Monday, December 30, 2013

Two weeks ago, my daughter had Christmas dinner at her school to celebrate Christmas. I and my daughter love this event. My daughter always excited for this dinner because she's able to use a nice and pretty dress to school, has dinner together with her friends in a cozy and warm atmosphere. I like it as well because I had a chance to see her school with different atmosphere. There were a lot of Christmas decoration and most of them were made by the children. It was lovely seeing Christmas song and decoration everywhere, girls with fancy dress, boys with shirts and ties, and the smell of delicious dishes.  

It was a pot luck dinner. Every parents may bring one type dish to school for the children and the teachers. The dish could be a dessert, beverages, bread, salad, or any kind of finger food. Like as usual, my daughter always wants me to bring mini spring roll for Christmas dinner. She love it and she said everybody like it as well. It is prawn spring roll actually. Not vegetable spring roll. Well, it is as delicious as vegetable spring roll and very simple to make. Mayonnaise or sweet chili sauce is a perfect companion for this dish. Anybody wants to try? 

Ingredients :
  • about 40 ready to use mini spring roll pastry skins, thawed
  • 200 grams tiger prawn, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 2 garlic, minced
  • 5 scallions, chopped
  • 3 tbs white flour
  • 6 tbs corn starch
  • 2 tbs tapioca starch
  • 1/8 tsp ginger powder or 2 cm fresh ginger root, grated
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 5-6 tbs water
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable oil for frying
Preparation :

  1. In a bowl, mix together minced prawn, minced onion, garlic, chopped scallions, flour, corn starch, tapioca starch, ginger powder, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper.
  2. Add water into the mixture and mix them together. Sometimes, the mixture could be too thick and not easy to be spooned. Add more water (1-2 tbs at the time) if needed to reduce the thickness of the mixture.
  3. Lay a spring roll skin on the work top. 
  4. Place about 1 tsp of mixture on the corner of  the skin. Make it into a long shape and fold over. 
  5. Fold the left and right corner into the center. 
  6. Roll the rest of the skin and seam the end with a little bit of water. ( Tip : see the pictures how to wrap and roll spring roll from my spring rolls recipe )
  7. Preheat vegetable oil in a frying pan (about 175 C or 350 F).
  8. Deep fry the spring rolls until they start to become golden brown.
  9. Remove the spring roll from the oil and drain them well.
  10. Remove the excess oil using a kitchen towel.
  11. Serve them hot with chili sauce or mayonnaise.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Royal icing is a hard white icing made from softly beaten egg whites, icing sugar (or confectioners sugar), and sometimes lime or lemon juice. Royal icing is very common to be used as cookies or cake decorations. It can be colored as well in order to make the cake or cookies more attractive and pretty. Look what I've made for my Christmas treats. Sugar cookies with icing. Aren't they cute, are they? My kids love them.

The basic and traditional ingredients for royal icing is egg whites. Just beat the egg whites together with lemon juice, and add confectioners sugar gradually while mixing until they form a soft, white, glossy peak mixture. This process will take a while but just take the time and do not rush in order to get a soft and glossy peak icing. If it's under mixed, the icing will become too runny and watery.

This is my basic royal icing before I divide them into 4 parts and give different color for each of them.

After i gave different color for each part, i put them into plastic bag and now i ready to use it to decorate my sugar cookies

Royal icing can be used  to decorate a cake as well. Just make it separately on baking paper, and let it hardened before putting it on the top of the cake or cupcake.

I've tried to make this kind of decoration for my carrot cupcake before.  I made carrot royal icing separately, let it dry, and store it in the airtight container. when the cake is ready to eat or serve, I put the royal icing on the top of the butter cream frosting. I like this decoration. But the downside of this decoration is the royal icing will get wet easily because of moisture from the frosting. That's why it has to be place on the top of the frosting right before serving time otherwise the icing will melted and looks bad on the top of the cup cake.

Another downside of this traditional royal icing is the health issue. Royal icing is usually made from raw egg white. There is a very small chance of Salmonella poisoning from the raw egg white. A person who is infected with Salmonella bacterium usually has fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea  after consuming contaminated food or beverages. Person with low immune system such as elderly, infants, and pregnant woman has highest chance to get infected. Because of this issue nowadays, most of the baker use meringue powder or pasteurized egg to make royal icing. But this product is not always easy to find in grocery store. So, just use a good quality eggs and do not store unused royal icing too long.

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. 
  6. Leave it until hardened 
Tip :  You can put royal icing into preheated oven (50 C) for 15-20 minutes to speed up the hardening process.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Winter is coming. It's getting colder and colder. Like as usual, I can start to see a lot of winter sweets vendor everywhere. They sell oliebollen (doughnut balls), appelbeignets (fried apples), and so many things including appelflapen (apple turnovers). I love appelflap. It is a triangle pastry dish which is filled with apple cubes mixed with cinnamon and brown sugar. In America, it is common as apple turnover but in here, we call it appelflap.

In the past, I used to buy it every winter. But after i got my own oven, I learned how to make it and it turned out so easy to make. I only need ready to use puff pastry, some apples, ground cinnamon, brown and white sugar, raisins, and eggs. Just mix the apples, with raisins, ground cinnamon and brown sugar and use it as a filling for the pastry. Seam the edges, brush with egg wash, and bake.

Appelflap is perfect for afternoon snack or treats. I made this for my daughter's friend as well when she came to play few days ago. They love it and even said that mine was better than the one from the vendor. Interested to  make it?

Ingredients (for 8 appelflapen) :
  • 1 1/2 - 2 Apples, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 60 grams granulated brown sugar
  • 3-4 tbs golden raisins
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 8 layers ready to use puff pastry (size 20x20 cm)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • about 5 tbs white granulated sugar
Preparation :
  1. Preheat oven for 200 C (392 F)
  2. Prepare a baking sheet and line it with baking paper. Set aside.
  3. Thaw the puff pastries. If you are using a big size ready to use puff pastry, cut it into small square (about 20x20 cm).
  4. Using a fork, make some holes on the puff pastry.
  5. In a bowl, mix together apple cubes, ground cinnamon, raisins, and brown sugar.
  6. Spoon about 1 tbs apple mixture and put it in the middle of each puff pastries.
  7. Brush the edge of pastry with egg wash and fold it into triangle.
  8. Seam the edges together with a fork.
  9. Brush the top surfaces with egg wash and sprinkle about 1 tsp granulated white sugar on the top of each appelflap
  10. Line the unbaked appelflapen on the baking sheet and bake them for about 20 minutes or until they become golden brown.
  11. Remove it  from the oven and serve it warm.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Do you still remember my craziness buying a lot of fresh pasta on sale? I've made perline pasta with creamy lemon chicken mushroom sauce before. I've made spinach lasagna and ravioli soup as well. This time I make another ravioli dish. I'm going to try to make a ravioli with cheese sauce.

I'm using tomato ravioli filled in with cheese and basil. It has orange color because it use tomato juice for its skin as a coloring agent. I think it's pretty, isn't it? I usually make a spinach, tomato and bacon sauce for my ravioli but I think something different won't hurt. Besides, It is very simple, fast, and easy to make. The ingredients are not hard to find as well. And of course you can use another type of pasta but I just want to try it with tomato ravioli that i have now. :-)

Ingredients :
  • 1 pack (250 grams) fresh tomato ravioli
  • 3 tbs (45 grams) unsalted butter 
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • 1- 1 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and black pepper
  • fresh parsley

Preparation :
  1. Bring water to a boil in a big pot.
  2. Once it's boiled throw a pinch of salt and ravioli into the pot.
  3. Boil the pasta and pay attention to the cooking direction on the package.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in the sauce pan.
  5. Once it's melted, add the flour and keep stirring on a low heat for about 1 minute
  6. Add milk gradually into the sauce pan and keep stirring until the sauce is smooth.
  7. Add grated cheese and keep stirring until all the cheese is melted. If the sauce is too thick, add more milk.
  8. Adjust the taste with salt and ground black pepper.
  9. Drain the ravioli and serve it on a place. 
  10. Pour the cheese sauce on the top of ravioli and sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sinterklaasje kom maar binnen met je knecht. Want we zitten allemaal even recht. Misschien heeft U nog even tijd voordat U weer naar Spanje rijdt. 

It is one of the most popular children song in Netherlands. When December comes, basically I can hear many songs like this everywhere. Yes!! We celebrate St. Nicholas day on December 5th every year. Or it is more popular as Sinterklaas day. It is a pretty big occasion in Netherlands. Sinterklaas is pictured as an elderly man with white and long hair and beard who wears a red cloak, red cape and brings a bishop's staff. He comes from Spain with his assistants, zwarte piet (black pete), and he will carry a big bag full of candy and toys for nice children. Don't ask how that tradition began. Too many story and history behind this tradition.
Source :

Along with this celebration, there are a lot of traditional Dutch sweets and treats that can be enjoyed for this celebration. There are chocolate letters, kruidnoten (taste like gingerbread cookies but it has small round shape), pepernoten, taaitaai, and amandelstaaf.  I like amandelstaaf. It is a pastry dish filled with almondpaste and shaped like a sinterklaas' staff. Most of the store sell it for sinterklaas celebration and they are quite cheap. But this year I want to try to make it by myself instead of buy it from grocery store because it seems easy to make. So why don't I give it a try.

It turned out not bad at all. But it seems i need to seam it better because after baking, the almond paste a little bit melt out from the pastry. But it doesn't matter. The taste is still good and I'm still satisfied with the result. 

Ingredients :
  • 3 layers ready to use puff pastry (20x20 cm)
  • 250 grams almondpaste
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbs powdered sugar
  • a little bit of flour
Tip : you can adjust the amount of powdered sugar depend on the sweetness and the stickiness of your almond paste.

Preparation :
  1. Preheat oven for 200 C (392 F)
  2. Prepare a baking sheet and line it with a baking paper. Set aside.
  3. Beat 1 egg in a small bowl for egg wash. Set aside.
  4. In a bowl, mix together almond paste, powdered sugar, and 1 egg until they are well combined. Set aside.
  5. Dust the worktop with a little bit of flour, stack 3 layers of puff pastry, and dust the pastry with more flour. 
  6. Roll them together until the pastry become wide and thin (approximately 45x20 cm) 
  7. Transfer the puff pastry on the baking sheet. 
  8. Place the almond paste mixture lengthwise on the top of the pastry. Place it on the right side.
  9. Brush the edge of the pastry with egg wash.
  10. Fold in the short end to the middle and fold in the rest of the pastry to cover the almond mixture and seam the edge. Make sure that the seam is on the bottom.
  11. Bend it carefully so you will get a staff shaped pastry.
  12. Brush the top with egg wash. 
  13. Place it into preheated oven and bake it for about 25 minutes or until the pastry become golden brown.
  14. Remove it from the oven and let it cool before cut it into pieces.