Saturday, June 27, 2015

Did I already tell you how much I love prawns? Prawns and shrimps are one of my favorite ingredients in cooking. They taste great and can make the taste of most of the food better. For example, I love to add a little bit minced prawn when I make fried rice, or spring roll, or any kind of dumplings.  Sometimes, I puree it together with wheat flour and spices to make a prawn batter, fry it, and add it in my soup. I really love it.

This time, I still have about 1/2 kg frozen tiger prawn in my freezer and I would love to make a nice dish out of it for our dinner. I will make a garlic butter prawns. This is one of the best prawns dish I've ever eat.

It is very easy to make. But, talking about prawn (and shrimps), is all about preparation. Peeling their skin is not really a fun thing to do especially if I have to peel skins of huge amount of  prawns. Removing their back is easier but still need quite a long time. I only need to make a shallow cut on the back of the prawn and remove the black vein. I've shown you how to devein a prawn without make a cut on it when I made ebi furai long time ago. It's more complicated and need much more patience. But thanks God, I don't need to do that for this recipe. I don't even need to peel their skin because I cheated!  Ho ho ho... I bought frozen peeled-deveined prawns. It really help to reduce the preparation times. I just need to thaw the prawns. Don't use a microwave to thaw a prawn or the prawn will be ruined. Just leave it in the room temperature for about 30-60 minutes. It's the best way to thaw a frozen prawn. Once they're thawed, remove the excess water, dry them well with kitchen towel, and the prawns are ready to be cooked.

Ingredients :
  • 500 grams tiger prawn, peeled (Tip : you can always leave the tail on.), and deveined
  • 50 grams (about 1/2 cup) white flour
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil
  • 15 grams (1 tbs) butter
  • 30 grams  (2 tbs) butter
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 medium chili pepper, remove the seeds and the stem and slice it thinly
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • pinch of freshly chopped parsley

Preparation : 
  1. First dust the prawns with flour lightly.
  2. Heat some olive oil in a skillet. 
  3. Once the oil is hot, place the dusted prawns in an even layer on the skillet and cook it until they turn pink. Flip them over one by one and cook the other side until they become pink. The total process will take about 1 minute. 
  4. Take the prawns off the skillet and set it aside on a plate.
  5. Repeat until all the prawns are cooked. 
  6. Prepare another bigger pan. (Tip : I'm using a wok pan because my skillet is quite small. If your skillet is big enough to make a stir fry, remove the leftover oil and clean the surface with kitchen towel if needed and you can use it again for the next step. Be careful it's hot)
  7. Heat the pan and melt 1 tbs butter. 
  8. Once the butter is melted, stir in minced garlic and sliced chili pepper for about 1 minute or until they start to become tender and smell good.
  9. Add precooked prawns and cook and stir them together for about 1-2 minutes until all the prawns are mixed well with all the garlic and chili pepper. 
  10. Season it with salt and ground black pepper
  11. Add 2 tbs butter into the pan and stir it just until the butter is melted. 
  12. Turn off the heat and add some chopped parsley.
  13. Serve immediately. (Tip : Serve it with hot steamed rice)

Friday, June 5, 2015

This is actually a very late post. I made this cake for my son's third birthday 3 months ago.

The story began when I made a plan to make a small party to celebrate my son's 3rd birthday party. This is the first time I and my husband were going to invite some friends to come over for this party. Because this kind of event had to be prepared, I started to make a design for his birthday cake about 1 month before. My son is crazy in love with alphabet. He loves to sing ABC song and play with any kind of alphabet toys. So, I planned to make an ABC train birthday cake.

I've come up with a lot of ideas but it seemed none of them were good and easy enough to make. I just didn't get the feeling for it. I knew if I didn't get the feeling then the cake won't be good enough and I won't be satisfied with it. Of course I wanted to make a good impression.

Seeing me struggling with it for weeks while the clock is ticking, my husband suggested me to check another theme for the cake. He thought that farm cake with a lot of animal on it would be great and cute enough for my son. He would still love it even though it is not an alphabet. Beside, I won't need a lot of  carving and because I still had a lot of other things to prepare for the party.

He's right. So, farm cake it is.

1 week before the party, I started to make the animal fondant toppers for the cake. I had a lot of fun making some ducks, chicken, some cute little piggies, a cow, a horse (only its head actually), and a lot of carrots and corns. You can see how messy it was. ^^

I also made a barn, a sign board, a cart, and a lot of hay.

This time I was not using vanilla, or chocolate or red velvet any kind of common cake that I usually used. For this farm cake, I was using lapis Surabaya or Surabaya layered cake. Lapis Surabaya is a classic Indonesian sponge cake. It is very popular and common to be used as a basis cake for any kind of birthday cake in Indonesia.  I have no idea why it's named after capital city of East Java, which is Surabaya. Maybe it was made for the first time in Surabaya. 

This cake is made from 3 layers of 2 layers of vanilla sponge cake and 1 layer of chocolate sponge cake and glued together with strawberry jam in between. Sponge cake? Before you ask, I can tell you that this is not like regular sponge cake. This kind of sponge cake has a very rich taste because the original recipe requires about 10-15 egg yolk for each layer.

I didn't want to use too much egg for my cake. So, I made the cake based on Wu Lan's Kitchen recipe with a little bit adjustment. Because my cake pan is bigger than the original recipe, the result of my cake was thinner than it should be. So, I added 1 more layer of sponge cake to make the cake higher. Forgive me because I totally forgot to take a picture of my lapis surabaya. I made it late at night in the middle of chaotic preparation for the party. 

Ingredients : 

For  vanilla layer 
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • 70 gr white granulated sugar
  • 40 gr all purpose flour
  • 15 gr corn starch
  • 1 1/2 tbs milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 65 gr butter melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ovallete
(make it double for the second layer)

For the chocolate layer
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • 80 gr white granulated sugar
  • 30 gr all purpose flour
  • 15 gr corn starch
  • 10 gr cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 1/2 tbs milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 65 gr butter melted
  • 1 tsp ovallete
(make it double for the second layer)

Preparation : (for each layer)
  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 beat together eggs, egg yolk, sugar, and ovallete with hand mixer until thickened.
  4. In another bowl, mix together flour, corn starch, and baking powder ( add cocoa powder and instant coffee powder) and sift all those dry ingredient mixture
  5. Add sifted dry ingredients and milk into egg mixture and beat them again on high speed until the batter become pale, soft, and there's a ribbon tail formed when the mixer is removed from the batter.
  6. Add half of the melted butter and vanilla extract into the batter.
  7. Using a rubber spatula, mix the butter by folding the batter until the melted butter are mixed well.
  8. Add the rest of the melted butter, fold it again until well mixed and no more trace of melted butter on the cake batter. 
  9. Pour the batter into the baking tray and even the surface with spatula. 
  10. Bang the tray on the table few time to remove the bubbles.
  11. Put the tray into the oven and bake it for about  20 minutes. 
  12. Remove the tray from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes. 
  13. Repeat all the process for all the layers
  14. Once all the cake are ready, stack all the layer together with using strawberry jam between each layer as a glue. (Tip : you can always use buttercream instead of strawberry jam)
Once my cake is done, I covered them with pandan flavored buttercream frosting. Well, it is just an regular vanilla buttercream with some pandan paste and green food coloring. Now, here comes the fun part. It's time to put all those little tiny creatures on the top of the cake.

First, I place the barn on the top of the cake. After that, I made a small pond for the ducks using blue buttercream, and some fondant.

And I made a muddy puddle for the piggies using mixture of vanilla buttercream, cocoa powder, and nutella. The taste was quite good actually. 

I place the cow and some hay, carrots, and corns around the barn and the cake started to look good. 

Look! There's a chicken on the top of the barn. My daughter said it's kind of weird because it supposed to be a bird nest. But I think a chicken and its nest can do just well. ^^

And there's a cart with hay as well.

I made this board using fondant as well, wrote my son's name using melted chocolate, and stick it into buttercream covered cup cake. The story was I needed a place to stick the board but it seemed that I couldn't find a perfect spot for it. Lucky me, I just happened to have one left store bought cup cake on my fridge. I decided to cut the top, turn it upside down, trim the edge, and covered it with green buttercream. Now, I had a good place to stick the board.

After that, the finishing touch was easy. I made a fence from pretzels stick glued with chocolate and stick them to the edge of the cake. I threw some fondant flowers, grass, and stones and it's done. I LOVE it and satisfied with the results. When i heard my son started to sing "E-I-E-I-Ooooo.." when he saw the cake, I knew he loved it as well.

Now, the cake is ready to be cut ^^ Happy third birthday, my lovely son.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Still for my daughter's birthday edition. (I know this is a very late post because her birthday was in January)

Like as usual, every birthday, she would bring some treats for her classmates at school. If last year I made her no stick cake pops, this time I wanted to make  her a decorated sugar cookies. My first plan for the cookies was just a very simple round cookies with royal icing on top. When I was trying to find my round cookie cutter, I found my alphabet cutter. It has been sitting untouched for a month inside my storage box since I bought it on sale last December. Then it has been decided to cut my cookies into alphabet shapes instead.

I made the cookie dough about a week before her birthday, divided it into 3 big part, froze them separately, baked them about 3 days before the big day, and glazed them with royal icing on the next day. It was a lot of work. Maybe because of the size of the cookies or maybe because I'm not used to do it, I needed a lot of time to glaze all of them. I need more than 2 hour to glaze only 1/3 from total cookies that I made. I promised myself I will learn how to glaze faster next time. But really. It was fun and the result were cute. I really like it.

After done with glazing, I divide them and put them into a paper cup that has been cut and modified into a gift box. I found on the internet nice tutorial how to make a gift box out of a paper cup. It's easy to make and cute. Check it from this website. It's perfect to pack small treats such as pop corn, macaroons, and sugar cookies.

Just fill the cup with the treats (in my case I fill the cup with my alphabet sugar cookies), and fold the cup to close it up (open the link above). Because I was using a plain white paper cup, I decorated it with washi tape and a print out label like this. 

This is the recipe for the cookies. It is a different recipe from my own sugar cookies recipe. I was using sugar cookies recipe from Katarina's kitchen. I need sugar cookies with medium-soft, chewy texture and this is one of good recipe I've tried so far.

Ingredients :

  • 227 grams (1 cup) butter, room temperature
  • 200 grams (1 cup) white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 384 grams (3 cups) all purpose flour

Preparation :

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) 
  2. Prepare a baking sheet and line it with baking paper. Set aside
  3. In a big bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth
  4. Beat in extracts and egg
  5. In a separate bowl, combine baking powder with flour and add a little at a time to the wet ingredients. At this point, the dough will be very stiff. 
  6. Turn the dough onto a countertop surface which has been dusted with flour and knead the dough by hand.
  7. Divide the dough into 3 batches 
  8. Take 1 batch and wrap the rest with plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator. 
  9. Roll out the dough onto floured surface (make it about 5 mm thick) and cut it into desired shape.
  10. Place the unbaked cookies on the prepared baking sheet and bake them for 7-9 minutes.
  11. Once it's done, let them cool until they are firm enough to be transferred to a cooling rack.
  12. Store the cookies in the airtight container.

For the glazing, I was using instant royal icing. I only need to add some water on it and it is ready to use. Sometimes, glazed cookies could get soggy after a while. It is because the moisture from the glazing has been absorbed by the cookies. It happens a lot especially if you live in place with high humidity. To prevent my cookies become soggy after glazing, after the surface of the royal icing is dry, I usually "bake" them once more. But this time I only set my oven to 50 C and put my glazed cookies into the oven for about 5-7 minutes. I won't put them too long into the oven because I worry the color of the glazing will become brownish because of the caramelization of the sugar from the icing.

Well, end of story, my daughter's friends like the cookies. They even thought the cookies are cute and unique. When my daughter told that to me, all I can say was my hard work has been paid very well :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"Let it go... Let it go.... Turn away and slam the door." I bet most of you already know what song that is. Yeap!! That is Let it go from Disney Frozen movie. My daughter was crazy in love with that movie and the songs. And now she wants a Frozen cake for her 9th birthday. Hmm.... another project for me.

First, I was thinking to make Elsa cake using an Elsa's barbie doll. The concept is like making a usual barbie cake, but this time just change the barbie doll, with Elsa's doll. After days of thinking and googling, I found a problem. I could not find an Elsa's barbie doll. Anywhere. I had to buy it online but the price was not cheap as well. It's not that I could not afford it, but it's not that worth it. That's why, I decided to change the whole idea by making a cake using  Disney Frozen movie character figurines. I had to buy it online as well (I found it on ebay), but the price is much more affordable.

After days searching on the internet, I wanted to make a tier cake with stairs and I will decorate the cake with the Frozen figurines. The whole cake will be made by using combination of vanilla and chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream to cover the whole cake. I wanted to make it looks like a snow mountain. Don't ask why the mountain has stairs on it. Just let it be. ^^

About 5 days before my daughter's birthday, I found on the internet, a picture of Frozen cake decorated with blue hard candy. It looks gorgeous. It seems the hard candy is not that hard to make and I think it is a good idea to decorate my cake. I only need white granulated sugar, light corn syrup, water, and royal blue coloring agent. The problem is, light corn syrup is not  easy to find in here. To be exact, I can not find it anywhere. Well, based on my memory from what I've learned in University, in making hard candy, light corn syrup is needed to help make the hard candy more clear and transparent. Basically it will make the candy is clear like glass and not opaque. But it is optional. Because of that, I decided not to make blue hard candy without light corn syrup. I couldn't find it anyway.

It worked (after 3rd attempt) . I got a clear thin blue hard candy. After it's done and cool completely, I store it inside a zip lock bag. 4 days after, when I started to decorate the cake, I kind of regret that I made the candy too early. I do not know why but the candy is not clear anymore. They become opaque. It seems that the sugar are crystallized. I didn't have time to make a new one, so I keep decorating the cake with that opaque candy. Sad, indeed but it worked just fine.

Since the beginning, I wanted to learn how to make a spiral stairs cake. I was so eager and curious to make it until I did not really pay attention to the detail of the overall cake. It was until last minute when I decided to  cover an ice cream cone with white chocolate melted to make snowy trees and trying to stick some blue hard candy to the tower using white chocolate. And my first plan to dust the cake with powdered sugar as the finishing touch to make the snow a little bit more real was totally forgotten until my daughter blew the candles and cut the cake.

 I have to admit this cake was not my best especially with the details but not really that bad either. Now I know hot to make a spiral stair cake and  I can still see the frozen movie over there complete with Sven, Kristoff, Olav, Anna, and Elsa. I'm really sorry for prince Hans. I have no place for you over there. You had to stay in Arendelle anyway.

Well, now, let me share some pictures of this cake.

When I made this cake, I still had two nice big sliced of vanilla cake and a lot of buttercream frosting. I decided to make some small cake using those leftover cake, cover it with frosting and fondant, wrapped them nicely with transparent plastic and ribbon. It would be a nice going to home gift for my daughter's friends after party.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Maybe some of you is asking what is Gudeg? Or absolutely have no idea or never even heard about Gudeg. Well, let me tell you. Gudeg is one of traditional Indonesian food. Maybe it is not as famous as Beef Rendang or Nasi Goreng, but I guarantee you that Gudeg is as delicious as both of them.

Gudeg is Javanese cuisine from Central Java and is made from young or unripe jack fruits boiled together with palm sugar, coconut milk, many of spices, and teak leaves (to make its color become brown). Basially, it is a stew unripe jack fruits. Because the jack fruit is cooked together with a lot of palm sugar, Gudeg is not spicy at all. It tastes sweet and rich. But wait for it. Before you ask where you can get the spicy taste from this cuisine, I will tell you that Gudeg is usually served together with hot steam rice, Opor ayam (chicken boiled in coconut milk), hard boiled egg, fried tofu and tempeh, and sambal goreng krecek (cattle skin spicy stew). See, there is a sambal on it. Gudeg itself is really delicious. But try to eat Gudeg komplit (complete served Gudeg with the opor, fried tofu and tempeh, sambal krecek, boiled egg, and hot steamed rice). It's heaven!! (God. I'm drooling right now)

I really love Gudeg. I could eat a lot of it only with hot steamed rice and krupuk (starch crackers). But too bad, when I was In Indonesia, there were not many places that sell Gudeg. It was not really common in East Java. Even if there were, it was not really cheap and sometime, it was too spicy. I prefer a sweet style Gudeg. (East Java cuisine is more spicy than Central Java cuisine meanwhile, Central Java cuisine is sweeter than East Java cuisine). Years later, I accidentally found a Gudeg recipe from internet. It surprisingly easy to make. And what made me more surprised, that I found out that I could use tea leaves instead of teak leaves. Of course tea leaves is much more easy to get instead of teak leaves. I never even saw the teak trees.

Some people doubt me because I was going to make Gudeg with canned unripe jackfruit (not fresh jack fruit), tea leaves, and canned coconut milk. They said the result would not as good as if I were using fresh ingredients like in Indonesia. But hey! Show must go on. I gave it a try, and I really really satisfied with the result. It was sweet, and rich like I the Gudeg that I wanted. No one will never ever realized if I was using canned ingredients and tea bag instead of teak leaves.

Canned Unripe Jackfruit
The down side for making this cuisine is I needed more than 4 hours to cook it into perfection. Well, it's ok. I can make it once or two times a year is enough for me. I just have to double the recipe and I can enjoy Gudeg for at least 3 days.

Ingredients :
  • 3 cans (about 500 grams net for each can) unripe jack fruit, drain the water. 
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 english tea bags or black tea bags
  • 5 bayleaves
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 120 grams palm sugar, cut into small pieces
  • 1 can (450 ml) coconut milk
  • 4 medium shallots (or about 10 Indonesian shallots)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 10 candlenuts
  • 1 1/2 tbs ground coriander seeds
  • 1 inch fresh galangal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • water
Preparation :
  1. First, boil the eggs until you get a nice hard boiled eggs. Once the egg is cooked, drain the water and rinse them with a cold water and peel the skin.
  2. Blend or ground together shallots, garlic, candlenuts, coriander, fresh galangal, and salt until you get a paste form.
  3. Put all the unripe jackfruit and tea bags into a big pot. Add some water until almost all of the jackfruit are covered and let it boil. 
  4. Once the water is boiled, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add hard boiled egg, tamarind paste, palm sugar, and spices paste into the pot. 
  6. Turn back the heat to medium and let it cook for about 1 hours.
  7. Add bayleaves and coconut milk into the pot.
  8. Reduce the heat into medium-low, cover the pot (don't forget to leave a small gap between the pot and the lid), and cook it for another 3-4 hours or until most of the liquid are gone and the spices and sugar are being absorbed by the jackfruits.