Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Brown Butter Wholewheat Pecan Banana cake

Thanks to Bosch, I recently received a new kitchen gadget from them! Fresh in the market, their brand new MaxoMixx handheld blender device. But before that, let me show you what I came up with using this new tool haha!
Not too shabby right? I can definitely go for a slice of this right now. But first, lets talk about this new exciting gadget I received!

This handy dandy new equipment is not your usual blend the chunky soup or pulverized the fruits function only tool. It comes with several different attachments which not only blends, whips, chops, grinds and even slice and julienne! Talk about multi-functionalities! 
Looks slick doesn't it? I love that metallic shine! Plus I am such a knuckle head when it comes to using new kitchen equipments, luckily it was really easy to use!

I was pretty much ready to try out all the different attachments but somehow that whisk feature seems to be calling out to me the most! Must be that baker mode in me I guess. :) Plus I was a little skeptical about the thin metal whisk...whether it is powerful enough to mix thick batters. So with that in mind, I finally settled on doing a simple cake. And since I wanted a recipe that anyone can relate with, I opted for a banana loaf cake: Brown Butter Wholewheat Banana Pecan Cake. Yup, anything with brown butter is a sure win!

Recipe for Brown Butter Wholewheat Banana Pecan Cake (makes a 9x5" loaf)
90g unsalted butter
180g cake flour
80g wholewheat flour
150g soft brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
65ml buttermilk (if you can't find, substitute with 50g plain yogurt and 15ml fresh milk)
2 large or 3 medium really ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans and 6 -12 whole ones to decorate
Dark Chocolate chunks about 80-100g (Optional)
  • In a heavy saucepan, add the butter in and cook at medium low fire till it starts to foam. It might splatter a bit so be careful. Once it turns into an amber brown colour and release that nutty flavor, remove from fire and set aside.
  • Grease and line with parchment paper a loaf pan. I used my William Sonoma Goldtouch mini loaf no parchment paper needed, yay! Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Add eggs, buttermilk to mashed banana and combine well. Of course use MaxoMixx to do the job for me! There are two modes (Normal & High) MaxoMixx, be sure to try it out without the batter to check on the speed! Attach that whisk and press on!

  • After that, add in vanilla extract, sugar and then the cooled brown butter. Again use MaxoMixx to incorporate everything properly using the normal speed whisking action.

  • In a separate bowl, sift in the cake flour, salt and baking soda. Then add in wholewheat flour and stir well.
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk with the MaxoMixx till no visible lumps and smooth batter. Check out that whisk. ;) The regular speed was already "strong" enough to combine my thick cake batter nicely!
  • At this point, add in chopped pecans and combine.
  •  Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tins and then proceed to add your toppings or extra chocolate chunks if desired.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes to an hour till golden brown or when the cake tester comes out clean, If you are using a smaller loaf tin like myself, bake for 35-38 minutes.
  • Serve it when still slightly warm or it can be kept in the fridge for a good one week. Else freeze up to two -three weeks with proper wrapping.
Baking made easy with this new Bosch MaxoMixx! The cakes turned out beautifully tall plus a nice golden crusty exterior yet soft on the inside.

What I love most about this cake is the nutty buttery flavor from that brown butter. Yes, taking that extra step to cook the butter definitely pays off! The cake stays moist and soft because of the banana and buttermilk, so even with the addition of wholewheat, no one can really tell. And that added crunchy texture from the pecans and huge chocolate chunks are really delicious bonuses! Yay to success in first recipe trying out a new equipment!
Yes, one more close up of the delicious cake before I sign off...tempting tempting tempting. :))
Will be trying out more new recipes using the MaxoMixx, so do stay tune! Have a great day folks!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Yam Kueh

So lately there has been a trend that new hispter cafes serving up local hawker food. I tell myself these kuehs must be super good since they are charging like double the price as of the hawker! But then it was not much of a difference...quite a disappointment. Seriously it is not a complicated dish, just make yourself la! I used to have an old post that links to my friend's blog, but I decided to post my own recipe this time hehe. :P Gonna keep this a super short post and get straight to it!

Recipe for Steamed Yam Kueh: (makes 10" round)
550g yam, peeled and shredded
4 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked till soft and minced fine
3 garlic cloves minced
6 cloves shallots sliced
oil for frying shallots
Chunks of pumpkin and yam, pre steamed (optional)

280g rice flour
70g tapioca flour
1120ml water
1/2 tsp alkaline water (optional)
  • Mix everything together in a large bowl and set aside for later use.
1/4 tsp five spice powder 
1 tbsp chicken seasoning or 1 chicke  cube
white pepper and salt to taste
  • Heat up oil and fry the shallots till light golden brown. Scoop out from oil and over some paper towel to let cool for later use.
  • Add garlic and minced dried shrimp and cook at low heat till fragrant.
  • Add shredded yam and stir fry for a couple minutes. Then gradually add in ladles of batter in and cook at low heat.
  • Mixture will be lumpy and thick but it is ok. Just stir constantly and make sure the bottom is not burnt.
  • Set aside the steamer (at medium low heat) and round tin that has been greased.
  • Once all the batter has been stirred in, add in the steamed pumpkin and yam if you are using.
  • Scoop the mixture into the container and steamed for 40 to 50 minutes. Check if mixture is firm, else continue to steam for another 5-10minutes.
  • Make sure you let the kueh cool completely before slicing it to serve. Top with chopped green onion, fried golden shallots.
Instead of red chilli which my kids don't eat, I replaced it with goji, haha! But feel free to use red chilli of course to get that kick! And check out the chucks of pumpkin and yam inside! Yummy Yammy!

You know what's better then steamed Yam kueh? It is to pan fry it the next day after you have chilled it firm overnight in the fridge! Okay that's another post haha! May add pictures of that later heehee!

Have a great day guys!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sustainable seafood cooking class with Executive Chef Lucas Granville of Grand Hyatt Singapore

I was invited to attend a very meaningful event recently, which is in lieu to Singapore's first Sustainable Seafood festival. A cooking class in ToTT with Executive Chef Lucas Granville of Grand Hyatt Singapore! Looks exciting right?

Before we get to the cooking part, you might ask, what is "Sustainable Seafood"? Well, it is basically seafood from either wild caught or farmed seafood sources which the amount harvest do not endanger the Eco-systems it was taken from. Not forgetting that the amount harvest should also allow the remaining populations to be self sustained or increased in future.

Singapore being one of the largest seafood consumer in APAC, eating up a whopping 140 million Kg of seafood a year! ~faint~ With more then 87% of the world's oceans overfished, it is estimated that the world's seafood supply will run out by 2048 if we don't do something about it!

So with this festival, the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) collaborates with over 30 enthusiastic businesses in Singapore to run the exclusive  "Pick The Right Catch" promotions. With this new movement, MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) hopes for responsible consumption of seafood by empowering suppliers, retailers, restaurants and consumers to "pick the right catch". Meaning to select seafood that has been vetted through stringent standards by MSC and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). Consumers should look out for signs on the packaging baring the MSC or ASC logos to ensure the products they purchase is indeed meeting these standards.(Oops, sorry about the blur shot heehee)
Okay, lets get cooking! Chef Lucas Granville showed us a total of 3 exciting dishes that day using all sustainable seafood. Each dish uses the respective seafood you see below:

Left is Pangasius, middle is Green-lipped Mussels, right is Pink Salmon
First dish was this Spicy fish soup with Lemongrass; Tom Yam Pla.I know, anything Tom Yum already sounds so delicious haha! This dish uses Pangasius(the one on the left) which is a popular and versatile fish that us widely used in Western & Asian cooking and is mainly farmed in Vietnam.

ToTT has kindly sponsored and prepared everything for us at the event, all neatly placed in each individual container, nice!
Recipe for Tom Yam Pla (Serves 3-4)
200gm basa fish (Pangasius)
12 straw mushrooms
2 sticks of lemongrass
20gm galanga
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 litre chicken stock
25ml fish sauce
25ml lime juice
20gm sugar
2 tbsp Thai chili paste
4 chili red and green
40gm coriander with root
100gm Thai cherry tomatoes 

  • In a pot, add chicken stock, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galanga, coriander root, Thai cherry tomatoes and straw mushrooms, gently simmer for 1 hour.

  • Season with fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, chilli paste and then bring to a boil. Taste and ensure seasoning is correct.
  • Add fish and cook for 2 minutes on a low heat.
  • Remove from the heat, serve in a bowl and garnish with red, green chilli and coriander leaves.

The next dish Baked Garlic and Parsley Mussels. This dish uses the green-lipped or greenshell mussels, which are farmed on floating long-line ropes suspended in the clear water around New Zealand's unspoilt coastline. Cultured in the least ecologically sensitive areas, they feed off nutrients in the water column to developed into plump full flavored mussels. These mussels literally require no feeding and thus highly sustainable, a highly recommend choice!

Recipe for Baked Garlic and Parsley Mussels (served 3-4pax)
24 1/2 shell green-lipped mussels
1 large peeled garlic clove
1 large peeled red shallot
Handful of Italian parsley leaves
Zest of a 1/4 lemon
100gm unsalted butter, softened
75gm white breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Sauce Tarator:
100gm peeled red peppers
2 slices white bread without crusts
80ml milk
40gm crushed walnuts
1 glove chopped garlic
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of chilli flakes
Lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

  • To make the sauce tarator, combine all ingredients food processor and blend into a fine paste, season with salt and pepper and a few drops of lemon juice.
  • Refrigerate before serving.
  • To prepare the mussels, combine garlic, shallots, lemon zest and parsley into a food processor and blend into a fine paste.
  • Add the softened butter and pulse, once all ingredients are combined, then add the breadcrumbs and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Cover each mussels with some of the garlic and parsley butter.
  • Lay them on a baking tray and bake in an oven at 180C until they are crisp and golden brown.
  • Serve immediately with Lemon and sauce tarator on the side.    
Looks so atas but yet super easy to prepare! All you need is a trusty blender haha!

Last dish we cooked that day was Salmon Pastrami, Shaved Fennel Salad, Radish, Lemon and Extra Virgin olive oil. This dish uses the Pink Salmon which is most abundant of the Pacific salmon and is found throughout the North Pacific.Besides, salmon is naturally rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, so eating more of this pink salmon is all good haha.

Recipe (Serves 4)
Salmon Pastrami: 
4 of 200gm salmon portions
Spice Rub:
25gm salt
25gm brown sugar
25gm coarse black peppercorns
10gm coriander seeds
10gm juniper berries
5gm chilli flakes

Shaved Fennel Salad:
2 fennel bulb
4 whole red radish
Picked dill leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon juice
Salt & Pepper

  • Combine all ingredients together from the spice rub.
  • Dust the spice rub over the salmon and remove to the side.
  • Shave the fennel bulb and the radish with the mandoline into a bowl, add dill leaves, extra virgin olive oil and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  • Heat a non stick frying pan, add a little oil and gently cook the salmon for a minute on each side, depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove and serve on a plate.
  • Arrange the fennel salad next to the salmon pastrami and drizzle a little olive oil over the salmon.
Check out the moist interior of the salmon! It is super flavorful with that spice rub! This has gotta be my most favorite dish among the three, since I am such a salmon fan haha!

Everything looks delicious right? And who can tell from the looks or even from the taste that these were made from sustainable seafood?

Besides having fun cooking at the event, I also learn a lot about being more aware of choosing the right seafood the next time I go grocery shopping. And I believe taking one step at a time to making this happen, to save our ocean. :) 

Okay, that's all folks. Just remember to do the right thing and "Pick The Right Catch"!