Saturday, May 29, 2010

Indonesian Avocado Blended (Jus Alpokat)

This is a popular fruit juice/dessert in Indonesia. You could get this avocado blended in any Indonesian restaurant.
It is commonly served with condensed milk and chocolate syrup as a dessert-like treat.
You could even add a scoop of vanilla ice-cream to make this drink more smoothie-like.
I don't have chocolate syrup so I used Milo milk.
Perfect for a hot weather!

2 avocado
1/2 cup milk
5 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp water
1 cup chocolate syrup
crushed ice

Make simple syrup by combine sugar and water in small saucepan over medium- high heat. Stir until clear. Remove from heat and let cool. Spoon out avocado pulp and place in blender. Add syrup and blend to mix, then add cold milk and blend. Divide between 2 tall glasses. Top each serving with  chocolate syrup (to form separate layer) and crushed ice. 

Strawberry Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing this with gelatin, and letting it cool until set. 'Panna Cotta' literally means 'cooked cream.' This is my sister's favorite dessert.  I did not realized how easy it is to make them when I looked at the recipe. I felt bad because I never make any for her. :-( 

At first I was thinking to make a plain Panna Cotta, but in the end, I decided to work with strawberries. I followed the recipe from Women's Day but a little different. I used agar-agar strands instead of the powder (it is much  faster to use the powder) and 2% milk instead of whole milk. The remaining puree, I did not throw away the seeds.

    1 lb strawberries, hulled 
    1⁄2 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar 
    1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract 
    1 packet unflavored gelatin 
    1⁄4 cup water 
    11⁄2 cups whole milk 
    1 cup heavy whipping cream 

    Garnish (optional):
    sliced strawberries
    mint leaves

    Lightly grease eight 4-oz ramekins or cups with nonstick cooking spray.

    Purée strawberries and sugar in a blender until very smooth. Press through a sieve into a bowl; discard seeds. Stir in vanilla. Remove 1 cup for the panna cotta; reserve remaining purée.

    Sprinkle gelatin over 1⁄4 cup water in a small custard cup; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Place cup in a small skillet of simmering water; stir until gelatin is dissolved. Simmer milk in saucepan. Remove from heat; stir in dissolved gelatin. Transfer to a 1-qt glass measure; stir in reserved 1 cup strawberry purée and the cream until well blended. Pour into ramekins. Chill, covered, until firm, about 4 hours or up to 2 days.

    To unmold, run a small knife around each; invert onto plates, gently shaking to remove. Spoon some of the reserved strawberry sauce onto panna cotta.

    Don't worry my baby sis, I ate some just for you! *wink* xxx

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    Agar-Agar Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar Jelly)

    I realised I have two packets of agar-agar strands sitting in my pantry for a long time. So that day, I decided to use one packet to make some agar-agar (jelly/jello).. Perfect for hot weather!!!!!

    What is agar-agar? 
    The word "agar" comes from the Malay word agar-agar (meaning jelly). It is a natural vegetable gelatin counterpart, sold in packages as washed and dried strips or in powdered form. It is used to make jellies, puddings and custards.

    My very first Agar-Agar Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar Jelly). It is also known as Agar-Agar Gudir as informed by my girl friends in Facebook. This beautiful dessert is another famous dessert among the Malay community. My mum would make this dessert for any special occasions. 

    The sweetness come from the gula melaka (palm sugar) and the rich flavor from the coconut milk. Some recipes called for egg whites. For this recipe, I did not add any egg whites.  When the agar-agar is cooled, the coconut milk layer should rise up giving it a two layer effect. This is my first attempt and  it did not show the two layer effect :-(... but it is still good, I just can't help to keep eating them. hehe... :-)

    15gm agar agar strands
    200gm gula melaka
    1 screwpine leaf (knotted)
    500ml water

    Mix together
    200ml coconut milk
    50ml fresh milk

    Soak agar-agar strands in cold water for at least 1 hour. Drain and cut into small pieces. In a heat proof bowl, combine agar-agar, palm sugar, screwpine leaf and water. Stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and let it simmer until the palm sugar dissolves. Sieve the mixture and return back to heat. Discard the screwpine leaf. Make sure the syrup is half from its original amount before adding the milk mixture.
    Once the milk mixture is added, leave to simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes before pouring into moulds or a cake pan. (I used a 13" x 9" x 2" rectangular pan.) Leave to cool in room temperature for about 20mins. Then chill in the fridge for about 2 hours. Once the agar-agar is set, it is ready to be served.

    You can replace the gula melaka (palm sugar) with brown sugar, but the taste might differ. When using gula melaka, then try not to add sugar or brown sugar as the sweetness to this dessert should come fully from the gula melaka that you have used.

    Monday, May 10, 2010

    Avocado Roti Jala (Avocado Lacy Pancakes)

    My experiment of using avocado to my roti jala (lacy pancakes) worked. It was very soft and tasty.  You can get roti jala recipe from my previous post, adding 1 avocado(mashed) and extra 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. Instead of using turmeric powder or yellow food coloring, add 1-2 drops of the green food coloring. The avocado roti jala goes well with my beef and potato curry. yum-yum!!! :))

    *Notes: To save time, just throw in all the ingredients in a blender to mix. When all are well mixed, remember to strain the batter before you start to cook. ;)

    Friday, May 07, 2010

    Strawberry tart

    Finally I made my strawberry tart. It may not be the best looking strawberry tart but the taste was super delicious! Reminds me of Delifrance's fruit tart in Singapore. The sweet pastry crust was fantastic. Next time, I am making this again and use melted chocolate over the base..

    If time does not permit to bake one, buy one at the supermarket. Once the pastry shell has been baked and cooled, it is a good idea to seal the crust by spreading a thin layer of apricot glaze or melted chocolate over its base to prevent the crust from getting soggy. There different types of fillings you can use, like Lemon curd or cream cheese filling. For this one, I use the traditional pastry cream.I didnt have any fluted tart pan so I used Pyrex's 8" pie dish. 

    Strawberry Tart 
    (adapted from Summer Berry Tart, Desserts & After Dinner Treats Step-by-Step book)

    1 cup plain flour
    90g butter
    2 tbsp icing sugar
    1-2 tbsp water 

    To make crust: Preheat oven to moderate 180C/350F. Process flour, butter and icing sugar in food processor, using pulse action, for 15 seconds or until fine and crumbly. Add almost all the water, process 20 seconds or until mixture comes together; add more water if necessary. (It was quite hot here so I placed the pastry in the refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes before rolling the pastry.) Turn onto lightly floured surface, press together until smooth. Roll pastry to fit 20cm round fluted flan tin. Line tin with pastry, trim edges; refrigerate 20 minutes. Cut a sheet of greaseproof paper to cover pastry-lined tin. Spread layer of dried beans or rice evenly over paper. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven, discard paper and rice. Return to oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden.

    3 egg yolks
    2 tablespoons caster sugar
    2 tablespoons cornflour
    1 cup milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla essence

    To make filling: Place egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in bowl, whisk until pale. Heat milk in small pan until almost boiling, remove from heat. Add milk gradually to egg mixture, beating constantly. Strain into pan. Stir constantly, over low heat 3 minutes or until it boils and thickens. Remove from heat, add essence. Transfer to bowl, cover with plastic wrap; cool. 

    Clear glaze
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup water or fruit juice (clear apple juice)
    1 tbsp corn starch or potato starch
    1 tbsp corn syrup

    To make glaze: Bring sugar to boil with half of the water or fruit juice. Dissolve cornstarch in the other mixture cook. Stirring until mixture thickens and clear. Stir in corn syrup. Bring to boil then remove from heat. Cool before brushing over top of fruit.

    To assemble tart: To remove the tart from the fluted sides of the pan, place your hand under the pan, touching only the removable bottom not the sides. Gently push the tart straight up, away from the sides. The fluted tart ring will fall away and slide down. Spread a thin layer or apricot glaze or melted chocolate over the bottom and sides. Spread filling in cooled pastry shell. Decorate the tart,  you'll need 2-3 cups of mixed fruits (berries, sliced kiwi, plums, bananas, pineapple or melon). Arranging the fruit on the tart can be done either randomly or in concentric overlapping circles, starting at the  outside edge. Try to cover all the pastry cream with fruits so that no pastry cream is showing through. Brush gel over fruit with a pastry brush.

    This fruit tart is best eaten the same day as it is assembled. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

    Here is another picture of my strawberry tart.

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