Carrot cake

Since I watched Rachel Allen makes her carrot cake on Bake!, I always found excuse to make this over and over myself. What I love about this cake, is all the sweet components in it, you got the raisins, and of course the carrot itself, so I often put less sugar in the recipe, talks about healthy cake here.

Ingredient:

  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 50g of chopped walnut or almond
  • 1/4 cup of raisin
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamom
  • 1 tsp of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of ground allspice
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder

In a bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, and egg till pale, about 4-5 min. Later, stir in the grated carrot, walnut and raisin. On top of the mixture, sift in all the dry ingredients. Fold well, just let the flour damped with the batter, and pour into a ready-lined and greased tin. This goes to a preheated, 180C oven to bake around 35 min. The cake is done, when a skewer went into the center, comes out clean.

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2 months hiatus

As you can see, the café was left to rot for over 2 months now, didn’t update the site since I went back to college. It’s almost impossible, to keep up the consistency of post like previous month does, due to the fact that the hostel had so many constricting elements compared to own home.

The thing is, I still do cooking in my hostel, with all the pot and pan I brought; but it’s the time that I find so hard to cope with. Long hours of study, even my weekend was pre-occupied with queue of activity…

Yes, I know all those craps were just excuses of mine, I haven’t learned what’s the importance of time management. It’s my oblige at first, making choice to run two blogs simultaneously; but I still love cooking and enjoy blogging about it so much, I don’t want to feel like it’s some sort of burden trying to make everyone happy, kind of defeats the motto of this site. I want to have fun in this.

So, after this the blog will start rolling again, yet in short period I’ll post some recipes I didn’t manage to write-up from my last holiday. I’ve also thinking of sharing some article or recipes I fond of, just to fill-up the void when I’d run out of source myself. In the meantime, happy exploring in stay_cafe.

Fried Chicken & Chips

Actually on previous post recipe, I reserved some breast meat from whole chicken I bought, because I’m planning to fried them, and there’s nothing more indulging than this crispy fillet. And I indulged further, by serving it with some more fried potato chips. This is not entirely healthy snack, but it’s fine to have it once a while, and know how to control the proportion.

You’ll need:

  • breast meat of whole chicken, filleted
  • 1/2 lemon juice,
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce,
  • 1 cup of breadcrumb/panko,
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp of curry powder,

Marinade the fillet in soy and lemon for couple of hour or overnight, or you can skip the process and straight away to frying.

Dip the meat in beaten egg, and cover the surface with breadcrumb. I made my crumb from stale bread, toast it slightly in oven and then crush in food processor. Or you can get the panko (Japanese breadcrumb) from nearby supermarket, I love the texture, sort of elongated thin version of normal crumb.

Prepare four peeled and shaved potato slice, using a mandelin. You might want to wear a glove to protect your hand, I just stop slicing when I could not grip on the short end. The potato goes into oil first, because I don’t want them to take on the flavor of curry later.

I don’t know how exactly the amount of oil to put in the saucepan, if I think there’s enough I just stopped. I guess it about up to 2 cm from the bottom of the pan. Heat up, you’ll know when the oil is hot enough by putting in a piece of potato, if it sizzle instantly, then it’s ready.

Fried the potato in batches, once the chips fill up on the surface, stop putting in any more. In frying the chips, I don’t count the time, the chips will started to brown on the edge, when it started to color in the center, it’s done.

As for the chicken, it will takes up to 5 minutes. My friend teaches me before, when comes to frying food, the flame need to put on medium low heat, you want the fillet to cook through within but the oil will not burn the skin.

Poulet au Chilli

You probably will ask what is this recipe’s title meant, it is actually a French dish I watched at French Food at Home by Laura Calder, and I think it would translate into chicken cook in chilli style. The original recipe called for paprika, I haven’t had that in hand, so I replaced with smoky dried chilli powder.

My grandparents thought this was curry, but I’m lazy to explain to them, they won’t appreciate it anyway. Surprisingly, my grandpa love this recipe and said it taste really great. Of course I’m not boasting about my cooking, it’s just I’m happy that somebody compliment the food I made, I mean who wouldn’t be?

Ingredients:

  • 150g of chicken thigh, cut into chunk
  • 2 red peppers,
  • 1 celery stick,
  • 1 onion,
  • 2 garlic clove,
  • 2 bay leaf,
  • 4 tbsp of tomato purée,
  • 2 tsp of smoky dried chilli powder,
  • 2 cups of water,
  • 2 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine,
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of heavy cream,

Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper, and brown in all side. When I’m pressing for time, I use the wok and just quickly fry the chicken, sometimes you don’t have the patience to wait for the meat to un-stick from the pan.

Once the chicken is done, stir in all the chopped vegetables, and cook for about 10 minutes till the onion is translucent and shrink in size. Pour in water and wine, then mix in the tomato purée. Finally in goes the bay leaf and chilli powder.

Close the lid and simmer for 20 minutes. The cream gets mix in the last-minute before it’s served.

Braise Pork Belly with Bean Curd

There’s a lot of times my grandma can’t afford to cook for the family, since her feet are getting weak to move around. And my father will ask me to go out and pack some food back. I just HATES the idea of take out food, I had enough of outside meal when I’m at my colleague.

So, I’m decided to take my grandma’s place in the kitchen, and cook for the day. And it’s a great way for me as well, to learn some traditional dishes from her, such shamed I ate it everyday and didn’t know how to cook. This recipe is a good start, because she makes the braise pork belly so often, and I love to drench my rice with the gravy, very delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 200g of pork belly, cubed
  • 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce,
  • half a head of garlic, smashed with side of knife
  • 4 shallots, sliced
  • 1 packet of bean curd,
  • 5 hard-boiled eggs,

Bring a saucepan with 3 cups of water to boil. In a hot wok, fry garlic and shallot. Let it colored slightly, but not char, and stir in the pork belly. Once the pork belly is brown, pour in the dark soy sauce, and everything turns caramelized and sticky.

Scoop into the saucepan, and throw in the bean curd. Season with salt and pepper, and let it simmers for 20 minutes with the lid on. For the last 5 minutes of cooking time, tumble in the eggs to heat it.

You can substitute the side ingredients to suit your taste, put in 4 sliced potatoes instead of the egg, use a firm tofu than the bean curd, or pour in some Chinese cooking wine.

Very Nutty Chocolate Granola

Another favorite recipes of mine from Nigella’s, and it had every bit of gorgeousness in it. I added a few more variety of nuts in the granola, because I love the crunch and taste of the nuts.

And you do need a large bowl for this, since there’s is so much stuff to put in; also I found it tremendously satisfying, seeing all the ingredients pile up one another. You can have this granola anytime during the day, serve as breakfast with yogurt, sprinkle on top of vanilla ice-cream, and a very healthy snack to pick at.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cup of rolled/jumbo oat,
  • 1/4 cup of walnut,
  • 1/4 cup of hazelnut,
  • 1/2 cup of peanut,
  • 1/2 cup of sesame seed,
  • 1/2 cup of sunflower seed,
  • 3/4 cup of apple sauce,
  • 1/4 cup of golden syrup,
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar,
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil,
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon,
  • 1 tsp of allspice,
  • 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg,
  • 1 tbsp of cocoa powder,

Very straight-forward, just tumble everything in a bowl, stir to mix, scrap into a grease tray and bake in 170C oven for 35-40 minutes.

Do watch out around half hour time, because the sugar can burns very easy. Once you see the top is deep brown color and the nut is toasted, it’s ready. Let the granola to cool and store in a jar up to 1 week.

You can ring the change of nut or seed you want to put in. Try not to use honey to substitute the syrup, because it’ll make the granola very chewy, and you want it to be crisp and crunchy.

Blueberry Ice-cream

For my fourth and the last blueberry recipe, I reserved for this blueberry ice-cream. The thing about this ice-cream is it’s so easy, you don’t need to cook the custard or churn it. And not only it has cooling effect, when it eat it, you will feel the slap in the face with the freshness of the blueberry and citrus from lemon.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of blueberry,
  • 150ml of double cream,
  • icing sugar,
  • lemon,

Crush the berry with 2 tsp of icing sugar. I don’t strain the fruit, because I want those beautiful bit speckles the ice-cream later.

Whip up the cream with another tablespoon of icing sugar, plus juice of half a large lemon till forms soft peak.

Fold the berry into the cream, and let chill in the freezer. Hope you enjoy the blueberry recipes I shared.