Bacon Hasselback Potatoes

While I was clearing up my fridge today, I found 2 medium-sized potatoes isolating themselves at the corner of my vegetable compartment. I thought I must cook them up before they grow sprout. And since I am going to make spaghetti bolognese for dinner, baking these would make good side dishes.

Rummaging for other ingredients to go with them, I found some mozarella cheese and bacon chips. "Perfect! I'll just make Bacon Hasselback Potatoes".

Hasselback potatoes are Swedish version of baked potatoes. The name is derived from the restaurant where they were first served in the 1940s, Hasselbacken in Stockholm. They are crispy on the inside, soft and creamy on the inside.


HOW TO SLICE HASSELBACK POTATOES USING CHOPSTICKS


Put a chopstick each at both sides of potato. As you slice, the chopstick will prevent from cutting all the way through.


A perfect hasselback potato!

Notes: If the potatoes are rolling around/ not stable, you can cut the bottom of potato horizontally as shown to create a base.

Or you can use a wooden spoon as guide when slicing the potatoes, as shown in video below:-

HOW TO SLICE HASSELBACK POTATOES USING WOODEN SPOON



BACON HASSELBACK POTATOES

Prep Time  : 15 mins
Cook Time : 50 mins
Total Time : 1 hour 5 mins
Makes       : 2 medium-sized potatoes

Ingredients:
2 medium-sized potatoes
2 tbsp butter
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Salt & Pepper
1/4 cup mozarella cheese
2 tsp mayonaise
1/4 cup fried bacon chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 200ºC. Scrub the potatoes.

2. Cut bottom of potatoes horizontally to create a base (if potatoes are rolling around). Using two chopsticks as a guide at both sides of potato, slice the potato thinly. The chopsticks will stop the knife from cutting all the way through. (Pls refer to the photos in the post above or you can refer to the wooden method in video above)

3. Season the potatoes with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

4. Slice the butter into thin slices and stuff it in between the slices of potato. Drizzle with olive oil.

5. Bake for 40 mins. Remove from the oven and top with mayonnaise and mozarealla cheese. Bake for another 5-7 mins, until the cheese melted.

6. Sprinkle with fried bacon chips. Serve hot!






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Siew Pow Master @ Seremban

When we were at Seremban last weekend, my hubby insisted that we buy back some of the famous Seremban Siew Pau before we headed home. Seremban Siew Pau is a crispy pastry bun with savoury sweet roast pork/ char siew filling, baked to perfection. It is a must-buy souvenir if you are in Seremban.

Seremban Siew Pau @ RM1.60/pc
Rating: 4/5
There are a few shops selling this kind of pastry in Seremban but my hubby particularly love those from Siew Pow Master.

It has an open kitchen that welcomes you with its aromatic smells of freshly baked pastries as you enter the shop.

Assorted Pastries
Besides Seremban Siew Pau, there are other pastries available like egg tart, chicken pie, kaya puff and many others.

Assorted Cakes/ Breads
Also available, freshly baked cakes and breads.

The Queue
Don't be surprise if the queue is this long. This is a common sight at Siew Pow Master. But don't worry, the staffs were very efficient, you don't have to wait very long, unless you are waiting for the freshly baked goodies from the hot oven.

The Latest Pricing

Just like other pastries, you need to eat these fresh for optimum taste, preferably within 6 hours from the time you purchased. As time passes, the taste deteriorate. It will not be as good because it has lost it's flakiness and moisture. However, you can lightly baked it again at home to 'revive' it. Siew Pau can be kept in an air tight container for 2-3 days.



LOCATION
No. 368, Jalan Seng Meng Lee,
Seremban, Negri Sembilan.

BUSINESS HOURS
6:00am to 7:00pm

MAP (+/-)


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Banana Fritters/ Cekodok Pisang

Since I have 2 ripe bananas sitting on our kitchen counter untouched for 2 days, I reckon my hubby wouldn't want to eat them anymore, so I decided to fry some of my favourite banana fritters or better known as 'cekodok pisang' for our snacking after dinner. 'Cekodok Pisang' is a Malay snack that is usually savour during tea time. It is made of mash bananas and flour, and is fried.

A good 'cekodok pisang' is crispy on the outside and fluffyly chewy on the inside. There was one period, a stall was set up nearby my neighbourhood. The aunty/ makcik sells assortments of fried snacks and one of it was 'cekodok pisang'. It was the most yummiest 'cekodok pisang' I've ever eaten.

...crispy on the outside and fluffyly chewy on the inside...
Her 'cekodok pisang' does not have a pleasing look, it was very dark in color but the taste was the BEST! Crispy on the outside, fluffyly chewy on the inside with a good amount of bananas. But soon, the aunty has stopped selling at the same spot and I couldn't find her stall anywhere nearby. I've tried many other stalls but their 'cekodok pisang' was nothing compared to this aunty.

Then I tried to replicate aunty's 'cekodok pisang' but my 1st attempt (which was few years back) has failed. Recently, I found one recipe that I think might just work. I've saved the recipe for a chance when I have very ripe bananas to make it. Now is a good opportunity!

Banana Fritters
These banana fritters turned out to be very close to the aunty's 'cekodok pisang'. The exterior was crispy and interior was fluffy and light. It has a mild chewiness to it too. Yummy!! I thought that there isn't enough bananas flavour to it but my hubby said it is enough. He has approved this recipe and so far, this is the closest i can get. I shall experiment with different type of bananas next. Till then, please refer to the recipe below. Happy Frying!

BANANA FRITTERS/ CEKODOK PISANG
(Recipe adapted from Nyonya Cooking)

Cekodok Pisang
Prep Time  : 7 mins
Cook Time : 20 mins
Total Time : 27 mins
Makes       : 25pcs mini balls (approx. 2-3 cm diameter)

Ingredients:
200g bananas (2 medium-sized bananas)
35g rice flour
25g wheat flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp fine sugar

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl, mash bananas with a fork.

2. Combine all the ingredients (except the sugar) and mix till well incorporated.

3. In a small pot, heat oil using medium heat.

4. Just before frying, add in sugar to the batter.

5. Slowly drop a spoonful (teaspoon) of batter into the hot oil. If it sinks to the bottom, use a spoon to separate it from the pot. It shall float by itself.

6. Fry till it is dark brown. Drain in colander as you fry and lastly drain on paper towel to remove excess oil.

Notes:
● According to Nyonya Cooking, by adding the sugar just before frying gives the cekodok pisang a crispier exterior. (I did as she said and my cekodok was crispy on the outside)






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Anncoo Journal

Soft Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

It is so fun to make these pretzels! And so easy to make too! I thought it would be hard to work on the dough but it is really easy. After letting it rest, the dough is really soft and easy to work with. I'd only have difficulties shaping the pretzels. But practice makes perfect. After a few first pretzels, I've begun to familiarized with the shaping and have so much fun making it.

These pretzels are really soft and yummylicious. The key to these yummy pretzels are good butter. Without the fragrant from a good butter, the pretzels are just soft pieces of baked dough.


SOFT CINNAMON SUGAR PRETZELS
(Recipe adapted from Food Network Kitchen)

Prep Time  : 1 hour 40 mins
Cook Time : 10 mins
Total Time : 1 hour 50 mins
Makes       : 12 pretzels (approx. 6" x 5" each)

Ingredients:
1 cup milk
11g instant yeast
3 tbsp packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
10 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
(2 tbsp for dough + 8 tbsp for dipping)
1 tsp fine salt
1/4 cup baking soda

To Make Cinnamon Sugar
(Combine both ingredients below till well mixed)

1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup castor sugar

Directions:
1. Warm milk in a saucepan until it is approx 45°C. Pour into a medium bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let the yeast soften, about 2 mins.

2. Stir in brown sugar and 1 cup flour with a wooden spoon, till well combined. It is okay to have lumps at this stage.

3. Add in 2 tbsp soften butter into the mixture, follow by the remaining 1 1/4 cup flour and fine salt to make a sticky dough.

4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured countertop and knead until it is smooth, adding flour as needed, about 5-6 mins. Shape into a ball, place into a lightly greased bowl and cover with cling wrap. Let it rest about 1 hour, until it doubled in size.

5. Preheat oven to 230°C. Lined the baking tray with greaseproof baking sheet. Punch the dough to deflate it, then turn out onto a lightly floured countertop. (If the fought seems tight, cover and let rest until it relaxes.)

6. Divide dough into 12 pieces. Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into approx 30" rope and form into a pretzel shape. Cover dough with tea towel while you work on each pretzel.

7. Dissolve the baking soda in 2 cups of warm water in a shallow dish. Gently dip each pretzel in the soda solution before arranging them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 5 mins, or until golden brown.

8. Melt the remaining 8 tbsp butter in a shallow dish. Dip the hot pretzels in the butter to coat evenly and transfer to a wire rack to dry, approx 1-2 mins.

9. Dip the buttered pretzels in the cinnamon sugar mixture to evenly coat. Enjoy while it is hot!

Notes:
● It is important to use good butter for better taste. You may use butter brand like Lurpak, SCS or Anchor.

● Bake 6 pretzels each batch.






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Co-Sleeping with Your Baby, Yes or No?

Co-sleep
(Photo source taken from Alternative Mama)

If you ask me this question 2 years back, I would still hesitate in my answer. But now, I can confidently tell you it is definitely a YES from me and my hubby. Co-sleeping with our daughter is the best decision we've made as parents!*

...make sure that our bedding is light and minimal. We had our pillows lower than hers...
When we were still new parents, we do not know what is best for our baby. We did a lot of reading and highlighted all the dangers in co-sleeping with baby, especially baby under 6 months old. We make sure that our bedding is light and minimal. Our daughter sleeps in between us. We had our pillows lower than hers so that our comforter will not cover her face and make sure we do not 'release' our breath on her causing more carbon dioxide than oxygen. Our elderly also warned us that if we co-sleep with our baby, she will always stick to you and will not be able to learn to be independent. We were worried about that too but it seems that we do not have a choice back then.

How we started to co-sleep with our daughter?

Well, our lil' princess was the most colicky baby ever! Every night (from birth), she would cry non-stop. No matter what you do, she will still cry. We have tried ALL the methods - going up and down the staircase, walking around, on the radio and tv for white noise, on the shower, swaddle, singing lullaby, changing position of holding her, baby massage, giving her tummy rub, doing the 'bicycle' with her legs, giving her colic drops and the list goes on. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It was really a nightmare for new parents like us!

Then one night, out of tiredness, I put my baby to sleep on our bed. We thought that altho' she still cries, she was more quiet/ calm sleeping with us. And it is also easier for feeding. So, we let it be. She was a real colicky baby, crying every night. But thankfully she did not cry much after midnight (from 3 months old onwards), that's when we have our few hours of beauty sleep. Her crying subside as she grows. She stopped her night crying around 5-6 months old.

Our now 27 months old daughter has been sleeping with us ever since she's 2 months old. We don't see any threat in co-sleeping with her. But I can't tell you what is the pros and cons of this co-sleeping because I don't have enough data to compare.

However, I can tell you why I said "Co-sleeping with our daughter is the best decision we've made as parents!" :-
● I really enjoyed the bonding time we spend together on the bed, before sleep and after waking up in the morning.
● I loved to watch how she would play with her daddy on the bed before sleeps and giggles away. (Her daddy is her favourite play mate. She will only comes to me when she wants to sleep. Mommy is her favourite comforter.)
● I loved it when she plays with my ears and caresses my face before she sleeps and when she wakes up in the morning but still in the 'lazying around' mood.
● I loved it when she wishes me 'Goodnight Mommy', follow by a kiss on my lips before she sleeps. She does that to her daddy too.
● I loved it when she hugs me to sleep every night.
● I loved it when I can lean on her tiny shoulder and smell her pyjamas [when I awake in the middle of the night].

If anyone is saying that those babies that co-sleep with parents will not be able to learn independence, they are WRONG! Our daughter is very independent.

● At 6 months old, she doesn't need me to be around her all the time. She lets other peoples carry her and play with her. And she enjoyed making friends with others. (But now at 27 months old, she knows how to be shy. So she needs some time to warm up with other peoples before playing with them).
● At 16 months old, she was cleaning up her own toys after playing.
● At 17 months old, she has started being our little helper around the house ~ taking stuff, throwing rubbish to the bin.
● At 18 months old, she was feeding herself.
● At 23 months old, she was potty trained (daytime includes nap time). She will take her own potty to us and tell us that she wanted to pee or poo.
● At 25 months old, she was taking her own bowl to the table during meal time.

Our little ones are not going to be 'little' for a very long time. She will grows up and soon she would not want to sleep with us anymore. Soon she will have her own things to do. And that is why me & my hubby, we will treasure every moments we can spend with her now. Co-sleeping is just another great idea because it allows more time together.

How about you? What's your stories of co-sleeping with your little ones? Or what's your stories of not co-sleeping with your little ones? I would love to hear both!

*This post is entirely based on my own experience. It does not conclude that co-sleeping with your baby is the best decision for all parents. Before deciding whether to co-sleep with your baby or not, you can read up more on the safety guidelines in the internet, or HERE.



Other Related Contents:
The difference between being there for the kids and letting them to be independent
How well do you know about your kids?
Saying too many NO(s) to a child will create a helpless and dependent child. #SayYestoExperiences

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Smooth Soya Bean Pudding with Longan


This recipe was published online in my first blog, A Great Pleasure (AGP) in 2007. But due to some error loading my AGP now, I am going to jot down the recipe in yummy~licious as well. Hopefully I will be able to fix the bugs at AGP soon or else all my recipes over there will not be able to be viewed forever.

I used to dislike making this dessert because sometimes I will get curdly looking jelly instead of the smooth looking ones. Through many times of making it, I've found a failure proof method and it has never been easier since then.

The ratio of liquid to agar-agar powder is just the right amount to give this pudding a soft and smooth texture. My hubby love this texture, he said it is soft and smooth as 'Tau Fu Fah'. You can play along with the liquid amount to achieve the texture that you wanted. Remember to adjust on the sugar too, or else it will be too sweet or not sweet.

I've also added lemon juice in my pudding because I found that it has highly elevates the flavour of the soya milk and gives this pudding its distinctive taste. If you don't want, you can omit the lemon juice but I would recommend that you give this a try first. I think you'll love it!

SOYA BEAN PUDDING WITH LONGAN

Prep Time  : 5 mins
Cook Time : 15 mins
Total Time : 20 mins
Makes       : 27 small tubs

Ingredients:
1 pkt Swallow agar-agar powder
1000ml soya milk (without sugar)
1200ml water
475g castor sugar
4 1/2 tbsp lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
4 knotted pandan leaves
1 can longan

Directions:
1. In a small pot, add in sugar and agar-agar powder, followed by pandan leaves and water. Turn on the heat and cook till it boils, constantly stirring.

2. Add in 4 tbsp lemon juice and let it simmer for a few good seconds. Then turn the heat to lowest.

3. Slowly pour the soya milk into the mixture and stir till well combined. Off the heat.

4. Pour into desired moulds and let it cool for 15 mins, or until the jelly has slightly set.

5. Separate the longans from the syrup. Add 1/2 tbsp lemon juice to the syrup and stir well.

6. Add in 2 longans and around 1/2 tbsp longan syrup on each tub and set in refrigerator. Serve chilled.

Notes:
● You may use any brand of agar-agar powder as long as you measure it @ 10g.

● If you pour the soya milk too fast or too high to the mixture, you might create more bubbles which we do not want in a smooth looking pudding. If your mixture has a lot of bubbles, you can scoop the bubbles out first before pouring to the mould.






First Commenter...(+/-)

Pillow-like Pandan Chiffon Cake

...so soft, almost like a pillow. The pandan is so fragrant...
Woohoo, I've successfully baked a chiffon cake!! And it is so soft, almost like a pillow. The pandan is really fragrant that my whole house is filled with it. Hmmm... so aromatic,... so inviting! But I think I still need to adjust on the temperature of my oven, because the cake looks a little bit darker on the outside.

Chiffon

Chiffon Top
Note: Please pardon me on the torn part. I was being anxious to unmould it and accidentally spoilt the look.

This is actually my 4th attempt in baking a chiffon cake. The 1st time I baked a Pandan Chiffon Cake was 4-5 years back. I used my couzie D's recipe back then. It was a failure because I did not fold the meringue evenly, resulting in some part of the cake too tight, some part too soggy.

The 2nd time, using the same recipe, it was a failure too because the middle doesn't seems to cook when the top has already browned. I figured out it was because I did not use a tube pan.

So, the 3rd time, I use a tube pan. My hubby was in banana frenzy, I thought making a Banana Chiffon Cake would be a good idea. I found the recipe in a cake website which calls for one 18cm tube pan, where as my tube pan is 24cm. I did not know back then, I have overlooked on the size. I was happily baking away and expected a fluffy cake. At the end, I got a flat and not so fluffy chiffon cake. Actually, the 3rd attempt was partial success. The cake was edible and full of banana flavour, just that it is not a chiffon cake [lo!].

This time, I've decided to bake a chiffon cake [again] because of Best Recipes June Event for the theme "Secret of Chiffon & Roll Cakes". Seeing the wonderful ladies that participated with their beautiful chiffon cakes has triggered my inner desire - 'I want to bake a beautiful fluffy chiffon cake also...!'

Actually I wanted to bake Pandan Marble Chiffon Cake from Anncoo Journal but her recipe uses a 17cm tube pan. Then I tried searching for a recipe that uses a 24cm tube pan but I couldn't find any. So, I had to do my own comparison and analysis. I've compared recipes from Anncoo Journal, Kitchen Tigress and my couzie D, and came out with the below recipe. I called it, "Pillow-like Pandan Chiffon Cake".


PILLOW-LIKE PANDAN CHIFFON CAKE

Prep Time  : 40 mins
Cook Time : 40 mins
Total Time : 1 hour 20 mins
Makes       : 16 slices

Ingredients:
150g self-raising flour
2 tbsp corn starch
5 egg yolks
175g sugar
110ml thick coconut milk
3/4 cup canola/ vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Pandan Juice
16 pcs pandan leaves
6 tbsp water

For the Meringue
6 egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
75g sugar

Directions:
You will need one 24cm tube pan.

1. Preheat oven at 160°C.

2. In a medium bowl, combine self-raising flour with corn starch, sift together. Add in salt and set aside until needed.

3. Prepare the pandan juice by blending the roughly chopped pandan leaves with 6 tbsp water. Strain and squeeze to get the juice only. You will get around 90ml pandan juice. Mix with thick coconut milk in another medium bowl. Set aside until needed.

4. Using a hand whisk/mixer, whisk egg yolks and 175g sugar till pale & fluffy. Add in the prepared coconut milk mixture, followed by oil and whisk till well combined.

5. Add in the sifted flour mixture and vanilla extract till evenly mixed.

6. In a mixing bowl, make the meringue by beating the egg whites till foamy. Add in cream of tartar and mixed for one minute. Then gradually add in 75g sugar and whisk till you get stiff peak.

7. Fold the meringue evenly into your batter in 3 batches. Scrap down the sides of bowl if needed. Drop the batter bowl on your counter top to release air pockets.

8. Slowly pour batter into tube pan to further release the big bubbles trapped in the batter. Bake for 40 mins or until skewer comes out clean.

9. When done, invert your tube pan and let it stand on a bottle or tea cup. Let it cool in pan.

Notes:
● For the 110ml thick coconut milk, I used 1 pkt of instant coconut powder diluted in 110ml warm water.

● If you have muslin cloth, use it to squeeze the pandan juice out more efficiently.





This post is link to Best Recipes June Event
for the theme "Secret of Chiffon & Roll Cakes"



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