Friday, 24 September 2010

Cuzinhia Cristang: Ambiler Kachang & Bendi Pas'agu

So... then I tried out what I taught were the simplest recipes in the book Cuzinhia Cristang: The Malacca-Portuguese Cookbook by Celine J. Marbeck, which I've mentioned in an earlier post. Were they really simple you may ask... well... I thought so. It took me just over an hour to prepare and cook the dishes, along with rice.

Ambiler Kachang

Bendi Pas'agu

This is the first time I've made and eaten a sambal belachan anything, and that's exactly what you see in the picture of the Bendi Pas'agu - a sambal belachan variation with dried prawns. It was lovely, lovely, lovely and SO spicy. I had a tummy ache later from eating too much and not being used to so much chilli. Still, I was a happy girl. This is best eaten on the same day it is made.

The Ambiler Kachang however, was totally scrumptious after a night's rest. Really. I enjoyed just that and rice for a simple week day dinner on the day after.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Cuzinhia Cristang: Soldadu Chocolat

I finally got my copy of Cuzinhia Cristang: A Malacca-Portuguese Cookbook by Celine J. Marbeck after hunting it down for almost 6 months. I bought the second-last copy from MPH in Mid Valley just a couple of days ago.

It’s a beautiful book. What I most cherish about it is that you get a history lesson about the Cristang people before going on to the recipes. A lot of thought and effort has been made to help you understand the reason behind the cuisine and its evolution over time. I personally, have come to appreciate the Cristang people, their unique culture and wonderful cuisine even more now.


I will be cooking my way through this book, slowly but surely. So do lend me your support (Mark… do you hear me?) in hope that I will eventually become an adept Cristang-wannabe cook. J

What did I try from the book so far? The Soldadu Chocolat. I didn’t follow the recipe to a ‘t’. I didn’t have rum, couldn’t be bothered to measure out the ingredients and thought I was very clever by not making a cup of coffee before pouring it into the chocolate. I simply put a spoonful of instant coffee granules into the chocolate. I also didn’t have almonds, so I had mine with some salted cashews on the side.

The result? A knock-your-socks-off dessert in a cup. Totally yum and perfect after a spicy, heavy dinner. (Yes, it would have been doubly-excellent with some rum!)

Milk chocolate
Chocolate and milk
Coffee, coffee, coffee
Coming to a boil

Soldadu Chocolat
Adapted from Cuzinhia Cristang: A Malacca-Portuguese Cookbook by Celine J. Marbeck

Milk chocolate
Full-cream milk
Instant coffee granules
A pinch or two of light brown sugar
  1. Put the chocolate into a small heavy-based saucepan.
  2. Pour in just enough milk.
  3. Put the saucepan on the stove over low heat.
  4. Let the chocolate melt and stir to mix it together with the milk.
  5. Once you get chocolate milk, stir in the coffee and sugar.
  6. Stir to dissolve.
  7. When the mixture just comes to a boil, remove from the stove.
  8. Pour into a tea cup and serve immediately with some salted cashews.
Note: It is a good idea to make a cup of hot, strong coffee first to pour into the chocolate milk in Step 5. I didn't and what I got was a really 'kow' drink that made my eyes pop open in surprise from the rich flavour. 

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Rob & Laith's Terry's Chocolate Orange Chip Cookies

Dearest darlings, 

How are you? I'm fine and I'd like to tell you something.

If I didn't meet you for dindins in London, I would have never been introduced to Terry's Chocolate Orange... ever. I would have been in London and gone home without ever knowing about them.


Lovely, lovely chocolate

If I didn't buy them I wouldn't have made these lovelies. They, in turn would have never delighted the hearts of some friends (big and small) in Phnom Penh whom I visited recently. They were well-received by said friends and polished-off pretty quickly.


Butter, sugar and orange rind

The lucky M who was visiting me while these lovelies were being baked also enjoyed them. She said they were just what she was dreaming off. A soft, chewy cookie that hits the spot. 


Cookie dough waiting to be baked

Here's the recipe my darlings. For you to try at home. In hope that it will hit 'that spot' whenever you're needing some comforting and tender-loving-care.

I have dedicated them to you from my heart.


Rob & Laith's Terry's Chocolate Orange Chip Cookies

Rob & Laith's Terry's Chocolate Orange Chip Cookies

360g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
120g cold butter, cubed
150g castor sugar
150g light brown sugar
Grated zest of 1 extra-large orange
75g Terry's Milk Chocolate Orange, chopped
80g small chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven at 160C.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  1. Put both sugars and orange zest into a large bowl. Rub zest into the sugar with your fingers until the mixture gives off a strong citrus fragrance. (Put the bowl over a smaller pot of boiling water without touching the water and then rub the sugar/zest if it's a cold day.)
  2. Add the cold, cubed butter into the sugar mixture and cream for about 5 minutes with an electric beater.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Gently fold in the flour.
  5. Gently fold in the chocolate orange bits and chocolate chips into the mixture.
  6. Scoop 2-tsp sized balls onto the prepared baking sheets.
  7. Bake at 180C in the lower-top half of the oven for 8 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and cool on sheet for 2 minutes. Then transfer all the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. 
Note:
  • You may need less flour than I did because of the climate. Start with 270g flour and measure in any additional you may need from there. You should get a cookie dough that just leaves the sides of the bowl cleanly when trying to make a ball of dough.
  • This recipe makes a soft, chewy cookie.
  • Do not bake or leave them on the baking sheet to cool any more than the given time or they will dry out and be hard, chewy instead.
  • The rubbing of the sugar and zest is a trick I learnt from Dorie Greenspan. She uses the large-bowl-over-boiling-water method, but in the tropics I find that we don't necessary have to do that. The warmth of my fingers is enough.
  • Try it with cranberries. I'm going to. I think it would be really luscious!

Much love,
Ann


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Friday, 3 September 2010

Gateau au citron verte


I've been wanting to try this recipe out for the longest time. I bookmarked it almost a year ago, and I've just got around to making it. You can find the recipe at Fanny's. She has done a lovely clementine confit to go with it, but I was baking on a week night after a full day at work and didn't have the energy to confit anything! She's an amazing baker and I do love the whimsical way she writes her posts. 

The only thing I did different from her recipe was to use the grated rind of 2 limes instead of lemons (as I didn't have any lemons on hand, but would encourage you to use the grated rind of 4 limes instead for a more intense aroma). Plus, my cake needed to be baked a little longer, for about an hour before the skewer inserted in the middle came out clean. 

This isn't a traditional soft, spongy 'angel-like' cake. This is a rustic, robust, carry-anywhere-without-worrying kind off cake. I discovered that slicing it thin, toasting it and slathering it with marmalade or raspberry jam (as you can see in the photo) for breakfast with a hot, hot cup of coffee is an absolutely indulgent  way of treating oneself in the mornings. (Okay okay, so I had some before going to bed last night too.) As Fanny says 'Be kind, rewind.'


Toasting cake may not sound very appealing to you, but you'll appreciate it with this cake. The texture changes and suddenly this dense, moist loaf is slightly crusty around the edges and oh-so-soft in the middle.

It does need getting used to though. If you're used to the tradition of tea cakes and coffee cakes, this will be something you'll like. If - like my boss - you can't get over the 'It's not cake, but it's not bread. It's dense, and moist not soft, spongy and moist', then you'd best stay away from this recipe... but you won't know what you're missing!