Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's time to cook for dinner. After staring at my fridge for a while, I decided to make a chicken wings dish. I want to eat something sweet and spicy today. So I try to create my own chicken wings recipe. The result turns out not so bad. Well, not spicy enough for me. But still good. This recipe goes very well with hot steamed rice. Yum!

Ingredients :
  • 10 Chicken wings
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs tomato sauce
  • 1 tbs sweet soy sauce
  • 1 tbs worcester sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 3 tbs sweet chili sauce (or more)
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tbs honey + 2 tbs sweet chili sauce, mixed 

Preparation :
  1. In a pan, heat 3 tbs vegetable oil
  2. Add minced onion and garlic into preheated oil, saute until the onion become translucent.
  3. Add water, tomato sauce, soy sauce, worcester sauce, paprika powder, ginger powder, and sweet chili sauce into the pan. Stir them together.
  4. Add chicken wings into the pan. Stir them together until they are coated with the sauce.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven 200 C  (400 F) and prepare an ovenproof dish.
  6. Let them cooked at low-medium heat for about 10 min. Turn them over. 

  7. Continue to cook them until almost all of the water are evaporated. (it will take about 10 more minutes)
  8. Turn off the heat and place the chicken wings into an ovenproof dish. 
  9. Coat all of them with mixed honey and sweet chili sauce using a pastry brush.
  10. Put them into preheated oven for about 10 minutes
  11. Take the chicken wings out, and coat them again with honey mixture.
  12. Put them back into the oven for about 10 minutes.
  13. Serve them hot with sliced cucumber and tomato.

I didn't only serve the chicken wings with sliced cucumber and tomato, but with leftover onion from the pan. When i transfer the wings into the oven, i left all the onion and all the spices in the pan. I continue to cook them for 1-2 minutes, and transfer them into a small bowl.

When i eat my dinner, i took a little bit of this onion and mix them up with my hot steamed rice. It tasted great. It was sweet, a little bit spicy, and made my chicken wing tasted even better. I'm definitely going to make this dish again next time. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

What should i cook for today? Let see. I have 2 chicken thighs, some carrot, some celery, some champignon, 1/2 can of canned sausages, and 1 can diced tomatoes. I think i can make 1 big pot of Sup Merah out of them. What is  sup merah ?

Sup Merah (Red soup) or Indonesian Tomato soup is one of popular soup dish from Indonesia, especially onEast Java. It is an Indonesian dish with a little bit of Western touch. We call it red soup (merah = red) because the soup has a reddish color. My mother and my grandmother used to make this soup especially for special occasion such as birthday or new year. I'm glad they gave me the recipe and taught me how to make it. The original recipe is complicated and takes a lot of time. I need to fry a lot of shallot, pre-boil all the tomatoes, crush them and remove all the seeds and peel the skin. I still remember sometimes my grandmother grated the tomatoes to get its juice for a big pot of soup. This time i'm going to make sup merah using my family recipe but with some small modification just to simplify the process.

Ingredients :
  • 150 grams fried shallot
  • 2 Roasted chicken thighs 
  • 200 grams carrots, diced
  • 100 grams celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 125 grams champignon mushroom, sliced
  • 1 can (400 grams) diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 100 grams frozen peas
  • 6 sticks canned sausages, sliced
  • 3-4 tbs tomato sauce
  • 2 bouillon blocks
  • 2 ltr water
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp sugar
Preparation : 
  1. In a big pot, preheat 2-3 tbs oil.
  2. Saute diced onion, celery, carrots until a bit tender.
  3. Add sliced champignon mushrooms, saute again until the mushrooms are cooked.
  4. Add roasted chicken into the pot.
  5. Add water, ground nutmeg, bouillon block, bay leave, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, sugar, and fried shallot into the pot.
  6. Let it boiled. 
  7. Reduce the heat, and simmer on low-medium heat for about 20 min.
  8. Remove the chicken from the pot, let it cool for a bit.
  9. Separate bones from the meat, and put the chicken meat back into the pot.
  10. Add sliced sausages and frozen peas into the pot.
  11. Add salt and pepper.
  12. Simmer again on low- medium heat for another 15 min
  13. Adjust the taste if needed.
Tip : Fried shallot will add sweetness of the soup. I explain how to make it on other post. If you want to avoid this process or too lazy to make fried shallot, just saute the shallot in the pot until translucent before adding onion and the other vegetables into the pot. Do not use fried shallot that you can buy in Asian store unless you're sure they are not coated with flour. The flour will make the soup taste and look bad.

 One big pot of sup merah  is ready. 

I usually eat the soup with hot steamed rice and fried shallot or fried onion as condiments. Toasted bread or crouton is a perfect companion for this soup as well. The most important thing is serve this soup hot. :)

After one day, i still have some leftover soup on my pot. I decided to make a pot pie. 

I put the soup into a small ramekin dish, cover it up with puff pastry, make a hole in the middle of puff pastry, and brush the pastry with egg wash. Put it into preheated oven (190 C) for about 20 min. After the pastry become crispy and golden brown, remove the dish from the oven, let it cool for about 10 min.

Let's start digging. :)

Why did I use roasted chicken? 

Thanks to Chef John. I found his video on youtube about roasted chicken broth. I tried it once for making chicken soup, and it really changed the taste of the soup. It became much more tasty and savory. Since then I always use roasted chicken broth for my soup. I didn't exactly follow the original recipe, but it still great.

I highly recommend to roast the chicken if you want a fatty and a little bit heavy soup. But if you prefer a light soup, just directly boil the chicken. No need to roast the chicken before.

Ingredients :
  • 2 Chicken thighs
  • 1 clove of garlic, peel and pressed.
  • 1 cup mix of diced carrot, celery, and onion.
  • 4 tbs Olive oil
  • Salt, and black pepper
Preparation : 
  1. Preheat the oven 210 C (410 F).
  2. Put the chicken into an oven proof dish. 
  3. Put mixed vegetables and garlic all around the chicken.
  4. Add some olive oil on the top of the chicken.
  5. Sprinkle generous amount of salt and black pepper
  6. Put the chicken into the oven and roast it for about 40-45 min.

Fried shallot is one of popular condiment in Indonesia. They can be sprinkled on soup, porridge, salad, or meatball. They can be used as well as seasoning in some food such as sup merah (Indonesian tomato soup), Indonesian potato pancake, and many other things. Sometimes I sprinkle them on the top of hot steam rice and eat them. Just like that.

How to make fried shallot? 

It's easy but it's tricky. I still remember i burned a lot of shallot on my very first trial. They became black and taste bad. But after practice a lot, i'm still not a pro, but i can do it much better. A correct frying process will make the fried shallot crispy and sweet. During the frying process, the natural sugar of shallot will be caramelised. This caramelisation process will make the fried shallot taste sweet.  

Ingredients :
  • 150 grams shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups (250 ml) vegetables oil
Preparation :
  1. Preheat oil in a deep pan until hot enough for deep frying process (135 C or put wooden spatula into the oil and see if there are bubbles appear near the spatula). 
  2. Add shallot into the hot oil. They should bubble mildly. 
    Tip : do not add too many shallot into the oil otherwise they wont cooked and become golden evenly. I was using small strainer to fry shallot. It's easier to remove shallot once they become golden using this strainer.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
  3. Cook shallot until the edge of shallot become golden. Remove shallot from the oil once half of them become golden.
  4. Let them continue to sizzle in residual heat of the oil until they are become golden brown. 
Tip : Slice shallot very thin and as even as possible otherwise, they will not  cooked and became brown at the same time.  Some of them will still raw, some of them will be burned. 
Tip : Do not overcooked shallot in the pan. Immediately remove shallot from the oil once the edge of shallot turning golden so they will not burned and become perfectly golden. 

This is fried shallot that I've made for my sup merah

Saturday, July 27, 2013

This is one of my husband's favorite cake. Carrot cake.

My husband remembers that he often eat a delicious cake when he was still on elementary school. He had no clue what it was. One time he found out that it was a carrot cake and he asked me to try to make it for him. Wow! I didn't even know what cake it was. I tried to find the recipe on the internet, tried some recipes, and none of them satisfied him. Until i found this recipe. Thanks to

The cake is easy to made, delicious, and moist. I've made this many time at many special and casual occasion. Sometimes I made this cake as a big round 9 inch tart, but I usually made this as mini cupcakes. They are cuter, smaller,  and easier to decorate. I've made some changes with the recipe but the cake still taste great.

I've shared my recipe with my friend as well and she like it. She made some changes with the recipe but it still taste great.

Carrot cake 

Ingredients :
  • 2 cups (256 grams) AP flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 cups (250 grams) white sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (190 ml)  vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup  (180 ml) buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (142 grams) grated carrot
  • 150 grams pineapple, crushed and drained 
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) chopped walnut  
Preparation :
  1. Line 9 inch round cake pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease and flour the paper. Or muffin tin with cupcake paper. Set it aside. 
  2. Preheat the oven 180 C (350 F) 
  3. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. Set it aside.
  4. In another large bowl, beat the eggs.
  5. Add white and brown sugar, oil, butter milk, and vanilla extract into the beaten egg. Beat together until  smooth and combined. 
  6. Add flour mix into mixed wet ingredients.
  7. Beat with low speed to mix them together until well combined. 
  8. Fold in grated carrot, crushed pineapple, flaked coconut, and chopped walnut into the batter.
  9. Pour the batter into cake pan.
  10. Bake the cake for about 25-30 minutes (Until wooden pick comes out clean). For mini cupcake, bake the cake for about 20 minutes.

Tip : If you want to make layered carrot cake, it would be better to make each layer separately and assembly them instead of making one big thick cake and cut it into layered. This cake is contained so many fruits and nuts.  The layers wont be good and crumble a lot.

This is mini carrot cup cake that i made. Fresh from the oven. They smell so good

Carrot cake goes really well with butter cream cheese frosting. I like the sweetness and cheesy taste from the cream. To decorate the cake, put the frosting into pipping bag with star tip, and just swirl the frosting on the top of the cup cake. I made additional decoration for this cake using royal icing. It takes more time indeed. But I like the result. :)

Royal Icing

Ingredients :
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup (110 grams) confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
Preparation :
  1. In a large bowl, whisk egg white with lemon juice until formed small bubble
  2. Add 1/2 cup confectioners sugar and mix with medium speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny.
  3. Add the rest of the sugar
  4. Mix with high speed until mixture form stiff and glossy peak.
  5. Add food coloring agent and start decorating. 

For making small carrot royal icing decoration, separate the icing into two bowl and add orange and green coloring. Transfer them into piping bag, and start making the carrot shape on the parchment paper. Put the carrot icing into  60 C oven for about 10-15 min. It will help to harden the icing faster.

Tip : Store the dry icing in a airtight container to keep it dry. Decorate the cake with this carrot icing right before you pack it or serve it. Do not put the icing on the top of the cream hours before that. Otherwise, it will ruin the icing and the frosting. The icing will be wet and soft because of the moist from the frosting, meanwhile the frosting will have some spot with orange or green color because of the wet icing will transfer its color into the frosting.

One box of mini carrot cup cake is ready. I prepared this box for my friend's son birthday party. From 1 recipe carrot cake, i can make about 3 boxes mini carrot cup cake (1 box contained 28 mini cup cakes). It's a lot of cup cakes. But everybody likes it. :) 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hiep Hiep Hiep Hoera!! My brother in law is celebrating his 11th birthday. And since he's visiting our family in Netherlands during his summer holiday, I want to make it a little bit special by making him a homemade birthday cake. After searching around on the internet, i decided to make him a 3D cake. A Pirate boat cake. This is my first attempt making 3D cake and i'm so nervous. But hey! It turns out not really that bad. I managed to make a pretty nice ship. With some decorations, it looks cute and my brother in law doesn't even want to cut the cake.

For 1 boat cake i need :
  • Chocolate cake 
  • Vanilla cake  
  • Pyrex dish (27 x 18 cm)
  • Mocha butter cream
  • Vanilla butter cream
  • Jelly beans
  • Brown sugar
  • 1 pack Pocky
  • Chocolate ball / Maltesers
  • Paper, pen , and skewer
  • Some pirate toys (I'm using Playmobil pirate doll) 

First, I need a cake board. It was difficult to me to find a cake board with a size that i need. I need a rectangle board  which is big enough for the boat. So, I had to make it by myself.

I made it using a cardboard, aluminium foil, and plastic wrap. I cut the cardboard 28 x 38 cm, cover it with foil, and cover it again with plastic wrap. Final touch, secure the end of the wrap and the side of the board with sticky tape.  Easy and not expensive.

This is the rough sketch for my cake. Too bad I totally forgot to take pictures during the process because i was way too busy and too many distraction from my little baby.

For the boat, I was using with 2 layer cakes. I stacked the cake using mocha butter cream. I cut one side of the cake about 4 cm and put it on the top of the bigger cake for the deck of the boat.  After that, i cut the cake to make the front of the cake and trim every corner to make it less sharp.

The cake, especially the chocolate one was crumbling a lot during the cutting and trimming process. So maybe next time it would be better if i put it in the refrigerator for a while before I start to cut the cake.

After i've finished with all cutting and trimming, i started to cover the cake with mocha butter cream. I put some blue butter cream around the boat, and trying my best to make water effect,  stack the decoration here and there, and Yay!!! My boat is done. Still a bit disappointed and keep asking myself why i didn't use piping bag and wave tip for the wood effect instead of using fork and additional brown coloring agent. It would be nicer. But well, next time better. Not perfect, but i like it.

I managed to add a small island near the boat because i had leftover chocolate cake batter. So i made some cupcake from it. I took one of them, cut the top of the cake, put it on the board, covered it with butter cream and brown sugar, and put a small treasure chest on the top. Hmm... It looks cute. Even my brother in law and my husband start playing with the toys and the treasure chest on the top of this small island. :)

Happy 11th Birthday, my little brother!! I wish you all happiness in your life :)