Friday, January 31, 2014

Everybody is sick!!! It seems like there is a flu epidemic in my house. Red noses and red eyes everywhere including mine. But, who could blame them for being sick. The weather is not friendly either. Cold, windy, and wet. It is annoying and not nice.

Well, it was few weeks ago. Now everybody is getting better again even the weather is still cold and not really friendly. During that horrible time, I made roasted chicken soup for my family. Chicken soup is a perfect dish for that time. Many people, including my grandmother said that chicken soup is healthy dish and can be used to treat flu symptoms. Even from what I've read in The New York Times, there was a scientific research that chicken soup contains amino acic cysteine which can help to clear the respiratory system. Chicken soup can also inhibit the movement of neutrophils, the most common white blood cells that defends against infection. Hmm.. whatever it is, chicken soup is good for treating flu people. It is served hot, contains fat, proteins from the chicken itself, and vitamins and minerals from the vegetables. Besides, it tastes good with all those spices inside.

My chicken soup is made from roasted chicken. I was using roasted chicken because it makes the taste even better and make the chicken meat more tender than using boiled non-roasted chicken. Look at my sup merah recipe as well. I always use roasted chicken for my soup. It really makes a big difference at the taste of my soup

First, lets make the roasted chicken (or you can see how to make roasted chicken from my sup merah recipe)
Ingredients :
  • 2 Chicken thighs
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup mixed diced carrots, celery, and onion
  • 1 stick of rosemary
  • 4-5 tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Preparations :
  1. Preheat the oven for 210 C (410 F)
  2. Prepare an ovenproof dish.
  3. Scatter half cup of diced vegetables on the dish.
  4. Put the chicken on the top of it.
  5. Scatter the rest of the vegetables, garlic, and rosemary around the chicken.
  6. Pour some olive oil on the top of the chicken.
  7. Sprinkle generous amount of salt and ground black pepper.
  8. Put the chicken into preheated oven and roast it for about 45 minutes.
After done making the roasted chicken, lest make the soup. 
Ingredients :
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 medium shallot, minced (about 4 Indonesian shallots)
  • 120 grams carrots, diced or sliced
  • 120 grams green beans, sliced about 2 cm each
  • 50 grams frozen peas
  • 150 grams celery, diced
  • 2 roasted chicken thighs
  • 1 bayleave
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 cup (about 28 grams) elbow macaroni
  • 1 leek (white part only), thinly sliced
  • 2 liter water
  • 5 sticks canned sausages (hot dogs), sliced
  • 3 tbs vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
Preparation :
  1. In a big pot preheat the vegetable oil.
  2. Add minced shallot, onion, and garlic into the pot and saute until the onion and shallot become translucent.
  3. Add celery and carrots into the pot and saute again until those vegetables become a bit tender.
  4. Add roasted chicken into the pot
  5. Pour water into the pot until the chicken is submerged.
  6. Add ground nutmeg, ginger powder, bay leave into the pot and stir it lightly.
  7. Reduce the heat and simmer it for about 30-40 minutes.
  8. Remove the foam that appear on the surface.
  9. Remove the chicken from the pot, separate the bones from the meat, and . 
  10. Add sliced sausages, frozen peas, elbow macaroni, and sliced leek into the pot.
  11. Add back the boneless chicken into the pot.
  12. Stir and simmer again for about 10 minutes until the macaroni become tender.
  13. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
  14. Turn off the heat and serve it hot with toasted bread, or hot steamed rice, or with crouton.
Tip : You can always use any other kind of vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, sugar snaps, or baby corn. 

Tip : Fried shallot is a good condiment for chicken soup as well. Sprinkle it on the top of the soup or steamed rice right before serving it. 

It is always possible to freeze the leftover of chicken soup. Put it in an airtight container or thick plastic bag, and put it in a freezer. When you want to eat it again, just let it sit in a room temperature for about 1-2 hour and put the frozen soup into a pot. Turn on the heat and simmer it on low heat until all the liquid is melted. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Long time ago, when I was just a little girl, my aunt often came to my house. She usually brought some unique traditional food with her every time she pays a visit. One time, she brought one bag full of lontong (cylinder compressed rice cake wrapped in banana leaves). Or that was I thought. I didn't really pay attention to it because well, it's only lontong. It's very common in my own city. I was wrong. It was not lontong but she brought arem-arem.

Arem-arem is a steamed rice filled in with spiced meat and wrapped  in banana leaves. It's shaped cylinder likes lontong but it has filling like lemper. That's why sometimes people will get confused between arem-arem and lontong. There are a lot of variation for the filling such as spiced chicken, beef, fish, or it is even possible to add some vegetables. Just use your imagination and create your own filling. Those filling will make the rice taste even better as well. Yum!!

I love arem-arem since the first time I tried it. I always want to make it and eat it again. But too bad, not long time after that my aunt got sick and it was getting difficult for her to pay a visit. It has been years since my last time eating arem-arem. Until few weeks ago. My friend gave me few of her leftover banana leaves. What a happy coincidence because I was thinking the possibility of participating Indonesian Foodblogger Comunity Challenge #14:Olahan Beras (Rice dish). Anyone who want to participate should make any kind of Indonesian rice dish using an organic PureGreen rice. I'm a bit nervous actually trying to compete with other great food blogger. But no harm no foul. Well, while starring at my banana leaves, I was thinking why not trying to make arem-arem for this challenge? I like it, I always want to try to make, I have the ingredients (especially I have banana leaves), and now I have a good reason to make it.

Ingredients :
For filling :
  • 2 medium shallots (or 4 Indonesian shallots)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 candlenuts (kemiri)
  • 1 chili pepper, remove the seeds 
  • 200 grams boneless chicken, cut into big chunk
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 40 grams grated carrot
  • 30 grams green peas
  • salt and pepper 
  • vegetable oil
  • about 500 ml water for boiling the chicken.
For the rice :
Preparation :
Let's make the filling 
  1. In a pot, boil a water together with boneless chicken.
  2. Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken and shred it. Do not throw away the leftover chicken broth. Save about 300 ml chicken broth and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, blend together shallots, garlic, candlenuts, and chili pepper until you get a paste.
  4. In a pan, heat about 3 tbs vegetable oil and saute the spices paste until it become aromatic.
  5. Add shredded chicken into the pan and stir it together with the spices.
  6. Add chicken broth, soy sauce, ginger powder, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir again.
  7. Let it simmer for a while until almost all the liquid are evaporated.
  8. Add grated carrot and green peas and stir. 
  9. Turn off the heat and let it cooled for a bit.
Tip : You can always make the filling one day before making arem-arem. Just let it cool until the hot steam are gone, put it in a airtight container box and keep it in refrigerator. 

Now, let's make arem-arem :
  1. With a strainer, rinse the rice with running water and drain it well.
  2. In a big pot, mix together the rice, coconut milk ,and salt.
  3. Turn on the heat and cook them together 
  4. Stir it once in a while until about half of the liquid are absorbed by the rice.
  5. Turn off the heat and let it cool for a while.
  6. Prepare the steamer and let the water on the steamer boiled.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the banana leaves. Cut it into rectangle (about 15x25 cm) and clean it with damp kitchen towel.
  8. Place about 2-3 tbs cooked rice in the middle of the leaves and press it until flattened. 
  9. Place about 1/2- 1 tbs filling in the middle of the rice. 
  10. Using the leaves, roll and fold the rice to cover the filling carefully. Be careful not to break the leaves.
  11. Roll the leaves to wrap the rice and shape it like a cylinder. 
  12. Close both of the end of the cylinder by tucking and folding it nicely to prevent the rice leaking during the steaming process.
  13. Secure it with staples or with tooth pick or with small wood or bamboo stick.
  14. Repeat this process with the rest of the rice and the filling.
  15. Put all those nicely wrapped rice into the preheated steamer.
  16. Steam it for about 1 hour.
  17. Turn off the heat serve it hot. 

Tip : If you are living in a place where it is difficult to get banana leaves or in a place where banana leaves is quite pricey like in my place, you can always combine banana leaves with baking paper for wrapping the rice. Cut baking paper big enough to wrap and roll the rice. Place smaller banana leaves on the top of the baking paper. Put the rice and the filling on the top of it and start to roll the rice like as usual. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Inspired by Annabel Langbein's recipe on TV, I was trying to remake her lemon fish pie recipe. It is a fish casserole dish made from white fish with lemony white sauce, covered with mashed potato, and baked for about 40 minutes.

First time i saw her cooking this fish pie, this dish immediately went into one of the top of my "must-to-try" list. Few weeks after that, I made that pie. It was delicious. Really really delicious. But I didn't use enough fish so basically it was only like white sauce with baked mash potato. But really. The taste was great. Few months after that, I tried to make another attempt but instead of using mash potato on the top, I used sliced potato and make it looked like a gratin dish. Hmph... Well.... not as good as before and the potato couldn't suck up all the sauce and spices because it was sliced not mashed. Definitely going back to mashed potato for the next attempt.

Well... few weeks ago there was a pangasius fillet sale on grocery store. It seems it's a good time to make this fish pie again. Yeah... At this time I prepared anything faster and smoother than before. I made the mashed potato  and boiled eggs in the morning and cover it with plastic wrap to prevent the surface become dry. It really made my job easier when it's time to prepare the fish, sauce, and assemble everything on my baking dish. It's easy and it's delicious.

Do you want to try to make it? Then, let's get started :-)
First, let's make the mashed potato.

Ingredients : 

  • 700 grams potato, peeled, sliced
  • 20 grams unsalted butter
  • 100 ml milk
  • salt and black pepper
Preparation :
  1. (look at my mashed potato recipe )
Tip: You can make the mashed potato in the morning or hours before preparing the fish. But after your mashed potato is done, put it in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or put it in a airtight plastic container. This will prevent the surface of your mashed potato become dry and not soft anymore by the time you're ready to use it.

Now, let's prepare the fish.

Ingredients :
  • 500-600 grams boneless white fish, cut into 4 cm chunks
  • 4 hard boiled egg, sliced
  • 70 grams butter
  • 7 tbs flour
  • 700-800 ml milk
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 tbs lemon juice
  • pinch of ground cayenne pepper
  • salt and black pepper
Preparation :
  1. Preheat oven for 220 C.
  2. Melt butter in a pan.
  3. When the butter begins to foam, add flour.
  4. Stir it for about 1 minutes until you get a white yellowish roux.
  5. Add milk gradually into the roux to break it up and keep stirring to prevent a lump. 
  6. Add ground nutmeg and cayenne pepper into the sauce, and stir again
  7. Reduce the heat and add lemon juice.
  8. Add salt and black pepper into the sauce for taste.
  9. Stir and let it simmer for another 3 minutes.
  10. Prepare your ramekins or baking dish.
  11. Pour about 1 ladle of white sauce on the bottom of the dish.
  12. Arrange the fish chunks on the top of the sauce in the dish
  13. Pour another ladle on the top of the fish
  14. Arrange the sliced boiled egg and pour the rest of the sauce
  15. Cover it with mashed potato.
  16. Put the dish into preheated oven and bake it for about 30 minutes
Tip : You can always add some chopped parsley, or green peas on your sauce.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

It's January already. It's almost me and my daughter's birthday. Forget mine. But I really need to start to think what birthday treats that I should make for her birthday. Every year she will bring something for her friends at school. Last year I brought her cheese and caramel pop corn. I pack it in a small glasses and give it a nice wrap with paper napkin and ribbon. This year, my daughter wants me to make her cake pops for her friends. Well, actually, i do not really like cake pop. First, it's too sweet for me. Second, it's time consuming because i never use ready to use butter cream or instant cake in a box. Instant cake in a box and ready to use butter cream could be way too sweet. I do not really like the idea mixing them together unless you have a sweet tooth. So, i definitely need extra time to make my own cake and butter cream. Beside, during the process, this cake pop needs a lot of time in the refrigerator to keep it solid and firm. Third, making cake pop is tricky. If the cake-butter cream mixture is too moist or too dry, the cake will crumble and broken easily even with chocolate coating. If I'm using cake pop maker, the cake will be too dry and taste not good. Thinking about this is stressing me already. But I really want to try it. I consider it as a challenge.

I think, just a regular round cake pop is a bit too regular. I want to try another shape. Well... my husband said i should make a regular one considering I failed two times making it before. But I really want to try something new. Besides, I want to use my cute silicon mold that I bought few months ago.

It's so cute. I tried to bake a cake once using it. But i was very disappointed with the result. There was a weird silicone aftertaste on my cake. I tried to cover the aftertaste by coating my cake with chocolate dip but it didn't help much. I never used it again after that and i feel like i wasted my money on this silicone mold.

Until I got this crazy idea. I want to make cake pop but instead of making it round shape, i want to try to press the cake mixture into this silicone mold so i will get this cute mushroom and clover leaves shape cake pop. If i can do it, then I will get a cute mushroom or clover leave cake pops. To realize my idea, I need cake pop dough first.

During my "research" time on Google and Youtube, I found this great idea. New recipe of cake pop. Thanks to MyCupcakeAddiction channel on youtube. You should really check her channel. I love her great cake pop recipe. She uses mixture of melted chocolate and whipping cream instead of butter cream to make cake pop dough. I tried it and the result was awesome. My cake pop was much more firm, not oily, and can hold its shape better and longer than using butter cream. So, this is the recipe :

Ingredients : (for about 30 cake pops)
  • 750 grams chocolate cake
  • 200 grams dark chocolate, chop into small pieces
  • 130 grams whipping cream (She suggests to use with at least 40% fat, but i was only able to find with 35% fat. But the result were still great)
Tip : Check my Chocolate cake recipe. But for this cake pop, i reduce the amount of the sugar and cacao powder. I was using only 175 grams white sugar and 35 grams of cacao powder. I worried if the cake pop will be too sweet and or too bitter because the cake will be mixed with dark chocolate and still need to be dipped and coated with another chocolate melt.

Preparation :
  1. Put chopped dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Pour the whipping cream into the bowl and stir it lightly.
  3. Put it on microwave (640 watt) and microwave it for 30 seconds.
  4. Take it out from microwave, and stir the mixture. Stir and scrap until the bottom of the bowl to prevent scorching.
  5. Put it back into the microwave, microwave it for another 30 seconds, stir, and repeat this process until you get a nice and smooth chocolate mixture. Be careful not to burn your chocolate. Just keep stirring it after each 30 second. 
  6. In another big bowl, crumble the cake until you get a really fine crumbled cake. 

  7. Pour half of the chocolate mixture into the crumbled cake.
  8. Stir it with spatula carefully until all the moisture are absorbed by the cake.
  9. Pour the rest of the chocolate into the cake and stir it again until you get a lumpy cake-chocolate mixture. 
  10. If your cake pop dough is a little bit too wet, put it in a refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  11. Prepare a plate or baking sheet lined with a baking paper. 
  12. Take about 1-1 1/2 tbs dough and start rolling it into a ball shape. Repeat this process until no more dough left.
  13. Put all the ball into refrigerator for few hours or you can keep it overnight.
After you get a firm and nice ball, now it's time to make the cake pop. 
  1. Prepare a rectangle or square styrofoam block to stick your cake pop later.
  2. Melt your chocolate dip in microwave safe bowl (follow the direction on the back of the package of your chocolate.
  3. Dip the tip of the cake pop stick into the melted chocolate and carefully insert the stick into the cake ball.
  4. Put it back into the refrigerator if needed.
  5. Dip the cake pop into melted chocolate (Tip : Do NOT stir or wiggle your cake pop inside the chocolate melt. Just dip and take it out).
  6. Decorate it with sprinkle if you want.
  7. Stick it on the styrofoam block and leave it until the chocolate hardened.
  8. Store it in the refrigerator until serving time. 

That was the original cake pop recipe. But, because I wanted to use my silicone mold, i didn't make cake balls but I filled in my mold with that cake dough,press it firmly, and put it in my refrigerator for few hours before i take the cake out of the mold. The result was like what I thought. I got a very cute little mushroom and clover pressed cake.

My idea was to insert the cake pop stick into my mushroom or clover cake and dip it into chocolate like regular cake pop. Unfortunately, there was an unexpected thing happened during that process. My chocolate melt was too thick. First, I thought that i accidentally burned my chocolate. I remade it. But it's still too thick. My friend who came and helped me tried to melt the chocolate using double boiler (au bain marie) but the result was the same. She tried to add a little bit of whipping cream. It helped to make the chocolate thinner but it kept the chocolate wet and dripping. I tried to dip my cake pop into those thick chocolate dip but the result were not good especially on my clover cake pop. I couldn't see the clover shape anymore!! It feels like i was having a panic attack. I do not have more time to remake or make a new idea.

My friend had an idea. She suggests me not to dip and coat all surface of the cake with chocolate. But just dip it on one side of it and sprinkle some colored sugar on it or any kind of sprinkles that i have. I tried and it worked much better than trying to coat all the surface of the cake with chocolate.

So, this is what I did :
  1. I melted my chocolate carefully with microwave (Carefully microwave chopped chocolate for about 20 seconds, stir, and repeat it until all the chocolate are melted. Reduce the microwave time if needed)
  2. I took one of my shaped cake.
  3. Dip one side of it into the melted chocolate.

  4. Sprinkle some colored decoration on the top of it and let the chocolate dry and hardened 

I didn't use any stick on them at all because it was not easy to dip the cake into the chocolate with a stick on it. Beside, I think they are cute enough already. I will save my cake pop stick for another occasion.That's why I named it no-stick cake pop. I can't name it cake pop because it has no stick. I can't name it truffles either because it does not have round shape. So, no-stick cake pop it is. After I've done with all those no-stick cake pops, I left them overnight and put it in a small plastic bag and tied the bag with a ribbon.
My daughter loves it, her friends love it, and even my husband (who usually hates cake pop) like it.

PS : Few days after that, I found out from internet that I can make my chocolate dip thinner by adding shortener (Crisco, or in Indonesia we name it mentega putih) during the process. Add about 1-2 tbs shortener for each 200 grams candy melts or chocolate melts. But add it gradually (1 tbs at the time) until you get the thickness that you want. I will definitely try it next time on my next cake pop project. :-)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Do you still remember my first post on this blog? I wrote about my first 3D cake for my brother in law's birthday. I made a pirate boat cake at that time using chocolate and vanilla cake. It was a hit and everybody liked it. I usually do not really like chocolate cake but I had to admit that this chocolate cake was great. Not too sweet and it has a bittersweet taste from the chocolate powder itself. No using instant chocolate paste or something like that. This cake goes very well with mocha butter cream or chocolate ganache.

This time i need to make chocolate cake in order to make a cake pop (going to make a post about it later). my daughter wants it  for her birthday treats. So, lets get started :)

Ingredients :

  • 128 grams (1 cup) all purpose flour
  • 200 grams (1 cup) granulated white sugar
  • 48 grams (1/4 + 1/8 cup) cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 120 ml (1/2 ml) milk
  • 95 ml (1/4 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup warm coffee 
Tip : for making warm coffee, dilute 1 tsp instant coffee powder into 1 cup hot water and let it cool for a bit before using it for making the cake.

Preparations :

  1. Preheat oven for 180 C (350 F)
  2. Prepare a pan (I'm using a rectangular 28x18 cm brownie pan) and line it with baking paper.
  3. In a bowl, mix sugar, flour, cacao powder, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add milk, oil, egg, and vanilla extract into those dry ingredients mixture.
  5. With a hand mixer, mix it together with medium speed until all the ingredients are mixed well.
  6. Reduce the speed, and add warm coffee carefully.
  7. Beat the batter again for another 1-2 minutes.
  8. Pour the batter into prepared baking pan and level the surface of the batter.
  9. Put it into preheated oven and bake it for about 30 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean. 
Tip : If you want to make 2 layer cake, double the recipe and divide the batter evenly into 2 pans.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's time for afternoon snack. :-)  My husband and my daughter want to eat apple bread. But too bad I'm too lazy to make a whole loaf of it. It's almost dinner time and I still need to cook. But I think I still can make a mug version. Maybe it is not as good as the original one but i think it's better than nothing. I just need to modify my carrot cake in mug recipe and create a new recipe. Well, 10 minutes preparation, and it's done.

My daughter and my husband like it. So does my baby son. He eat half mug by him self. He's so cute and I'm glad they like it. :-)

Ingredients :
  • 6 tbs all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tbs brown sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 apple, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp chopped walnut
  • 1/2 tsp raisins (optional)
Preparation :
  1. In a bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.
  2. Add all wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix them together

  3. Add grated apple, chopped walnut, and raisins into the batter and mix them again.
  4. Divide and pour the batter into two microwave safe mugs. Your mug should be filled about 1/2 of its height.
  5. Put the mug in the microwave, set the microwave on high, and microwave the batter for 90 seconds.
  6. Take the mug out from the microwave and let it cool for a bit. Dust it with powdered sugar or ground cinnamon if you want.