Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Super Easy Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

This is one recipe too easy not to make, absolutely no additive and preservative! With our kind of hot climate that can melt you without the air-condition turned on, your kiddos will love you for this sweet treat.. ;)

• 4 ripe banana, cut small cubes (don't use the overriped)
• 2-3 tablespoon fresh milk
• 2-3 tablespoon chocolate chips

Makes about 8 scopes of ice creams.

The Making:
1. Freeze the banana chunks overnight or at least 3-4 hours.

2. Blend the frozen banana using a food processor. I used a hand blender so need to add some milk to soften it, otherwise the milk could be optional.

3. Once the banana turns to a creamy texture, add the chocolate chips and blend on high speed for a few seconds. 

4. Freeze the ice cream for at least 2 hours before eating. I added some Hershey's chocolate syrup with rice sprinkles and this really made the duo's day!

Few days later the duo asking for some sweet treat after school, since we had some leftover Choco banana ice cream, I decided to let them have Se ice cream crackers instead and they loved it!

Hope you enjoy this simple but healthilicious snack as much as we did...

Just a note: this ice cream melts kind of fast compare to the normal ice cream, so do serve one scope at a time of little one is a slow eater.. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Kids Friendly Beef & Mushroom Pie

I have a sudden craving for pie, hot piping meat pie like the ones we had in London, paired with a pint of cold ale. Perhaps it's the raining weather, or just the desire to travel.

So I searched for some best pie recipes and decided to stick with Jamie Oliver's  Aussie Humble Pie, I used to watch his cooking show in late night and he's still one of my favorite hosts. 

I made some minor adjustments to the recipe to make it kids friendly -- replacing  ale with non-alcohol malt drink and added some green peas which the kids like. 

The duo absolutely love these pies, they ate 2 slices each and finished everything on the plate, including mushrooms which they usually picked and chucked aside. So I must say this recipe is a keeper!

Hot Beef & Mushroom pie....

The thick gravy is just oh-so-nice!

Ready to bake (before applying egg wash..)

Ta-da.... The pies are served.

I made 2 medium size pies with this recipe, or you may use a larger pan too. It's more than sufficient for 4 persons sharing.

Preparation Time: 45min
Waiting Time: 2-3h
Cooking & Baking Time: 2h
The Ingredients:

For the filling:
• 500gm beef, cut into chunks (Jamie's recipe uses 1kg)
• approx 2 dash of ground pepper
• approx 6 dash of nutmeg powder
• 8 fresh brown mushrooms, sliced 
• 2 whole carrots, cut into small chunks
• 2 palmful of frozen green peas
• 2 clove garlic, diced 
• 2 shallots, diced
• 2 sprigs rosemary (add more dried rosemary if you wish) 
• 250ml Malta drink (replacement for pale ale)
• 1 tablespoon tomato purée 
• 1 tablespoon plain flour

For the dough:
• 600gm plain flour
• 150gm unsalted butter, cut cubes 
• 150gm shredded cheddar cheese (I reduced to 100gm)
• 1L cold water
• 1 egg yolk, beaten
• spray cooking oil / extra butter for brushing 

The Making:

Little E snapped a shot of mommy preparing the pie base.

1.  Heat up 2 table spoons of olive oil, sautée the onion, garlic, and follow by carrots. Add salt and rosemary, cook for about 10 minutes then set aside. 

2. Season the beef with salt, nutmeg powder, pepper and 2 tablespoon of olive oil, mix well. Heat up a pot and cook the beef on high heat until turns brown.

3. Pour malt (or ale if you prefer the authentic taste) into the pot, follow by flour and tomato purée. Add 1L of water and let the liquid boils. Stir occasionally to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.

4. Add the sliced mushrooms, cooked vegetables and green peas. Then close the lid and let it simmers on medium heat for about 1.5 hours or until the gravy is thicken. Let the stew beef cold down completely before using (I transferred it to a pot and keep it in the fridge) 

Preparing the dough - you can make this a day earlier and store it in the freezer compartment (covered in cling film)

5. In a clean mixer bowl, add shredded cheese into the flour, follow by butter cubes. Rub to mix with your hands then gradually add in water. Continue mixing until you get a smooth dough. Cut half, half to be used for dough base and the other for the pie top. 

6. Using a rolling pin, spread out the dough on a clean surface to form a large square, then lay over the baking pan (coat with a layer of cooking oil or melted butter to avoid sticking). Cut off the excess edges (refer to picture above), then wrap the dough base with cling film and let it sits in the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight.

Wrap the excess dough in a cling film to be used for pie top later.

7. Pour the stewed beef into the hardened dough base until full. Spread out the remaining dough with a rolling pin then cover the top completely. Cut off the excess dough at the edges and press the edges with a fork to form a neat lines pattern. Cut 2 or more small holes on the center top of the dough with a knife.

8. Preheat oven to 180°c. Brush the pie top with some egg yolk and bake for 15-20 minutes until it turns golden brown. 

Your kitchen will be filled with nice aroma of the pie once you open the oven door. Let it cool down then dig in and enjoy your piping hot pie... It's really mouth watering and my duo were actually fighting for more. :)

Need More?
You may want to hop over to Jamie's food tube and check out his video guide (click here to watch). This aussie beef pie is so delicious that it's worth the time to prepare it.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Mini Mooncakes for the Little Ones

Little ones loved the piglet mooncakes I bought for them last week, these are the traditional mooncakes that I used to eat when I was little. They certainly bring back beautiful childhood memory, those days when my neighbor kids and I carried our handmade paper lanterns and paraded the street. Nowadays they have battery powered lanterns making funny music. Ewk.

Anyway. I happened to drive pass a bakery supplies store one morning and I decided to take a peek inside the store.. and I saw there are tons of mooncake ingredients and supplies...


We made these mini mooncakes.

With red bean paste filling.

The ingredients. 
I got the duo to assist in making the mini mooncakes. They were so excited to "help up" as usual.

The making was simple, as we used premixed red bean paste for filling. You may substitute with lotus paste or mungbean paste too. Since mooncake festival is coming soon, this is one sweet delicacy that can really wow your guests during the festive season. 

Original recipe is adopted from Christine's Kitchen, you may want to refer to her recipe for traditional mooncakes (it's written in Chinese). She even shared the steps to making your own golden syrup and mooncake fillings so you really ought to visit her site if you are leaving abroad. She is one of the few bloggers who inspired me to bake and cook as she made everything look so easy.

Preparation time: 60 minutes
Banking time: 12 minutes
Serving size: 12 mini mooncakes

A) For the mooncake skin
• 100gm plain flour
• 60gm golden syrup 
• 28gm pure peanut oil
• 1/2 teaspoon alkaline water

B) For the paste
• 300gm red bean / lotus paste (original recipe used 420gm)

C) For egg wash
• 1 egg yolk
• 2 tablespoon egg white

1) Mix
Mix all ingredient A in a mixer / bowl and roll them into a smooth dough using a spatula. Set aside for 40 minutes and covers with a cling form. There's no need for an electric mixer. 

2) Shape
Shape the mooncake mixtures into equal ball of 15gm each, and the lotus / red bean paste to 25gm each (Christine made hers at 35gm). Flatten the mooncake mixture with a rolling pin then then wrap it around the paste. Roll into small balls with your palms. Little ones can handle this step very well.

3) Mold
Using the mooncake mold, press each mooncake firmly but not super strength as you won't want them to crack... My boy sure learnt the hard way as he had to redo a few times before he managed to have smiling Mickey without cracks.

4) Admire
Yeah, just take a moment to admire your hard work.. Ours are kind of uneven, that's the price to pay when letting little ones be involved.

5) Bake
Preheat oven to 180°c, place the mooncakes onto a baking tray (with a layer of baking sheet or sprinkles with some flour to avoid sticking), bake them for 10 minutes; remove from oven, apply the egg wash (ingredient C) with a soft brush, then continue baking for another 2-3 minutes until golden brown. 

6) Wait
The mooncakes are done! However, you should let the mooncakes rest for 2-3 days before eating and you will notice the surface turns to a smooth golden layer.

Or you may be like us, just eat them right away.. LOL. I told you my little ones and I love traditional mooncakes, didn't I? 

Enjoy... Next I may challenge some cute piglet mooncakes. That looks too cute to resist.

All 6 steps in one picture collage for your easy reference. Feel free to share the picture of your mooncakes! ;)