Saturday, September 5, 2009

roasting session

Our friends, WC and SC, came to our home today for a "roasting session". They brought the electric roaster which SC's godmother gave her. They also brought some chicken wings that SC's godmother had marinated.

SC was the roasting chef for today. I concentrated on the cakes, bread and cookies.

Ever since I got the hang of using our under-the-stove oven, I have been merrily using both ovens that we have in the kitchen, that is, the under-the-stove oven and the table-top Tefal oven. I find that the under-the-stove oven is more suitable for roasting, grilling and baking cookies and food but is not so suitable to bake cakes and bread because the cakes and bread tend to end up dry. As such, whenever I bake cakes or bread, I will use the table-top oven instead.

Last night, Da and I went to Giant Supermarket at Parkway Parade after work to buy some groceries for today's roasting session. When we got home, I marinated the pork chops, chicken breast and creamy snapper fillet and refrigerated them overnight. I also marinated a piece of pork belly as I wanted to make Chinese roast pork. However, you will not see any photographs of the Chinese roast pork in this post because the roast pork ended up too salty and too dry. I will have to tweak the recipe somewhat and try again. When I "hit jackpot" with the roast pork, I shall post the recipe in my recipe blog. *grin*

I took so many photographs today that I do not know where to start blogging. Perhaps the easier way would be to give a little write-up about each photograph as it appears this post. The photographs have been posted in no particular order because I kept taking photographs throughout the day.

I baked a loaf of sweet bread today. I had cut out the recipe from the 20 August 2009 edition of the Today newspaper. Although the name of the loaf is "sweet bread", the recipe calls for plain flour and baking powder instead of bread flour and yeast. This is what is commonly known as "quick bread". I varied the newspaper recipe in that I used sunflower oil instead of olive oil. It so happened that Da and I have some pine nuts in our refrigerator and I decided to give this recipe a try. As it turned out, the inclusion of pine nuts gave a lovely flavour to the bread. I have so far only used pine nuts when I cook pasta. I was so inspired by the flavour of the bread with the inclusion of the pine nuts that when I baked some cookies today, I decided to use pine nuts instead of walnuts.

I like to bake muffins on saturdays. They are easy to prepare and popular with young and old alike. While I was waiting for the dough cycle in my breadmaker machine to be completed, I mixed some Julie's cheesecrackers with my peach and mango yoghurt and ate it for breakfast (the combination of sweet and savoury was surprisingly very good!). As there was only about 1 cup of yoghurt left in the container, I decided to use the remaining yoghurt to bake yoghurt muffins. To give the muffin some "bite", I added 1/2 a cup of dried mixed berries.

Remember the pine nuts that I mentioned above? Well, I added the pine nuts (in place of walnuts) to a cookie dough and I baked rosemary and pine nuts cookies. If you have not used dried rosemary to bake cakes or cookies before, do give it a try. The inclusion of the dried rosemary makes the cake or cookie very aromatic. One of my favourite cake recipes is a rosemary wine cake recipe that I obtained from a health magazine. The cake was so delicious that each of us who sampled the cake ate two slices at one go (myself included).

I had originally wanted to bake some pineapple tarts. However, I forgot to buy pineapples while Da and I were at Giant Supermarket last night. As such, I baked jam tarts instead using homemade jam.

This is another version of the jam tart that I baked today. When SC ate a jam tart, she commented that the pastry melts in the mouth.

WC was eyeing the butter cake that I baked as the cake was cooling on the rack. When I sliced the cake and offered him a slice, he did not refuse. After he gave me the "thumbs up", he asked me how much butter I had used. When I told him that I used an entire block of butter (that is, 250g), he remarked that he had used up his entire year's quota of butter consumption. *grin* This cake is very buttery and very moist.

Hi WC, in answer to your query, you can make variations of this butter cake, such as walnut butter cake, durian butter cake, etc. Having said this, I think that butter cake lovers would prefer to eat the butter cake on its own without other ingredients (such as walnuts, etc) added. Coffee, anyone?

During the last roasting session that SC had with Da and I at our home (WC was in the United States of America for a working trip at that time), she baked some fresh white mushrooms with mozarella cheese. It was so delicious that she baked the same dish today. This is my favourite "roast item" of today.

I must have been in a "jam mood" today! I baked some jam pinwheels. It was a bit tricky rolling up the dough after I spread the jam on the dough but the secret is to be patient and gently roll up the dough. If you try to roll it up too quickly and are not gentle in doing so, the dough is likely to tear and you will end up with jam on your fingers.

The bread that you see in the photograph below was inspired by an episode of "The Naked Chef" that I watched on the Asian Food Channel. In that episode, Jaime Oliver was at a seaside resort with some of his staff. He rolled out a bread dough, spread what looked to me like Nutella on the dough, sprinkled liberal amounts of sliced bananas and chopped nuts on top of the spread and rolled up the dough. The difference between what Jaime Oliver did and what I did was that after he rolled up the dough, he joined the ends of the dough together to form a ring. I decided to bake the bread like a log. In my case, the dough continued to rise after I rolled it up, which resulted in the pockets of empty space that you see in the photograph below. Hmm... I think that the next time that I bake this bread, I shall do it Jaime Oliver's way (that is, form a ring using the dough).

Here is our roasting chef for the day, SC. She was checking the "doneness" of the chicken wings that she had baked using her electric roaster.

Hi SC, could you please ask your godmother for the recipe for her marinade? The chicken wings were delicious!

In the meantime, my "jam session" continued with jam balls.

The last time that I baked pork floss bread, the pork floss was mixed with the rest of the ingredients during the kneading process. This time, I rolled out the dough, brushed butter on the dough and sprinkled the pork floss on the dough before I rolled up the dough and baked the dough like a log. As a result, the taste of the pork floss was more distinctive than the other version of pork floss bread that I baked previously.

Da and I had planned to buy slices of salmon when we were at Giant Supermarket last night. However, we changed our mind when we saw the creamy snapper fillet. The fillet was thick and beautiful. I prepared a Mediterranean style marinade and used it to marinate the fillet. The texture of the fish is smooth and the baked fish was tasty.

When I watched an episode of "Chef at Home" on the Asian Food Channel recently, Michael Smith separated a bread dough into several portions and he shaped each portion into a ball before he placed them in a bundt pan. Inspired by what I saw, I decided to do the same. However, before I shaped each portion into a ball, I added sliced sausages and sliced cherry tomatoes. As such, each ball had sausages and tomatoes embedded in them.

When I heard the sound of a front door being opened, I looked out of our front door (which was open) and saw that the eldest of the three handsome boys who live opposite Da and I had woken up from his afternoon nap. As such, I packed some homemade goodies and passed it to him for him to share with his family. He is a well-mannered boy and says "Thank You, Auntie" whenever I give him any snacks.

The next item that SC baked were pork chops that I had marinated last night. She did a very good job of baking the pork chops because they were cooked and yet very tender. Delicious!

I was in an adventurous mood today and I decided to bake ham and cheese bread. Instead of mixing the ham and cheese in the dough, I rolled out the dough and placed slices of ham and cheese on the dough before I rolled up the dough and placed the dough in a loaf pan.

This is the last item that SC baked in her electric roaster - chicken breast. By then, everyone was very full. However, I could not resist eating a small piece of the baked chicken. Gosh, it was so tender! Well done, SC!

WC and SC had some things to pass to GIC (SC's mother) this evening. As such, I packed some of the savoury food as well as sweet goodies for GIC. SC also decided to give some to her godmother.

The four of us had originally planned to take a walk at our Changi Airport Terminal 3 after vising GIC. However, en route to GIC's home, we decided to eat sweet desserts in Bedok area instead.

When we arrived at GIC's home, she gave us a drink that she had brewed comprising rosella flower and some other ingredients (such as orange peel). It was very refreshing.

GIC also shared with us her revelations about the love of Jesus. She said that Jesus bothers about the small things in our lives. She gave several illustrations, one of which was that when she was praying in church recently, the Lord spoke to her and told her that one of the foldable chairs in her home was going to be spoiled soon. She informed one of her sons about it but he could not find anything wrong with the chair. Subsequently, as she was praying in church on another occasion, the Lord spoke to her and told her the same thing. When she went home, her son told her that he felt a desire that day to check the chair again and he discovered that one of the bolts/screws on the chair had come loose. Had one of the family members sat on the chair, the chair would probably have collapsed and worse still, the screw(s) in the chair may have injured the person. How wonderful our Saviour is, that He is concerned about our everyday life and He does not want us to be injured!

After we bade goodbye to GIC, we proceeded to a hawker centre located opposite Eastwood Centre. We had planned to order sweet desserts from a dessert stall there. However, when we arrived, we realised that the dessert stall was closed. As such, WC, SC and Da ordered a longan drink each while I ordered a kopi tarik.

Feeling peckish but not hungry enough for a full meal, we decided to order some "makan kechil" (that is, "light food").

The popiah cost S$1.20 per roll.

WC and SC also ordered ten sticks of mutton satay, ten sticks of chicken statay and ten sticks of beef satay. While we found the beef satay a little tough, the mutton satay and chicken satay were very tender.

The peanut sauce that accompanied the satay was aromatic but I found it a little spicy.

There is no English Premier League soccer match this weekend. Not to worry - there is always next week. I look forward to more exciting soccer matches involving the Red Devils.


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