Monday, March 30, 2009

Peach Crumble Cheesecake

Heather asked why I haven't blog for so long and I have been asking myself that too. Laziness most probably sums it up but that is not the entire reason. 
I love the part about the food - cooking, eating and even the photo sessions (have tons of photos waiting to be posted) but not so much the latter part of blogging, ie the photo editing, composing and typing. The most daunting task for me is converting my Chinese thinking mind into English hardcopy. To put down in English words what I am thinking in Chinese calls for some major reconstruction thinking (a lot of brain cells) and so very time consuming. I told hubby I need to go for English course. Hubby sometimes helped to correct my grammar and punctuation! 
So, when I do not appear in this space for a while you know I am taking a break from thinking... in English only ie :-p.

I have done this cake three times for different occasions and always a crowd winner. The recipe came from a cook book Mui Fung gave me 4 years ago for my birthday. It is called 'A Touch Of Classic Baking' by Kevin Chai.

This is a simple basic cheesecake but with the addition of the peach and the crumbles on top, the humble cake gained superstar status in my book.
Here is the recipe.

Peach Crumble Cheesecake
500g cream cheese
100g caster sugar
3 eggs
250ml whipping cream
2 T cornstarch
1 can (825g) halved peach, drained and wiped dry

250g digestive biscuit, crushed
120g butter (melted)

150g plain flour
40g caster sugar
75g butter

Preheat oven to 160C
1. Combine finely crushed biscuit (I put all the biscuits in the food processor and gave them a good 1 minute blitz) and melted butter well. Press evenly and compactly into the bottom of a 9" cake pan.
2. Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, making sure each egg is properly mixed in before adding the next. 
3. Stir in whipping cream and cornstarch, mix well.
4. Spread a thin layer (about 1/2 cm thick) of the cheese mixture on top of biscuit.
5.  Arrange peaches onto the layer and pour in the remaining cheese mixture to cover the peaches.
6. For the topping, combine flour and sugar, rub in butter until mixture resembles bread crumbs.
7. Sprinkle over the cheese mixture.
8. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool completely and refrigerate. Serve cold.   

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Oaty ChocoChips Cookies

It was a school holiday project for Leanne and my hair-pulling strategy to get her off her PSP. Go to Hungry Hamster for the recipe as we followed it to the T except for the chocochips which we threw in a few handfuls (definitely more than 12 oz) and added some chopped walnuts as those were the only nuts I had in hand. 

A true winner with me for its simplicity and the lovely texture which was crisp on the outside and moist/chewy inside. 

The oat content make this indulgence a healthy snack in my book *hookwink*and between my two girls and me we polished off these in one movie sitting!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sawi Korean Style

Koreans do pickles as much as the Chinese and the Japanese. Similar yet with distinct differences. This dish is not quite a pickle, more a salad, I think. It reflects Korea's cuisine - rugged, simple, unpretentious and no fuss and frills. The good thing about this dish is it can be eaten as soon as it is prepared, no need to wait for days like the Korean kimchi.

Pickled mustard greens
300g mustard greens aka sawi aka sayur bunga
1 fresh red chilli
2 thin slices ginger, julienned
2 cloves garlics, peeled and chopped
sesame seeds, toasted
sesame oil

Wash the leaves off all grit and dirt. Use drinking water in the last rinse, drain and pat dry.
Gather in a bunch and chop them into about 1/2 cm bits.
Use about 1 teaspoon of salt, rub into the veggie until they turn deep green and sweat. Leave for about 30 minutes. 
Wash the salted sawi, drain and squeeze out as much of the moisture as possible.
Add the rest of the ingredients, adjust sugar and vinegar to suit one's taste. 
Drizzle a teaspoon of sesame oil. Mix well.
Best served chilled and with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Thank You Note

Hubby and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on the 1st of March this year. That sounds like a lifetime but actually feels like the blink of an eye. Time does fly especially when we are taking care of 5 lively children. 
We had a lot of plans as to how to spend this special day but then everything changed when Heather, our eldest daughter decided she would be home for the occasion. She started planning last year when she realised she couldn't be home for x'mas or CNY. She wanted it to be a surprise but realised she had to let one of us in on her plans to make sure we do not fly off to somewhere at the time. She decided to surprise her daddy as he has always been the one giving surprises. So I was made to conspire in my own surprise anni celebration. I didn't anticipate this job to be sooo difficult...I had to turned down a culinary trip to Changmai, a visit to NZ to see Don and a Rod Steward concert in Singapore!! And my hubby was getting very upset as the date approached and I was refusing to go anywhere he suggested. I was bursting to tell too when the younger siblings asked when the che che be home but I had to keep mum.

We spent one night at the Kinabalu National Park as this was the place where we first met more than 35 years ago. Our honeymoon 30 years ago was, yes, you guessed it, here too. This has to be our favorite place on earth. 
The surprise gift Heather presented us was most touching and couldn't have been more appropriate-- a dinner by a French chef. 
For Kevin, it was like a dream come true whereby he got to work closely with a chef (he called himself sous chef for that day) and he got to ask the chef all the culinary questions he needed answering so much so that William let him on to a secret. If he ever get a chance to dine at a top restaurant in Paris, Tokyo or New York, keep all these questions flowing, the chefs might think he is a Michelin inspector and he just might be lucky enough to be served the best meal they have to offer. He even got the chef to teach him how to sharpen all his knives. 
I was told to go do my nails, pamper myself and only come downstairs when the guests arrive. I was also told not to take any pictures. So I had to steal all these pictures from hub's camera. One shot I would love to have taken was my three girls serving the seated guests. They were so good! Thank you, girls.
The chef at the market and....

all the hard work that went into making the most enchanting evening...

Thank you, Heather for your love and thoughtfulness. William, thank you for so generously sharing with us some of your culinary secrets and artistic skills. 
Go to Terri for the night's food review as she summed it all up perfectly. For us it was an eye-opener as far as entertaining at home is concerned. Simplicity is the keyword but having a chef certainly helps. 

I felt so inadequate as I had so limited equipment and kitchen utensils for them to work with but look how far a little creativity can get you. They sourced all these from my kitchen,  store room and garden. 

And turned an ugly duckling into a swan... a beautiful table setting...

To our dear family and friends who shared with us the lovely evening, thank you for making this a truly memorable anniversary. 
We would have loved to share this occasion with all our family and friends, however the logistics and location would have made it impossible to make it the intimate, memorable and culinary experience that it was.   
We are deeply grateful to God for all these years we are permitted to be together. No words are ever adequate to express our deep gratitude.