It was almost exactly 4 years ago when i said everyone must learn to cook. In some ways, the predictions i made back then came through. We have actually arrived at that point in time when people started getting worried about food security.

If you hardly cooked before this, now is a great time to start! Train yourself to be able to feed yourself – i see this as an essential skill everyone should have. Being able to feed others is a good idea too – meeting someone else’s basic needs is a great way to serve others don’t you think?

I cook daily, three meals a day. In the coming month whereby most of us will be home bound, it’ll be great to try new recipes, new ideas. I kicked off my season of experimentation with German style bread with sausage, plus Gluehwein. Yes, this was to recreate the German Christmas Night market feeling which we love so much. The results were better than expected, and it actually doesn’t take a lot of time for preparation.

Made at home but it actually feels like authentic Gluehwein

CB Day 2

The key to tasty pizza dough is to do the fermentation either overnight or over a few days in the fridge

CB Day 7

Here’s an idea for quick meals – using a Muffin tray. A Muffin tray is a versatile tool, allowing you to create a variety of individual-serving food items. You could make a mini bowl out of bread (coated with a generous amount of butter) or puff pastry, and apply all kinds of sweet or savoury filling. You can make poached eggs too.

Mashed potato with bacon. leek and cream. I cheated by using frozen pre-fried potatoes, which becomes soft and mushy after cooking for just a few minutes.
I should have baked the puff pastry for 5 minutes first before applying the filling
From start to finish could be as little as half an hour when you’ve become familiar with the steps

CB Day 8

I don’t normally like to spend a lot on the flour i use to make bread, but i gave this one a try, and it turned out really well. It is expensive (even when it was on sale at $4.28 per kg), but worthwhile. If you’re new to EAMART, you can get an 18% off coupon by signing up here. Right now though, their delivery slots are fully booked..

Good bread begins with good flour

CB Day 14

Here’s an unorthodox kitchen hack for making beef stew. I’ll have to admit this is probably only my third time cooking beef stew, and i haven’t been particularly successful in the past. But i’ll share my tip here anyway and you decide what to do with it.

All beef stew recipes ask you to brown the beef upfront (i.e. sear it), then cook it for hours. I do the reverse – I cook the beef in a pressure cooker, with spices, and then brown the beef afterwards. The advantage of doing this is you get your beef broth from the cooking, and you don’t need to purchase the beef broth separately. Most beef broth are laden with some kind of yeast by product, or worse, MSG, plus other chemical additives. Why not make your own, without adding any additional overall cooking time?

No problem browning the beef after cooking them. Oh the aroma!

After doing the browning, you can proceed with cooking the stew as per any recipe, except you only need to cook for only as long as it takes to soften the veg.

CB Day 22

Naturally rustic looking

A very simple idea for the morning – Apple pie (french style), loosely based on this recipe. I used store bought puff pastry and added a layer of custard between the pastry and the apple. To be honest, it doesn’t taste like the French apple pie i’ve tried, but hey, at least it looks good (half the battle won), and it’s probably the best way to use up that last apple in the fridge that somehow nobody touches. Hmm or maybe you could make Cantonese style soup with pork ribs..

CB Day 23

Pizza, in the style that we love most.

Pizza is relatively easy to make. I would do Pizza in this style every now and then. This was what we sampled in Naples exactly 3 years ago today (gah I haven’t found time to blog about it after 3 years!) and it was probably the best Pizza we’ve ever had. In case you’re wondering about the pieces of white lumps topping the Pizza, those are slices of Burrata, which is essentially a type of Mozzarella. The texture is bouncy, i love it!

Burrata

I bought this Burrata (well they market it as Cheese Ball, not real Burrata) from RedMart, and i got it for $4.20 (regular price $5.25). You’ll have to wait until after the CB to be able to purchase this. Actually I just discovered you can get real Burrata from Zircon-Swis fine foods which you can find on Shopee for around the same price!

CB Day 36

Japanese Ramen is one of those food that hooks you from the onset. The rich broth combined with chewy noodles plus chashu and soft-boiled egg makes for a very satisfying meal, one which i’ve been trying to emulate at home since years ago.

Well, today it’s much easier to make Ramen at home because you can buy authentic ready-made broth. I got mine from Shopee (search ramen soup), and i think the price is quite reasonable, at less than $2 each if you buy in bulk. They come in concentrated form in a small satchet. I would say one satchet is enough to make 2 to 3 bowls of Ramen depending on how thick you want your soup. It will probably taste better than your home made broth, which may actually cost more as well. Note that most of the Ramen noodles sold online are the combo type – noodles and broth. These cost a lot more than if you buy the broth and noodle separately.

Tonkotsu Ramen broth

As for the noodles, you can get the ones from the Japanese section in the supermarket. I prefer the Chinese style ones (yellowish) more than Somen (white).

Home made Ramen is a simple affair

CB Day 50

Mille Crepe. Too little cream applied
This is actually a lot easier to make than you would imagine

Been wanting to have success in making Mille Crepe for some time. The previous attempt didn’t go well. I used the microwave method of making Crepes because i’m very lousy at doing it the traditional way of cooking Crepes in a pan. Anyway, i realized this time that the main problem lies with getting the batter right. I mixed the batter with an immersion blender to ensure it was really smooth.

You can probably find thousands of recipes for making Crepes on the web, and i chose this one. Unfortunately, i did not have enough milk on hand, so i substituted with water, which i think may have made the crepes more rubbery, or it could be as the article suggests, i cooked the Crepes too slowly. Anyway, i wouldn’t do it any other way because this time i had much success with the crepes machine.

Just dip for a few seconds and the batter would stick
The crepes cooks fairly quickly, under two minutes

CB Day 56

Basque burnt cheesecake

Time flies, we’ve come to the final day of official CB. I’ve always been doing cheesecake the New York style, but thought i should try a different way. The Basque burnt style happens to show up on Facebook. And it really is much easier than it looks, yes easier than New York style, because it has no biscuit crust and you can just bake it at high heat.

The cake starts sagging the moment you get it out of the oven

I didn’t use double layer wax paper and this actually did create a problem – crumpled top. On hindsight, i could have just released the spring on the springform pan to give ample space all around for the cake to settle down. Anyhow, this cake is meant to look ugly, and it is delicious.

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