Roasted Pork Belly (脆皮燒肉)

GS9A6231-001Who wouldn’t love a nice crackling piece of roasted pork belly?!

The family are in love with a good piece of roasted pork belly. Who doesn’t right? And to me, it’s a nice crackling, crispy skin, a layer of fat followed by soft bones encased in the meat!

Recipe

Yields 2kg Slab of Meat

Ingredient

  • 2 kg Pork Belly, Skin On
  • 2 TBSP Rice Wine Vinegar

Marinate pork with:

  • 2 Tablespoons Salt (To be applied on the skin)
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 2 Big Cubes Of Fermented Bean Curd (i use the red ones)
  • 1 Tablespoon Five Spice Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Garlic

Method

  1. Wash and dry meat
  2. Mix all the marinate together excluding salt. Slit or poke holes on the pork [excluding the skin] and marinate it. (I marinated overnight, a couple of hours is fine too)
  3. Stab pork skin and rub salt on it (this process is to dry out the skin and remove excess moisture)
  4. Leave it uncovered in the fridge
  5. Remove from the fridge an hour before roasting
  6. Bake at 200 degree for 20 mins on top n bottom heat, applying the vinegar on the skin every 20 mins or so
  7. Continue baking on grill mode for an hour or more depending on size of slab.

** I depended on my meat thermometer to tell if the pork is cooked!

GS9A6206This is how i roast my pork in the oven. i lay the slab of meat on a cooling rack. i thought that was a perfect way for me, without the bottom being too soggy

roasted pork

Now, let’s ready for some serious chopping! Gentle reminder, cover whatever that is near you with some newspaper!

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Check out those inter layers of cracking skin, meat and fats! i think it’s really important to know your butcher! Get a nice cut which has a nice portion of each layers. i do not recommend using frozen pork, but if that’s all you can get your hands on, by all means do it!

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*Thumbs up given by the family*

Chocolate Macarons with Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream (Tips on the italian meringue method)

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Chocolate Macarons W Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Finally after multiple promises, i got down to getting this post up. Not that i didn’t want to get this post up earlier, it was more of i needed help in order to photograph the entire process BUT of course with my erratic schedule, no one could assist me, so i struggled about 2-3 hrs in the kitchen to get the entire process documented in pictures. This is going to be the most pictures and steps intensive post so as to help those struggling with making macarons.

For those who have no idea, this is the italian meringue method, and i’ll try my best to be as detailed as possible .if you ask me, i would say this is the much easier method, less room for failures and a much stable macaronage. But if you are looking for the french method, which has the easier process (minus cooking the sugar), you can head over to my previous post: Passionfruit Macarons & Tips on Macarons Making

i have spent so much time and effort on this post, so i would really appreciate that you read thru the whole post before asking me any information that can be found in the post. :D  But, feel free to email/ leave me a comment should you need further clarification on any other information you need. i’ll be more than willing to assist any of you.

Recipe

Adapted from Pierre Hermé

Yields 90 Shells, Approx 45 Macarons

Chocolate Macaron Shells

ingredients

Group A

  • 185g Ground Almond
  • 185g Icing Sugar
  • 30g Cocoa Powder (i used Valrhona)
  • ** if you are going to do a plain shell, it’s going to be 200g ground almonds and 200g icing sugar

Group B

  • 75g Egg Whites + Pinch of Salt

Group C

  • 200g Castor Sugar
  • 50g Water

Group D

  • 75g Egg Whites

Group E

  • Crushed Peanuts as sprinkles (Optional)
  • Assorted color paste if you are doing plain colored shells(i recommend Ameri color)

Equipments Needed

  • Candy Theremometer
  • Round Piping Tips
  • Piping Bag
  • A Good Spatula
  • A Stand Mixer (Preferably)

Directions

  1. Sift Group A together. Set aside
  2. Weight Group B & set aside
  3. Put Group C into a heavy bottom medium sized pot. It has to be brought to a boiling point of 118C. When the sugar syrup reaches 110C,  whisk egg whites (From Group D) in a stand mixer (Preferably. Hand mixer would do too, just that you got to keep an eye on the candy thermometer). The egg whites should be at medium peak by the time the sugar reaches 118C
  4. Gradually pour the sugar syrup (118C) down the side of the mixing bowl and whisk mixture till stiff peak (It is important to ensure that the hot sugar syrup does not get into the way of the whisk to prevent the sugar from crystallizing else you might end up with a mess of spun sugar)
  5. While the sugar mixture and egg whites are whisking in progress (Also known as the italian meringue), Add Group B into Group A and mix mixture till a thick paste forms.
  6. Add 1/3 of the italian meringue into the thick paste, fold into till the paste is slightly loose (You can be quite rough at this stage)
  7. Add the balance of the meringue into the mixture and fold in till mixture is homogenous.
  8. Fill mixture into a piping bag, fitted with a 1A piping tip (or any round tip you could find. it’s important that you are not too ambitious and get a tip too big. You might end up with issues of the mixture flowing too quickly out of the piping bag)
  9. Pipe batter onto parchment paper and bang baking sheet on a flat surface to get rid of any air bubbles
  10. Preheat the oven to 150C while batter is drying (Till a skin forms on top and looks matte)
  11. Bake for 15-18 mins depending on your oven.

Recipe

Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream

ingredients

  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 100g Castor Sugar
  • 130g Butter, softened to room temperature
  • 30-80g of Peanut Butter (Depending on how peanutty you liked it to be)

Directions

  1. Combine egg white and sugar and place them over a double boiler
  2. Whisk them together until all the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites starts to turn opaque and fluffy
  3. Continue whisking till egg whites are too hot to touch
  4. Transfer egg whites to mixing bowl and beat at high speed for about 5 mins till light & fluffy or until bowl is cool to touch
  5. Start adding softened butter, piece by piece until all incorporated and continue whisking till it comes together.
  6. Lastly, add in the peanut butter and mix well to combine

Group A

Group A Mixture

i used the batter tool to whisk the dry ingredients together. You could do with a regular whisk

Group A

it is important that the dry ingredients are mixed well before any wet ingredients are incorporated into it

118C

it is necessary to ensure that the heat is turned off and the sugar syrup is quickly but safely added into the whisking egg whites

118C

Look how i poured the sugar syrup down the sides of the mixing bowl. Never attempt to allow the syrup to get in contact with the high speed whisk

**My mixer is still running. do not stop the mixer else you would get cooked egg whites :x

**if you are going to do a plain colored shell, add in a couple of drops of color paste after all the sugar syrup have been added in

i highly recommend Ameri-color color paste. Wilton is horrible in my opinion.

Group B

While the sugar syrup and egg whites are left to whisk till stiff peak, add egg whites from Group B into Group A mixture

thick paste

This is the thick paste you should end up with. NEVER attempt to do this way too early as the contact of egg whites with the air will harden the paste

italian meringue

Stiff meringue formed. About 5-8 mins on high speed on the KitchenAid

As to whether there is a need to use aged egg whites? my answer is NO! i use fresh eggs for all my macarons using the italian method (DO NOT quote me for the french method). it just has to be at room temperature

stiff meringue

A good method to tell that you have poured the sugar syrup in properly. A clean mixing bowl with no sugar spun/ crystals formed on the walls of the bowl

add 1/3 meringue

Check out how glossy that meringue looks! Love the shine.

i’m using a Tovolo Spatula which is really sturdy and able to fold in the meringue into this really thick paste

balance meringue

Macaronage

This is how your macaronage should look like! Smooth but viscous!

piping

this is how i pipe my macarons. Holding the tip as close to the parchment paper as possible. You could just get any macaron templates online.

piping

A good way to know that your macaronage is mixed to the right consistency? by the time you are into piping your 3rd and 4th rows, pointy tips on any macarons on the 1st and 2nd rows should be flatten by then.

drying

i let my shells dry till a skin is formed before sending it into the oven. The issue now is not whether you get feet or not but rather should the mixture not be dried, the feet would form unevenly.

**if you are going to sprinkle anything on top of the shells, in my case, crushed peanuts, do it right after you pipe.

dried

You could sprinkle on alternating rows. A tip would be should you sprinkle on both shells, it would take up a lot of space just to store them :D

Chocolate Macarons

Love the tower of Macarons!

top

i hoped you all have a better understanding on how the itatlian method macarons are being made. it may seem daunting but then again, i always say,always prepare all your ingredients before you start to bake and you are good to go.

This is a recipe that doesn’t allow you to sift/weight as you are baking. So be prepared!

Thank you for reading thru this really long post and i hope you have a greater understanding after this post :D

Happy Baking

What’s a Kitchen without Tovolo? Sponsorship by Tovolo Singapore

WHO AGREES WITH ME THAT BAKING AND COOKING SHOULD BE FUN?!

Kitchen and baking tools has always been something i’m really particular about. It has to be sturdy, comfortable to the grip, safe to use and more importantly look beautiful. i admit i’m one of those who buys with my eyes. Who has time for those boring white spatulas that we see everywhere?? :D

Tovolo is a brand that i have been using for awhile now. I used to get them from the USA when they were not so readily available in Singapore and have been using them since! As a pastry chef myself, i know how important a kitchen tool can be. There are times where you just step into a foreign kitchen and nothing is suitable for you and i hate that! More importantly, the right tool gets the job done more efficiently and what’s better when they work the way they are suppose to work, looks the part and who doesn’t love it when they come in such fashionable colors?

i was beyond ecstatic when the guys at Tovolo Singapore told me they would be sending me items from their range available in Singapore.

 Tovolo

Ain’t these lovely? Love how sweet the colors are. And for me, all my kitchen tools are red, which also explains why most of the things i took were chilli red!

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Check out those spatulas. Ain’t they sweet? i’ll be introducing the items as i blog about them in the upcoming recipes :D

Those pastry mats are something i’m dying to try out. I have used really bad ones, so i’m really excited about this!

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Stay tuned for reviews on dough whisk! i swear they are the best as compared to the whisk. And now, i need to make some pizza to check out the pizza wheel! but i’m sure no one will complain where pizza is on the menu for dinner.

And oh, did i mention those mini spatulas. They are just so cute!

Boy, that ice cream scoop is one sturdy one and best of all, they can be rested on your counter top, minus the mess!

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All Tovolo products comply with the Food-Safety Standards of the United States of America. Tovolo products are produced with FDA-Approved raw materials and comply with the FDA Regulations concerning plastic and non-plastic materials intended to come in contact with food.

Wait no further. They are now available in Singapore!

You could get them from all Robinson stores, Metro, Takashimaya, Harvey Norman Suntec City and they are also available online at :

On top of the convenience of online shopping, there’s FREE DELIVERY!

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#ForAGoldenHome

Giving back to the society has always been something really close to my heart. As a volunteer, I see so many people from all walks of life, especially elderly who needs immediate attention to their living environments. When I was contacted to be part of this project,#ForAGoldenHome, I was more than happy to contribute whatever I could.

As a pastry chef, the bake sale could not be more appropriate. I could make use of whatever baking skills I have to be raising funds for the needy. There wasn’t a second thought when I was contacted to be part of this project. Coming from a tightly knitted family, I could understand the values and warmth of having a really close family and how much I could appreciate my folks and my grandparents. But, I’m sure there are many elderly out there who are living alone in a not so desirable environment and it really means a lot to be able to give them a place they could call home. A home where they can spend their retirement or twilight years in a comfortable and clean environment.

For a Golden Home is a fundraising campaign that aims to help the needy elderly community. This community, who are often destitute, stay alone in unhygienic and cluttered one-room flats that easily gives rise to health and safety problems. In our ageing population, the number of these elderly poor is at high risk of rapid increase, along with the need for a strong support network.

With a goal of S$25,000, For a Golden Home will channel funds to enable volunteers in reaching out to this community in partnership with Project HomeWorks, an on-the-ground initiative that assesses and cleans up their homes to restore basic living conditions.

i had a bake sale held @Hive last weekend and was really glad by the immerse response from my fellow instagrammers and friends. i could not have raised $700 without the help of all of you. Thank you so much!

These are some of the items that were made for sales at the bake sales. All of them included beenut butter, with courtesy from Second helpings!

GS9A9623Beenut Butter Macarons GS9A9653

A specially requested color theme for a birthday party! Although it required me to do another batch of macarons, i was more than willing!

Beenut butter macarons

More Macarons!

Cocovan coconut chocolate bar

Love this beenut butter with coconut, raw oats, coconut flakes, coconut oil as well as a really good chocolate to tie everything together! AwesomeCocoa beenut butter w chocolate and caramel truffleLastly, i made some truffles. These were so so so good i kid you not. Just imagine, salted caramel, beenut butter and 75% chocolate! Spells genius man! A sprinkle of gold dust just because it makes it looks more classy to be sold at a higher price :D

Moist & Fluffy Banana Cake

GS9A9766Fluffy and Moist Banana Cake

As usual, it’s crazy week at work and finally a weekend that i do not have to work! But that also means no more procrastinating. No reason not to get posts up. i have so many post i want to issue, but i just couldn’t get down to penning it. Let’s hope i can complete a couple of post and schedule them.

Now back to this banana cake. i absolutely have no intention to bake this weekend. Reads: I want up get some post up

BUT….. i woke up to my dad telling me “i knew you would like to bake something banana so ï kept some bananas for you in the fridge. The ripeness is just nice for a banana cake.” Hint hint. And of course i got the hint. i’m just glad it’s an easy cake, something that could be done in less than hr from preparing to baking! Awesome time saver and also means less things to wash up. Which i HATE! Seriously, i’m not a fan of banana to be honest. :x

i’m glad i tried this recipe though. A really moist and fluffy cake, a hint of sweetness from the ripen bananas and what’s better, it’s light on the palate as well! A great after dinner treat.

Recipe

Adapted  from RG’s banana cake

Bakes well in a 10 cup bundt tin

ingredients

  • 225g Eggs
  • 195g Castor Sugar
  • 300g Ripen Banana (Cubed)
  • 225g Cake Flour, Sifted
  • 6g Baking powder
  • 3g Baking soda
  • 150g Corn oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 160C
  2. Spray and flour pan. (i’m using a nordic bundt so i paid more attention to flouring the pan)
  3. Sieve flour, baking powder & soda together.
  4. Whisk eggs, sugar & banana till ribbon stage (Thick and fluffy)
  5. Fold in flour & mix well
  6. Add in the oil till mixture is homogenous
  7. Bake for 60mins

GS9A9689Love this pan! The Nordic Ware Bavaria Bundt Pan. i was initially afraid of the cake sticking to the mould, but all the worry seems invalid. i had no issues unmoulding it from the pan at all!

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Check out the design~isn’t it awesome?!

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i actually topped it with some left over salted caramel sauce i had! Awesome pairing i would say :D

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So much love for the fluffiness! You do not need so much caramel sauce for the cake to be honest! i had to do a reshoot for some of the pics thus explaining the overflowing amount of caramel! But, who would say no to the salted caramel sauce :D

Broccoli Cheese Soup

4Broccoli Cheese Soup

The lovely people at Mayer sent me the BaMix and a breadmaker not too long ago and of course, who could resist making these creamy soup? The Bamix is really easy to use and clean up, almost effortless i would say! it comes with a couple of blades which works very well with smoothies, soups, sauces or even non churn ice cream! Let me try to get the reviews up as soon as possible. Got a couple of product reviews which i have been procrastinating forever!

Now, back to the soup. i would say it’s pretty effortless to cook this soup and the end product was really what i was looking for.

Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 40g Butter
  • ½ Cup Chopped Onions
  • 1 Glove Garlic, Minced
  • 225g Broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 Cups (500g) Chicken Broth
  • 115g Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 115g Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 cup (250g) Milk
  • ¼ TBSP Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Cornflour

Directions

  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large stockpot
  2. Add onion and cook till translucent, then add in minced garlic
  3. Add chicken broth and broccoli and simmer until broccoli is tender
  4. Reduce heat to medium low and add in cheese. Continue stirring till cheese is fully melted
  5. Pour milk, garlic powder and cornflour into a microwave safe cup, whisk till it comes together and heat it till lukewarm, set aside
  6. Using the Bamix immersion blender, puree soup till desired consistency
  7. Pour cornflour mixture into soup and stir till thicken (Add a little hot water if soup is too thick for your liking)
  8. Serve hot with toasted bread

 

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6

 

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Ain’t that awesome?! No more paying for over priced soup and you get to adjust the consistency of you soup to your desired chunkiness. What’s better? You know what goes into your soup, no more thickener, extra starches or whatever that is not needed :D PERFECT!

Orange Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Orange Chocolate Chiffon CakeCottony Soft Orange Chocolate Chiffon Cake

First thing first, Happy Lunar New Year to all Chinese readers out there! i hope you all enjoyed the celebration as much as i do. As usual, i’m still trying to find time to update the blog as much as i can. There’s just so much going on, more than what i could handle at the moment. That being said, i know a common issue with everyone now, TOO MANY mandarin oranges at home! i have the same issue and thus this chiffon cake post! This is a really simple bake and it does get rid of the oranges and who could resist such cottony soft cakes?

i have to admit, i prefer the mandarin oranges rinds more than regular oranges. i kinda feel it perfumes the cake better :D

Recipe

Yields a 21cm or 2 17cm

Egg Yolk Batter

ingredients:

  • 7 Egg Yolks
  • 28g Castor Sugar
  • Rind of 2 Mandarin Oranges
  • 112g Orange Juice
  • 56g Corn Oik
  • 98g Cake Flour, Sifted
  • 15g Cocoa Powder (i used valrhona)

Directions:

  1. Whisk egg yolks and sugar till light and creamy
  2. Stir in oil, orange juice and rind. Whisk mixture till combines
  3. Add in sifted flour
  4. Set aside 1/4 of the batter for the chocolate mixture
  5. Sift in cocoa powder into the batter and whisk till combined
  6. Set both batters aside and get going to prepare the meringue

Meringue

ingredients:

  • 7 Egg Whites
  • 126g Castor Sugar

Directions:

  1.  Whisk egg whites on medium speed till foamy
  2. Gradually add in castor sugar and whisk till medium stiff peak
  3. Separate the meringue into 4 portions, 3:1, of which eye ball 3/4 of the meringue into the orange batter and the balance 1/4 into the chocolate mixture (Do not worry about being exact at this point)
  4. Fill the batter into the chiffon tin in any order you prefer
  5. Bake in 170c preheated oven for 45 mins or till stick comes out clean

 

GS9A9270-001i choose to do mine in swirls. You could do it any way you prefer!

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Isn’t that really easy?! Now get going and bake this really awesome chiffon cake!