Sunday, 29 December 2013

{muesli bars in hermie}

One of the classic lunch box snacks that we all know is a muesli bar. However, these days when you visit the local supermarket and pick up a box, they are fill with who knows what; many an ingredient that is either a number or hard to pronounce. They are often very sugary and filled with not much. These ones below are great because although quite sweet with dried fruit, you can control what and how much you like to add and most of the other ingredients are easily substituted for an alternative. Having said that, I make these as a dairy free muesli bar for Miss A and the rest of the family loves them too. The use of coconut butter gives them a lovely aroma and fills the house when baking with a beautiful scent. Feel free to use nuts instead of seeds however, we also have a nut allergy in the house and make do without.

120 grams dried (sulphite free) apricots
140 grams butter (or substitute.... I use half nuttelex, half coconut butter to keep it dairy free)
70 gram rapadura sugar (or brown)
160 grams rolled oats
80 grams plain flour
30 grams sultanas
30 grams currants
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons pepitas

1. Pre-heat oven to 190C and line a 20cm square tin.
2. Place apricots into TM bowl and chop 10-15secs/ speed 5. The time will depend on how dry your fruit is and how large the apricots are. Set aside.
3. Add butter and sugar into TM bowl and melt 2.5mins/ 80C/ speed 1.
4. All the remaining ingredients and mix 15 secs/ speed 2/ reverse.
5. Pour into prepared tin and press down with the back of the MC.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Cool in tin and then cut into squares.

Makes 20 squares.

Bon Appetit xx

Tips: This muesli bar mix is also great just as a morning muesli served with your choice of milk (e.g. cows, rice, oat, soy etc). Instead of pressing into a cake tin to make a slice, just spread thinly over a baking tray and bake to about 15 minutes instead.

Friday, 27 December 2013

{cream puffs (profiteroles) in hermie}

On my husband's side of the family, there are some great bakers who make numerous traditional Country Women's Association style sweet treats such as jelly cakes and the like during those festive times of the year. One of these yummy morsels of food is a cream puff otherwise known as Profiteroles using Choux pastry. Although I had asked Aunty B for the recipe, I never actually attempted to make these before because I could not be bothered standing at the stovetop and using my non-existent muscles to stir the pastry in a pot until the correct consistency was achieved. However, with Hermie, I don't have to do this anymore and have proved to be very easy to make.

185 grams water
55 grams butter
115 grams flour
3 large eggs

1. Pre-heat oven to 200C.
2. Place water and butter into TM bowl and melt 5mins/ 100C/ speed 2.
3. Add flour and mix 30secs/ speed4 with the MC removed.
4. Let the mixture cool down for about 20 minutes or until it reaches about 37C. You can see this when the bowl is inserted into the base and a temperature light should be 'on' above the 37 mark. If it is too hot, just leave it to cool a bit longer.

5. Then, while the blades are turning at speed 5, add eggs through the MC hole over about 30 seconds.

6. Using a piping bag with a 1-1.5 cm tip or 2 teaspoons, spoon onto prepared baking tray.
7. Bake for about 25-30mins until golden. Do NOT open the oven door while they are baking. 
8. When baked, prick the puffs to let out the steam and retain the crunch.

9. Cool on a rack and then fill as desired. I personally love them filled with a sweet vanilla cream and dipped in chocolate.

Makes about 50 bite-sized balls.

Tips: These puffs are best served on the day made but are suitable to freeze. When defrosted, place in a 200C oven for about 5 minutes. 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

{coconut glutinous rice with mango in hermie}

Lately, I've been noticing that more and more people have eating requirements that are either Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Lactose Free, Sugar Free and more. I'm not sure what's happening to our bodies but we either are more in touch with how we feel or something we're eating is affecting us. My little Miss A is one of those such people and needs to eat Dairy and Egg Free. 

Having said that, as my family eat a majority of Asian food and in particular South East Asian, this is not that hard. In a lot of countries like Malaysia and Singapore, it's not that common to eat or drink a lot of dairy and desserts like this are of the norm. They are delicious and actually very easy to make with or without a Thermomix. Enjoy x

200 grams white glutenous rice
250 grams hot water
750 grams water for steaming
200 grams coconut milk, reserve the rest for serving
50 grams sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 large mangos, sliced thinly
2 teaspoons sesame seeds or roasted coconut shavings for serving

1. Place rice into TM bowl. Add hot water and sit for 15 mins.
2. Using TM basket, drain off the water and keep rice in TM basket.
3. Place water into TM bowl for steaming and insert TM basket. Steam 40mins/ varoma/ speed 3. If you find the water bubbling too much, put the temperature down to 100C.
4. Scoop rice into TM Server and cover.
5. Meanwhile, pour out excess water from TM bowl and dry. Add coconut milk, sugar and salt and mix 2mins/ 70C/ speed 2 until sugar is dissolved.
6. Add coconut milk mixture to rice and mix through with spatula.
7. To serve, place rice in bottom of bowl or glass, top with mango, reserved coconut milk drizzled over and sesame seeds.

Serves 4

Bon Appetit xx

Tips: This is a great dessert for a dinner party as you can steam while the main is eaten. Also, you could use a mixture of black and white rice for a more exotic look. Alternatively, the rice could be served with an extra dash of coconut milk and maybe some coconut or palm sugar syrup. Lastly, if your mangos are not as sweet as they should be, increase the sugar to 70-80 grams and it will taste better.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

{beef 'with hidden vegetables" meatballs in hermie}

Our family has just returned from a holiday in Singapore and on this holiday I discovered something very important. Miss A does not eat any food that is pre-processed. In fact, she spits it out and pulls a funny face.

On one hand, I should be happy and delighted that she likes my home made food. However, there are those times in your day when you're really tired and you look in your fridge and freezer and there is nothing already cooked to feed your family and you just wish you could feed them 'takeaway'.

Having said that, I also like to feed a variety of foods to Miss A and am always on the hunt for something new for her to try in her repertoire of weekly foods. This week, I had some beef mince in the fridge which I was originally going to make spaghetti bolognese with (one of the families favourites) but thought, lets try and make this mince more versatile. I looked at the rest of my fridge contents, and have come up with the following recipe.

2 slices wholemeal bread, torn roughly
170 grams zuchinni (about 1), chopped 4cm lengths
1 leek, chopped 4 cm lengths
20 grams olive oil
500 grams beef mince
salt to taste
Good shake of paprika
Garlic oil for frying (or vegetable oil)

1. Place bread into TM bowl and chop 5-10 secs/ speed 7. Remove and set aside.
2. Add zucchini and leek into bowl and chop 3 secs/ speed 6.
3. Add oil and saute 2 mins/ 100C/ stir speed/ reverse. Add to bowl containing bread crumbs.
4. Add mince, paprika and salt to rest of ingredients in bowl. Mix through thoroughly.
5. Form 3-4cm size balls and set aside on a tray ready for frying.

6. Using garlic oil, fry the meatballs until golden brown. I like to use garlic oil to add a bit of extra flavour. Serve with your favourite tomato based sauce with pasta or as is for your little one with some mashed potato.

Makes 25-30 meatballs.

Bon Appetit xx

Tips: If you run out of bread like I did for the bread crumbs, you can use a crushed up weet-bix as a substitute. Also, if you don't want to use garlic oil (or cannot find it) but still want the extra flavour, just add 1 or 2 garlic cloves at step 2. For a healthier version, you can bake these in the oven but you will have to turn them half way through.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

{kaya spread in hermie}

I grew up eating Kaya on toast for breakfast and to this day, it is my favourite spread to have on bread. However, it was something that was processed, came in a tin and for some reason, was quite a bright orange. The original way to make it is to stir the ingredients in a pot for a long time which is not only time consuming, but also tiring. Since getting Hermie, I've tried a few recipes to make this myself, but none have been quite right. They were always a bit like a coconut egg custard instead of a smooth, coconutty spread. I'd been searching all over various food blogs and recipe books and have finally found one that I'm happy with. A big thanks goes to Sam Tan's blog on which this is based.

200 grams brown sugar 
2 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
2-3 pandan leaves, knotted
320 grams coconut milk, the thick white kind

1. Add sugar into TM bowl and mill (if required) 10 secs/ speed 10.
2. Add eggs into TM bowl and mix with sugar until sugar is dissolved 30secs / speed 3.
3. Cook egg sugar mixture 10mins/ 90C/ speed 3.
4. Add coconut milk and pandan leaves and cook 40mins/ 100C/ speed 2/ reverse. Leave the MC out from the lid (or sit it sideways to prevent less splutter from the top) to let the steam escape and the kaya reduce.
5. Check to see if it is thick enough and if not, keep cooking in 10 minute intervals until it is just right.
6. Let it cool for about 10 minutes and then quickly blend 10secs/ speed 9 to get a super smooth consistency.
7. Serve on some hot toasty bread with a big knob of butter melted.

Makes about 400ml

Bon Appetit xx

Tips: This kaya should last 3-4 weeks in the fridge (if you can't resist eating if all the time!).

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

{cauliflower soup with chorizo in hermie}

The weather is finally warming up but there's still time for a soup recipe. This one is not heavy but full of flavour, taste and texture. I originally made this soup because I was out of ideas for dinner and already had a loaf of spelt bread baking in the oven and wanted something to go with a fresh loaf of bread. After staring at the inside of the fridge for a minute or 2 for some inspiration I came up with this soup. I love that it can be made with basic pantry staples (without the chorizo) and when you add the chorizo, you're also adding the wow yum! factor. 

1 brown onion, peeled & halved
2 garlic cloves, peeled
20 grams olive oil + extra for drizzling
1 potato, peeled & cubed
1/2 cauliflour, in large florets
1 tablespoon TM vegetable stock (recipe in the Everday Cooking Book)
800 grams water
1-2 chorizo roughly dices

1. Place onion and garlic in TM bowl. Chop 3 secs/ speed6. Scrape down sides.
2. Add oil to bowl and saute 2 mins/ varoma/ speed1/ reverse.
3. Place potato and cauliflour into TM basket. Add water and stock into TM bowl and then put basket on top. Cook 15mins/ varoma/ speed 3-4 or until potato is soft.
4. Meanwhile, fry chorizo in a frypan until slightly crispy. Set aside for serving.
5. Once cauliflower and potato are cooked, empty TM basket into TM bowl with the rest of the liquid. Blend 10 secs/ speed9 (gradually increasing from 1-9). If this is not smooth enough for you, use the turbo button until right consistency is achieved.
6. Pour into bowls and top with pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and chorizo. Serve with freshly made bread and lots of butter.

Bon Appetit xx

Thursday, 3 October 2013

{mongolian lamb in hermie}

When I got married I was quite young and this meant that I had not lived outside of the family home yet. So, when I started living with Mr S all I knew how to cook were the things that my mum had made for us and showed me how to put together. 

The original recipe that this one is based on is one of the first recipes that I tried as a newlywed and it was so tasty that it made it as a regular on the turnover of dishes every fortnight or so. I don't know how it slipped off that menu but lately I'd been feeling like we were in a meal rut and when I looked over past menu plans of late, we actually were eating the same meals over and over again without much variety. 

I looked at my bookshelf full of recipe books for inspiration and found the book that this one was in. It has some tweaks done to it and has also been converted to be made in Hermie the Thermie. Enjoy!

2 gloves garlic, peeled
10 grams ginger (big thumb), peeled
450-500 grams lamb fillet, sliced
30 grams vegetable oil (canola, rice bran)
3-4 stalks spring onions, cut into 1 inch lengths
30 grams Shao Xsing Wine
20 grams soy sauce
2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
chilli sauce (optional)

1. Add garlic and ginger to TM bowl. Chop 4secs/ speed 7. Scrape down sides of bowl.
2. Add butterfly attachment. I do this as I find that the meat does not 'catch' on the blades as much and makes a better looking dish.
3. Add lamb to TM bowl and saute 8mins/ varoma/ stir speed/ reverse. Take OUT butterfly.
4. Add spring onions and all other sauces (including chilli sauce if using) and cook a further 5mins/ varoma/ stir speed/ reverse.
5. Serve with steamed rice and vegetables.

Serves 4 as a shared meal.

Bon Appetit xx

Note: I know that the lamb backstrap fillet is quite an expensive cut and when used in this dish, it very tender and juice. However, if you can't bear to part with $49.95kg, then my butcher also suggested using a mini lamb roast (at just over half the price) which he cut into strips for me. This is actually what I used this time and the meat was still very tender and not chewy.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

{spiral curry puff in hermie}

I like puff pastry. What's not to like? It's crispy, flakey and can be used in so many different ways that the ideas are endless. One of these ways is the cheat's way to an easy curry puff. Up until recently, I always used puff pastry for a curry puff because I thought that making them the traditional way was too hard and time consuming. Also, because you could just bake them in the oven and that was it. However, with my sister's kitchen tea looming, I thought I'd give these babies a go and surprisingly, they're not that hard.

These spiral curry puffs are found all over Malaysia and Singapore and I love devouring them when we visit. The fillings are always similar yet different so everyone has their favourite 'best' place to go. Now that I have made my own, I have a lot more respect to the people that make them day in and day out. Another thing to note is that they are deep fried hence the crispiness of the pastry but probably not so good for those thinking about their health. Also, I'm not sure that they store well (frozen or not) when making a double batch, so for me there will always be a place for the puff pastry curry puffs in my freezer. Enjoy!

This dough recipe is from the "Taste of Asia" Thermomix cookbook with some tweaks.

Water Dough:
210 grams plain flour (plus extra to get the right texture. I found my dough was too wet & sticky so needed more to be able to work with it)
pinch of salt
100 grams warm water
1 egg
60 grams butter

1. Place all ingredients into TM bowl. Mix 4secs/ speed 6.
2. Knead the dough 1min/ closed lid position/ knead button.
3. Wrap in cling wrap and set aside in the fridge.

Oil Dough:
150 grams plain flour
100 grams butter

1. Place all ingredients into TM bowl. Mix 4secs/ speed 6.
2. Knead the dough 1min/ closed lid position/ knead button.
3. Wrap in cling wrap and set aside in the fridge. Meanwhile, make the filling.

500 grams beef / chicken mince
half an onion, peeled
1 small potato, peeled & cubed 1cm
20grams vegetable oil
2-3 heaped tablespoons curry powder
50 grams water
salt to taste

vegetable oil for deep frying (e.g. rice bran, canola)

1. Chop onion, 3secs/ speed 6. Scrape down the sides.
2. Add cubed potato and oil. Saute 8mins/varoma/ stir speed/ reverse.
3. Add beef mince, curry powder, salt and water to TM bowl. Cook 8mins/ varoma/ stir speed/ reverse. Cool entirely in fridge before filling curry puffs.

NOTE: when you taste the filling with the salt already added and it is just right, add just a bit more. This is so that the filling of the curry puff will be delicious and flavoursome when only a small amount is used in each curry puff.

Curry Puff Assembly:
1. Get doughs out ready for rolling. Separate each ball into 4 lots. Lightly flour rolling surface. Place oil dough in water dough and wrap water dough around oil dough.

2. Working with one portion, roll water dough piece into a large circle. Place oil dough in the middle and wrap up.

3. Roll this into a long flat rectangle and then roll this into a 'swiss roll' style starting from the short end.

4. Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll into a thin long rectangular shape again. Roll up into a 'swiss roll' again.
5. Cut across the roll in slices so you see the cross sectional layers

6. Flatten each piece into a round disc and place filling in the centre.

7. Fold over pastry to cover filling and pleat the edges. If you need help with this, I learnt from this youtube video.
8. Put aside and complete all other puffs.

9. After curry puffs have been made, heat oil in deep fryer or wok to about 190 degrees. Fry a few (I can do about 6) at a time until golden brown.

Makes about 30.

Bon Appetit xx

Notes: Store these in a dry air tight container. If you want to reheat, place them in the oven on about 180 for 10-15 minutes.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

{garlic, prawn & spinach pasta in hermie}

If you follow me on facebook you would know that I'm a big fan of meal planning. This is so that I know what we're eating during the week as well as spending the least amount of time shopping for food during the week. It also means that if I'm buy a special ingredient, I try and make other meals that will incorporate the rest of the ingredient so there's less wastage.

Having said all of that, this week I have done the complete opposite and have lived 'by the seat of my pants' without planning any nights meals. It has just gotten away from me whilst juggling a sick Miss A, consultant training to become a Thermomix Consultant, blogging, driving Miss I around to activities and everyday chores around the home. 

Last night, it had already reached 4pm by the time I even thought about what to have for dinner. That's pretty late for us as we usually have dinner by 5:30 to 5:45ish. Yes, we eat at an early bird time but it works for our family! So, I scratched my head and looked in the freezer to see what meats/seafood we had. I usually start with this for the basis of a dish and then the rest comes naturally. I came across some recently bought prawns and then half a packet of baby spinach that I had been using to practice some Thermomix demonstration dishes. As soon as I had these 2 ingredients, this dinner was formed in my head. All the other ingredients are pantry staples that are always on hand for most cuisines. 

The sauce is whipped up in Hermie and the pasta cooked normally on the stove as per the packet instructions. If you like, you could add water to the TM bowl when cooking the sauce and then cook the spaghetti in the TM bowl if preferred. Enjoy!

3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
3-4 spring onions, cut into 10cm lengths
20 grams olive oil
400 grams canned chopped tomatoes
12 prawns, deheaded, shelled
chilli flakes (optional)
50 grams baby spinach
salt to taste
spaghetti for 2.5 people

1. Place saucepan filled with water on stove to boil. 
2. Place garlic and spring onion into TM bowl. Chop 3-4 secs/ speed 6.
3. Add olive oil to TM bowl and saute 2mins/ varoma/ stir speed/ reverse. Scrape down sides of bowl.
4. Add tomatoes (chilli flakes if using) and salt to TM bowl and cook 10-12mins/ 100C/ stir speed/ reverse.
5. Add prawns and cook 6-8mins/ 100C/ stir speed/ reverse.
6. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in prepared saucepan as per packet instructions.
7. Finally add spinach and cook 1mins/100C/ stir speed/ reverse.
8. Serve over cooked spaghetti with a drizzle of olive oil over the top.

Serves 2 adults and 1 child.

Bon Appetit xx

Thursday, 5 September 2013

{strawberry jam in hermie}

When there is an abundance of fruit and you want to take advantage, making jam is a great way to use up all the cheap, in season, juicy fruit. I always thought that jam making was a laborious task but I think that's because most people always make large quantities and it involves quite a bit of manual labour. With Hermie, it is quite a different story and my part only took less than 5 minutes to perform. 

Here in Adelaide, we are experiencing a strawberry frenzy at the moment and this recipe below is my adjusted version of the "Everyday Cooking" Thermomix cook book using about one and a half punnets (as my children love to eat them as is!). My husband's Aunty if great at making jam and in particular, apricot jam. When they are in season, this is one of the things I'm going to attempt in Hermie. I would really like to see what her opinion is of this jam compared to doing it the traditional way.

rind of 3/4 of a lemon
30 grams lemon juice
350 grams fresh strawberries, washed & hulled
200 grams sugar (can be adjusted to taste)

1. Place rind of lemon in TM bowl. Zest 45-60secs/ speed 9.
2. Place all other ingredients into TM bowl. Cook 60mins/ 100C/ speed2.
3. Store in a steralised jar (I put them in the oven to steralise) and then keep in the fridge. Serve with freshly made crusty bread and if you're feeling naughty, a dollop of cream on the top!

Make about 275 grams.

Bon Appetit xx

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

{review: pandan chiffon cake in hermie}

There are cakes and then there are chiffon cakes. Until recently, I didn't know that they are also referred to as Angel cakes. Anyway, I first came across this mysterious cake quite a number of years ago as a child when my Aunty made an orange chiffon cake. It was light, citrusy and a nice orange colour. Then, when I was shopping with my mum in an Asian Grocer shop, I noticed that they had for sale another chiffon cake that was green! It was flavoured with pandan leaves and tasted sooo divine. Since then, I have wondered how this cake was made and if I could do it myself.

Before I had the Thermomix, I had attempted to make a pandan version using another bloggers recipe. It was only half successful due to getting distracted when the cake came out of the oven and not turning the tin upside down fast enough. I just didn't realise that this was so important. It was slightly squashed but nonetheless, it tasted moist with pandan and coconut flavours. I was however very disappointed in myself because I like to think that I can cook anything!

So, this time round I was determined to get it right as this was going to be one of the yummy morsels of food at my sister's kitchen tea. Even though I hadn't tried the recipe from "A Taste of Asia" I decided to give it a go as it was very similar to the previous recipe used... I'm so glad that I did because the results are fantastic. I did however watch the last few minutes of baking like a hawk so that when the cake left the oven, I turned it upside down straight away to 'stretch' out the cake. It is definitely going to be a favourite 'must have' at family gatherings from now on.

Pandan Juice Extract:
This is best done 5-7 days before making the cake
20-30 Pandan Leaves cut into about 1cm lengths
200-250 grams water (to cover leaves)

1. Add all ingredients above to TM bowl. Blend 1-2mins / speed 9. What you are looking for is a pulpy green puree. If this is not enough, I just use the turbo button with closed lid position to keep going until it is done.
2. Strain the pulp into a jar and store in the fridge. Do not move as you want the dark green concentrate at the bottom of the jar. This is mine after 5 days. Pour away the lighter green liquid into something else (it can be used to make other pandan flavoured food) and you're left with the extract.

Pandan Chiffon Cake:
7 egg whites, room temperature
1 pinch cream of tartar
1 pinch salt
180 grams icing sugar (can reduce to 150 grams)
6 egg yolks
110 grams plain flour
30 grams oil (can reduce to 20 grams)
130 g coconut cream
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp Pandan Juice extract

1. Pre-heat oven to 170ºC.
2. Clean and dry TM bowl thoroughly. Heat empty bowl for 2 mins/ 50ºC/ speed 2.
3. Insert Butterfly. Place egg whites, cream of tartar and salt into TM bowl and whip for 3 mins/ 50ºC/ speed 3.5.
4. Add icing sugar through hole in lid, 1 tsp at a time for 2 mins/ 37ºC/ speed 3 until fully incorporated. Set aside in separate bowl.
5. Without rinsing Butterfly, reinsert into TM bowl. Place yolks into TM bowl and beat for 6 mins/ 37ºC/ speed 3 until lemon in colour and doubled in volume.
6. Add remaining ingredients except egg whites and blend to form a batter for 8 seconds on speed 3. Remove Butterfly.
7. Place 60g of the egg white mixture into TM bowl and with dial set to closed lid position, incorporate for 20 seconds on Interval speed.
8. Pour yolk mixture out into egg white mixture and fold in gently using a large spoon until well blended.

8. Pour into chiffon tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until done.
9. Remove from oven and invert tin to cool completely. Cake should just fall out once it is cool enough to release from the tin.

Bon Appetit xx

Notes: Make sure the tin is inverted immediately after removing from the oven. Apologies for not including a picture of a slice of cake... I forgot to take one at the kitchen tea! Also, my cake is a bit 'rough' around the outside because for some reason, I decided to use a skewer to 'help' the cake fall out. If I needed to do it again, I would use my head and use a serrated knife. This recipe is available on the recipe community.

Friday, 30 August 2013

{seremban siew pau/pow in hermie}

The Nonya Lady. The Nonya who? My family knows a woman through my Aunty that happens to make and sell a large variety of yummy Nonya or Peranakan treats throughout the year. This is where I first came across the Seremban Siew Pau. Most people in Australia know the Char Siew Pau that you can eat at nearly every yum cha restaurant that is a steamed white bun that is filled with a pork or chicken filling. This is similar but different. This Pau is not steamed and is in fact baked so that the outside is a crispy pastry. The filling is similar however, in Malaysia it often has peas included. The Nonya Lady's does not have peas and this is actually how I like them.

Anyway, because I like these Pau quite a lot, I thought to myself "what if for some reason the Nonya Lady can't or won't make these anymore?" What was I going to do? Here in Adelaide I really don't think there is anywhere commercial to buy these yummy savoury snacks (correct me if I'm wrong readers). So, I have scoured my recipe books and the web to see what was out there and below is my recipe. It is based on Elin's version with a filling and sauce made from Gourmet Traveller's Char Siew Pau recipe.

The verdict? Well, they were eaten by the family on the same day so they must have been good. Tips for next time include making double the amount so that I can freeze some for snacks and to use slightly less red fermented bean curd on the char siu. Maybe I was a bit heavy handed with using this ingredient but I felt it overpowered all the other flavours. I would also make the char sui and sauce the day before so that it doesn't feel like you're performing a cooking marathon. Enjoy!


Char Siu:
250 grams pork neck or I prefer a cut with a bit of fat
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
2 teaspoons white sugar
teaspoons red fermented beancurd (see note)
teaspoons hoisin sauce
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
teaspoon five-spice powder
tablespoon honey, dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water

1. Cut pork into 3cm-thick, 5cm-wide strips, then combine in a bowl with Shaoxing, sugar, beancurd, hoisin, garlic and five-spice, stir to coat, cover and refrigerate to marinate (at least 2 hours, preferably overnight).
2. Preheat oven to 220C. Drain pork (reserve marinade), place on a rack placed in a roasting pan. Add a little water to pan and roast, basting with marinade and turning occasionally, until cooked and slightly charred (30-35 minutes). (I find that to make cleaning of the rack easier, I wrap the 'bars' of the rack in foil so that I can just peel it off when finished instead of scrubbing caramelised marinade off the metal).
3. Brush with honey mixture while still hot, cool to room temperature.
4. Place 3-4cm cubes of pork into TM bowl and shred 10-15secs/ speed 5 until desired coarseness is achieved and set aside.

Pork in the marinade
Pork ready for roasting
Char siu sauce:
tablespoons ginger, peeled
tablespoons spring onion, white part only
1 small golden shallot, peeled
1 garlic clove, peeled

10 grams vegetable oil
100 ml chicken stock or water
tablespoon caster sugar
tablespoon oyster sauce
teaspoons light soy sauce
½ teaspoon dark soy sauce
1½ tablespoons cornflour, mixed with 50ml cold water

1. Place ginger, spring onion, shallot and garlic into TM bowl. Chop 3secs/ speed 6. Scrape down sides of bowl.
2. Add oil and saute 6mins/ varoma/ speed 1/ reverse.
3. Add in other ingredients (except cornflour) and cook 5mins/ 100C/ stir speed/ reverse.
4. Add in cornflour and cook 1min/ varoma/ stir speed/ reverse.
5. Finally, add in reserved char siu and mix manually with spatula. Set aside. Note: if you are making this on the same day as the dough, I would put this in the fridge as it is a lot easier to use as a filling later on when cold.


Oil Dough:
240 grams plain flour
60 grams butter
60 grams coconut oil (or ghee or shortening)

1. Add all ingredients into TM bowl 4-5 times/ closed lid/ turbo button. It should have a sand like consistency.
2. Pour out onto bench and form into a bowl. Rest for 30 mins.

Water Dough:
240 grams plain flour
60 grams icing sugar (or raw sugar)
30 grams butter
30 grams coconut oil (or ghee)
120 grams water (I found this dough a bit 'wet' so would acutally add in 100 grams and if required, add in the additional 20 later)

1. If using raw sugar, place in TM bowl and mill 10 secs/ speed9. 
2. Put all ingredients into TM bowl. Mix 5 secs/ speed 5.
3. Knead 1 min/ closed lid/ knead button. Rest for 30 mins.

Dough resting for 30mins

Making the Pau:
1 egg for egg wash
sesame seeds to decorate

1. Divide both the water and oil dough into 24 equal pieces . 
2. Wrap 1 piece of water dough around 1 piece of oil dough.

3. Roll it flat into rectangular shape.

4. Roll it from the short end into a swiss roll and then repeat steps 2 & 3 two more times.

5. Flatten and roll into a round. 
I find that if I do all the rolling and flattening and rolling for all 24 pieces it's easier and less time consuming.

6. Place about 1 big tablespoon of filling in centre, wrap and pleat into a pau shape. I don't really do anything special and just push the bits together. It just works.

7. Place on greaseproof paper or silicone mat and brush the pau with egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top for decoration.

8. Bake at 190 ̊C for 20 -25 mins until golden brown.

Makes 24 pieces.

Bon Appetit xx

Notes: Red fermented beancurd is available in all good Asian Grocers. It looks like the picture below. Also, I store extra pau's (if any) in the freezer already baked. To re-heat, just put in the oven for about 15mins at 180C.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

{the best carrot & walnut cake in hermie}

Sometimes I feel like a nice piece of cake but it feels too naughty to have a sweet treat so often. Although this cake is still sweet, it does have half a kilogram of carrots. In my book, this is 'healthy'! It also happens to be the best carrot cake I have found and the original recipe is from Planet Cake. The recipe below is adjusted with slightly less oil and sugar. I have also added a quick cream cheese icing recipe to go on the top as it complements it perfectly (and it's the only icing that Mr S actually like as it's not too sweet). Taste tested by Miss I and myself and was so good, I've had 4 slices in my first sitting...

Carrot Cake:
500 grams carrots (about 5 carrots), peeled & chopped into 3cm lengths
170 grams self raising flour
170 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
180 grams vegetable oil
4 eggs
210 grams brown sugar
125 grams golden syrup
60 grams walnuts + extra for serving

Cream Cheese Icing:
250 grams cream cheese, room temperature, cut into 4cm cubes
juice of 1/2 lemon
100-110 grams icing sugar or raw sugar

1. Pre-heat oven 160C. Line a 20 cm square cake tin or 22 cm round cake tin with baking paper.
2. Place carrots in TM bowl. Chop 4secs/ speed 5. Set aside.
3. Add flours, spices and bicarbonate soda to TM bowl. Mix 3secs/ speed 3.
4. Add in oil, eggs, sugar & golden syrup and mix 6secs/ speed 6. Scrape down sides if required.
5. Add reserved carrots and stir through manually with spatula.
6. Add walnuts to TM bowl. Mix 5secs / speed 5/ reverse.
7. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 1hour 20 mins or until cooked and a skewer comes out clean.
8. Meanwhile, rinse out TM bowl and put all ingredients into TM bowl for icing. Mix 5secs/ speed5. Note, if using raw sugar, mill first 20secs/ speed 10 and then add in remaining ingredients.
9. When cake is cooked, cool in tin for 15mins, then turn out onto cooling rack. Ice with cream cheese icing when cool. Sprinkle extra crushed walnuts over the top.

Serve with a cup of tea or coffee.

Bon Appetit xx

Notes: This make quite a bit of cake and it is suitable to freeze for up to 2 months (without the icing). I personally pre-slice the cake and then wrap in cling wrap so it is easier to defrost in single slices. 

Thursday, 22 August 2013

{raspberry & coconut slice in hermie}

To be honest, this recipe is pretty easy and simple without a Thermomix. Today was my first time converting it and I have to say, it's even easier! Don't even bother to rinse the bowl in between making the base and the topping and it can be made in 10 minutes. Only the oven gets in the way because it's too slow. I often make this raspberry slice for family events, especially birthday parties and it's a hit. This time, I'm making it for my sister's kitchen tea and just cutting it into smaller bite size pieces so that everyone can try all the other yummy morsels of food available.

220 + 60 grams plain flour
3 tablespoons ground almonds (optional)
110 + 350 grams castor sugar
250 grams butter
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
300 grams raspberries (fresh / frozen)
90grams desiccated coconut

icing sugar to serve

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
2. Grease and line a 20x30cm lamington tray.
3. Add 220grams flour, almonds, 125 grams sugar & butter into TM bowl. Mix 5secs/ speed5. Pour into prepared tray and flatten to make a base.

4. Bake for 20-25mins.
5. Meanwhile, add nutmeg, baking powder, remaining flour and sugar, eggs and vanilla into TM bowl. Mix 10secs / speed 6.
6. Add in raspberries, lemon juice and coconut. Mix 4-5 times/ closed lid/ turbo pulse/ reverse.

7. Remove base from oven. Drop temperature to 150C.
8. Add raspberry mixture to top of base and bake 60 minutes until golden and firm.

9. Cool in the tin and cut into pieces. Serve dusted with icing sugar.

Bon Appetit xx

Tips & Notes: This makes quite a lot of slice and is a great option for parties. I also store this in the freezer and defrost a few hours before serving. The ground almonds above are optional and I personally don't put them in due to family nut allergies. Finally, if you want to reduce the sugar, the recipe should still be quite nice as the slice is pretty sweet.

Friday, 16 August 2013

{acar awak (spicy pickled mixed vegetables) in hermie}

Acar awak is one of those dishes that I remember from a child that my mum would make and then store in recycled glass bottles in the fridge and wonder what was so good about it. Now I realise that this was something that reminded her of growing up in Malaysia and the memories that it brought back when eating it. I think it also has something to do with the fact that when I was young, I couldn't eat much of it because it was quite chilli hot and although I make it now, I don't down size the chilli factor because I think it makes the dish what it is. Having said that, it again is a fine line between eating pleasure and eating pain when I eat this dish. It will keep in the fridge for a good couple of weeks if you don't add the peanut to it. I personally don't add peanuts because we have a nut allergy in the house.

1/2 continental cucumber, cut into 3 cm long strips with seeds removed
1 carrots, cut into 3cm strips
150 grams green beans, cut into 3 cm lengths
100-200 grams cabbage, cut into 3cm thick
100 grams cauliflower, cut into small florets

Pickling Liquid:
450grams water
300grams white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Spice Paste:
15 dried chillies, soaked in hot water
10-15 grams belacan
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
5 grams galangal
1 stalk lemongrass
2 tablespoons coriander seeds

30 grams vegetable oil (I use canola)
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon vinegar

1. Soak the dried chillies in hot water for the spice paste.
2. Add all ingredients for the pickling liquid into the TM bowl. Heat for 8mins/ 100C/ speed 1.
3. Meanwhile, chop the vegetables as above for pickling. 

4. While the liquid is still hot, set the controls to 2.5mins/ varoma/ reverse/ stir speed. When it boils, remove the MC and add the prepared vegetables through the hole. Drain in a colander. Dry the TM bowl.
5. Add belacan into dry TM bowl. Dry roast 5mins/ varoma/ speed 1.
6. Add in rest of the spice paste ingredients and blend 15-20secs/ speed 7 or until smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl.
7. Add vegetable oil into TM bowl and saute 6mins/ varoma/ speed 1.
8. Add sugar, salt and vinegar to TM bowl and cook 2mins/ varoma/ speed 1/ reverse.
9. Finally, add the pre-pickled vegetables and stir through with spatula. Cook a further 1mins 30secs/ varoma/ stir speed/ reverse.
10. Store in a clean (preferably steralised) container in the fridge. Serve sprinkled with peanuts as a side dish to something like beef rendang.

Acar served here as part of Nasi Lemak

Makes about 800grams.

Bon Appetit xx

Notes: The vegetable quantities that I've listed above are just a guide. I basically just use what I have in the fridge and what can fit into the TM bowl. In the photos above, you can see that I forgot to add the cauliflower but it still tastes delicious! Also, belacan or dried shrimp paste can be found in all good Asian Grocery stores. Finally, I prefer to make this a day or 2 before being eaten as the flavour develops over those days and it tastes so much more better!