Sunday, 30 September 2007

Nem Chua - Vietnamese spiced sausage-like pork

Yes I know.. the title is a bit funny, but I didn't know how to describe it. First time buy, first time try.
I always have seen these funny pink pachages in the Chinese supermarket, but never knew what they were. So one day I asked someone who worked there.."Excuse me, sir? Can you tell me what this is?" "Ehm.. sorry. I don't know either". Well, there was nothing left than buy and try!


I read the label and it was in French. My French is good enough to understand that it is pork meat with spices. It also had a tip how to serve it on the back of the label. "Cook for 15 minutes on low heat, serve with vermicelli. Add Nuoc Nam too taste." Doesn't sound too hard to prepare, huh?

I can't say that I liked it or hate it. The meat was a bit sour and funny was that I expected it to change in colour after it was cooked. Added some fried tofu and fishballs, incase I didn't like them and had nothing to go with my vermicelli.

Have you tried them? Is there a different way to eat them?

Let's see what my next grocceries shopping trip will get me..

Friday, 28 September 2007

Coconut tart - Yer Tat

Coconut(milk) is one much used ingredient used in Chinese snacks and desserts. The coconut tart is one of the fixed selling items in the Chinese bakery. The recipe is very simple, try it out if you like!

Ingredients (makes 10)

Crust:

  • Flour - 100 gram
  • Sugar - 40 gram
  • Butter - 70 gram
  • Vanilla Essence - 1 tsp
  • Milk Powder - 1,5 tbsp
  • Egg - 1 large egg
  • Baking Powder - 5 grams

Filling:

  • Desiccated Coconut - 150 grams
  • Condensed Milk - 100 ml
  • Egg yolk - 1
  • Butter - 50 grams

Glaze

  • Egg Yolk - 1
  • Butter - 1/2 (half) Tbsp melted butter


Mix the ingredients for the filling together.



Shift the flour, milk powder and baking powder into a bowl. Add the vanilla extract, butter and sugar to the bowl. Knead the dough smooth and divide into 10 portions.


Press the dough in the mould. Fill it up with the coconut mix. Do not press the filling together to hard. Bake them for 25 minutes at 175C.


Take it out of the oven. Glaze it with the egg yolk/butter mix. Decorate with the candied cherries.

Ready to serve!

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Mooncakes - Mid Autumn Festival

Chinese people celibrate Mid-Autumn festival on the 15th of the 8th month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar (falls on September 25th of the Western calender this year). On the day of celibration, family would come to gether to eat, drink enjoy mooncakes and gaze at the full moon. Click here to read the story behind this festival.

The Cantonese mooncake is like a very big heavy cookie. It has a thin cookie layer and filling could vary, but most populare is the lotusnut paste and the white lotusnut paste. Usually it would have a salty duck egg yolk in the center to represent the moon. Nowadays people like to put up to 4 yolks in them and other versions as ice cream mooncakes, jelly mooncakes, snowskin mooncakes have made their introductions.

It is quite some work to find everything you need before making mooncakes. I have been looking for mooncake moulds, but could not find any in the Netherlands. I bought mine online at the wokshop. The people are so nice there and I even got 2 pairs of nice chopsticks as a token. Then I had to hunt for Lyle's Golden Syrup to make the skin. Ofcours it was only available in Expetriats stores. The hunt for the filling was not that easy either. There is only one Chinese Supermarket in Amsterdam Chinatown that holds selfmade lotusnut paste (and they also sell the white one!!!!). All the other Supermarkets only sell the ones in a tin (I really do not like them). I could just buy the salted duck eggs from any store in Chinatown, but I think I will salt my own eggs next year.

I will not be posting my recipe for mooncakes, because I followed the recipe of Florence. Of the couple of recipes I tried, this is the most workable one.

Tips:
  • Make sure to give new mooncake moulds a 24 hours oil bath treatment.
  • How much filling and skin dough you need, differs with every mould you use. If you have too much or too less, the mooncake will not take the print of the mould nicely.
My favourite Mooncakes are with white lotusnut filling and 2 egg yolks. What mooncakes do you like?

Monday, 10 September 2007

Centro Oberhausen - Germany

I found my camera again :-D!!.. Silly me.. I misplaced it, but my handsome boyfriend found it fortunately. There were still pictures on it from a few weeks ago when we were in Centro Oberhausen (suppose to be the biggest mall in Europe).

We went to Karl Grill after a day shopping. I ordered the smalles plate. It's called "Gypsy meat ball" and it came with big fries. Just like I like them. People in Holland, Belgium, Germany eat their fries with mayonaise. Very yummy. Kelvin ordered "Schnitzel mit Kartoffeln". The famous German Schnitzel is a thin slice of meat coated in breadcrumbs and fried. Kartoffeln is potato in German. People in Germany and the Benelux like their potatoes, like the Asians like their rice. It is not uncommon for people to eat potatoes daily.


After our German meal we needed some dessert! I noticed the Mövenpick ice cream shop immediately. This ice cream brand with Swiss orgin is quite famous and unfortunately not available in the Netherlands. I normally have my ice scream in a paper cup instead of a cookie scone, but I saw that they make the scones fresh! We litteraly watched the lady make our scone! I have never seen that in ice cream shops. The papaya taste was excellent and the rasberry yoghurt ice creams was great. Not too sweet, not too sour, just perfect!

Forgot to pick up some bradwurste (German sausages). For the next time.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Loh Mai Chi a.k.a. Muah Chee - Snow ball with Peanut filling

This chewy sweet snack shaped as a snow ball can be compared with Thong Yuen. Like the Thong Yuen, the dough is mainly maid with glutinious rice flour and the filling can vary. My favorite filling is the peanut sugar mix, but sweet red bean paste and milk/egg custard are also commonly available in Chinese bakery shops.



Ingredients (makes 12 pcs)
Dough
  • Glutinour Rice Flour - 200 grams
  • Corn Starch - 2 tbsp
  • Water - 300 ml
  • Peanut oil - 2 tbsp
Filling
  • Peanuts (roasted, not salted) - 100 grams
  • Granulated Sugar - 35 grams (Dutch, kristalsuiker)
Dust
  • Desiccated Coconut - 50 grams (Dutch, cocosrasp)
  • Glutinours Rice Flour - 50 grams

Mix the glutinous rice flour, corn starch and the water untill you have a smooth batter. Add the peanut oil and mix untill the mixture is blended and smooth.

Steam the batter over high heat for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by grinding the peanuts fine and mix it with granulated sugar.


After the steaming the batter should be turned into a sticky dough. Use a pair of chopsticks to stir the dough a bit. You will feel that the dough is very sticky and solid.


As the dough is very sticky, you will need some glutinous rice flour to dust the dough off. This way the dough will nog stick to your fingers, while you try to form it.

Use a tablespoon to scoop a big spoon full of dough into the flour.


Cover the dough with flour. Form the dough into a cirkle as big as your palm.


Fill with 1 table spoon of peanut mix. Close the opening kneading.
The ball is formed.

Dip the ball in water and cover with coconut.


Ready to be eaten!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Tokyo Cafe

Tokyo Cafe, on Spuiplein Amsterdam, was one of the first Japanese restaurants to introduce the all-you-can-eat formula in The Netherlands. Some call it "just stomach filling", some think the restaurant is a parody on Japanese food. Whatever you may say, the place is always fully booked.

The tables are as small as they come, 100cm x 100cm is a table for 2. This makes sense as they earn per filled seat. So the more seats, the better.

They just added some new items on the menu. Thought we should check it out! The picture below does not show the new items yet.

These are the items you can choose from. They call the Thursdays "deluxe" as you can order things like sashimi, fried oysters, which you cannot on other weekdays. Though you pay a couple of euro's more ofcours. Here a couple of dishes that we ordered.

The sashimi was not that fresh in the first "rounds". It got better as the evening went by. Funny chicken dumplings/balls (?). Guess they were desperate thinking of new dishes?

Yummy fried oysters, they were holding back on the lemons. The miniature Katsu Curry (my fav at Wagamama) was not too bad. The little green dish is the Ginger Pork, not very special. The seaweed salad tasted a bit like the dimsum jellyfish dish.

I liked the gyoza's though Kelvin is not too fond of them. The season special was mussels, not bad. Another new comer is the vegetable roll. Vegetable rolled in (nappa?) cabbage. Ooh well, we do need our greens right? So green tea ice cream for dessert :-) They actually serve the best green tea ice cream I had in Holland. Too bad they do not have red bean ice cream.

The food is not spectacular, but it makes a nice casual evening out. Hope they have a non smoking area soon. As the tables are so close to each other, it is very disturbing when the table next to you is smoking, while you are trying to eat.

The bill was €60 including tips for two.