Panda Bread

Sunday, 27 September 2009


Sorry for my lack of activity and visits for the past few days. My in-laws are here and we have been traveling around a lot. We will be heading to Cornwall next week, so here's my last recipe before I leave - a really cute and delicious Panda bread! Saw this over at Not quite Nigella and couldn't resist baking this. The red blobs on top were supposed to form a heart shape, but due to my lack of such skills, it looks like a floating ugly ribbon.


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Panda Bread

Printable recipe
By Pig Pig's Corner

Prep time: 3 hrs
Cook time: 30 mins
Yield: 9 x 4" loaf


Ingredients:
  • 210g 1 egg yolk + rice milk (i.e. use 1 egg plus enough rice milk to make up to 210 g)
  • 230g bread flour
  • 70g cake flour
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 4.5g salt
  • 1 packet (7g) instant yeast
  • 18g unsalted butter - softened at room temperature
  • 8g green tea powder - dissolved in 10g boiling water
  • 8g cocoa powder - dissolved in 8g boiling water
  • A few drops of red colouring

Directions:

  • In a microwave-safe bowl, lightly beat together the yolk and milk. Microwave for 30 sec.
  • In a clean mixing bowl, put in flour, sugar, salt, yeast. Mix to combine.
  • Add milk and egg mixture and butter to dry mixture.
  • Using and electric mixer with a dough hook attached, knead until elastic. The dough was a bit sticky, so I added about 1/2 tbs each of bread flour and cake flour to make it less sticky. I left it to knead for about 20 mins.
  • Divide dough (about 560g) into 3 parts: 60g for chocolate, 185g for plain white, 25g for red, the rest (about 290g) for green
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  • Add chocolate paste to 60g dough and knead until well combined.
  • Add red colouring to 25g dough and knead until well combined.
  • Add green tea paste to 290g dough and knead until well combined.
  • Loosely wrap each dough in cling film, prove for 40 mins.
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  • Knead/ fold each dough a few times to re-distribute the air. Prove for another 30 mins.
To shape & assemble:

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1. Shape 70g of plain dough for the face and 2 pieces of 20g chocolate dough for the eyes.Shape to 5.5-6 inches in length.

2. Fill the gap in between the eyes with 20g plain dough.


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3. Roll out and place the remaining plain dough over the shaped dough.


4. Divide the remaining chocoate dough into 2 pieces for the ears.




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5. Use 20g of green tea dough to fill up the gap in between the ears.


6. Use 40g of green tea dough to cover the ears.




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7. Make a slit on the top green tea dough.


8. For the heart shape, shape the red dough into a cylinder shape. Cut into 2 lengthwise. Place these 2 in the slit. Leaving a little gap in between the dough.




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9. Fill in the gap with 15g of green dough.


10. Roll out and wrap the rest of the green tea dough all around the patterned dough. Leave the bottom unwrapped.




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11. Place dough in a lined loaf pan.


12. Cover with cling film. Let prove for about 60 mins in an enclosed area (i.e. microwave/ oven). I placed it in a microwave together with a cup of hot water.

  • Bake at 200℃ for 25-30 mins.
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  • Slice and enjoy!
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  • Delicious with Nutella!
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Hope you enjoyed that! Now cream teas, here we come!


Easter 2007 Trip 343-2
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Chinese @ Pearl Liang [Restaurant Review]

Friday, 25 September 2009

I have a particular kinship for Paddington area, especially as I lived and trained in that part of town for a few years of my university life. Unfortunately, the area itself is a bit run down and one of my lecturers had said that the location is a “cesspit of evil in London” (but surely far better still than *gasp* South London). Regardless, times are a-changing and new developments such as Paddington Central are striving to bring up the market value of developments here, helped in part with fairly posh restaurant Pearl Liang.


Pearl Liang, London 01

Strangely, it was very quiet on a Saturday night, half full at most. Nevertheless, we had made a reservation for our group of 10. For Chinese dinners, numbering 10 to 14 in a party isn’t particularly uncommon, yet Pearl Liang doesn’t seem to have a lot of tables big enough to fit us. It was a bit cramp around our table and three of the seats were smaller than the rest, although I didn’t notice this until after the meal, despite wondering why my butt seemed larger than usual the whole dinner.


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We decided to go with three ‘appetisers’, the first being a ‘Mixed hors d’oeuvre’ set, very reminiscent of the ‘Four seasons’ course typically served in Malaysian Chinese restaurants; the head waiter was particularly helpful in making sure there was sufficient quantity to share amongst the whole table. Starting in the forefront of the picture, the fried ribs in salt plum and honey was delicious and the first to be finished. Moving clockwise, the peppercorn baby squid was not rubbery, fresh off the wok and had just enough salt. On the far side was the ‘Phoenix king prawns with crispy pastry’; I felt this to be quite ordinary but the PigPig enjoyed it especially with the generous drizzles of mayonnaise (she also reckons the mayo has some wasabi mixed in). I quite enjoyed the fried spring rolls but the PigPig reckoned it was a bit mushy inside. I’m not a big fan of fried seaweed (in the middle) but other people around the table were and they said it was good and didn’t reek of oil.


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Mixed hors d’oeuvre


Next up was the ‘Soup of the day’ which happened to be made from preserved pak choi, carrots and pork, quite a traditional recipe. Although I’m not a big fan of soup myself, the rest of the predominantly Malaysian Chinese table were, not a big surprise as most of us had grown up with soup being part of the normal dinner menu (sweetcorn soup not being a traditional dish). Anyway the soup was good, tasty and had all the sweetness from its ingredients.


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Soup of the day
Pearl Liang, London 03
Ingredients of soup served separately.

The much anticipated Peking duck was magnificently presented on a pile of prawn crackers. The skin was indeed very crispy while the duck meat was also getting good comments from around the table – juicy, tasty, less than average fat content. All in all, very good (I prefer Peking duck to Crispy aromatic duck as the latter is deep fried and can be a bit greasy and the duck taste is a bit dulled by the cooking process).


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Peking duck
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Following on from the appetisers was several dishes to be eaten with rice. I chose a ‘Drunken chicken’, a cold dish, which was well received by the entire table. The sweetness of the wine combined well with the chicken to enhance its flavour.


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Drunken chicken


One of my friends absolutely loves this – ‘Beef with Sze Chuan chillies’. This is a truly authentic Sze Chuan dish and is genuinely spicy, so you have now been warned. The dried chillies gives a very potent spiciness whilst the fresh chillies provides some sweetness to the soup. However, the real danger in the pot is the peppercorns – my tongue was numb for a while after I foolishly ate a spoonful of beef and peppercorns. The beef itself is incredibly good though, very tender. I’ll recommend this dish to anybody who loves the spicy dishes.


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Beef with Sze Chuan chillies
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For a healthier protein dish, ‘Enoki mushrooms & silken bean curd with crabmeat sauce’ was a good choice as the sauce was flavourful and was a good companion to eat with rice.


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Enoki mushrooms & silken bean curd with crabmeat sauce


Being very unimaginative, we ordered the same vegetable dish we always do in all Chinese restaurants – ‘Stir fried tau miu (sweet pea shoot) with garlic’.


Pearl Liang, London 10
Stir fried tau miu (sweet pea shoot) with garlic


The PigPig requested for one of her favourite pork dishes – ‘Braised pork in soya sauce’(Dongpo Pork 東坡肉). However, I am very disappointed with this dish… mainly because it disappeared so quickly; I only managed to get one morsel and five minutes later it was all finished. From the one piece I took, I can understand why though, as the meat had a good fat:meat ratio so it remained tender and juicy, but not overly difficult to stomach.


Pearl Liang, London 11
Braised pork in soya sauce (Dongpo Pork 東坡肉)

Another dish I eyed from the menu was the ‘King prawns with salted egg yolk’ which I personally enjoyed but other people may not enjoy as much as it was a bit oily (and also exceedingly unhealthy).


Pearl Liang, London 12
King prawns with salted egg yolk


With that, we moved onto the dessert section; the PigPig opted for a ‘Mango pudding’. The pudding had little cubes of mango strewn about and was one of the nicest she ever had.


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Mango pudding


Most of the table however chose a ‘Grape fruit & tapioca with tapioca’, also known more simply as ‘mango sago’. The sweet mango juice had bits of grapefruit peel to give a bitter taste to counter the sweetness. Very refreshing and one of my favourite desserts.


Pearl Liang, London 15
Grape fruit & tapioca with tapioca


Two ladies had a ‘Black sesame ball’ which I found to be lacking in the sesame taste and the pastry was too soft and not chewy enough.


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Black sesame ball


Another favourite dessert of mine is the ‘Steamed sponge cake roll with custard yolk’, or ma lai ko. The swiss roll style used here is different to how I normally encounter this, but it was still very good with just enough custard. (My favourite ma lai ko is still from the Oriental restaurant in Jaya 33, KL).


Pearl Liang, London 16
Steamed sponge cake roll with custard yolk


For the coup de grace, the PigPig ordered a ‘Chrysanthemum custard bun’; we were told it could be either steamed or fried – naturally we took the unhealthier option. The crispy skin gave a nice contrast to the rich thick custard in the middle.


Pearl Liang, London 18
Chrysanthemum custard bun
Pearl Liang, London 19

Altogether, the cost of food and Chinese tea to drink came up to £30 per person.

Food – 6.0
Service – 5.0
Atmosphere – 7.0
Value – 4.0


Simply put, the food here is pretty good with no real complaints lodged at any of the dishes. Although the recipe of the dishes here wouldn’t be amiss in other cheaper Chinese restaurants, the quality and technique here is definitely a step up. Nevertheless, it is still twice the price of a standard meal in other places so whether it is “worth it” or not depends on the size of your wallet. Myself, I prefer the cheap greasy spoons when eating Chinese food; they just feel a bit more authentic and homely.

Would I eat here again? If someone else was picking up the tab, i.e. Dad, or other senior statesmen of the family.


Pearl Liang, London 21
Toilet sign. The question: Female or male?


Pearl Liang
8 Sheldon Square,
Paddington,
W2 6EZ
Tel: +44 (020) 7289 7000
Official website

Pearl Liang on Urbanspoon



PS. Regarding the South London dig, I didn’t realise at the time of writing how negative it might be viewed. In retrospect though, I suppose I would be pretty miffed if I read people bashing my hometown on their blog, so I can appreciate the feelings behind some of the comments. I apologise if it offended anyone and I’m sure South London is a great place to be brought up in; in as far as a boy who grew up in a little town in South East Asia which did not have McDonald’s or any reliable working public transport will be able to guesstimate as much.
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Bye-Bye BBQ, Hello Stew!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

BrrrRRRrrrrrrr......Summer is finally gone, leaves are falling and I guess it's time for some comforting food!


Chu Hou Pork Stew

Ingredients:

  • 600g pork - cut into large chunks
  • 1 head Chinese cabbage - sliced
  • 1 large onion - cut into rings
  • 2 carrots - cut into chunks
  • 1 can (400g) canned tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tbs (or to taste) fermented soya bean paste (Taucu)
  • 1 1/2 tbs (or to taste) Chu Hou sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar

Directions:

  • Place everything (except cabbage, soya bean paste and chu hou sauce) in the pressure cooker and cook under pressure for about 25 mins.
  • Remove pressure cooker lid, place cabbage into pot and simmer until softened.
  • Add soya bean paste and chu hou sauce to taste.
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Wild Mushrooms Risotto with Marmite

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

How often do you clear/ clean your pantry? Do you know what exactly you have in it? I am very lazy and I only clear the pantry when I run out of storage space. Not clear actually, it's to "make space". I was going through the pantry over the weekend and found half a bag of assorted dried wild mushrooms which I bought from Spain last Summer...or maybe the Summer before, anyway, I forgot all about it! No fungus on fungus, so I decided to use it before that ever happens. I added Marmite which is one of those long neglected sauces that I have, and it was deeeeelicious! It's a wonder how a mere teaspoon of this salty stuff added so much flavour and depth to the dish.


Wild mushroom risotto with marmite


Ingredients: serves 2


Directions:
  • In a saucepan, bring to boil washed dried mushrooms and 1 1/2 cups water. Reduce heat to simmer for at least 30 mins and until mushrooms are softened.
  • In a pan, heat up about 1 tbs of olive oil.
  • Mix in rice, fry until rice is translucent at the edges.
  • Add wine and mix well until liquid is evaporated.
  • Add about 1/2 cup of the boiling mushrooms/liquid. Stir occasionally.
  • Add more mushroom stock when liquid is completely absorbed.
  • Continue until rice is cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed. You might have to add more water to get the consistency or texture you like.
  • Stir in Marmite.
  • Add sugar and salt to taste.
  • Serve with some freshly ground black pepper. Also delicious with some truffle balsamic glaze!


Wild mushroom risotto with marmite 2
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Hache, Burger Connoisseurs [Restaurant Review]

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Reviewed by The Wild Boar

In the same way as regular pub food getting transformed into gourmet food in gastropubs, so has the humble burger been modified into a culinary force to be reckoned with. Popularised by Gourmet Burger Kitchen initially, the subsequent explosion of chains across London has led to a fall in standards.

Step forward a new challenger to the burger throne: Hache. According to their website, they’re a family run business of three years old, with two branches (Fulham which we visited, and another in Camden) serving 100% prime Scotch beef.

The ladies had a Forest Fruit smoothie, containing natural yoghurt, apple juice and Wildflower Honey. They felt it was a bit sour and contained a lot of the natural berry seeds while I thought it seemed a bit watery. For the price (£3.65), you’re better off buying an Innocent smoothie from the nearest Tesco’s.


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Forest Fruit smoothie


Before I start talking about the burgers itself, I need to whinge a bit about the buns: they’re crap. All the burgers are served with ciabatta buns, which I don’t mind in itself, but they seemed a poor fit with the burgers, especially as the buns were quite dry, tough and generally tasteless (I know I’m not alone in this line of though).

Anyway, I had a Le Sicilian, which had Parma ham and melted mozzarella cheese added on top of the basic beef burger. I took two bites of the top bun then threw it away but kept the bottom layer or I would have been hungry the rest of the night. The beef itself, cooked medium rare to order, was reddish pink in the middle with the lovely smell and taste of the griddle. It was seasoned quite lightly I feel, a pinch more salt and pepper would be ideal, but the meat was juicy and beefy enough to make me happy. In retrospect, the Parma ham was just too delicate to pair with the manly beef patty and mozzarella cheese is tasteless in itself and didn’t bring anything interesting to the party.


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Le Sicilian
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Meanwhile the wife had a Cote a Croute – a chunky cod steak with a crust of blue cheese, red pepper, coriander and chilli. As someone who absolutely hates blue cheese, I was a bit wary of this but conceded a mouthful to try for reviewing’s sake. It turned out to be actually very nice as I didn’t taste any cheese in it, but the cod itself was meaty without being dry and flavoured very well.


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Cote a Croute
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A friend tried the Jerk Chicken, which she said was a bit dry but made better with the accompanying mango chutney. She also added there weren’t a lot of spices obvious to taste either.


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Jerk Chicken


We ordered a side of onion rings and chunky chips to share. The onion rings nice and big, with a crisp batter and not oily at all. Verdict: good!


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The chunky chips on the other hand was a bit normal and unassuming, didn’t inspire any strong emotions from any of us.

Altogether the bill came up to £16 each. The service was reasonable, but the restaurant was half empty despite it being 7.30pm on a Sunday night. The lighting was depressingly dark but the décor seemed decent enough.

Food – 5.5
Service – 4.0
Atmosphere – 4.5
Value – 6.0


I have to say that so far, this is the best burger joint I’ve sampled in London, amongst GBK, Byron’s, Ed’s Diner, Lucky 7s. The beef patty was better than any I’ve had previously, including the supposedly wagyu burger in Chez Gerard, but the bun here is just terrible. Even worse than the buns though, was the lack of milkshake on the menu, criminal! I nearly drove to Lucky 7s to buy an xxxtra thick chocolate milkshake after my meal (£5.50, and worth every penny).

Would I eat here again? Umm well, actually… I want to try Hawkmoor’s burger, it has frigging bone marrow in the patty.

Hache
329 - 331 Fulham Road
Chelsea
London
SW10 9QL
Tel: +44(0)20 7823 3515
Official website

Hache Burgers on Urbanspoon

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