Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sherperd'sPie .....A Wholesome Meal

I have been quite busy for the postpone week preparing for Angel's 7th birthday party and then it was Ian's UPSR examination on the 13th-15th Sept. Well, like all mothers, I felt like I'm the one sitting for the examination instead, duh! I has sleepless nights thinking if Ian would be able to answer all the questions in time, would he know how to do, this and that. Anyway, I'm seriously relief the day the exam came to an end, phew!!!!
Well, sounds like I should indeed celebrate about it, right? LOL........OK then, let's cook up something 'wholesome' to feed the whole family. I bought this cookbook called 'Granny's Favourites' by Love Food" a month ago and haven't yet got a chance to try anything from it.  I have decided to try the "Sherperd's Pie" as the picture on the book looks just awesomely delicious, and knowing that Sherperd's Pie called for 'minced lamb meat'......woohoo, lamb is my second favorite after beef in meat list, :)
So, right after work on Saturday (half-day until 12.30noon), I headed straight to Consfood and bought a packet of minced lamb meat that weighs about 670gm per packet. I can't wait to get started and quickly head home after that. 

Here is the recipe that I followed, of course I changed and altered a little to suit my taste, hehe.....

1 Tbsp Olive oil ( I used my normal Canola Cooking oil)
2 onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
675gm good-quality minced lamb meat ( I used only 670gm)
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 Tbsp plain flour
225ml beef / chicken stock
125ml red wine (I didn't use this as I don't have red wine in the house)
Salt & pepper, to taste

for Mashed Potato
675gm potatoes, peeled and cut into even sized chunks
55gm butter
2 Tbsp cream / milk (I used Anchor Whipping Cream)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius/ 350 degree Farenheit. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and fry the onion until softened, then add the garlic and stir well.
  2. Raise the heat and add the meat. Cook quickly to brown the meat all over, stirring constantly. Add the carrots and season well with salt and pepper. Stir in the flour and add the stock and wine (if using). Stir well and heat until simmering and thickened.
  3. Cover the casserole dish with aluminium foil and cook in the oven for about 50 - 60 minutes. Check the consistency from time to time and add a little more stock or wine if required. The meat mixture should be quite thick but not dry. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. While the meat is cooking, make the mashed potato. Cook the potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 15-20 mins. Drain well and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Add the butter and cream and season well with salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon the lamb mixture into an ovenproof serving dish and spread or pipe the mashed potato on top.
  6. Increase the oven temperature to 200 degree Celsius and cook the pie for about 15 -20 minutes at the top rack of the oven until golden brown.

trust'll love it!!


Monday, September 19, 2011


ARGHH!! Can someone tell me what is happening to the weather lately!!! It's hot and burning in the day and when mid-afternoon arrives, it poured like nobody's business....what??!! I know I shouldn't be complaining about weather as it's God's work on something , hehe....but well, humans are humans to be normal....we just complaint about almost 'anything'.....*tongue*

Anyway, stop the complaining and I head into the kitchen (my comfort zone aside my bedroom) and started my mind blogging of what to bake or cook or make on a sunny day like this. Well, those of you who are following me now for awhile, knows that I'm "SO" into macaron baking lately......and that means, I am having a lot of 'egg yolks' that was being dumped  or abandoned ...(LOL) for they are not wanted in this macaron project....poor egg yolkies...kekekeke

I guess you know the thing to do with 'too much' leftover egg yolks would be either to make a jar of lemon curd or churn up a batch of homemade ice-cream *wink*....and that is exactly what's on my mind. By the way I forgot to update or shout out loud to you guys , that I have achieved one of the items in my 'Wishlist' and that is.....I finally bought an 'Ice-cream Maker'. It's from Kenwood IM280 and I pretty liked it as it's not a very big and bulky one, just nice for home use....making a 1.5 litre which is sufficient for the kids to enjoy over a day or two.
Kenwood IM280 - 1.5 litre Ice-Cream Maker
So, this is what I made.....Cookies & Cream Ice -Cream as I have leftover Oreos from my previous bake, which comes out to just the right amount I need for the ice-cream.

Recipe adapted from the book "Sweet Scoops" by Shelly Kaldunski

Ingredients (Makes about 1 litre)
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks (Grade A eggs)
3/4 cup sugar (I used castor sugar)
2 tsp clear vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup crushed 'Oreos' cookies in a ziplock bag

  1. In a heavy saucepan, combine the milk and cream , warm it over medium -high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture almost comes to a simmer (about 5 mins). meanwhile, in  heatproof bowl, combine the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk vigorously until the mixture turns pale and doubles in volume (about 2 mins).
  2. Remove the milkmixture from the heat, and whisking constantly, slowly pour about 1 cup of the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan, and heat it over medium heat, stirring constantly using a wooden spoon. A custard-like texture will form when it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon (about 1-2 min), then off the heat. (Remember: Do not let it boil).
  3. Set up an 'ice-bath' in a larger bowl than can accommodate a smaller heatproof bowl, and pour the custard through a fine-mesh and sieve through to the smaller bowl. Stir occasionally to let it cool. Remove the bowl  from  the ice-bath and cover with plastic-wrap, refrigerate for about 4 hours or up to 3 days.
  4. When it is cold (4 hours or 3 days) , pour the cold custard into the ice-cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add in the crushed cookies  during the last minute of churning. Spoon the ice-cream into a freezer-safe container and place a parchment paper directly on the surface (to avoid any crystallization). Cover tightly and freeze until firm (at least 2-3 hours) and serve........hmm, yummy!

Happy ice-cream making!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Today is "Mid-Autumn Festival" or "Mooncake Festival", here's me taking this opportunity to wish all of you .....

Here's some pictures of what my kids did on that was not a perfect weather night for lantern strolling round our housing (the normal thing we used to do every year) as it was drizzling nonstop :(

So the kids was playing with their lanterns in the garage only........haha

Have a Happy Mooncake Festival !

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mid-Autumn Festival - (3) Baked Mooncakes

As promised in my previous post, this is the batch of Baked Mooncakes that I baked using Alexandra's recipe too. I ever made baked mooncakes last year, but the skin turned out to be a bit hard and dry after baked. So, this year, I consulted a few friends and also search the net for a few more tips and method and recipes to try on. However, after seeing and tried alex's mooncakes, I really liked it and the textures are just like the store bought ones, hehe ;) 
Here's again, thanking Alex for the sharing and also for inviting me to her house for a hands on lesson on mooncake baking .

'Hello Kitty Mold' baked Mooncakes with Red Bean Paste filling........just for Angelica

Here is the recipe for the 'Baked Mooncakes' and if you are free, you can always hop into Alex's blog to check it out, she has lots of yummy recipes to share with you all too!

Baked Mooncakes
300gm Superfine / HK Flour 
250gm Sugar Syrup / Golden Syrup
50gm Cooking Oil  (I used Canola Cooking oil)
1/2 Tbsp Alkaline Water

  1. Mix sugar syrup , cooking oil and alkaline water together in a clean bowl with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  2. Mix in sifted flour, and fold in until all well combined and a dough is form. Cover and rest for 3-4 hours.
  3. Divide the skin dough and the paste filling according to the mold you use ( For eg: 160gm Mold will use a 40gm skin dough and 120gm paste filling) and shaped them into a ball. (Scale : 25% skin to 75% filling)
  4. Roll out the skin dough in between two sheets of plastic wrap / parchment paper and pick it up, rest it on your palm, and take a piece of the paste filling, place it in the centre, and wrap it up, sealing the seams.
  5. Dust the mold with some extra flour, knock them out, and place the mooncake into it. 
  6. Press on it using the palm of your hand to smooth and firm it up, and then knock it against the table top counter to release it. (Tips: Remember to put the side with the seam / opening facing upwards). Place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Continue with the rest of the skin and filling dough until finish.
  7. Pre-heat oven to 170 degree Celsius (fan-based) and set the rack in the centre of the oven.
  8. Lightly spray the mooncakes with some water using a sprayer and sent to bake for 5 minutes. Take it out and let rest for 15 minutes.
  9. Lightly brush with eggwash (1 egg yolk + 1 Tbsp water) and bake again for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Take it out and let it cool completely before storing it in a container.  (Tips: Baked mooncakes are meant to be 'aged' for at least 1-2 days before consuming , as it will looks very much nicer in color and taste better.)

Happy Mooncake Baking!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mid-Autumn Festival (2) - Snowskin Mooncakes

As promised, I'm back with another post for Mid Autumn Festival preparation , and this post will be about 'Snowskin Mooncake" also known as "Ping Pi Mooncake" (in Mandarin that is, hehe). Lately, I found that a lot of people has developed the liking for this snowskin mooncake instead of the traditional baked ones, well, I don't really know the reason why, maybe because some says that the Baked mooncakes normally uses the 'lard' in the making, and that is not quite a healthy option :)

Then, snowskin mooncake uses no oil at all and it doesn't have to be baked too! Well, maybe that's the reason, but anyway, I personally likes Snowskin Mooncakes too. It's serve chill and not so sweet, and the snowskin effect kinda makes it a little lighter compared to the baked ones.......blah, blah, blah.....hehe, ignore me, LOL

I have enquired a few friends about this snowskin mooncake recipe as I'm a bit confused with the flour that it uses. Some mentioned about 'cooked Glutinous Rice Flour', whereas others mentioned 'Kao Fen'. However, I asked my MiL and she said that Kao Fen is actually Glutinous Rice Flour........but what I'm confused is how come when the recipe mentioned Kao Fen, it didn't asked to be 'cooked" ?? Does that meant Kao Fen is already a 'Cooked Glutinous Rice Flour' ?? I'm actually still not certain on this, but Alexandra told me that there is this shop here that sells 'Kao Fen' from Hong Kong, and to avoid those confusion, just use that and worry no more if it has to be cooked or not....*tongue*
I tested on the 1st recipe that a friend gave me and she suggested that I just bake/ fry the Glutinous Rice Flour in the oven/wok for about 10 minutes before using. Unfortunately, I did just that and the skin did not turned out the way a 'Ping Pi' should be :(
Well, maybe it was my miscalculation when mixing in the water to the flour+shortening that caused the error....*sigh*

Well, as determine as I am (you should know me by now), I'm not gonna just settle for that , so I decided to use Alexandra's recipe and bought myself a packet of that Hong Kong Kao Fen, and Alexandra willingly offered me to go to her house for a baking session, hehe  *wink* With her guidance and step by step instruction and tips, I managed to produce the perfect 'Ping Pi' mooncakes that I have always used to eat during Mid-Autumn Festival!!! Thank you so much Alexandra, muaks! She also offered me her 'Traditional Mooncake" recipe too , will post that in the next round ya ;)
For now, if you really want to make 'Ping Pi Mooncakes', it has never been easier, trust me!! I have never thought that I could made two types of mooncakes in one night (started at 6pm and finished at 12pm, burning midnight oil for this ....but hey, I got myself enough mooncakes to gift-away, isn't that worth all the effort?)

Here is the 'Simple & Fool-proof' Recipe courtesy of Alexandra (check out her blog too, she has yummy recipes you might like too).

Makes about 4 - 5 (160gm) mooncake

100gm Kao Fen 
95gm Icing Sugar
30gm Shortening
130ml 'cold' water (might not need to use all) 
1 tsp flavoring paste
Food colouring 

Fillings : Your choice - Lotus Paste, Durian Paste, Red Bean Paste etc.

  1. Sift Kao Fen and icing sugar into a bowl. 
  2. Rub shortening into the flour and sugar until mixture resembles 'crumbs'.
  3. Mix in the flavoring paste and food colouring into the cold water, stir to fully mixed.
  4. Slowly add cold water into the crumbs and mix it in to get a dough consistency that does not stick to your hands. Knead to form a dough that is pliable. 'Do not over knead'. (Note: you have to monitor the amount of water use, some flour will absorb more water, and some won't. Therefore it's either 130ml is too much or too little for add bit by bit)
  5. Let the dough rest for about 20-30 minutes. While waiting, scale the filling to each portion of 95gm, and roll it into a ball. 
  6. When the dough is rested, scale it into a portion of 65gm , and roll it flat on your palm, wrap a piece of the filling into the centre, and seal it in. (Note: Remember to dust the mooncake and the mold with extra 'Kao Fen' or 'Snow Powder' before putting the mooncake into the mold to press).
  7. Store the mooncakes in the fridge until ready to serve. 
Sounded really straight forward and easy right? So, what are you waiting for, you are still in time to make a batch for this Mid-Autumn Festival celebration .....;)

Pandan Snowskin with Green Tea Paste Filling

Happy Snowskin Mooncake Making!!