The first quarter of 2013 has flown by too quickly. As 2012 was an extravagant (and expensive) year of dining out, I decided to stay in more with The Angmoh this year and put the kitchen, and endless recipe books, to good use. I do not follow recipes strictly. The only time I measure out ingredients is when I’m baking, and even so, I do reduce the amount of stated sugar by at least 25%. All measurements in my savoury cooking, especially Chinese dishes, are estimated (or “aggarated”, in Singlish terms). These are a few of the dishes that I think have turned out pretty brilliantly.
1. Roasted tomato soup
- Get a big bunch of ripe tomatoes and slice them in half.
- Arrange them snugly onto a baking dish with their cut surfaces facing up and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, chilli flakes and oregano.
- Scatter several unpeeled cloves of garlic and douse everything with a good glug of olive oil. Roast it all up in the oven at 200degrees for 45-60min. Remove garlic skins and discard.
- Puree it all up, add water, bring to a boil and simmer without a lid for at least 20min, until it reaches a nice thick consistency.
- Serve up the soup with some cheesy garlic bread, or do yourself a favour and get some Brasserie Bread’s Caramelized Garlic Loaf.
- (Sidenote: After roasting it up, mash the garlic into the tomatoes for a delicious sandwich spread or pasta sauce)
I saw a picture of this from Winston’s Instagram feed and decided to cook it. It is simple and lasted me with 5 meals. I decided to tweak it by throwing in a couple bay leaves and 2 carrots cut in thick chunks.
Peanut butter. Chocolate. Repeat 10 times and add in the word ‘cookie’. This, in my honest, whole-hearted opinion, is one of THE best combinations. Ever. I chanced upon this fantastic recipe by Smitten Kitchen, baked a whole batch of it (I cut down white sugar by 1/3 cup, and omitted the sugar sprinkles), and distributed it before I could devour everything like the greedy monster I might be. I can’t speak highly enough of this recipe.
I chanced upon figs selling at $4.99/kg at South Melbourne Market one lucky Saturday. I grabbed a big bagful and baked up this beautiful beauty. No tweaking was done. It turned out very well, if I may.
Peanut butter. Chocolate. Repeat 10 times and add in the word ‘cake’. Penny tweeted this recipe and I knew I had to make it. It’s a little tedious and will probably use up every measuring bowl/spoon/cup you own, but trust me, the cleaning up is worth it. I encountered a few problems: firstly, I baked it in a regular spring-form tin as I didn’t have a bundt pan. My cake turned out to have an undercooked center while the outside was perfect. Cooking it longer cooked the middle perfectly, but left the crusts slightly dry. I recommend baking this in the bundt pan that Penny mentioned. Next, I had trouble getting my peanut butter frosting to stay on the cake. It kept sliding off and pooling onto the sides. I think chilling the frosting and then spreading it onto a cooled ganache-d cake will make a huge difference.
Pineapple tarts are synonymous with a Singaporean or Malaysian Chinese New Year. Although laborious, they are quite delicious and extremely addictive! I make my pineapple jam from scratch: grating pineapple by hand, and cooking it over a low heat with some brown sugar, cinnamon and star anise. This year, I used Fakeboo’s pastry recipe but used 2 egg yolks. They are buttery, flaky and perfect.
Home-cooking can be quite an enjoyable process. I find the prepping extremely therapeutic, especially if it involves knives. There’s something quite enjoyable about slicing, dicing, filleting, skinning, chopping, julienning, etc. With a vast endless supply of recipes to peruse, I’m pretty sure I’ll be updating the blog with a few more tried-and-true-yet-tweaked recipes.