29 June 2011

Miso Black Cod + Bacon Potatoes

Tonight's dinner began last night.

What do I mean?
It's one of those dishes that requires advance planning - marination needs to take place overnight.  Not one of those dishes you can make on the spur of the moment.  Well, actually, you could; it just wouldn't taste as good.

This dish was inspired by my recent trip to USA.  You see, my entire holiday was planned around food, food and food.  Yes, first things on the list were the food spots; all else was secondary.

On our last night in Manhattan, we were supposed to hop over to Brooklyn for dinner at a popular steakhouse.  But, seduced by a Japanese restaurant we passed by the day before, we decided to ditch the steakhouse and headed for Iron Chef America's MORIMOTO.  And it was one of the best decisions we ever made. Every dish was superb!

One of the dishes was Black Cod Miso.  Here's the Iron Chef's version:

Now for my humble attempt to replicate the flavours of this dish...

First, get some black cod.  Or just plain white cod will do too.  Thaw them thoroughly, and pat them dry.

Now for the marinade...

Miso Marinade:
4 tbs miso paste
2 tbs sugar
1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup mirin

If you're wondering where to get sake and mirin, see those two yellow and green bottles in the photo below?  Those are from the wonderful store named Daiso.  Just S$2 each 300ml bottle.  Must haves if you cook Japanese dishes.

Blend everything together.
Then pour the marinade over the fish till all pieces are totally submerged.
Cover, and leave it in the fridge for at least 24 hours, and up to 72 hours. 

When you're ready for dinner the next day (24 hours), or the day after (48 hours), or the day after the day after (72 hours), remove the fish from the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you prepare your side dish.

I put together whatever I found in my kitchen.  I sliced some baby potatoes and streaky bacon, dumped them onto a tray with some cherry tomatoes, sprinkled some rosemary and olive oil, then baked them in my oven toaster for about 20 min till the potatoes were soft and the tomatoes have burst.

When your side dish is almost done, whip out your non-stick pan, drizzle some vegetable oil and pan-sear the fish pieces till they're cooked through.  Add a little water if the pan dries up.

Onto the plate it goes, and dinner is served!  Oh, don't waste the gravy that's left in the pan.  You can always drizzle it over the fish.

Verdict from the husband:  Tastes almost like Morimoto's.

Okay, that's good enough for me.  I'm happy :)


Choco Rice Cake

Sometimes, all it takes are the simple things to make you happy.  Don't you agree?

So, today, instead of some fancy smancy cake, it's just gonna be a simple chocolate butter cake, topped with good ol' chocolate rice. 


113g butter
130g sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
120ml milk
20g cocoa powder
130g flour
1 tsp baking powder
Chocolate rice or chocolate chips, as much as you like

Warm the milk and stir in the cocoa powder till fully dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and egg and beat till well combined.
Add milk mixture and beat till well combined.
Then throw in all the flour and baking powder, and beat till just combined.

Push the batter into a greased and lined 8" square pan.
Smooth the top and sprinkle chocolate rice/chips over the batter.
Bake at 170*C for about 30 min till done.

Serving suggestion:
Serve warm together with a scoop of ice cream, whipped cream and crushed nuts. 

26 June 2011

Mini Blueberry Streusel Cake

Couldn't resist the blueberries on sale at the supermarket, so I bought a pack without knowing what I'd do with it. 

After some deliberation, I decided on a mini streusel cake. I thought it'd be interesting to have a cake layer on the bottom, a middle layer of blueberries, and a top layer of crunchy streusel topping. What do you think?

Let's start with the bottom layer - a simple butter cake recipe that produces a soft and fluffy yet amazing moist cake.

113g butter
130g sugar
1 egg
120ml milk
130g flour
1 tsp baking powder

Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
Add egg and mix till well combined. Then do the same for the milk
Sift flour and baking powder over mixture and mix till just combined.
Divide batter among baking cups, filling each one no more than half.

Now for the blueberry layer.
Simply sprinkle your desired amount of blueberries on top of the batter.

Now for the crunchy streusel topping...
30g flour
20g butter, very cold
25g brown sugar
10g nuts of your choice (I used almonds)

Now, combine all the ingredients and blitz them in your food processor till they resemble muesli cereal.

Crumble the mixture on top of your blueberries.
Bake at 180*C for about 25-30 min till the cake is done.

Best savoured fresh from the oven, when the streusel is nice and crisp.  Don't forget your favourite cup of tea!

25 June 2011

Hainanese Chicken Rice

As much as I'd like to bake and cook everything from scratch, I don't always have the luxury of time.

So today I decided I'd get a little help from Prima.
I've heard so many good reviews about Prima's Hainanese Chicken Rice, I thought I'd give it a try.

This paste is only for the rice.  What about the chicken?

To get tender juicy chicken, you'll need to pamper them.  Send them to the spa!
I used chicken drumsticks and thigh - juicy tender parts.

Chop up some carrots and onions, slice some ginger and garlic, and throw them into a pot together with the chicken pieces.  And since I had some chicken bones left over from a previous recipe, I threw those in for extra flavour.  Oh, don't forget some salt and pepper, and a generous dash of sesame oil.

Fill the pot with cold water till it covers all ingredients, and slowly bring it to a boil.  Then lower the heat to a simmer.

While the chicken is enjoying the royal spa treatment, prepare the rice.  Simply follow the instructions on the packet.  Measure out 1.25 cups of rice, rinse once through, then empty the whole packet of chicken rice paste into the rice pot.  Fill with water till the mark on the pot, and mix well.  Set to cook.

Once the chicken is cooked through and tender, remove from the pot and immediately dunk it in an ice bath.  Set aside till the rice is done.

Serve with your favourite greens and a sprinkling of dark soy sauce. Enjoy!

Citrus Peel Rum & Blueberry Little Cakes

~~~ Freshly out of the oven! ~~~

18 June 2011

Lemons & Limes

Something to cool a hot sunny day:
Honey Lemon Lime

And that's just what it is - honey + lemon + lime.

First, you zest the citrus fruits.
(Skip this step if you don't like the citrus bits in your drink.
But the zest imparts a nice aroma to the drink.)

Then you squeeze the juice out of the fruits.
Add as much (or little) honey as you like.

Add water.
Or, if you like, soda water for some zing!
Throw in some ice.

13 June 2011

DC Cupcakes

How time flies!  It's been more than a month since my last entry.  And there is a reason...  I was on my annual long haul vacation.  This year, I ventured to the East Coast of USA: New York and Washington DC.

Have you heard of DC Cupcakes?  It's famous!
So I had to try... They look so enticing, don't they?

My cousins and I bought 2 dozen cupcakes.  Yes, that's 24 cupcakes!!  For a whopping US$60!!

I loved the cream cheese frosting.  It was smooth and creamy, with the right amount of sweet and tang.  The decorations were superbly done and so very pretty.  But I was rather disappointed when I sank my teeth into the cake... it was dry and just average tasting.  No wonder my little niece just eats the frosting.

My favourite flavour was the Chocolate Coconut.  I love the combination!  The tropical sweetness of the coconut flakes paired perfectly with rich chocolate.  I reckon I could attempt to re-create this flavour?  But tell me.... where do I find coconut flakes in Singapore?