Friday, April 30, 2010

Porcupine Lotus Paste Steamed Buns

On my last trip home I bought a lot of cooking and baking books. One of them is Vegetarian Dim Sum by Chin Mun Chong. I am not a vegetarian but the pictures of the dim sum inside the book look so good that I just have to get it. I decided to make the Porcupine Pao from the book. I just love the look of these buns, aren’t they cute? Carlos helps me to cut some of the prickles of the porcupine. For a first timer I think he did a pretty good job. The skin of the buns texture is very much like the flower mantau. It is kind of chewy and not too fluffy. As for the filling I used lotus paste but you can replace it with kaya or even red bean paste.

Since this is the first time I am trying out the recipe from the book so I am not sure how good they are so I decided to half the original recipe.


300 grm bao flour or Hong Kong flour
5 grm baking powder
6 grm yeast
55 grm sugar
1 tbsp of shortening
115 ml water (I need about 145 ml)


Lotus Paste or red bean paste

* Few drop of red food coloring

1. In a mixing bowl, mix all the dried ingredients until well combined. Slowly add in the water (you might need more or less and it all depend on the flour) until it form into a dough. Then add in the shortening. Mix until smooth.
2. In the meantime, take a tbsp of the lotus or bean paste and roll it into a ball. Make about 12-13 pieces.
3. Cover the dough and let it rest at a warm place for 2 hours. After 2 hours. Divide the dough into 12-13 pieces. Roll the dough into round balls and wrap in the fillings.

Carlos shaping the prickles
4. Shape the dough into oval shape. Using a sharp scissors snip the top part of the dough to form prickles to shape as a porcupine. Put two red dots at the head of the porcupine to form the eyes. Put the bun on top of the greaseproof paper and set aside to proof for 20 minutes.
5. Prepare a steamer with rapid boiling water, add a few drop of white vinegar to the water and steam the buns for 8 minutes. Serve warm.

Note: If you can't find bao flour or Hong Kong flour you can always replace it with regular all purpose flour.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fruit Crumble Cake

There is one blog which I admire a lot since I start blogging is Technicolor Kitchen . The owner of the blog Patricia Scarpin from Brazil is such a talented chef and photographer. She makes everything look so delicious and beautiful. You just wanted to try out everything she posted at her blog. When I saw her Fruit Crumble Cake I knew I just have to make it right away. It turns out beautifully. The cake has a very nice fruity taste and I just love the crunchy crumble topping. I did some minor changes to the recipe and instead of 8” x 12” square pan, I used 8” x 8” pan, that is why the cake turn out a bit taller than hers and for the fruits I just used whatever fruits that I have in my fridge.

Adapted from Technicolor Kitchen

3/4 cup/1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 cup (60ml) whole milk
5 plums, stoned and thinly sliced
5 apricots, stoned and thinly sliced
1 tbsp sugar - for sprinkling

Crumble topping:

1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 ½ tablespoons caster sugar
2 ½ tablespoons (35g) cold unsalted butter, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter an 8” x 12” (I used 8” x 8” so the cake turns out much thicker than her) baking pan and line with baking paper – butter the paper as well.
2. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy. Gradually add the eggs and beat well. Sift the flour and baking powder over the mixture, add the milk and beat in low speed until combined. Spoon the mixture onto prepared pan, arrange the fruit over the top and sprinkle with the extra sugar.
3. To make the crumble topping, place the flour, sugar and butter in a bowl and rub with your fingertips until fine crumbs form. Scatter over the fruit.
4. Bake for 50 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Spinach Loaf

This is something very similar to my Blueberry Cream Cheese Loaf but instead of sweet I made it into savory loaf. For the filling I just used whatever I can find in my fridge. As usual I used the Pillsbury bread stick dough. I tell you, this bread dough is really handy if you want to bake something quick.


1 tube of Pillsbury bread sticks dough
4 oz of frozen chopped spinach – thawed and squeeze out the water
4 slices of ham – cut into cubes
2 tbsp of light mayo
3 tbsp of light cream cheese
1 tomato – cut into small cubes
1 shallot – slice thinly
1 egg yolk
½ cup of shredded cheese – any kind
Salt and pepper to taste

Egg wash

1 egg white – beaten

1. Preheat over to 350 degree F. In a bowl combined spinach, ham, cream cheese, mayo, tomato, shallot, egg yolk, salt and pepper. Mix really well and set it aside.
2. Remove breadstick dough from the tube, unroll it and separate the dough and you will have two rectangles. Join the dough up by placing both dough rectangles horizontally on a lightly greased baking sheet. Press the steam together (refer to pix 1)
3. Spread the filling onto the centre of the dough. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top of the filling (pix 2) Separate the dough perforations up to the cheese mixture (You might need a scissors for this) slightly pull and stretch the dough strips.
4) Start from the top and bring and braid dough strip to cover the filling. Make sure to tuck and seal both ends of the loaf (pix 3)
5) Beat the egg white and brush it all over the loaf. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

(pix 1)

(pix 2)

(pix 3)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wasabi Mayo Shrimps

I just love this dish. It is quick and simple to prepare. The shrimps were fresh, succulent, crunchy and smothered with wasabi mayonnaise dressing. The wasabi gave a spicy kick to this dish.


½ pound shrimps – peel and deveined
3 tbsp of corn flour
1 egg white
1 red chili – chopped
1 cup of cubes mango
Some chives – cut small


3 tbsp of mayo
1 tsp wasabi (more if you like it spicier)
1 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of condensed milk

1. Marinate the shrimp with a bit of salt and pepper. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour and egg white together. If it is too thick add a couple tbsp of water. Add in the shrimps, mix well and fry it on high heat until lightly brown. Remove and drain the oil on paper towel.
2. Mix all the dressing ingredients together and toss it into the shrimps with chili, mango cubes and chives. Serve.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Epok Epok Sayur/Vegetable Puffs

Epok epok sayur is a curry puff lookalike but instead of meat and potatoes this it is filled with vegetables like carrot, cabbage, onions, pepper, jicama etc. The filling of this epok epok is very similar to spring roll filling. I remember eating this when I was in school but I am not sure if anyone is selling this anymore. Unlike curry puffs, epok epok sayur is usually eaten with some chili sauce. This little morsel is just delightful for afternoon tea and it is perfect with a cup of teh tarik.

Ingredients for the dough:

380 gram flour
113 grm/1 stick cold butter – cut into small cubes
1 egg - beaten
½ tsp salt
100 + ml water

Ingredients for fillings:

1 piece chicken breast – thinly sliced (omit this if you want it to be vegetarian)
1 carrot – julienned
Half red pepper – julienned
1 small onion – thinly sliced
2 cups shredded cabbage
A handful of sugar snap peas – thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic - chopped


1 tbsp of oyster sauce (omit this if you want it to be vegetarian)
3 tbsp of soy sauce
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp sugar
Salt to taste

1. To prepare the filling. Heat about 2 tbsp of oil in a wok, add in garlic and onions and stir fry until fragrant and lightly brown. Add in the meat; continue to stir until the meat changes color.
2. Add in the rest of the vegetables, all the seasonings and stir until well combined. Add in a bit water and cook until the vegetable is a bit soft. Do not overcook. Taste and check seasoning.
3. Remove and let it cool.
4. For the pastry, place the flour in a large bowl, add in salt. Mix well. Put in the cold butter and with your fingers rub the butter and flour together until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.
5. Add in the egg, mix again and then add in the water. A little at a time until the dough comes together. Continue to knead until smooth. Cover and let the dough rest for 15 min.
6. Roll out the dough thinly, cut into circle, put some filling in the center and fold the pastry into half circle shape and crimp the edges.
7. Heat up some oil, deep fry in hot oil until golden brown. Drain the oil and served.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hummingbird Cake

The Hummingbird cake is a true Southern cake and it is beautifully moist and delicious. This is one of my favorite cakes as it kind of reminds me of carrot cake which has all my favorite ingredients like bananas, pineapple and nuts in it. The cream cheese frosting gives an extra tangy sweetness to it. It is still a bit of mystery on where its usual name came from. But there are many theories about the origin of this cakes name.

Some say this cake earned its name because people will hum with delight while eating this cake. Another theory is that it's as sweet as the sugared water used to attract the Hummingbird. Whatever it may be, I do know one thing for sure is that the cake is so good and if you are looking for a cake to bake this would be the one.


1 ¾ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups mashed bananas
½ cup crushed pineapple
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 cup icing sugar
3 tbsp butter
80 grm cream cheese
1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degree F. Grease and line an 8” square or round baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Sift all the dry ingredients and set it aside. In another mixing bowl, combined eggs, brown sugar, oil, bananas, pineapple juice and crushed pineapple. Stir all the ingredients together until well mix.
3. Add in the sifted ingredients into the eggs mixture. Mix until combined and lastly add in the nuts. Pour the mixture into prepare baking pan and bake in the oven for an hour or until golden brown and the skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
4. Remove the cake from the oven; let the cake cool completely on a wire rack before spreading on the cheese frosting.
5. For the cream cheese frosting, put all the ingredients in a mixer and beat until smooth and creamy. Spread it on the cake.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Chicken Varuval with Potatoes

Whenever I think of eating something flavorful and spicy I will make this dish. This is a dish that I will cook over and over again so much so that even Carlos is eating it now. He actually finished over half a plate of it that day. I have another recipe of Chicken Varuval here but this time I did some slight changes to it and also added some potatoes to the dish. Although the list of ingredients might looks like a lot but it does not take a long of time to make this. For this dish you can adjust the level of spiciness to your liking.


3 pieces chicken breast – cut into bite size pieces
1 stick cinnamon
2 cardamom pods
3 medium size potatoes
2 green chilies - sliced
1 medium size onions – sliced thinly
A small bunch curry leaves
1 tsp black pepper
Salt and sugar to taste

Grind into paste:

5 cloves garlic
2” ginger
4 shallots
½ tsp salt

Make into a paste with a bit of water

3 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp chili powder (more or less depend on how spicy you like)
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder

1. Clean and cut the chicken, marinate it with the blended paste for half an hour. In the meantime peel and cut potatoes into bite size pieces and pan fried it until soft and set it aside.
2. Heat up about 4 tbsp of oil in a non- pan, add in cinnamon stick and cardamon pods. Stir fry until fragrant and add in the chicken, and spread it evenly into a layer and let it pan fried until lightly brown on one side and turn it over and do the same to the other side.
3. Once the chicken is evenly brown, move the chicken to the side of the frying pan and add in the curry paste. Continue the stir the paste until fragrant. Add in the onions, curry leaves and chili. Mix everything together and well coated with the paste. Add in about ½ cup of water and stir until well combined. Add in a bit of salt and sugar.
4. Add in the potatoes, stir, and lower down the heat and cover. Let it simmer until everything is cooked and water evaporated. Add in black pepper, Stir well and check seasoning.
5. Dish out and serve with warm rice.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fruity Braided Bread

I am into bread making nowadays as the weather is getting a bit warmer and it is just perfect to ferment the bread dough. There’s nothing like the joy of making a loaf of bread at home and to be able to savor a warm crusty loaf straight out from the oven.


350 g flour
40g sugar
¼ tsp salt
7g yeast
170ml fresh milk
1 egg
45g butter
1 ½ cups of dried fruits (raisins, cranberry, dried cherry)

Glaze (lightly beaten together)

1 egg
1 tbsp fresh milk


Some almond flakes
1 tbsp of sugar

1. Combine sifted flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl. Mix well Beat egg in milk, add slowing add it into the flour until it form a soft dough. Mix in butter and continue to beat until the dough is smooth. If at this stage the dough is a bit wet add a tbsp of flour. Add in all the dried fruits and nuts and mix well.
2. Cover mixing bowl with a damp tea towel. Leave aside in a warm place in the kitchen for an hour or until double in size.
3. Remove dough from the mixing bowl onto a lightly floured tabletop. Knead lightly then divide into 3 equal portions. Roll each portion into a strip 30cm long. Lay them side by side then gather the ends of the strips together and weave into a braid. Bring both ends of the braid together and make into a loop. Put it on a greased baking tray and cover with cling film. Let it rise for another 40 minutes until doubled in size.
4. Brush lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with almond flakes and sugar. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degree F for 35-40 minutes or golden brown.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Roast Pork/Siew Yoke


It is not easy to find tasty roast pork here in the US. They are either too salty or the skin is not crispy enough. The best siew yoke is still the one from Malaysia or the homemade ones. Making siew yoke is actually fairly easy. The most important is scored the skin of the meat, marinate it the day before and let the meat dry out in the fridge overnight before roasting it the next day. The last time I made this was over a year ago. Since we ladies is having a get together next week to make this so I had a test on this recipe again. Let me tell you the meat turn out perfect. The skin was crispy, the meat was juicy and it is definitely taste so much better than the one sold outside. Even Carlos who is not a fan of pork said it was really good.


A piece of pork belly – about 1.5 pound
1 piece fermented red bean curd (Nam Yee)
1 tsp of 5 spice powder
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of sugar

For the skin:

1 tsp of salt
1 tbsp of white vinegar

Scored the skin all over with a sharp knife

Removed the charring bits with a paring knife
1. Washed and pat dry the meat. Use a sharp knife, score the skin all over.
2. In a small bowl add in fermented bean curd, 5 spice powder, salt, garlic and sugar. Mix well and rub it all over the meat side of the pork.
3. Place the pork belly, meat side down on a baking tray. Then rub the other 1 tsp of salt all over the skin.
4. Place the meat uncovered in the refrigerator overnight until an hour before roasting. The air in the fridge will dry out the pork skin.
5. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degree F. Place the meat on a rack, skin side up and put a tray underneath the rack with some water in it to catch the fat dripping while roasting so the drips won’t smoke up your oven.
6. Brush the skin with vinegar. Roast about 50 minutes and at this stage you can see the skin started to bubble and blister all over
7. Switch the oven to grill/broil, move the meat closer to the top and let the skin crackle all over. This will take another 10-15 minutes.
8. Let the meat rest for 15 min before cutting into it.

Look at the bubble and blister on the skin
Note: If the skin gets too charred you can always scrape it away with a paring knife.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Strawberry Bull’s eye Cheesecake

Nancy invted us over for dinner on Easter. As usual she asked me not to cook anything except to bring a dessert over. So I made this cheesecake for the occasion. They were delightful to make. The pink layers were flavored with strawberry jam and essence. Overall, this cheesecake isn’t too sweet. The crust is a perfect balance to the richness of the cheesecake. I made some strawberry and blueberry compote to go with the cheesecake too.

Ingredients for the crust:

2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
¾ stick/6 tbsp of melted butter
2 tbsp of sugar

Ingredients for the filling:

2 block of 8 oz cream cheese (I used 1/3 fat free cream cheese)
1 can of 14 oz condensed milk
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs
2 tbsp of flour
4 tbsp of sour cream
4 tbsp of strawberry jam
½ tsp of strawberry essence
A few drop of pink coloring

1. Line ann greased an 8” spring form pan with parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the baking pan with some aluminum foil. This is to prevent water from seeping in while baking. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degree F.
2. In a mixing bowl, mix the crumbs, sugar and melted butter together. Press it firmly into the bottom of the baking pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and set it aside. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
3. Meanwhile, cream the cheese and condensed milk until well mixed. Add in eggs one at a time. Mix until incorporated and scrape down the bowl occasionally. Add in the flour, sour and mix well.
4. Add in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix well. Take ½ of the cheesecake batter and place it in another mixing bowl. Stir in the strawberry jam, strawberry essence and a few drop of the pink coloring. Mix until well combined.
5. Drop about 4 tbsp of the white batter to the middle of the baking pan. Follow by the pink color mixture on top of each other. Proceed to do the same to the rest of the batter. Do not stir, swirl or shake the pan. The batter will spread on it own.
6. Place the baking pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until the center is set. Do not over bake.
7. Turn off the heat and leave the cake in the oven with the door ajar for 45 min. Remove the cake from oven and chill for 4 hours or overnight before serving.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Salt and Pepper Fish Fillet

I’ve tried this incredible fish dish at a Chinese restaurant in New York. The fillets are cut into bite size pieces and dip into a light batter and fried and then toss lightly in some chopped garlic and ginger. Here I am trying to replica it at home and the result is not bad at all. You can always replace the fish fillets with shrimps or calamari.


2 pieces of white fish fillet (I used tilapia)
3 cloves garlic
4 bird eyes chills
1 tsp chopped ginger
Some chives or spring onions – cut small
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
A few dash of Chinese cooking wine

Marinate for fish:

1 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 egg white
2 tbsp corn flour

1. Cut fish into bite size pieces. In a big bowl, mixes marinates together and add in the fish and set it aside for 15 minutes. Put some oil in a frying pan and pan fried the fish on high heat until golden brown. Remove and drain the oil on paper towel.
2. Remove all the remaining oil from pan and leave about 2 tbsp of it. Sauté the garlic, ginger, chili until fragrant. Add in the salt, pepper and sugar.
3. Add in the fried fish, add in a few dash of Chinese cooking wine and give it a few quick toss. Add in the chives or spring onions. Remove and serve warm.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Citrus Madeleines

Is Madeleine a cake or are they a cookie? I guess they fall in between a cake and a cookie. I made this with my new Madeleines pan which I bought not too long ago. The previous ones were baked from flimsy silicon pan which I am not too keen to use it again. Since I’ve tried a couple of variations before, this time I made it with lemon and orange. I love anything citrusy so this is a great combination for me.


1 cup/130 grm sifted cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp finely grated orange zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
1/2 cup/113 grm unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pans
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)

1. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
2. Put eggs, sugar, lemon juice, orange juice and zests in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until pale and thickened, about 5 minutes. Mix in butter. Using a spatula, fold flour mixture into egg mixture. Let batter rest 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter two Madeleine pans (not necessary if they are non-stick).
4. Spoon batter into prepared pans, filling the molds three-quarters full. Bake and rotating pans halfway through, until edges are crisp and golden it will take about 7-8 minutes. Let it cool slightly in pans on wire racks. Invert, and unmold. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Beef Briyani Rice/Nasi Briyani Daging

Carlos and I love Indian food but I hardly cook any at home. I always wanted to learn how to cook it but when I see the long list of ingredients that needed just to prepare this dish I decided not to. When I saw Aunty Lily posted this dish using Shah Brand ready mix I was so happy. Finally I found an easy way to make briyani rice. I went to the Indian Grocery store the very next day and bought a few boxes of it. I always trust Aunty Lily taste and when she said it is good, that means must be really good. I follow her recipe but instead of using chicken I used beef and I did drizzle a bit of saffron water on top of the rice just to give it a bit of color. And I also cook the rice on top of the stove as my rice cooker always switch to keep-warm mode half through cooking and burn at the bottom if I cook any savory rice in it.

Here is the recipe adapted from Aunty Lily’s with some minor changes


1 ½ lbs beef – I used tenderloins for quick cooking
1 1/3 lb basmati rice - soaked for 30 minutes and drained
1 tbsp tamarind pulp - soaked in 1 cup water for 30 minutes, Then press and sieve the juice. (I omit this and used water instead)
2 medium onion - sliced(about 1/2 lb)
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp chopped garlic
4 tbsp oil
1 packet 'Shan' Chicken Biryani
A few strain of saffron – soak in a bit of warm water

For Garnish:

Some raisins
Fried shallots
Toasted cashew nuts (I replace it with pine nuts)

1. Marinate beef pieces with ginger, garlic and 2 tbsp of Shan Chicken Biryani mix for 1 hour. In the meantime mix the rest of the briyani mix with a bit of water to make into a paste.
2. Heat oil and brown the marinated beef pieces. Remove and set aside. Sweat the chopped onions, and then add in browned chicken pieces. Add in the paste and continue to stir-fry until the meat is well coated with the paste. Add in the tamarind juice (I just add 2 cups of water) bring it up to boil, turn down the heat and continue to cook and stir until the meat is tender and sauce thickened. Set aside.
3. Bring a pot of water to boil, add in 3/4 tsp of salt and add in the rice. Boil until the rice is three-quarter tender. Remove and drain the liquid.
4. To assemble the briyani, spread half of the cook meat at the bottom of a pot or your rice cooker and spread half of the rice on top of the meat.
5. Spread another layer of meat on top of the rice and follows by the rest of the rice. Drizzle the saffron water on top of the rice and top it with some raisins. Cover the pot and cook the rice on top of the stove on low flame for another 15 minutes. If you are using the rice cooking, press the cook function and cook until the cook function pop up.
6. Mix and fluff up the rice slightly before serving. Garnish with some raisins, fried shallots and cashew nuts.

Note: You might need more water if you are using a tough cut of meat

Friday, April 02, 2010

Hot Cross Buns (II)

On the first day of Lent and during the six weeks that follows up to Easter, many bakeries and Christian homes make Hot Cross Buns. This bread is generally served during the Good Friday. As usual I will make this for our Good Friday every year. This recipe makes 9 buns and I added some dried fruits to it. It is good eaten as it is or with some butter. To those who celebrate Easter, Happy Easter to all of you.


285 grm flour
12 grm milk powder
7 grm yeast
1 tsp cinnamon powder
30 grm sugar
1 tsp of orange zest
½ tsp salt
70 ml of milk
1 egg
75 grm water roux (refer to the recipe below)
50 grm soft butter
1 cup of dried fruits – any kind

Egg wash:

1 egg + 3 tbsp water (beaten)

For the Water Roux:

250 ml water
50 grm flour

Icing for the Crosses:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

1. Prepare the water roux , mix the flour and water together and cook it on medium heat until it reach the temperature of 150 degree F. Remove from heat and cover it loosely with a plastic wrap and let it cool completely before using
2. In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer with hook attachment, mix all the ingredients together except for the butter and dried fuits. Mix and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If the dough is too sticky add extra flour (1 tbsp) at a time to the dough.
3. Mix in the dry fruits and butter and continue to knead until smooth. Lightly oil the bowl, cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let the dough rest at a warm place until double in size. This will take 1 ½ to 2 hours.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree F, greased and lines an 8” x 8” square baking pan.
5. On a lightly floured work surface, punch down the dough, shape the dough into a log and cut into 9 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and put it into the baking pan. Cover with a plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm place until almost doubled in size.
6. Brush the top with some egg wash and bake until golden brown. Transfer to the cooling rack and let it cool completely.
7. For the glaze, mix the sugar and lemon juice together until well combined. Put the glaze in a piping bag and pipe thick cross on top of the buns.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

There are so many varieties of carbonara that it is hard to sort them out. Typically carbonara is made with pancetta (Italian bacon), egg yolks, and parmesan cheese mixed in spaghetti. In the US, sometimes cream is used in this pasta recipe, but this is not typical in Italy. I like to make this pasta dish when I ran out of idea of what to prepare for dinner. All you need is just a few ingredients to pull off this rich, cheesy and satisfying meal.


½ packet of Spaghetti or pasta of your choice
4 slices of pancetta (you can substitute it with bacon) – cute into cubes
2 cloves garlic – smashed
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat a bit of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat; cook the pancetta along with the garlic until the pancetta is brown and crispy. Discard the garlic and add in the black pepper and stirring occasionally until fragrant.
2. Transfer the pancetta mixture into a big bowl and let it cool down a bit. Stir in the cheese and egg yolks. Mix until well combined and set it aside.
3. Meanwhile bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al-dente. Reserve about ½ cup of pasta water.
4. Drain the pasta and toss it right into the eggs mixture. Toss till combined adding the pasta water a bit at a time to create a creamy sauce. Taste for seasonings.
5. Serve immediately.

Note: I didn’t add any salt to this dish as with the pancetta and parmesan cheese the pasta is salty enough. Since I have some roasted tomatoes I garnished the pasta with it.