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Friday, February 24, 2012

Butterscotch Cranberry Cheesecake

My son turned 14 yesterday!  A young handsome teenager who has grown so tall in the past year.  I'm not a tall person, just average for an Asian woman and it's no effort at all for him to more than catch up with me in height! Phew! Thank God, he takes after his dad in that department.  He loves cheesecake and he is a big fan of football especially English League.  So, yes, I baked him a cheesecake with a footballer figurine on it.  I wanted to decorate the cake with mini 'football' chocolates but since I don't have the time, decided to use marshmallows instead.

The original recipe is actually called Butterscotch Pecan Cheesecake but since my son doesn't like nuts in his cake, I used dried cranberries instead.  This cake is dense and creamy.  The cheese is smooth but not too rich.  The chocolaty biscuit base adds flavor to the cheese and the cranberries adds chewiness to the texture. The butterscotch topping, it just compliments the whole cake.  This is an easy and wonderful recipe.  I shall definitely repeat baking this.

 Here's the recipe:

150g Plain chocolate biscuit
80g melted butter

500g cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar (I used less sugar - 130g)
2 eggs
1 tbsp plain flour
1/2 cup (60g) roasted pecans, chopped finely (I used 70g dried cranberries)

Butterscotch topping:
1/3 cup (75g) firmly packed brow sugar
40g butter
1 tbsp cream

1. Preheat oven to 160d celsius.
2. Process biscuits until fine, add butter, process until combined. Press mixture over base of 20cm springform tin. Place tin on oven tray, refrigerate 30 mins.
3. Make filling by beating cheese, vanilla, sugar in medium bowl with electric mixer until smooth; beat in eggs. Stir in flour and nuts (cranberries).
4. Pour into tin over biscuit base; bake about 45 mins. Cool cheesecake in oven door ajar.
5. Make butterscotch topping by heating ingredients in small saucepan until smooth.
6. Spread topping over cheesecake. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

                 My son all grown up.  Isn't he handsome?              Mmm..delicious!

Happy Birthday, Bry!  From now on, shorty mommy has to 'look up' to you! lol...we love you lots!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Bubur Pulut Hitam (Black Glutinous Rice Dessert) and Bubur Trigu (Wheat Grain Dessert)

More of Peranakan desserts to whet your sweet tooth. Both are prepared in the same way.  One is the Bubur Pulut Hitam or Black Glutinous Rice and the other is Bubur Trigu or Wheat Grain.  These two desserts are either eaten hot or cold.  Which ever way, they are delicious.

                     Bubur Pulut Hitam                                                      Bubur Trigu

Ingredients: Black Glutinous Rice-500gm (for 5-6 pax) / Wheat Grain-500gm (for 5-6 pax)
                      Water to totally cover the grains (like you would in making soup but not too much as
                           you can add more as required)
                      Sugar (sweetness to taste)
                      Thick coconut milk (extract milk from freshly grated 1 1/2 coconut. Alternatively you
                          can use 1 box of 250ml coconut milk although the fresh one will taste better)
                      Screw pine leaves-5-6 leaves

1. Wash the grains and using a stockpot or slow cooker, add water and screw pine leaves.  Let boil until the grains are soft and tender. This may take about 45mins - 1 hour or cook longer if needed.  Once boil, stir  constantly to keep it from burning.  The liquid will evaporate as the grains get cooked.  Add more water as you go along. The end product will be a thick creamy 'soup'.
*If you use the slow cooker, less attention is needed. You don't have to stir it often but do occasionally check the level of liquid is sufficient. I would recommend you use slow cooker as the texture is much better than cooking in the pot.

2. Once the grains are soft and tender, add sugar to taste and lastly the coconut milk.  Let boil and it's done.

Hope you will try this as it's really very easy to cook and yet so lip smacking yummy.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Char Siu (Roast Pork)

Today is the 15th day in the Chinese Lunar calendar and it's the last day of the Chinese New Year.  On this day, all the Chinese single females (well, not all but some) and some single males, will throw oranges into the river or sea in the hope that someone from the opposite sex, also single, will pick it up.  It's the old Chinese tradition and belief that if someone picks the orange that you threw will be your life partner!  But of course, it's just a tradition and it brings fun to the young modern minded singles nowadays! Hmm..poor city hall laborers who will have to clean the rivers after that!

Okay, now it's foodie time!
This is my first try at making Char Siu or Roast Pork.  I made this for Chinese New Year reunion dinner for my family.  I'm proud to say that it was a success. Phew! Otherwise, a few kilos of pork belly will just go to waste.

A good Char Siu should be slightly burn as the honey or molasses caramelized and gives you the charred effect on the outside but soft and tender meat.  You can use an open grill to make this Char Siu or you can do this in the oven just like what I did.  Here's how to.

 2 or 3 strips of pork belly
some minced garlic
a little cooking oil (to oil the rack so that the pork doesn't stick to the rack)

5-7 tbsp of Maltose or honey (add more if you like it to be sweeter or more charred)
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp light soya sauce
4 tbsp rice wine
dashes of white pepper powder
3 tbsp of red coloring (add or reduce to your liking)
2 tbsp of five spice powder
dash of sesame oil

Mix all together and marinade the pork belly overnight together with the minced garlic.

For glazing: mix some cooking oil with honey or molasses and rice wine.

Place the rack in the center of the oven with a tray lined with aluminium foil at the bottom so that the drips will collect on the tray.  Roast the pork belly on a rack in the pre-heated oven at 200d Celsius for about 40 mins or until done.  You will need to frequently glaze the pork belly with the glazing mixture and keep turning over the pork every 10 - 15 mins.

Once done, transfer the drips collected on the tray into a saucepan and heat it up on the stove.  Add some rice wine and stir until it boils through.  Save this as the dipping sauce.

Serve with hot rice! And, HAPPY CHAP GOH MEI to all my family and Chinese friends and fellow bloggers!  If you are single, wish you will today, throw an orange and find your life partner!  Yam Seng! (err..a little tip from me, write your handphone number on the orange and throw it into the lake or pond in the golf club!..but be prepared that it may be picked up by an old rich man with pot belly and receding hairline..hmm..maybe not a good idea after all!  anyway, good luck! haahaa).