Saturday, 26 April 2014

Spring Rolls – Lumpia (Filipino Style)

Posted by Kim Fong On 3:34 pm

For the longest time, whenever we'd go over to our Filipino friend's family's place for parties we'd gorge ourselves on mainly two dishes. One of them being spring rolls. I don't know what it was about these spring rolls that were a million times nicer than any restaurant's. We could eat an entire bowl full and be completely stuffed yet they still kept coming! And we'd just keep eating. Magical spring rolls!

A few years ago, our friend's mum showed me how she makes them. They were very simple. We tried to make them ourselves, soon after being shown, but it just didn't turn out. So we left that alone.

After a few years of not having these magical spring rolls, recently our friend's wife told us about her version. And after trying hers, we got so excited and re-energised about making them. They were similar, except our friend's wife added more pepper and some prawns.

We decided to trying a small batch and they turned out beautifully! It was super tasty as if they had MSG in them but they didn't! It was fantastic! I combined our friend's mum's and wife's recipes and below is our version of these magical spring rolls!

300g mince pork
100g fresh prawns, minced/chopped finely
1 carrot, finely grated
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
~1/2 Tblspn oyster sauce
~1 Tblspn soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
~2 to 4 Tblspn finely chopped fresh coriander and/or chives (optional)
1 x 50pkt frozen spring roll pastry (with egg)
Vegetable oil for deep frying or shallow fry with slightly more oil

1. In a bowl combine all the ingredients mentioned above minus the spring roll pastry. Mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Set aside.

2. Remove frozen spring roll pastry from freezer and allow to defrost, for most brands, it takes about 50 minutes.

3. Take defrosted pastry out of the packet and wrap with a clean damp tea towel.

4. Place a sheet of pastry on a plate so it sits like a diamond. Place about 1 to 1 1/2 tspn of mince mixture across, on the side slightly closest to you. Fold the corner closest to you over the mixture to form a tight/snug roll and roll away from you. Fold in the left and right corners and continue to roll. Secure with a dab of water at the top tip. Repeat with remaining spring roll sheets.

My funky rolling instructions
Note: If you’re confused about my instructions here is a good guide.

5. Heat oil in fry pan (or deep fryer). You know when the oil is hot enough when you stick something wooden (I use a chopstick) in the oil, it starts to bubble around the wooden item.

6. Slowly lower the spring rolls in, if you’re kind of shallow frying, turn spring rolls after they’re brown on one side (about 1 to 2 minutes per side). depending how big your fry pan is, I usually do about 5 to 6 at one time. Once browned remove from oil, allow excess oil to drip back into pan and place on clean paper towels to further drain away excess oil. Repeat for remaining spring rolls.

7. Serve hot to warm with some chilli sauce on the side.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Chicken Supreme with Curry Bread Dumplings

Posted by Kim Fong On 8:16 pm

After many conversations with OG about favourite dishes we grew up with, there was always mention of Playboy Chicken. First I thought, oh skinless chicken! Or a chicken and rabbit dish. I soon learnt, it’s a dish from the Playboy magazine. I think further questions about the circumstance wasn’t really warranted. So I moved on. Tell me more about this dish. “It was creamy, with capsicum and curry dumplings.” Sounded good. So I emailed for the recipe from his mum and it came looking like this:

Fortunately it was transcribed for me also.

So below is my slightly amended version. I didn't have any cognac or sherry, so I just used a couple tablespoons of whiskey and we had a bit of fun setting it a light!

I tried to take photos as I went to demonstrate outcomes of certain stages. However, as this was my first time, I wasn't sure if this was correct. It turned out perfect, so I’ll be sure to post more photos upon my next attempt.

1 cup flour (~100grams)
1 1/2 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
1 tspn curry powder
1/4 tspn turmeric powder
3 Tblspn butter, chopped (~44g)
1 Tblspn chives, finely chopped
1 egg
1/3 cup milk

Supreme Chicken
~3 Tblspn butter
1/2 medium brown onion, 1/2 inch dice
500g chicken fillets (breast or thighs – I prefer thighs) cut into big pieces
1/2 medium green capsicum, 1/2 inch dice
1/2 medium red capsicum, 1/2 inch dice
~150g button mushrooms, quartered
2 Tblspn  cognac
3 Tblspn dry sherry
1 1/2 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
3/4 cup cream (regular thickened cream or cooking cream works fine)
3 Tblspn butter, melted
3 Tblspn plain flour
salt/pepper to taste

1. Prepare dumpling mixture – Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, curry powder, turmeric. Add butter to flour mixture and rub butter with flour mixture until it resembles fine bread crumbs. 

Butter rubbed into flour mixture resembling fine bread crumbs

2. Add egg, milk and chives. Mix until blended. Batter should be lumpy and not too firm. Set aside.

Mixture after egg, milk & chives

3. In a large skillet (heavy base fry pan) over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Turn heat up to high and add onion. When onions turns translucent and chicken fillets. Brown chicken off.
Note: If the chicken catches at the bottom of the pan, that’s normal.
4. Add capsicum and turn heat down to medium. Sauté until capsicum softens.
5. Add cognac and sherry and set aflame. When flames die down add mushrooms, stock and cream. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
6. In a separate bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of melted butter and flour. Add to simmering chicken pan. Stir constantly until sauce thickens. Add salt/pepper to taste.
7. Using tablespoons to form dumplings, drop them into the pan. The dumplings will be partly submerged. Turn heat down to very low and cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes to cook the dumplings.

Dumplings just added to pan

Dumplings after it's cooked

Cooked dumplings from the top view

Note: Do not stir dumplings in pan.

8. When dumplings are cooked, serve chicken, dumplings and veges hot.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Fruit and Custard Tart

Posted by Kim Fong On 11:45 pm

Last month was Dad’s birthday. Which means I’m back to my birthday cake making duties. Deciding what to make often is the biggest challenge when it comes to making birthday cakes. Asking the VIP what they want, I often get “whatever you want to make for me”. It’s tough to choose the right cake for the right person. And I can tell you how tough.

I often look to magazines, TV Shows and cook books for inspiration. For this cake, I was watching a New Zealand cooking show and they were making beignets (French donuts) that were stuffed with stewed apples and rolled in cinnamon. Seemed pretty straight forward, so I thought to try that. But wait! Dad doesn’t like cinnamon. Okay, let’s try raspberries and topped with white chocolate and rolling in macadamia nut meal. Then suddenly I remembered, Dad LOVES custard. So I'll stuff it with custard! Ok that's like profiteroles! I was settled with that plan… so I thought. I decided to make the custard on one day, then the beignets, and then stuff them on the next day. I decided to use the custard (Crème pâtissière) recipe based on SBS’s website, from their croquembouche recipe. Without any regard for the amount of ingredients being used, I ended up with a lot of custard! What do I do with a tonne of custard? Make a TART!

So here we are! After considering 3 different recipes – this is my fruit and custard tart. Suffice to say my family demolished the tart. So I take it as a good sign.

The base is an almond meal base – like my New York Baked Cheesecake.

1 litre milk
175g white sugar
1 tspn vanilla essence
50g butter
2 eggs plus 4 egg yolks
95g cornflour, sifted (I ran out of cornflour while making this so it was a 50/50 cornflour and custard powder)

1 1/2 cups almond flour/meal
1 1/8 cup plain flour
1/3 cup caster sugar
135g butter, chilled and chopped

200g strawberries
5 kiwi fruits
Whatever other fruit that takes your fancy. Suggestions include: raspberries, passion-fruit, blueberries, peaches, rock-melon, honey dew, mango, pineapple, figs.

1. Combine the milk, a quarter of the sugar, vanilla and butter in a large saucepan and heat gently until hot (not boiling), then remove from the heat.
2. Whisk the remaining sugar with the eggs and egg yolks in a large bowl until pale. Add cornflour and a little of the hot milk and whisk well. Whisk this mixture into the hot milk and return the saucepan to medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook for around 3 to 5 minutes, until thick, smooth and glossy. Transfer to a clean bowl to cool.

3. Preheat oven to 160C. Grease base and sides of a large tart tin with melted butter.
4. Place almond meal, flour, sugar and butter into a bowl. Rub mixture with your fingertips. You can also use a cake mixer with the dough hook attachment. The mixture will form coarse breadcrumbs. You know this mixture is ready when you squeeze a handful in your hand and it stays that shape.
5. Place the base mixture in the tin and press gently with fingers to line the tin until even and then smooth out with the back of the spoon. I suggest doing the sides first before you press down the base. Bake for about 15 minutes or until light golden. Remove from oven and set aside.

Constructing tart
6. Pour cooled custard into baked base. Smooth out with a bake of a spoon or spatula.
7. Slice up fruit and arrange accordingly. Some like to pile the fruit high. Others prefer more custard, so less fruit.
8. Serve with a dusting of icing sugar.

Note:  I had a little leftover pastry and custard, so I make a few little ones too.

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