Sunday, 20 June 2010

THE PIG THAT WON'T FLY

Dear GPs,

This little pig cried wee wee wee today.

So many things went wrong. I had intended to give Piggy wings but was forced to forgo them because I was already having a hard time with Piggy's snout.  It kept sliding off!  I contemplated on using the stapler.  In the end, I used Super Glue.  (Kidding!)

At one point I got distracted by Mom making fishcakes and failed to watch the clock.  As a result, Piggy got badly burnt in the oven.


Since last week's fish-shaped buns were filled with tuna, I felt that it be apt to fill Piggy with a pork filling. My initial thoughts were on Mushroom and Bacon, or Ham and Cheese. Serena suggested luncheon meat whilst Moon felt  bakkwa would give Piggy that Singaporean edge.


During our morning stroll on Tuesday, Mum asked me, "What kind of bread will you be making next?"

"How about Char Siu (BBQ pork) Bun?" she asked while I was still contemplating.  She even gone on to suggest, "I'll take care of the filling, you make the bread." That threw me right off because Mum and I seldom see eye to eye on culinary affairs.  She cooks Chinese dishes, I bake Western-style cakes.  She prefers them savoury, I like sweets.  She doesn't interfere with my baking, I stubbornly stay out of her kitchen when she cooks.

I guess you can say we're both pig-headed. 

SaveSave

Friday, 18 June 2010

HOW TO BE A GUINEA PIG

On weekends, I look for willing food tasters to try my baked goods. Most of the time, they are my parents and few colleagues. Not long ago, I also roped in a childhood friend. I can't be certain if she is a willing Guinea Pig (GP) but I didn't give her a chance to decline the honour.

Recently, my colleague Serena has expressed her desire to sign-on as regular GP.

In order for you to qualify as a GP, you must
(1) preferably work with me in the same office or conduct activities close by my home. (In the case of my childhood friend, she attends pilates classes in the community centre across the street from my house)

(2) live within close proximity of a GP (in this instance, I mean a good doctor)

(3) be brave in the presence of creativity

(4) be able to give constructive comments after you've tried out the said creative foods

(Words like "lousy" "awful" "like Styrofoam" are not constructive comments and will result in immediate disqualification)

Only those with strong stomachs and undefiable courage need apply.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

屈原卖粽

五五端午节。雨。 屈原为何投江自尽?因被朝廷冷落而患了忧郁症吧? 如果屈原地下有知,看到今天的粽子五花八门,里面包的是鲍鱼和海参,粽子商机那么旺,会想: 当年何必投江? 辞了政去卖粽子也很好啊!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

TAILS!


What the fish! Those fish-shaped buns on my last post were subjected to an incredulous amount of ridicule. 

"Why haven't they got tails?"  being the most popular question.

"They look like pineapple tarts!" exclaims Serena.

Maki must have secretly rolled her eyes when she saw the 'fish'.  ("Maybe Fun doesn't know what a fish looks like!")  Since she has a sweet nature she does not call me stupid outright (which I downright appreciate).  Instead, she directed me to a Japanese website that contains step-by-step demonstration on how to form a kawaii 魚の形パン(fish-shaped bun).   Even if you don't understand Japanese, you'll won't be totally at sea.



Fish-shaped Buns with Spicy Tuna Filling
Makes 12

Spicy Tuna Filling
2 cans tuna flakes in water, drained
2 small red onions, chopped
Olive oil
Mayonnaise
Dijon mustard
Anchovy paste
Dried chilli flakes

Bread Dough
270 grams bread flour
30 grams all-purpose flour
30 grams caster sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
3 grams (3/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 egg (about 60 grams)
130 grams water
30 grams butter, softened

Finish
Eggwash

To make the Spicy Tuna Filling: Mix all the ingredients together. Set aside.

To make the bread:  In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook, stir all ingredients (except the butter) together on low speed until everything comes together.

Then mix in butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and knead dough until smooth, elastic and comes away from sides of bowl in a ball. Dough should be soft and pliable.

First proof. Shape dough in a boule fashion place in lightly greased bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave in microwave oven to proof. To create a warm environment for successful proofing, put a mug of hot water beside the dough. Close the oven door and leave to proof for one hour.

Using your index finger, make a hole in centre of dough. If indentation remains, dough is ready for next step.

Divide and rest. Gently deflate dough and divide into 12 equal portions. Form each into boule fashion. Cover with wet towel and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Now fill and shape.

Second proof.  Lay the “fish” on baking tray. Cover with wet towel and leave to proof for 40 minutes or until the “fish” double in size.

Bake. Meanwhile, place a rack in the centre of your oven and preheat the oven at 200 degrees C.  Before baking, brush each “fish” gently with egg wash. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until light golden.



They have tails - and its all thanks to Maki!  Now people are complaning that the buns have way too much filling.  Really, there's no pleasing these people is there?!  The trick is to stop trying to.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

WHAT THE F***


In case you are wondering, these are tuna buns in the shape of fish!  Sure, they look like puffers than a regular fish.  How would I have known that they would all lose their tails during the proofing process?!

Inspiration for these cuties came from a book I recently borrowed from the neighbourhood library.  These days I no longer purchase a new cookbook for the sake of 2 or 3 recipes inside. At the risk of sounding cheap, I usually check out a library copy beforehand to determine whether a book is worth buying.

Last week, while I was browsing in my favourite section in Kinnokuniya Orchard, I came across a woman who had an array of cookbooks laid out on a table before her. In doing so she managed to cover most of the New Arrivals that were occupying the table in the first place. Oblivious to incredulous stares from shoppers around her, she fervently copied recipe after recipe from the cookbooks onto a writing pad. And as if that wasn't despicable enough, she started to dictate (quite loudly, if I may add) to a friend using her mobile phone!

I'm kinda relieved to know there’s a cheaper someone out there. :)

I've been dying to spin my new toy since it was delivered last week.  The KA works like a dream when it comes to kneading bread dough.

Tuna Bun
Inspiration for fish-shaped bun from [日式面包]by邱勇灵/ 屈礼芬
Makes 12

Tuna Filling
1 can tuna flakes in water, drained
Mayonnaise
Dijon mustard
Anchovy paste
Lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Bread Dough
270 grams bread flour
30 grams all-purpose flour
30 grams caster sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
3 grams (3/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 egg (about 50 grams)
140 grams water
30 grams butter, softened

Finish
Raisins
Egg wash

To make the Tuna Filling:  Mix all the ingredients together.  Set aside.

To make the bread:  In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook, stir all ingredients (except the butter) together on low speed until everything comes together. Then mix in butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and knead dough until smooth, elastic and comes away from sides of bowl in a ball. Dough should be soft and pliable.


First proof. Shape dough in a boule fashion place in lightly greased bowl. Cover with cling film and leave in microwave oven to proof. To create a warm environment for successful proofing, put a mug of hot water beside the dough. Close the oven door and leave to proof for one hour.

Using your index finger, make a hole in centre of dough. If indentation remains, dough is ready for next step.

Divide and rest. Gently deflate dough and divide into 12 equal portions. Form each into boule fashion. Cover with wet towel and leave to rest for 15 minutes.


Fill and Shape. Roll each dough portion into oval disk. Fill each portion with tuna filling and form into desired shape. Raisins form the “eyes”.

Second proof.  Lay the “fish” on baking tray. Cover with wet towel and leave to proof for 40 minutes or until the “fish” double in size.

Bake. Meanwhile, place a rack in the centre of your oven and preheat the oven at 200 degrees C.  Before baking, brush each “fish” gently with egg wash. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until light golden.

If you want to try a hand at making these fish, be sure to roll the tails flat during the shaping stage.  Otherwise you'll end up with tail-less fish like mine!
 

HOMEMADE FISHCAKES - THE PREQUEL

This is a prequel to my post in February on Homemade Fishcakes.  Here are some shots of my mother making fishcakes from scratch.

Fillet the fish - a Yellowtail is best

Remove flesh from skin

Add salt water as you mince.  Keep going.  It will come together in a cohesive mass.

Pick it up and smack it on the chopping board about 10 - 15 times.

看到了没有? Nice and jiggly. Now wet your hands before shaping into fishcakes.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

THE LITTLE SHOP OF DESIRES

Today marks my 7th year with the company I work for.  Not many employees stay more than 5 years in an ad agency. What can I say, I'm a rare breed.

Just recently my very nice French boss presented me with a cheque for $1000 which was meant to be my 5-year long-service award. However, an unwritten company policy (I wonder which 笨蛋approved it) dictates that the employee would receive her 5-year award only at the end of her 6th year (duh!)

If you have $1000 to spare, what single item would you splurge it on? Desire posts this question as she lures me into her charming little shop. Here's a woman truly after my own heart. Every object that I’ve ever dreamed of owning is here!

A gorgeous bracelet catches my eye. I want to try it on but it sits regally on the upper-most shelf that is way beyond my reach.

Oh look, the Ferragamo bag that I like! And isn't that the camera I’ve wanted for some time? There they lay on a tall shelf, side by side, beckoning me. Surely if I stand on tip toes, with fingers outstretched, I would be able to attain them! Alas no, I’m still a little short.

So many fabulous things, too little cash! I was fishing for my credit cards when Reality steps in. He grabs my arm and drags me roughly aside.

“Hey!” I protest. “You hurt me!”

“I do that sometimes,” he admits but offers no apology.

“What do you want?” I hiss, folding my arms across my chest. He reminds me that the Bvlgari B-Zero bracelet, Ferragamo tote and Canon 500D will all have to wait. He is right, of course. I know I need to face him squarely.

With Reality in check, I begin to lower my sights to focus on the objects that are truly accessible. He finally allows me to walk away with this:

KitchenAid KSM150 Mixer in Apple Green. Usual price: S$899. Available at TANGS for S$699 and a further 10% reduction during the promo period. Free delivery. Citibank cardholders earn 12% rebate on the card.

He keeps me grounded, this Reality. At times I’m grateful that he's by my side. Desire ignores me completely now. I watch and she seduces another wide-eyed customer with her dazzling smile. I tell Reality that Desire resembles Temptation very much in looks. He nods.

“Cousins,” he grins, and marches me out of Desire's lair.