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.