Thursday, October 31, 2013

Yaaay... After three failed attempts making roll cake, I finally made it. I'm so happy and couldn't stop smiling (and maybe staring on that cake). There are a lot of bakery in Indonesia who sell this roll cake. And because this cake looks pretty and taste great, it is very common to wrap it in a pretty box and use it as a gift in many occasions.

My husband likes roll cake and he asked me to make it. It was like 1 1/2 years ago when he asked me to make it. First attempt : big failed. I didn't use a proper baking tray and didn't beat the egg enough. So, during the baking process, the batter was spreading all around and the edges were burned. Second attempt : still failed. the cake shrinking, didn't rise properly and i failed to roll it. But the taste was better. Third attempt : The cake was cracking when I tried to roll it. But it tasted good, so I decided to eat it in pieces.

Finally few weeks ago I tried to make it again. I really want to make it to celebrate our 8th anniversary. And... yeah. Somehow it was a big success. The cake was pretty, soft, and delicious. I was using my husband's favorite strawberry jam for filling. But basically this cake can use any kind of filling such as buttercream, whip cream, even fruits.

For making this cake, i purposely use additional stabilizer named ovalette. Maybe it is not common in Europe but it is very common in Indonesia (So does in Malaysia and Singapore).  This ingredients can help to stabilize the cake during the baking process and make the texture of the cake softer. This ingredients can be bought in Asian grocery store.

Ingredients :
  • 3 eggs 
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 80 grams white granulated sugar
  • 50 grams all purpose flour
  • 1 tbs corn starch
  • 1 1/2 tbs milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ovalette
  • 65 grams butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling : 
  • 4 tbs strawberry jam
Preparation :
  1. Preheat oven for 170 C (338F) 
  2. Prepare a baking tray (I'm using 26x26x7 cm baking tray) and line it with baking paper. set aside.
  3. In a big bowl, put together eggs, egg yolks, sugar, flour, corn starch, baking powder, milk, and ovalette.
  4. Using a hand mixer, beat them together on high speed until all the ingredients are mixed and the batter become pale, soft, and there's a ribbon tail formed when the mixer is removed from the batter.
  5. Add half of the melted butter and vanilla extract into the batter.
  6. Using a rubber spatula, mix the butter by folding the batter until the melted butter are mixed well.
  7. Add the rest of the melted butter, fold it again until well mixed and no more trace of melted butter on the cake batter. 
  8. Pour the batter into the baking tray and even the surface with spatula. 
  9. Bang the tray on the table few time to remove the bubbles.
  10. Put the tray into the oven and bake it for 20 minutes. 
  11. Remove the tray from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes.
  12. Make sure the edges of the cake are not stick into the tray by carefully releasing  it using a spatula or small knife. 
  13. Place another baking paper on the top of the cake and a board (I'm using cardboard and cut it roughly the same size of the tray).
  14. Hold the board and flip the cake over. 
  15. Carefully remove the baking paper from the cake. Now, you will get a cake on the top of baking paper, and a cardboard.
  16. Spread the filling all over surface of the cake.
  17. Using the baking paper for help, carefully roll the cake. Hold the cake firmly but be careful not to break it. Do not hesitate to press it a little bit. 
  18. Wrap the rolled cake with baking paper and let it sit for about 30-40 minutes.
  19. Carefully remove the baking paper and transfer it to serving plate. with the seam downside. 

The recipe above is just a basic roll cake. But as you can see on the picture, you can make a simple decoration on the cake.  This is how its done :
  1. Before pouring the batter into the baking tray, Take about 1/2 until 3/4 cup of the batter. Put it on separate bowl and color it with any color you want.
  2. Put the colored batter into piping bag or zip lock bag.
  3. Pour the rest of the batter into baking tray, level the surface and bang the tray to remove the bubbles. 
  4. Make a small hole on the tip of the zip lock bag.
  5. Draw a line horizontally on the surface of the batter in the baking tray using the colored batter from the zip lock bag. Repeat the line few times.
  6. With a skewer or tooth pick draw a line vertically on the batter. Repeat this process few times.
  7. Put it into the oven and bake it.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

It's dinner time. I'm hungry and only have less than 30 minutes to cook dinner. I have a lot of leftover steamed rice and it seems fried rice is a perfect choice. Fried rice or nasi goreng  is one of the most famous Indonesian dish and I think it is originally come from China. It is a dish of steamed rice stir-fried usually mixed with other ingredients, such as eggs, vegetables, and meat. It has many variation because basically it can be made using any kind of meat and vegetables with some spices. Even it can be made by using leftover ingredients from other dishes.

Indonesian fried rice usually has red or reddish brown color and use sweet soy sauce, chili pepper, tomato, shallot, and garlic as its spices. We usually call it Javanese fried rice. There is another kind of fried rice that's famous in Indonesia. The other one is white fried rice or most people name it Hongkong fried rice. We call it white because it is made without tomato and sweet soy sauce. I love both of them. My mother often made it for breakfast or dinner. Today actually I prefer to make Javanese fried rice. But too bad I have no tomato and chili pepper left on my kitchen. Well.. it's almost dinner time and I think I can make a simple fried rice using ingredients that i have. Don't get wrong. Even though it is just a simple fried rice, it is delicious and decent enough for dinner. Especially if it's served with fried shallot and szechuan chili. So, let's get started.

Ingredients (about 4 serving) :
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 (about 100 grams) carrot, roughly grated
  • 5 tbs green peas
  • 3 champignon mushroom, roughly chopped
  • 2 knackwurst, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 5 tbs vegetable oil
  • 600 grams room temperature steamed rice 
  • Salt and pepper
Tip : You can always use another kind of meat such as canned pork, smoked chicken, ham, char siu (chinese barbecue pork) or anything else

Preparation :
  1. Preheat the vegetable oil in a big pan 
  2. Add minced onion and minced garlic into the pan and saute them until they become aromatic and translucent. 
  3. Add grated carrot, green peas, and knackwurst and keep stirring.
  4. Add beaten egg into the pan.
  5. Add the steamed rice and stir the rice until all the ingredients are mixed.
  6. Add soy sauce and mix again.
  7. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper. 
Tip : You can use chicken or prawn as well. But add them after sauteing onion and garlic (after step 2) and make sure to cook them well before adding the vegetables and the rice.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Another school vacation. It's still day one and my daughter kept asking me every hour what she can do. Oh God. She got bored so easily and she still had 5 more days at home. She already played with her brother, made a mess everywhere, made some origami, pictures, watched TV, but still. I had to do something otherwise my head will explode. So, I decided to give her another project. I'll teach her how to make a meringue or I call it Schuimpjes. It was my first baking project when I was eleven or twelve. It is easy to make. It was a big success even when I didn't have a proper oven at that time.

I knew it! When I asked her to bake some schuimpjes, she jumped happily and said yes. I asked her to measure the ingredients, mix them and use a pipping bag to make it. She wants mocha schuimpjes. So I'm going to use mocha paste instead of using coffee and chocolate. I think it is easier for her.

Ingredients :
  • 2 Egg whites
  • 100 grams (7/8 cup) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp  vanilla extract
  •  1/4 tsp mocha paste
Preparation :
  1. Preheat oven for 120 C (248 F)
  2. Prepare two baking sheet and line it with baking paper. Set aside.
  3. In a big, clean, glass or ceramic bowl, whisk the egg white until soft peak formed.
  4. Add powdered sugar gradually into the egg white while whisking continuously.
  5. After all the sugar is added into the egg white, keep whisking until the mixture is soft, thick, and glossy. (There's should be a long trailing peak formed when the whisk is lifted from the mixture)
  6. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag (I'm using piping bag with star tip).
  7. Gently squeeze the piping bag to remove the air from the bag until the mixture is visible on the nozzle.
  8. Tightly twist the end of the piping bad to seal.
  9. Pipe the schuimpjes/ meringue mixture into the baking sheet about 2-3 cm wide and 1 cm high.
  10. Bake the schuimpjes/meringue into the preheated oven for about 40 minutes.
  11. Lower the temperature of the oven until 100 C (212 F) and bake for another 30 minutes.
  12. Remove the baking pan from the oven and let it cool for a little bit before removing the schuimpjes/meringue from the baking paper. 
  13. Remove the schuimpjes (it should be easy to peel them from the baking paper). 
  14. After they are cool completely, store them in airtight container. 
Tip : Before whisking the egg whites, make sure that the bowl is clean, free from fat, water, and or egg yolk otherwise your egg whites wont rise up and make soft peak properly. 

Tip: You can always use a spoon to transfer the mixture into the baking paper instead of piping bag. Just spoon the mixture and drop it on the baking paper. Use two spoons if needed.

Tip : Adjust the time of baking depend on the size the schuimpjes/meringue. But the baking time should be at least 1 hour. Because actually this process is to make the meringue dry by evaporating the water from the mixture.

Monday, October 21, 2013

This is an old recipe and one of my dinner menu few weeks ago. There was a very bad weather all day that made me couldn't go outside to do some shopping. I didn't have chicken, neither beef and vegetables. I only had few red pepper chilies and two tomatoes. I only had half block of tempeh and and half block of tofu (Curious about tempeh and tofu? or want to make another dish using tempeh and tofu? Visit my other tempeh-tofu recipe)  and I still needed to cook a dinner for my family.  I found some Indonesian spices on my refrigerator as well such as lime leaves and palm sugar. Well, why not to try to make something out of it? I could use my mom's recipe. She used to make beef or chicken with Balinese spices. How if i replace the chicken and the beef with boiled egg, tofu, and tempeh?

Actually I'm not really sure if it is really from Bali or Balinese recipe but that's what we call it in my hometown.  But still it's great especially with steamed rice and starch crackers (krupuk). It taste great. Slightly sweet spicy aromatic dish. For those who doesn't like spicy food, maybe the color of this dish will turn you off (my daughter for example). But when I ask her to taste it and she was willing to give it a try (with a requirement : one bite only with a spoon of steamed rice and a glass of water on her hand), she said this dish is not spicy just the color that made her afraid. It is delicious indeed.

Ingredients :
  • 6 boiled egg
  • about 300 grams tempeh, cut into big cubes
  • about 300 grams tofu, cut into big cubes 
  • 5 red chili peppers. Remove the seeds
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 tbs palm sugar 
  • 2 lime leaves
  • 1 tbs lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tbs sweet soy sauce
  • 250 ml (1 cup) of water
  • vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
Tip : You can always add 2-3 small chili pepper (cabai rawit) if you want to make it more spicy. 

Tip : If you are using fresh ginger, cut about 2 cm fresh ginger, peel, and blend it together with the shallot and chili peppers. I was using ginger powder because I did not have fresh ginger available on my kitchen at that time.

Preparation :
  1. In a big, preheat about 1-2 cups vegetable oil for frying.
  2. Fry all tempeh and tofu cubes until they start to become golden brown or 3/4 cooked. 
  3. Turn off the heat, remove fried tempeh and tofu from the oil and drain the excess oil. Set them aside.
  4. Using a blender, blend together shallots, chili peppers, garlic, and tomato
  5. Reduce the oil from the pan until about 4-5 tbs oil left.
  6. Turn on the heat.
  7. Put the blended spices into the pan and saute the spices until fragrant, the color become red, and half of the liquid are evaporated
  8. Add palm sugar, lime leaves, lemon juice, sweet soy sauce, and ginger powder into the spices. Stir again.
  9. Add fried tempeh, tofu, and boiled egg into the pan and mix them well with the spices.
  10. Add water. Stir again until all the egg, tempeh, and tofu are covered well with the spices.
  11. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  12. Turn off the heat and transfer it into a bowl. Serve it hot with steamed rice, fresh vegetables, and starch crackers.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My son is growing bigger now and getting curious on everything. He likes to play and make a mess all around. For example, two days ago he managed to get 2 eggs on his hand and broke them all. Yeah!! Thanks to him, now I have two broken eggs. I managed to save the egg yolk but the egg white had to go to the trash can. I don't really want to make an egg yolk omelette. I think I can make some mini egg tarts using those egg yolks. My friends are going to come to visit soon as well and I think it will be a nice treats for them.

The problem is I didn't have time neither too lazy to make the pie crust like the other egg pie. Well, I still have ready to use puff pastry. I think I can use it instead of making pie crust. It is easy to make, simple, and delicious. My daughter love it, my friends like it, and I know my husband will love me more. After baking process, the tart's shape is not too pretty maybe because I didn't make a deep bowl from my pastry. I was too afraid if the tart can't be removed from the tin (The fact, there were 4-5 tarts that can't be removed easily). But it doesn't matter. They're still delicious.

Maybe I wasted 2 egg whites because of my son curiosity but on other side I could create 30 yummy mini egg tarts.

Ingredients (for making 28-30 egg tarts) : 
  • 2 egg yolks + 1 egg
  • 70 grams white granulated sugar
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 10 x 10 cm 30 layer puff pastry (I'm using 6 layer of 20 x 20 cm ready to use puff pastry)
Preparation :
  1. Preheat oven for 190 C (374 F)
  2. Prepare mini muffin tins and grease it with butter. Set aside
  3. In a bowl, mix together egg yolks, egg, milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract using a wire whisk.
  4. Using a strainer, strain the custard batter to remove the egg lump
  5. Arrange the puff pastry in the muffin tin and press it a little bit to make a small bowl on the muffin tin.
  6. Pour egg custard into the puff pastry bowl. 1-2 tsp for each bowl.
  7. Put the muffin tin into the preheated oven and bake them for about 20-25 minutes or until the pastry become golden brown.
  8. Take the muffin tin out from the oven and let the pastry cool for a bit before they can be removed from the tin. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Like as usual, today I really had no idea what I should cook for dinner. It seems it's becoming my habit to think about dinner menu. Everyday, when I woke up, the first thing that come to my mind is what will I cook today. Well.... practically because I have to start defrosting the frozen meat in the morning before use it in the evening. Or buy some ingredients. My mother always said, that's the challenge of being a housewife. For example, this morning, I took out my chicken breast and start to defrosting it but really I totally had no idea what should I do with this thing.

Well.. I found 1/2 bottle of sesame seeds on my kitchen.When was the last time I used this ingredients? I suddenly wanted to make chicken with sesame sauce like the one that I used to eat in a restaurant in Indonesia few years ago. Hmmm maybe not exactly the same but I think I could make a pretty decent dish.

First I need to fry the chicken. I do not want just plain fried chicken. It has to be crispy, spiced, and coated with something to increase the taste and the texture of the chicken itself. So, i spiced them with garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper. On my recipe, I use some white wine. It's totally optional and can be substitute with the same amount of lemon juice. After coating and frying process, make the sauce. Basically just mix all the ingredients together and let it simmer until it's boiled. Thickened it with tapioca starch, mix the chicken and the sauce, and it's ready to serve. It's easy, isn't it? And it is good as well. That's the most important thing. 

Ingredients :
  • 400 boneless chicken breast 
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated or minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbs white wine (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 4 tbs cornstarch
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • sliced spring onion (optional)
Tip : you can always substitute white wine with same amount of lemon juice and ginger powder with grated fresh ginger. Cut about 3 cm fresh ginger, remove the skin and grate it. 
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 3 tbs white granulated sugar
  • 3 tbs mirin (Japanese rice wine vinegar)
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 6-7 tbs water
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds
  • pinch of salt and white pepper
  • mixture of 1 tsp tapioca starch and 2 tbs water
Tip : If you're using raw sesame seeds, it is better if you roast it in a pan without oil before mix them in the sauce. Just to increase the taste. I'm using ready to use roasted sesame seeds that I bought from Asian grocery store.

Preparation :
  1. Cut the chicken into medium-big (about 3 cm or 1 inch) cubes. Transfer the chicken into a bowl.
  2. Add grated garlic, ginger powder, salt, pepper, white wine and soy sauce. 
  3. Mix them together.
  4. Add flour into the mixture and mix again until the chicken is well coated.
  5. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, you can start to make the sauce.
  7. In a pan, preheat about 1-1 1/2 cup vegetables oil for frying.
  8. When the oil is ready, add corn starch into the chicken, and mix it once more.
  9. Put the chicken into preheated oil and fry until they're cooked trough and become golden brown.
  10. Remove the chicken from the oil and drain the excess oil
  11. Transfer the fried chicken into a bowl or a plate, pour the sauce on the chicken, and mix them together until they're well coated.
  12. Serve it with hot steamed rice and garnish with sliced spring onion if you like.
For the sauce :
  1. In a small pot or sauce pan, mix together soy sauce, sugar, mirin, sesame oil, water, ginger powder, grated garlic, salt and pepper. 
  2. Turn on the heat and let the sauce mixture boiled.
  3. When it start to boil (or until the bubbles start to appear), reduce the heat, add sesame seeds, and let it simmer for about 3 minutes.
  4. Stir the mixture and add tapioca starch mixture slowly while keep stirring until the sauce is thickened. (No need to use all the tapioca mixture if it's thick enough)
  5. Turn off the heat and let it cool and thickened for a little bit.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Another edition with butternut squash. :- )

This time I'm going to make butternut squash cheese cake. I still have more than half uncooked butternut squash left. I want to make a sweet dish or a dessert using my butternut squash and it seems that cheese cake is a good idea. I still have some cream cheese left on my refrigerator.

First, I was thinking to make normal cheesecake with squash glaze. But I don't think that was possible. And then, it came to my mind what will happen if i substitute some of the cream cheese with squash puree. Hmm... I googled some of the recipes and most of the recipes are using 1:2 or 1: 1 puree : cream cheese depend on the consistency of the puree. I think I would go with 1:1. But too bad I only had 100 cream cheese and it was heavy raining outside so I couldn't go to buy more cream cheese. So, I decided to make the cheesecake using all the ingredients that I have. My cheesecake will use 2:1 puree : cream cheese. I hope the result will be good

After I take it out from the oven, it turned out not that bad. Even turned out great I think. My daughter, who claimed that she doesn't like squash puree (she tried to taste it before), liked this cheese cake and begged another slice.

Making this cake is not hard. but require a lot of preparation. There are 3 steps for making this cake. First, I need to make the puree. From what i heard, it is available canned pumpkin puree in the US market so you don't have to make the puree by yourself. But I can not find it in Netherlands. Well, I have the fresh butternut squash anyway. Why not make it from scratch. After the squash puree is ready, I need to make the crust for the cheese cake using crackers crumbs and melted butter. After that pour the cheesecake batter and it is ready to bake.

Ingredients :
  • 80 grams crackers
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 100 grams butter, melted.
  • 1/2 (about 450 grams) butternut squash, seeds removed 
  • 100 grams cream cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) white granulated sugar
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbs whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
Preparation :

First, lets make the squash puree :
  1. Preheat oven for 200 C (392 F) 
  2. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  3. Put the squash cut side down. 
  4. Put the sheet into the oven and bake it for about 20-25 minutes
  5. Remove it from the oven and let it cool for a bit. At this step, the skin of the squash should be shrinking and become soft and easy to peel.
  6. Peel the skin with hand or spoon or knife and transfer the flesh into a bowl.
  7. Make a puree out of it using a spoon. Just press it with the back of the spoon until you get the puree with consistency that you want. 
  8. Take about 250 grams for the cheesecake and keep the rest for another purpose.
Tip : You can use food processor or blender for making the puree. You can make the puree days or maybe weeks before. Let it cool in a room temperature, Divide it into small amount put it in a plastic bag or small jar or ice cube container. Freeze it for a long time saving. It's good for baby food as well.

Now, lets make the the crust :
  1. Preheat oven for 180 C (about 350 F) 
  2. Prepare a round cake springform pan (I was using 20 cm or 8" springform pan) , line it with baking paper, and grease it with butter. Set aside.
  3. Put the crackers into a zip lock bag and crush it with rolling pin until they become fine crumbs.
  4. Open the plastic bag, add brown sugar, ground cinnamon, close the bag again and shake it.
  5. Open the plastic bag, add melted butter into the plastic bag, and mix it well with your hand until all the cracker crumbs become wet and mixed with the butter.
  6. Transfer the crumbs mixture into the springform pan.
  7. Press the mixture evenly to the bottom of the pan (You can use your hand or the back of the spoon or spatula or the bottom of ramekin)
  8. Bake it into preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and let it cool.
Meanwhile, lets prepare the cheesecake :
  1. In a bowl, mix together butternut squash puree with eggs, brown sugar, whole milk, and vanilla extract.
  2. In another big bowl, with a hand mixer beat together cream cheese, white granulated sugar, corn starch, salt, ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until creamy and smooth.
  3. Add squash mixture into cream cheese mixture and beat again just until all the ingredients are well mixed.
  4. Pour the batter into the springform pan with baked crust.
  5. Put it into the oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes or until the edge of the cake start become firm and puffed but the center of the cake still a little bit wet and jiggles. 
  6. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely before cut it into slices.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Did I told you that I'm going to make some dishes using butternut squash? Now, using what I have left from my squash, I'm going to make chicken and butternut squash risotto for dinner. I've been wanting to make risotto from scratch and finally today I have a chance to make it.

Risotto is an Italian rice dishes cooked in broth until it has creamy consistency. Properly cooked risotto is rich and creamy with some resistance or bite with separate grains. Italian people will call it al dente.  The rice should be still a bit firm and in a good shape and not broken or too soft like porridge. the texture is depend on the varieties of rice that is used as well. Risotto is usually made using short grain rice. It has high amylopectin but low in amylose. This condition will make the rice become a little bit sticky and soft after it's cooked because this kind of rice has the ability to absorb more water and release starch. It is different from common type of rice from south east Asia. They usually has long grain rice which has low amylopectin and high in amylose. This type of  rice is not as sticky as short grain rice.

This time I'm making chicken and butternut squash risotto. It is not that hard to make. I'm using sushi rice for the risotto instead of pandan or basmati rice because sushi rice has characteristics that are needed for making risotto. For making risotto it is much better if all the ingredients are prepared before. The broth has to be ready and slightly boiled, the chicken and the butternut squash have to be cooked before. Let's get started.

Ingredients :
  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 200 grams butternut squash, cut into cubes
  • 150 grams boneless chicken, cut into cubes  
  • 3 strips bacon, sliced (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 100 grams grated  cheese
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) white wine (optional)
  • 700 -1000 ml (3-4 cups) hot chicken broth 
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Preparation :

First, lets prepare the butternut squash. 
  1. Preheat the oven for 200 C (392 F). 
  2. Line the baking sheet with aluminium foil. 
  3. Spread the squash cubes on the baking sheet, toss some olive oil, and sprinkle some salt and pepper. 
  4. Put the baking sheet into preheated oven, and bake it for about  20-25 minutes.
  5. Once the squash become tender, remove it from the oven and set aside.
Now, lets make the risotto.
  1. In a big pan or heavy duty pot, preheat some (about 3-4 tbs) olive oil. 
  2. Put the chicken and bacon into the pan and saute them until the chicken are cooked.
  3. Remove the chicken and the bacon from the pan and set aside.
  4. On the same pan, heat some butter until melted.
  5. Add minced onion and garlic and saute them until the onion become translucent and the color become slightly brown.
  6. Add sushi rice into the pan. 
  7. Keep stirring the rice continuously until the rice is covered with butter, the edge of the rice is become translucent, but the center of the rice is opaque. At this stage, maybe some of the rice become slightly brown. Be careful not to burn the rice.  
  8. Splash some white wine into the pan. Keep stirring until the wine is evaporated. (This process is optional)
  9. Slowly add 1 ladle of hot chicken broth into the pan and stir.
  10. Add another ladle of chicken broth after the liquid is almost completely absorbed by the rice. Do not rush this step to make the rice become creamy and cooked.
  11. Repeat this process until the rice starts a little bit difficult to absorb water. This process will take about 15-20 minutes depend on the rice. For make sure, just take a spoon and taste the firmness of the rice. At this step when you bite the rice, it should be firm and chewy, not hard and crunchy, but not too soft and easily squashed like porridge.
  12. Add 1 last ladle of chicken broth, cooked chicken and bacon, roasted squash, and grated cheese. Stir again and mix them well. 
  13. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
  14. Serve the risotto immediately 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Last week, there was a squash sale on nearby grocery store. Yeah... It is almost pumpkin season this time. I bought one and brought it home. After that, I was thinking. What could I possibly make out of this squash? I was not even sure that I've ever eat this squash. I think i ate pumpkin soup on a party 2 years ago. The soup was good. Was it made from butternut squash or another pumpkin?  What's the difference between this squash and pumpkin?

Butternut Squash or Dutch people call it flespompoen is one of many type of pumpkin. It is common as winter pumpkin or winter squash. It has sweet and nutty taste which is similar to pumpkin. Its color is yellowish and not as orange as pumpkin (imagine cinderella or halloween pumpkin). But the skin is thin and easy to peel compared with other pumpkin (Imagine peeling a melon). Read this article about types of pumpkin and squash. It turned out that there are many types and varieties of pumpkin and squash in the world.

Butternut squash can be roasted, toasted, pureed for many kind of purposes such as, making soup, cake, bread, casserole, muffins, and many thing else. Well, because my squash is pretty big, I think I can make some dishes using one butternut squash. First, I'm going to cut it into half.

After I cut it into half, I can see that the squash has a thick flesh and few seeds. The color of the flesh is lighter than pumpkin as well. Now, I'm going to make some experiment. I took a half of that squash, cut 1/3 part of it, peel and cut it into small cubes. I want to know how it taste. I'm not going to boil or steam it, but I will roast it with my oven. I made 2 small tray using aluminium foil and divide the squash cubes into them. The squash cubes on first tray will be mixed with soft butter, and the second one will be mixed with olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Put both trays on the baking sheet and bake it in the 200 C oven for about 15-20 minutes. 

 This is the result. The left tray is the first squash (using butter) and the right one is the second squash (using olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper). They taste great. The squash with butter is not as sweet as I expected. I was expecting it would taste sweet like pumpkin but I was wrong. Until now, I never expected that something sweet like pumpkin or squash goes well with garlic. But I was wrong again. Squash that mixed with olive oil and garlic had a very unique taste but it was good. Now I know and can start to imagine what kind of dish that can be made out of butternut squash. There is some peeled squash left and I can't wait to "play" with it. :-)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Appelbol is one of a famous dessert in Netherlands and Belgium. It is made from an apple which is spiced with sugar and cinnamon, and wrapped with puff pastry. It is sweet and delicious. Not to mention it is easy to make. There are some variation of it. Some people will add raisins, the other will add almond paste. I never tried using almond paste yet. But so far, the classic one is good enough for me. I like the taste of apple combined with caramelized brown sugar and cinnamon. Perfect for  this wet season.

Few days ago, I wanted to make this dessert. I never made it before and this will be my first attempt to make it. But I just happened that I had all the ingredients on my kitchen and my daughter wants some afternoon snack. So, why not? Let's get started.

Ingredients :
  • 3 Apples
  • 7 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 3 layers 20 x 20 cm ready to use puff pastry
  • 4 tbs white sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
Preparation : 
  1. Preheat oven for 200 C (392 F)
  2. Line the baking sheet with baking paper. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, mix together brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Set aside. 
  4. Peel the apples and remove the core using an apple corer.
  5. Coat the apple with mixture brown sugar-cinnamon.
  6. Place 3 layers of puff pastry on the prepared baking sheet and make some holes on it using a fork.
  7. Put the apple in the middle of puff pastry.
  8. Fill in the empty core of apple with leftover of brown sugar-cinnamon mixture.
  9. Brush the edge of the pastry with egg wash.
  10. Wrap the apple by pulling the corner of puff pastry into the middle top of the apple one by one. Press the edge of puff pastry to seam it.
  11. Brush the surface of the unbaked appelbol with egg wash and coat or sprinkle it with granulated sugar. 
  12. Put the baking sheet into the oven and bake them for about 20 minutes.