6. Strengthens the quality of blood and lymph fluid.

7. Reduces risk for breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.

8. Protects against radiation due to dipilocolonic acid, an alkaloid that chelates heavy metals and discharges them from the body.

9. Strengthens the immune system and helps to lower LDL cholesterol.

10. High in antioxidants that protects against free radicals.

~ abstracted from TLC.

Here is how I do it for the 4 of us:

Ingredients Needed

Slide222

Ingrediants I Use

  • 500ml of Dashi stock (Read here to prepare in advance)
  • 1 to 1.5 tbsp Miso Paste (Add to suit your preference)
  • Condiments of your choice (I use the wakame, tofu and kamaboka)

Method (with step-by-step photos)

  1. Bring the Dashi to a boil.
  2. Put in the miso paste.
  3. Simmer and stir till miso paste is dissolved.
  4. Place the condiments in a bowl.
  5. Pour in Miso soup and serve.

A Bowl of Pippin Hot Soup

A Bowl of Pipping Hot Soup

There you have it!! See so easy :).

Well you might think I am SAHM (stay at home mum), that is why I made it sound it so easy. But on the contray, I am in fact a FTWM (full time working mum) holding a 9 to 6 job on a daily basis who prepares breakfast and snack boxes for the family every morning before heading out to work on the public transport. Actually it is not a big deal to fuss about but the message that I am trying to get across is, “If I can do it, many of you who much more capable than myself will be able to it.” – Making a nutritious breakfast is not so difficult afterall. 🙂

Things to note:

I use a mixture of white miso (sweet in taste) and aged miso (salty with earthy tones) to give a good balance and hint of sweet and salty favour to the soup.

When cooking with miso use just enough to enhance flavor and avoid overpowering the dish with a strong salty taste.

Boys Hearty Breakfast:

Clemens Having his Hearty Breakfast.

Clemens Having his Hearty Breakfast.

Damir loves it eve more. Because it's his all time favourite soup and rice.

Damir loves it eve more. Because it’s his all time favourite soup and rice.

Clemens’ Monday Recess

Clemens' Simple Snack Box of greens

Clemens’ Simple Snack Box of Greens with Black Sesame Dressing in the Pooh Container

I am thankful that Clemens loves his greens more than anything.

I am thankful that Clemens loves his greens more than anything.

Happy Healthy Eating For 2013!!

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Fruit Juice Soup (雪梨苹果甘榜鸡汤) – Double Boiled

After all the party for the Christmas and coming New Year, I will like to share a nourishing soup that is good for the body.  My kids love it so much that they call it the Fruit Juice Soup because it is made using a snow pear, a red and a green apple and a carrot.

Ingedients For The Fruit Juice Soup

Ingedients For The Fruit Juice Soup

It is the Snow Pear Apple Kampong Chicken Soup – 雪梨苹果甘榜鸡汤. I first learnt how to make this when my hubby orered a pot of this soup from the Lei Gardens and we just fell in love with it. Although my version is not as flavourful as the one in the restuarant but it is still good enough to be a home cook dish.

Snow Pear Apple Kampong Chicken Soup - 雪梨苹果甘榜鸡汤

Snow Pear Apple Kampong Chicken Soup – 雪梨苹果甘榜鸡汤

Nutritional Fact

This soup is natually sweet and is good for relieving the heatiness in the body and helps soothes the throat. It also nourishes the body and is extermely good for the children as it also nourishes the lungs. Because I used the kampong chicken, the fat is minimal therefore this soup is also very healthy. So now you understand why I say this is a good soup for after parties. 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 Kampong Chicken
  • 1 Snow Pear
  • 1 Red Apple (I used the Mutsu Fuji apples from NTUC)
  • 1 Green Apple
  • 1 Carrot
  • 6-10 Red Dates
  • 3 Dried Figs
  • 1tsp Bitter Almond
  • 1tsp Sweet Almond
  • 1.5L Water

Method (With Step-By-Step Photo)

  1. Boil a pot of water to blanch the kampong chicken.
  2. Peel, core and quarter the fruits.
  3. De-seed the red dates, and half the figs.
  4. Put all the prepared ingredients in the double boiler. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2-3 hours. Serve hot.

There it is that easy. 🙂

Enjoy!! 🙂

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Tofu Cheesecake For Christmas

How time actually flies and it is already December. I have always love December because it has this festive mood in the air. Holidays, Christmas, presents, cooling weather these are the things that so represent December and not to mention all the beautiful Christmas decorations around which are quite an eyeful.

Before I go away for my holiday in a few hours time, here is a recipe that I will like to share with you guys. The TOFU CHEESECAKE. This is 1 recipie that I have been wanting to try for quite sometime now and is also 1 of the very strong reason on why I bought the book  “Okashi- Sweet Treats Made With Love” by Keiko Ishida and also due to the fact Clemens love tofu cheesecake more than any other thing.

Tofu Cheesecake

Tofu Cheesecake with 5 Different Poses of Santa

This simple fuss free recipe which requires no oven at all and its ultra easy to get ingredients is creamy and delicious. With the faint hint of tofu and cheese plus a tinge of sourness from the sour cream and sweetness from the sugar, it is a oooh-and-arrrrr wide-eye experience for those making it for the 1st time and tasting your own creation. The thought of, “How can it taste this good?” “Am I sure I made this?” will be running in your mind. 🙂 Well seems too far stretch but it did happen to me especially when I thought I am not going to succeed with it and already have the intentions of discarding it away if it did not turn out well. Oh by the way did I mention that this is a flourless and eggless cake. 🙂

This cheese seems to be the perfect cake for any occassion, birthdays, best buddies’ tea party and Christmas or even just to satisfy that sugar craving.The book actually calls for a sponge-cake base but I decided to use the fuss free digestive biscuit base hich is not a bad choice too. It feels as if you are eating some creamy cream cheese ice-cream on top of a cookie. 🙂 Drooling already???

Here is how it is done:

A. Making the Biscuit Base

Ingredients Needed:

  • 70g Digestive Biscuits
  • 40g Chocolate Waffers (any type of your favourite cookies or biscuits will do)
  • 40g unsalted butter

Method (With Step-By-Step Photo)

  1. Line a 8″ round spring-form cake pan with baking paper.
  2. Break the biscuits and process it in the food processor till fine.
  3. Put  in the soften of butter into the crushed biscuits and process it further till the butter is already well mixed into the biscuits.
  4. Empty the mixture into the lined pan.
  5. Press the biscuit mixture firmly to the base.
  6. Refrigerate the pressed biscuit base while you make the filling.

B. Making the Cream Cheese Mixture

Ingredients Needed:

  • 230g Cream Cheese
  • 10g Light Brown Sugar
  • 70g White Castor Sugar
  • 230g White Silken Tofu (drained)
  • 50g Double Cream (45% Fat)
  • 50g Sour Cream
  • 100g Soya Milk (or plain fresh milk- I am sticking with plain fresh milk)
  • 6g Gelatine Sheets (Soaked in ice water to soften. Squeeze dry the soften sheets, place it in a clean dry bowl and melt it over the simmering water)

*Notice that I use a food processor to process the biscuits this time round rather doing it in a plastic bag like the last Marbled Creamy Cheese Cake Recipe. This is because since this is a soft cake, I wish for everything to be as fine n texture as possible.

Method (With Step-By-Step Photo)

  1. Whisk the cream cheese, brown sugar and white sugar till creamy.
  2. Add in the tofu, double cream, sour cream and soya/ plain milk. Whisk it till well-mixed/blended (like a smoothie?).
  3. Add the liquidfied gelatin sheets to the cream cheese mixture and mix well. Mix over slow speed to dispel bubbles.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin over the biscuit base.
  5. Cover and chill the cake for at least 6 hours or till set.
  6. Decorate with christmas ornaments (optional)

*Things to Note:

Notice that I use a food processor to process the biscuits this time round rather than crushing it up in a plastic bag like the last Marbled Creamy Cheese Cake Recipe. This is because I will since this is a soft cake, I wish for everything to be as fine n texture as possible.

The gelatine used in here acts as a gelling agent holding the creamy smoothie like cheese mixture together as it sets in your fridge. Too little of it will result the mixture not setting well and too much of it, you might end up having a “stiff jelly”. Hence I will recomemend you to follow the amount needed accordingly.

The sour cream with its tanginess seemes to counter the creaminess of the cream cheese so that you do not feel too sick in the stomach if u eat too much of it. I guess you can also replaced it with plain yourgurt (though I have not tried).

Do not worry if you do not have a baking spring form baking pan. You can also use a disposable foil pan (just like me when I did it for a friend because I ran out of cake boxes). Or if you are doing it for a party, you can just do it in pretty see through shot glasses. The creamy white on a brown biscuit base will be such a pretty sight to behold if they are in shot glasses (Will definately do this for my next party).

Made it in a disposable foil for a friend.

Made it in a disposable foil for a friend.

The Verdict:

I made this cake a total of 2 times. Once using fresh milk (since I have no soya milk at home) and the 2nd time using soya milk. If you prefer a more tofuish taste you should use soya milk if not I will suggest that you stick with plain milk. My friend’s feedback to me was that the soya milk have seems to cover the cheesecake.

For those who wish to use the original recipe of using the original recipe of the soy bean sponge base, you can find it in ths book.

Click on Picture for Amazon Preview

Click on Picture for Amazon Preview

Before I end off this entry, here is a slice of cake to share with you.

Happy Baking and Wishing you an Early Merry Christmas. 🙂

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Happy Thanksgiving Day

This evening after work, our team is being invited to my boss’s home for a Thanksgiving Dinner. Pardon me for my ignorance but I have never been invited to one before and am rather excited about it that I even googled the history of Thanksgiving Day. It seems long but I guess in short and in my very own understanding, it means a celeberation to give thanks after a good harvest. Am I right?

One very interesting thing about this dinner is that all my boss wants for us is to share something that we are truly thankful for this year. I took this rather seriously and really thought about what I am thankful and I realised I have loads and tons of things to be grateful for. I think I shall just share 3 of the most important things that I am grateful for.

1. Family

Our Very First Family Trip to Hong Kong (though my brother is missing). 🙂

Yup yes family. Without family, where will I even be? For instances:

My parents.No doubt they can be interfering, suffocating and there are even times I feel like running away, yet without my parents support, love and care, I doubt I will ever have my very own family today and even a house I can call home. I will not be able to work worry-free if my mum has not looked after boys.

My siblings. Yes we do fight, argue, get jealous of one another and even throw chairs at each other. However as with the phrase, ‘the blood is always thicker than water’. They are always there in times of needs and we will never ever allow another outsider to bully each other no matter how much we “dislike” each other at times. Especially to my little sisters, I am thankful that they are here to be at my “beck-&-call” whenever I need them.

My ever doting hubby.Again we do have our differences but no matter what, this is the man who has always been there for me (sincec I was 17), compromising me (with complaints), giving me the things I want to the very best of his ability and trying very hard to be supportive of every decision that I had made even though it sounds crazy at times.

My loveliest boys in the entire world. They do bring me heartache and rising blood pressure at times. But without them, will I ever understand what’s giving, what’s unconditional love, what’s laughter and happiness without expectations and many more. These little boys have taught me much much more than anyone could have.

Because of family, I am able to walk without fear. Because of family, I am able to ignore any judgements on me. All this is because, whenever I arrive home, I know I will be showered with unconditional love by people who loves me for who I am.

2. Friendship

My Darlings

I do have my long time old buddies (even longer than I know my hubby). We do not meet very often since we went into tertiary studies. After marriage and kids, the gatherings became even more pathethic thatn ever, even though we have been trying to meet up once a month. These crazy girls are so dear to me that I wonder without them, will I even survive the insanity of being a rebellious teen and much much more. And if you wonder how close we are, well I guess we can talk about almost everything under the sun and moon from personal finances to hubby “taming” and to bed room intimacy.

For the people I met along the way as I moved along in my life, I can’t tell you how grateful and thankful I am for the footprints you have left in me. The help you guys have given me and the laughter you have brought me is one I can never be thankful enough for.

3. The Country I Stay In

I know I know, you are going to ask me, “Sure anot???” Seriously in every country, there will be bound to have people who are full of disgrunt for the country’s policy, the rising cost for standard of living, the economic crisis. Frankly speaking I am one of them too. Yet looking at the positivie side, we are really one the safest country in the world. Free of natural disaster and the freedom to walk out late at night, for this I am truly grateful.

Now that I have shared mine, it is your turn to stop and think what you are grateful for. It is quite interesting to put away your worldly pursuit and think for a little while on this.

P.S: This is what I brought to share 🙂 Seriously hope that the guys do enjoy it.

A Blueberry Lemon Pound & A Triple Chocolate Orange Pound

The Ever Versatile Dashi Stock

It’s been a long long time since I have mentioned about those GLORIOUS FOOD!!! Yup especially the soup that my family loves so much. But before soup, like I have always mentioned, you will need a good base stock and the stock that I will sharing today will be the dashi stock.

Dashi Stock

Dashi stock is a clear cooking stock, considered fundamental to Japanese cooking and all you need is 2 main ingredients- the konbu seaweed and the bonito flakes (I used the slices ones) to prepare it, although I also used the 3rd ingredient-the niboshi (dried baby sardines) all the time too.

The simple ingredients to the dashi stock

Niboshi (S$21 per 100g) is a few times more expansive than our chinese dried ikan bilis and it has a more distinct sweetness to it as well, where else  the chinese dried ikan bilis has a more plain saltish taste to it. However, I am always very careful when buying the niboshi. I never ever buy the off-shelves ones for the fear of it staying already too long the shelves thus causing it to turn slightly rancid with a strong smell of old musty oil (not sure if you get what I mean though?)- These will give you a nasty stock. I will usually wait for the Japanese Food Fare at Isetan Scotts. They will usually have aplenty of it, selling it by the weight, freshly packing it up and sealing it up in front of you. Most of all, I will always get to taste a couple of these dried fishes to make sure that they do not taste or smell rancid, and then I will stock it up and store them in my freezer. They stay for up to a good 1 yr in the freezer.

Anyway let’s come back to dashi stock. This is the stock that makes your miso soup, shoyu noodle broth, cold soba dipping sauce and I even use it as a soup base to cook our slice fish/ meat ball congee. And because it is so simple, so easy, so fuss free and most importantly OIL-FREE(also low-calorie) plus loaded with the calcium, minerals and iodine from the niboshi and konbu and the smoky aroma from the bonitos, this stock is a hell load of goodness for the women and growing children.

Below is my recipie that I am sharing.

Ingredients Needed:

  • 500ml Water
  • 10g Niboshi, rinsed (optional to have)
  • 10g Konbu Seaweed, wiped with a damp cloth
  • 10g Bonito Flakes

Method (with step-by-step photos)

  1. Bring the niboshi and water to a boil.
  2. Place in the konbu and bonito flakes.
  3. Cover and let it seeped / soaked for 30mins-60mins.
  4. Strain and the stock is ready to use.

See that’s how easy it is and usually by 30mins, the stock is already very flavourful. I have been making it so very often that the dashi stock is already an instant fix to cook noodles for supper when all my boys are calling out in hunger. Oh yes, do not be surprise that my boys do make me cook at 11pm at night, when I have already bathe, done my facial mask and all the nighlty routines. 😦 Spolit aren’t they? And because its that easy, I no longer feed my family with instant noodles (unless my hubby and I have a craving for it)

Now what I have shared with you is the ichiban dashi. This is known as the 1st stock where you use the stocks for miso soup or noodle broth. And because the ingredients are rather expansive here in Singapore, After straining out the 1st stock, I will usually add somemore hot water to re-extract more goodness out of the niboshi, kombu and bonito flakes already used for ichiban-dashi. This is known as the niban-dashi. This is good for stews and sauces. I sometimes even boil my broccoli and other greens in it to give it that smoky aroma.

I know you will ask me why so troublesome when there are instant packages of dashi granules around. I am seriously not sure how nice it taste as I have never used them before. But I know that some are also packed with MSG though you can try to look around for those MSG-free dashi powder. And also once you have made your dashi from scratch, it is so addictive that you might perhaps not look back again.

My World of Dashi Stock

My hubby’s favourite wagyu beef bowl with miso soup

Wagyu Beef Bowl with Miso Soup

My boys’ favourite lava egg with somen in dashi stock with a dash of soya sauce.

Somen in Shoyu Broth

Meatball congee cook in dashi stock to give that distinctive smoky favour.

Congee Cooked in Dashi Stock

And Yes!! That’s Clemens asking for supper in the middle of the night.

My Big Baby Hungry on A Cold Wet Night

P.S: Did I mention that you can keep these stocks in the fridge for about 5 days or freeze them for up to a month?

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