Saturday, May 21, 2011

Kit Kat Blancmange

Kit Kat in blancmange is not a bad idea after all.  It needs not be perfect, it personally just need to be comforting.  I once saw this combination in a Taiwanese baking website, though when I went back recently the site was not available anymore.  I could not decipher the whole message since the announcement was written in Mandarin, and I was not in the mood to translate it.  Then I remembered that I saved the copy of the recipe not long after I discovered it.  Few key strokes later I unearthed the recipe.

To my horror, the quantity of water in the recipe was unbelievably a lot.  I did not have a reference to the original recipe anymore, and the only explanation for using the water is to dissolve the gelatin powder.  I braved myself trying it out but I took a prevention step in regards to how much water I needed to use.  Then, I was stumped to how to keep the Kit Kat from moving side-to-side while I poured the blancmange mixture into a lined small loaf pan.  They kept bobbing up and would not stay down at all.  I cursed myself and carried on.  The trip from kitchen countertop to the refrigerator was enough to sway those Kit Kat again.  Later, once it was securely stable on the refrigerator shelf, I poked the Kit Kat, trying to line them up to no avail.  I cursed myself twice and closed the refrigerator door and hoped for the best till the next day.

Kit Kat Blancmange

Kit Kat Blancmange

The next day, feeling slightly better, I opened the refrigerator and found the mixture had hardened.  I flipped that baby away, it was kind of flimsy.  I decided to pair this with cut fresh fruits, that were mango and kiwi.  It was not bad at all.  The Kit Kat stayed pretty crunchy, it was definitely make-and-eat-right-away dessert.  The longer the Kit Kat stayed in the blancmange, the mushier it got.  I decided to write the recipe here for any brave soul to try.  I promise myself to try the recipe again, maybe with a different type of chocolate candy :)

Kit Kat Blancmange

Kit Kat Blancmange

Serves 2

100 ml whole milk

100 ml whipping cream

50 gr granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water

5 gr gelatin powder

20 ml amaretto liquor

3 pieces mini Kit Kat


Garnish: cubed fresh fruits to your liking


Line a small loaf pan or any small dish with plastic wrap.

Combine together milk, cream and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Heat over medium-low heat until it bubbles on the edge of pan.

Combine water and gelatin in a small ramekin.  Set the ramekin a pan of hot water (the water should just reach halfway of the ramekin) for about 5 minutes, or until the gelatin dissolves to a clear mixture.  Whisk in amaretto into the gelatin mixture.  Let gelatin cool for 5 minutes.

Whisk gelatin mixture into the cream mixture, stir well.

Arrange the Kit Kat on the bottom of the pan/dish, pour the liquid mixture.  Let it set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Flip the blancmange to a serving dish.

Before serving, garnish with fresh fruits.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Culinary adventure in Indonesia

I'm sharing a glimpse of some of the foods I ate when I was back in Jakarta, Indonesia last summer.  The photos aren't that great but boy, those were the best memories I've ever tasted again.


Rambutan, a close cousin to lychee with hair surrounding the outer skin. My most loved tropical fruits, I miss them the most, especially the local variety which is called rambutan rapiah. When I was in Jakarta, it was not the season for rambutan rapiah yet, so I had not had a chance to eat them. I think the rambutan ini this photo is actually from Thailand.

Steamed bananas

Bananas are abundant in Indonesia and the varieties we eat there are different from what we can get here in the US. This one I think is called pisang kepok and the plants were grown in my late grandparents timber company. My aunt steamed this for us to eat for snack.


My brother's wife is an accomplished baker and cook. She made her fruitbread, which was brown bread studded with dried fruits, for us while we were there. My mom likes this so much that she asked for the recipe and tried to recreate here, but to no avail!

Mini ice cream

My son got a treat of four mini ice cream while we were visiting a mall in Jakarta. They're kinda cute!

Pisang goreng

Ah, pisang goreng, aka deep-fried bananas. A typical snack sold by a night street vendor. The batter for the bananas are special and it's a trade secret. They also sell deep-fried mashed sweetened mung beans, which is called gandasturi. I've the pleasure to eat it too.

Kerak telor

An old-fashioned food sold by a night street vendor. The main ingredients are cooked rice, eggs, some spices, fried shallots. Kerak means the crusty part of the rice cooked in a special cast-iron wok, and telor means egg. I can still remember a vendor who sold this food in the Chinatown area back when I was very young.

Nasi campur

When in Asia, go the food courts. You will not be disappointed with the variety of foods they sell. One of the foods I was hunting for was nasi campur, or mixed-rice Chinese style. The rice is Haninanese style rice, often adorned with various meat, and Kenanga nasi campur is pretty good.

Soto mie

A meat-based noodle soup, served hot with slice celery and tomato with vegetable egg rolls.


Boiled fish paste balls served with spicy vinegared sauce, eaten with egg noodles and chopped cucumber.

Tahu gejrot

Tofu salad served with spicy-sweet sauce. It's called tahu gejrot, tahu means tofu, while gejrot means the state of the tofu after being squashed.

Rujak bebeg

Chopped fruit salad Indonesian style. The spicier it is the better.

Es air tebu

Simply iced sweetened sugar cane juice. I'd rather have this than beer, honestly.

Es kacang hijau

Iced sweetened mung bean juice, it may sound yucky, but it is much juicier than you think.

Usus goreng

When I was young, my parents would bring me and my brother around trying out restaurants in Jakarta. One of them was Rico restaurant. It was located in Palmerah area then, but they have branch near where my brother and my aunt live now. Tracing the food memory lane, we were there and ordering everything that was what make the restaurant famous. It ain't kosher, I could tell you frankly, but oh, what a joy to devour the food again. This was deep-fried pork intestines, served with sweet soy sauce.

Kodok goreng mentega

And, this dish is my all-time favorite. Deep-fried frog legs drenched with sweet-sour sauce only in Indonesia you would find this. The sauce was made with local Worchestershire sauce, mixed with sweet soy sauce and soy sauce. The legs were first deep-fried which would then be sauteed in butter with the sauce.

Remember, food is very subjective; what I share here was what I deem delicious, you don't have to agree with me :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Three satays

So I was presented with a question:  what type of satay do you want to eat?  My answer was:  all of the three.  I will have the basic chicken satay, the most flavorful one that is sweet pork satay, and let's not forget tempe satay, a tried-and-true recipe that is simple to make with typical Indonesian spices--shallots, garlic, chili, candlenuts, and turmeric.

How do you make chicken satay?  I go to the basic, it's simply chicken pieces, preferably a mix between breast and thigh meats, cut into bite-sized portion.  Thread them into skewers and grill them just before eating.  The sauce will have to be peanut sauce, that is made of dry roasted peanuts, candlenuts, and some red chili; have them chopped very finely in a food processor.  Heat some cooking oil in a wok over medium heat and start sauteing the peanut mixture.  Add a little water at a time until the consistency of the mixture looks like tahini.  Add salt to taste.  Have ready Indonesian sweet soy sauce, sliced shallots or red onions, and sliced chili padi.  When the satays are done, mixed the peanut sauce with sweet soy sauce, some sliced onions, chili, and fried shallots on a plate.  Dip the satays in the sauce, and pull the juicy meat away from skewer get the picture.
Three satays collage

How about the sweet pork satay?  This need some preparation a day ahead.  The recipe is simple, really.  What needs to be achieved in the marinade is flavorful with herbal note and sweet enough.  Main ingredients will be shallots, garlic, coriander, cumin, galangal, lemongrass (white part only, not the fibrous part), palm sugar, a bit tamarind paste, sweet soy sauce, and some vegetable oil.  Mix all these ingredients in a food processor.  Add more brown or granulated sugar and salt because the taste should be sweet enough.  Thinly sliced Kaffir lime leaves are also added.  Rub the marinade over pork loin--boneless--that has been cut into bite-sized pieces, and leave them in refrigerate at least overnight.  This marinade is also excellent to use for beef satay.
3 satays-1-12

Lastly, the tempe satay which I will write the recipe with exact ingredients and directions!  Don't know why I'm so excited with writing a recipe, I guess since I've been pretty vague about recipes in the last two paragraphs :)  It is again a super easy recipe, just make sure you get the regular tempe--just plain soybeans--not the ones with other grains added to it.

Spicy Tempe Satay

Makes about 8-10 skewers (4-5 tempe each skewer)

500 gr tempe, cut into 1-inch cube

250 ml + 4 tablespoons coconut milk

200 ml water


Spice paste:

6 red chili

4 candlenuts

1 teaspoon roughly chopped turmeric

3 cloves of garlic

6 shallots

2 teaspoons roughly chopped lemongrass

1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste

1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste--terasi, in Bahasa Indonesia

2 teaspoons palm sugar or brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt


Combine tempe, coconut milk and the spice paste in a big pot or wok over medium heat.  Cook until the sauce thickens, stir occasionally.

Drain tempe from the sauce, thread into skewers.  Grill over medium heat in the gas or charcoal griller.  Brush with sauce while grilling.  The satay is done when the surface of tempe is slightly blackened.

Source:  Tahu & Tempe book by Primarasa

Monday, May 2, 2011

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie

Surely the summer will come.  Slowly yet surely.  Fireworks, sleeping in, sitting outdoors, picking berries, road trip.  The list is endless though the summer is short.  It's going to be a great summer.

Just last week, I got into a conversation with someone I work with.  We were discussing how fortunate of us to be working in school since we have summer break (and any other break related to school).  I honestly don't know if I could cope if I have to work during the summer months, I'm rather spoiled by the schedule.  I will make do with what I have.  To preserve the precious time summer brings.
blueberry cream cheese pie-1-12

blueberry cream cheese pie-1-9

blueberry cream cheese pie-1-2

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie

Serves 6

Butter for greasing pie plate

Chocolate cookie crust:

1 1/2 cup crumbled chocolate wafers or homemade chcoolate shortbread cookies

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Cream Cheese filling:

12 ounces full-fat cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/4 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1/2 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

Blueberry topping:

3 cups fresh blueberries, divided

1/2 cup sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


6 teaspoons sour cream for garnish

6 mint sprigs for garnish


Arrange an oven rack at center position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9-inch Pyrex pie plate.

To make the chocolate cookie crust:

Melt the butter in a medium bowl, add cookie crumbles, and mix until combined.  Spoon the mixture into pie plate, press into the bottom and sides evenly.  Refrigerate the crust for at least an hour.

To make the filling:

With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl if necessary.  Continue beating while gradually adding sugar in a thin stream.  Beat in lemon juice and zest.  Finally, add sour cream and eggs, and beat until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl if necessary.

Pour batter into the prepared pie plate and bake until filling is set and a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.  As it bakes, the mixture will puff up.  When done, remove pie from oven and cool to room temperature.  The filling will deflate slightly as it cools, forming a shallow cavity.

To make the topping:

Combine half of the blueberries, the sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir constantly.  As the mixture cooks, the sugar will liquefy and the berries will cook down and release their juices.  Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat, and stir in remaining blueberries.  Cool to room temperature.

When both filling and berries are cool, use a slotted spoon and spread berries evenly on top of pie.  Reserve remaining sauce for serving with pie.  Refrigerate pie until chilled, 2 hours or longer.

To garnish pie, spoon 6 dollops of sour cream, evenly spaced, around the edge of the blueberry topping.  Tuck a mint sprig into each dollop.  Serve each slice with a drizzle of reserved blueberry sauce.

Source:  adapted from The Big Book of Backyard Cooking by Betty Rosbottom