Clickin' Kitchen

Simple. Scrumptious. Succulent


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Pizza Quadrata

Hmm…there are always times when I crave for a pizza.  No matter how sinful it is, it can be comforting and appetizing.  When the moment hits, I like to make my Pizza Quadrata.  This was a recipe that came from Jamie Oliver’s cooking book.  And I’ve got to say that his recipe for the pizza crust is so good, that it’s hard to get it wrong!  Of course his quick and easy tomato sauce was yummy too, but I was too lazy to follow his entire steps, so I just made do with what I had available, but it turned out a lot better than expected.  The toppings were of course random….whatever that I felt like having and had ingredients for.  But it’s great to share what I made tonight…so yummy! I’m sure you’ll love your homemade pizza too.  I don’t think I’ll be heading out for pizza anytime soon, since it’s so easy to make your own!  Oh, and did I mention I made this with a thin crust?  haha…it’s so much better than the thick bread-y crust that makes you feel so stuffed after eating a slice or 2 ;p

Pizza Dough recipe

250g bread flour
1/4 ts sea salt (level)
4g dried packet yeast
1/4 ts of white caster sugar
1 tb olive oil
163ml lukewarm water

1. In a bowl, mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes.

2. Sieve flour and salt onto clean work surface and make a well in the middle.

3. Pour (1) into the well (3 tb at a time).  Using a fork, bring the flour gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid.  Keep mixing until all the flour starts coming together.  Knead until the dough is smooth and springy (about 15 mins)

4. Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover with a damp cloth and place it in a warm room for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size.

5. Preheat the oven at 160 deg C

6. Remove the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it a little bit. Shape the dough into the tray of choice.

7. Dust the tray with flour and spread the dough thinly across the tray.

8. Bake for 20 mins at 160 deg C.  Remove the half cooked dough to place tomato sauce and toppings before finishing up the pizza in the oven.

Tomato sauce recipe

1 tb Olive oil
4-5 cloves of garlic
a bunch of fresh basil leaves (dried is alright too)
1 1/2 cans of 411g diced tomatoes
salt and ground black pepper

1. In a large non-stick pan, pour in the olive oil and add the garlic.  Fry until the garlic has changed colour slightly, then add in the torn basil leaves and tomatoes.

2. Using the back of a wooden spoon, smash the tomatoes as much as possible.

3. Once the tomato sauce comes to a boil, season with salt and pepper.

4. Continue squashing the tomatoes until they become as tiny as possible.  Turn the heat down and simmer to concentrate the flavors.  Once the sauce thickens, turn heat off.  Your tomato sauce is ready for use.

Toppings recipe

1) Hawaiian

Need I say more about the topiings?  Ham and pineapple folks!!!  Oh, I put in some nice pork sausages too! Oh…that extra bite…yummmmmmmmy!

2) Chessy Broccoli

This has 3 types of cheeses and garnished with broccoli and fresh basil leaves.  The 3 cheeses include: Parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella.

3) Teriyaki Chicken

The chicken was marinated with teriyaki sauce for 15 mins and pan-fried until 80% cooked.  Once placed on the pizza with slices of onion, the combination is divine…

4) Bacon-Squid-0-mania with bonito flakes

Squid is cut into thin rings and spread all over the top of the pizza, together with the bacon bits.  Finally, when the pizza is just about to be served, sprinkle bonito flakes atop the bacon and squid.

Assembling the pizza

1. Once the dough is ready (after the dough has been baked 20 mins), we’ll put the tomato sauce on the dough (on 3 of the 4 quarters) as well as the uncooked toppings.  This includes the bacon and squid (in one quarter), teriyaki chicken (in another quarter).  Replace the pizza back into the oven for 15 mins.

2. Remove the pizza from the oven. In the quarter of the pizza that holds the cheesy broccoli, add the cheddar and parmesan cheese. In the quarter that holds the Hawaiian pizza, add the ham, sausage and pineapple.  Return the pizzafor 5 mins (to enable to cheese to melt).

3. Remove the pizza from the oven.  Add in the broccoli florets and basil leaves.  Return the pizza into the oven for another 5-10 mins.

4. Finally, add the mozzarella cheese on the entire pizza.  Return the pizza into the oven.  Once the cheese melts, remove the pizza.

5. Before serving, add the bonito flakes onto the quarter that holds the bacon-squid-o-mania topping.

DIG in!!! =)


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Cream of Mushroom Soup

Elise LOVES cream of mushroom soup.  Eversince she had her first bowl of this soup at my mother-in-law’s place, she keeps asking for it.  Well, it so happened that I caught Ina Garten cooking her version of the mushroom soup on Barefoot Contessa, and decided to try out her recipe =).

Elise actually asked for a second helping of the soup, although she didn’t end up finishing half of the second helping =(.  Escher did not want the soup initially, but ended up finishing his bowl of soup, in addition to having rice, chicken, etc.  So my verdict…Although I didn’t have as many ingredients that she did (I just got the chicken, leeks and the cheapest mushrooms available), it turned out wonderful!  The soup was very fresh (after all, most of the ingredients were fresh), light and definitely yummy.  It might have been even better should I have included all the other ingredients, but hey, when you’ve got 3 active children to run after the entire day, I don’t think you’ll have much energy to go buy all the necessary stuff to make soup.  Besides, “less is more”?

Maybe you should try it *wink*

Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe

2 packets of sliced button mushroom
1 packet of needle mushroom
1 leek
1 small chicken
2 carrots
1 onion
5 cloves of garlic
1 large bay leaf
3/4 tb butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt & Pepper
1 1/2 tb plain flour

Steps

1. Place a pot of water with chicken, carrot, onion, garlic, bay leaf and bring to boil.  Note: depending on the size of the pot, the water may or may not cover the entire chicken.  It really depends on how concentrated you want your chicken stock to be.

2. Continue boiling the stock until the chicken is really soft.  How do you determine that?  Use a chopstick, knife, fork (anything) and poke into the chicken.  you want the chicken to be so soft and tender that there’s barely any resistance when you poke into it.

3. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Note: You don’t need the stock to be too tasty because you will be adding more things to the final product of the soup.  So keep the salt level down, once you can taste a slight tinge of saltiness, that’s sufficient.

4. Meanwhile, cut the leek at the portion where the leaves meet the stem.  Half the leek and wash the leaves thoroughly!  There tends to be an accumulation of sand/soil in between the leaves.  Chop up the halved leaves into 1cm length.

5. Warm the butter in another pot, then add in the chopped leeks.

6. When the leeks are starting to brown, add in the mushrooms and cook the mixture until the mushrooms turn brown and have lost some of their water.

7. Add in the flour and stir the mixture thoroughly.

8. Add in a ladle or two of the chicken stock and scrap the bottom on the pot to remove all the juicy goodness.

9. Next, add in the stock.  Now, you don’t have to use up all the chicken stock.  Just dish up sufficient amount of stock that you’ll need for this meal.

10.  Add in the needle mushroom.  Cook the mixture a about 5 minutes to let the taste of the needle mushroom exude into the soup.

11. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Lastly, add in the heavy cream.

12. Garnish the mushroom soup with fresh basil leaves.  The leaves add a dimension of freshness to the soup.

Serve while hot =)

 


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Modified Taiwanese Noodles (courtesy of Steamy Kitchen)

One of my favorite noodle dishes is the 炸酱面 (fried sauce noodles) that I had in Ann Arbor, MI when I was studying.  I suspect that might be the Korean version, since it was sold at U-Cafe (University Cafe).  I have yet to taste the same flavors in Singapore. I had one at a Hong Kong/Shanghainese Cafe years ago and seriously speaking, the taste it just not right.  Recently, I had chanced upon the a hawker stall selling this wonderful noodle, but again, I wasn’t impressed.

One morning, I received an email from Steamy Kitchen‘s Jaden and she had posted a recipe for Taiwanese noodles.  The post/recipe was for Taiwanese noodles, and it looked superb! So yummy!!! I decided to have a go at cooking it and made slight changes that I’d love to share with all of you. I have to say that I really like my rendition of her Taiwanese noodles.  I added in basil leaves in place of the spring onions.  The basil leaves gave a very refreshing taste to the noodle dish, adding an addition layer of flavors.  My picky eaters loved it and that made me smile.  It’s so hard to get them to eat, so anything that can help really makes my day.  Thanks Jaden!

My modified Taiwanese Noodles recipe

490g ground pork
2 tb dark soy sauce
1 1/2 ts light soy sauce
2 ts balsamic vinegar
1 ts Chinese five-spice powder
1 tb brown sugar
1 large shallot
5 cloves garlic
3 middle sized bamboo shoots, diced
4 shitake mushrooms, diced
4-6 sweet basil leaves
Dried Noodles (I used flat noodles, but you can use whichever type that you like)

1. Measure the sauces, spices and sugar and set aside for later use.

2. Fry (in a wok) the onions first until translucent.  Add in the ground pork and stir fry till 80% cooked.  Add 1/2 cup water to help the pork cook.  Set the ground pork aside and fry the garlic until you can smell the fragrance of the garlic. Mix the garlic into the ground pork and onion.

3. Once the pork is almost cooked, add in the mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Cover the wok and let the steam cook the ingredients (1-2 mins).

4. Add in the sauce and stir the mixture evenly (this will be the meat sauce that you’ll place on top of the noodles).

5. Separately, boil a pot of water and cook the noodles until soft.

6. Plate up the noodles and place a scoop of meat sauce over it.

7. Roll together the basil leaves and slice them.  Scatter a pinch of sliced basil leaves over the meat sauce.

Yummy yummy yummy!


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Homemade potato crisps

I love savory snacks!  In fact, it pains me that there’s so limited savory snacks at my home.  My husband and children are mostly sweet-food lovers, no let me take that back.  They are all snack lovers!!! Thankfully for that, I don’t get to finish a bag of potato chips or a cup of ice cream myself.  Yes I should be thankful for that, else I will be twice or triple my size.

I crave for snacks alot lately – hopefully it’s because I’m breastfeeding – but I’ve always had the issue with store bought snacks!  1) Too salty, 2) too flavorful, 3) full of MSG! So naturally, I’ll tend towards making my own snacks.  But making your own snacks is tiring…all the preparation, cleaning up etc…  When it comes to making potato chips, the biggest problem is the preparation.  Using the mandolin to get the chips to the exact thickness is a pain! And the pain comes in all forms because I never fail to cut myself with the mandolin too.  Sigh…yes…I’m quite careless.

My pain has been greatly reduced when I bought my food processor a few months ago.  In fact, having the food processor in my home has made things a lot easier, albeit the washing up does increase somewhat.  Just drop the food through the inlet and thin slices of potatoes are ready to be washed and fried! Technology is indeed amazing!

I decided to split the 4 potatoes into 2 batches – fried and baked.  The result of the baked potatoes – FAILED.  All the potato slices were burnt!  Thankfully the fried ones turned out decent and yummy enough for the family.  Phew…

Potato crisps

Potatoes
Salted water
Oil

1. Slice the potatoes really thinly with a mandolin (or in my case with a food processor).  My potato slices were 1.2mm thin.

2. Soak the potato slices in salted water for 15 mins.  This is to wash away the starch from the potatoes

3. Fill a pot sufficiently to deep fry the potato slices.  The temperature of the oil is important.  I didn’t have a thermometer, but a rough estimate is when you see the swirls forming in the oil.  Don’t let the oil boil, because that means the oil is way too hot and your potato slices with burn instantly.

4. Place the potato crisps on paper towel to soak up the excess oil.

Eat as you fry.  It’s best when freshly out of the bubbling oil ;p

 


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Asian style Beef Ravioli

 

What do you do with excess Asian dumpling skin and minced beef marinated with carrots and shallots?  Well, I tried very hard to think of something Asian, but nothing good came out of there, so I thought of my good old spaghetti.  Ohh…the taste of tomato-based beef sauce with pasta just completely made me drool.  But of course, I had to do some improvisation.  Afterall, I do have Asian dumpling skin left over that I want to finish up before the arrival of Chinese New Year.  So what do I do, I married the both! hahaha…and the results…I’ll leave it to you to decide =)

Asian style Beef Ravioli

500g minced beef
1 carrot
5 shallots
salt, sugar and pepper
Oil for frying
1/2 can tomato paste
1/2-1 cup of grated Parmasean cheese
25 pieces of Asian dumpling skin

Directions:

1. Dice the carrots finely together with the shallots (about 4) and mix them into the minced beef. Add a little salt. Leave aside for at least 30 minutes.

2. Fry garlic and remaining shallots with a little oil.  Once onions start to turn translucent, add the beef.  When the beef is about 80% cooked, add  in the tomato paste.  Mix well.  Add in the cheese, salt, sugar and pepper to taste.

3. Once flavor is to your liking, let cool.

4. Using the Asian dumpling skin, wrap the meat into various shapes (as you like it).  These are some of the shapes we wrapped them into.

5. You can boil them or surprise surprise fry them!  Both tasted wonderful!

6. To the rest of the unused minced beef, we added more tomato paste, water, sugar and salt and made a sauce of it and had it together with the “Beef Ravioli(s)”.  Oh yum! Especially when savoured with Tabasco sauce!!!

Have fun experimenting!


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Update: Homemade Bak Kwa (BBQ Pork Jerky)

To all those inspired to make your own bak kwa, I’ve got an update for you!!!  I found another recipe that is MUCH better than the previous one!  Of course, I couldn’t be bothered to find all the stated recipes, so to Bigheadmagicmad, I had to make slight revisions to your recipe… But it was great that I found your recipe…it definitely made the Bak Kwa a lot more similar to what you get outside!

Update: Homemade Bak Kwa

500g of Minced Pork (do not get those that are too fat…the fat burns really easily!)

Marinate
3/4 tb fish sauce
slightly less than 1 tb light soya sauce
1/2 Cup of coarse sugar
1/16 ts 5 spiced powder
1/4 ts of cinnamon powder
1/4 ts of white pepper powder
3/4 ts of rose water
3/4 ts of hua tiao chiew
1/4 ts of corriander seeds powder
Few drops of red colouring
1/2 ts of dark soya sauce

Honey for brushing during the grilling

Directions:

1. Mix all the ingredients except for the pork in a large bowl until the sugar dissolves. Add the minced pork and marinate overnight (this will allow the meat to absorb all the flavors from the ingredients).

2. Spread the marinated minced pork thinly onto a piece of aluminium foil. Note: If the meat is too thick, it feels like you’re eating pork chop, if it’s too thin, it tears really easily. So try to make it about 3mm in thickness…I know it’s challenging, I still haven’t got it perfect yet!)

3. Place the aluminium foil over a charcoal grill.  You have to use the grill to get the same effect as what you do in the shops.  It makes such a difference with the charred smell and taste.  Note: Beware of the fire.  The charcoal cannot be flamming – if the fire is too hot, it will burn the meat really quickly.  The best fire is to have the charcoal glowing, but no flames should be seen.  In the shops, the fire tends to be really big, but remember, they’ve already dried the minced pork.  In our case, the pork has not been dried yet!

4. Once you are able to lift the entire sheet of semi-cooked minced pork from the aluminium foil, flip it over (removing the aluminium foil in the process) and brush a little honey over the sheet of semi-cooked minced pork.  Keep flipping the sheet of minced pork from side-to-side (applying a litle honey to the meat each time you flip it) to prevent it from being burnt and charred.

5. When the sheet of minced pork has dried, consider it done!

 


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Homemade Dumpling (水饺)

This idea came about when I saw my children’s childcare, Caelum Junior, plan to have the kids make Siew Mai during their cooking class for snack.  It also sparked some memory of my failed dumpling years ago.  It spurred me on to try making homemade dumplings again. This time, I looked up the recipe for both Siew Mai and Dumpling and compared the recipe before coming up with one that is a combination of the 2.  This is really to ensure that I can use the ingredients for both Dumpling and Siew Mai.  hehe…yeah the laziness in me decided that this would kill 2 birds with 1 stone =).

Of course, Elise really wanted to help me with making the dumplings, but the preparation was a great deal more challenging than it seemed, so I had to send her away to play with her brother, while my helper and I chucked at getting the meat filling ready for the wrapping of the dumplings.  Thank goodness, the meat filling took only about 30 mins with both us at it.  I have to thank Masak sedap! and this youtube video “Pork and Shrimp Siu Mai” for the wonderful recipes that enabled me to better my last attempt at making the dumplings.  These dumplings were alot more moist and tasty, a hit with my picky-eaters.

Homemade dumplings, 水饺

500 gm of minced pork
500gm of prawn
4 water chestnuts
3 mushrooms
40 pc of dumpling skins (not the ones for wantons)

For marinating the minced meat:

2 shallots
3 cloves of garlic
1 tb of soya sauce
1 ts of chinese wine
1/2 ts of corn flour
1 ts of salt
1 tb sesame oil

For marinating the prawn:

2 ts of corn flour
2 ts of salt

Directions:

1. De-shell and de-vein the prawns.  Don’t throw the prawn shells away, keep them for the soup.

2. Wash and “clean” the prawn meat with half of the marinating ingredients above. Mix well, then wash the prawns thoroughly again.

3. Cut the prawns into small bite size pieces, then marinate the prawns with the remaining marinating ingredients again.  Next, dry the prawn bites.  Make sure that the prawn is as dry as possible.  This helps to keep the prawns crunchy.

4. Finely dice up the water chestnut, mushroom, shallots and garlic.  Add to the minced pork.  Similarly, add the remaining marinating ingredients to the minced pork and mix really well.  Once well mixed, add the “dried” prawn meat to the minced pork.  Mix well.  And while mixing, lift up the meat mixture and slam it against the bowl.  Do this several times until the meat starts to lump together and stick together.  This helps to make the meat springy (similar to the method used for making fishballs)

5. When the meat mixture is done, cling wrap it and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.  This helps to firm up the meat.  I only had time to put it in for 1 hour, but it turned out just as nice.

6. After at least 1 hour, take the meat mixture out of the fridge and get ready to wrap your dumplings.

7. Place 1 full teaspoon of meat mixture in the centre of the dumpling skins, wet the circumference of the dumpling skin with water then fold the dumpling skin over the meat and seal the “mouth” of the dumpling close.  Press the skin tightly against each other (but try not to tear the dumpling skin because the meat will fall when boiling)

8. Boil the broth using the prawn shells. When the soup boils, drop the dumplings into the boiling soup. Let boil for 2-3 minutes and it’s ready to eat!

Have it with noodles or on its own! Oh…so yummy!