Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tamagoyaki

Been in the sushi mode lately and this time round, I decided to try my hands at making a new ingredient to fill the maki - the Japanese sweet omelet also known as Tamagoyaki.

The ingredients for the Tamagoyaki are simple but the cooking process can be quite a challenge. Saw on NHK the other day that a cook assistant spent like a year just making Tamagoyaki for the restaurant before he finally 'graduated' to the sushi counter.


Tamagoyaki

Ingredients:
4 eggs
2 tbs dashi stock (replacement possible with vegetable or chicken stock )
2 tbs mirin sweet cooking sake
1 tbs sugar
salt

Method:




Verdict:

(-) I do not have the squarish cooking pan so I used the usual round pan and naturally, the omelet did not turn out as nice.

(=) Take note not to add too much oil while frying the egg. Hence, try to use a non-stick pan for this purpose.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Maki Sushi

This is my first solo attempt in making sushi after a People's Association sushi class I attended 2 years ago.

The challenge was all about cooking and preparing the sushi rice since there was no raw fish used as the filling ingredient. As such, it was relatively easy to slice the zucchini and gherkins into long strips while the other ingredients were simply made up of pork floss and crabstick salad.

Maki Sushi

Ingredients (sushi rice):
500 ml sushi rice (can make 5 large rolls)
600 ml water (depends pretty much on the type of sushi rice used)
60ml rice vinegar
30ml sugar
5ml salt

Ingredients (filling):
pretty much up to your liking and creation!

Ingredients (assembly):
nori seaweed
bamboo mat
bowl of rice vinegar diluted with water (to wet the hands while handling the sticky rice)


Method:
(1) Wash the rice several times until the water runs fairly clear when draining

(2) Let the rice strain for 30 minutes before transferring to a rice cooker

(3) Prepare the sushi vinegar by mixing the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves and stir frequently. Remove from the heat and let the sushi vinegar cool to room temperature

(4) Transfer the hot rice into a mixing bowl and use a wooden spatula or spoon to cut and fold the rice. Be gentle not to smash the rice grains. Continue with this cutting and folding action while adding the sushi vinegar.

(5) Fan the rice mixture for ~5/6 minutes to cool the rice before assembly

(6) Prepare the fillings according to your liking and slice the appropriate ingredients into thin long strips

(7) Assemble the maki sushi as shown in the video below:



(8) For a clean cut sushi slice, you may want to wet the knife prior to cutting the sushi roll


Verdict:
(+) Once you master the preparation of the sushi rice, the rest of the steps are simply a breeze
(+) The leftover maki sushi can be kept in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for later consumption

(=) A healthy and satisfying meal! :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Karaage Chicken

Karaage Chicken

Ingredients:
chicken thighs with skin on - cut into bite sized chunks
80g potato starch
40g plain flour
20g garlic
40g fresh ginger
200ml soy sauce
vegetable oil


Method:
(1) Slice the garlic and ginger thinly. Add them to the soy sauce and let it stand for half a day.

(2) Pour the soy sauce over the chicken

(3) Coat the chicken with a mixture of potato starch and plain flour

(4) Deep fry in hot oil till golden brown


Verdict
(+) The ginger-garlic soy sauce is a simple yet wonderful marinate sauce - Japanese style!
(+) The crust is nowhere near the KFC kind of crunchiness but nevertheless crunchy in a subtle way
(+) The meat is tender and not overly dry after frying

(-) Totally oily and cholesterol loaded

(=) A definite quick and easy party snack!

The Search for Maibachl

Maibachl, behind the Warmbaderhof Hotel, is a natural thermal spring which flows to the surface only twice per year and often attract loads of bathers to soak in the mineral-rich natural warm bath. For the rest of the year, the small depression in the forest ground is just a dry barren spot.

And on the 10th of January 2010, we were lucky to chance upon the thermal spring! The spring water was not exactly warm but more tap water temperature. Perhaps the thermal spring has already stopped flowing onto the surface and the water temperature simply cooled down over time. Nevertheless, it did not discourage some from exposing their bare feet to the near zero chillness to waddle in the small pool.

It is common for the locals to spend their weekends leisurely strolling or jogging through the forest ground. The snowing had stopped, leaving remnants of snow accumulated on barren tree branches. And every so often, when some small furry animals scurry through the tree tops, it never failed to send tiny flakes of snow raining down - if you are luck, or huge chunks of snow landing on the unsuspecting heads.

And naturally with so much snow laying alongside the walking path, what better to do than to build a snowman - and top it off with a nice hat!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Are you a tarty person?

I am definitely a "tarty" or a cookie person compared to being a cakie.

Just look at the red, luscious strawberries atop the crunchy crust and light cream...Ohhh....scream someone!

Strawberry tart from Konditorei Bernold @ River Drau

A Decade since the Millenium

2010, two years away from the supposedly "End of the World" - 2012. But seriously, who cares? I don't. If the world must end, it will end. Meanwhile, life goes on.

And with that, I continue to indulge in more good food in celebration of the New Year; hopefully, a better year to come.

Interestingly, it was only recently that I became aware of Austrians having the custom of eating steamboat as well! That was indeed a rather pleasant surprise, very much like what we practise during Chinese New Year in Singapore, however, on a smaller scale.

Instead of the typical large electric steamboat pot, a fondue pot warmed over a candle was used instead. Bite-sized chunks of meat were then lowered into the hot soup (traditionally, hot oil filled the pot...ooohhhh....I like traditions but I also appreciate the slight deviation in this case)on mini colour coded skewers. Now, isn't that a nice idea?

There was quite a selection of yummy sauces to dip the meat in. In addition, there were also appetisers ranging from pickled paprikas to mini corns, gherkins, beans and aspharagus to go along with the meat.
To load up on the carbohydrates, there's always the piping basket of warm baguettes to fall back on.

The desert for the evening was a nice orange cake shaped as a duck - a traditional Italian pastry. I could almost not find anymore space in my stomach for this delicious, lovely looking desert.

With a full tummy and armed with my "Gl├╝ck bringen" pig, I am prepared to take my first stride into 2010. :)

Tis' The Season To Be Jolly

~fa lah lah lah lah...lah lah lah lah~

This is absolutely THE season to huddle together with your loved ones and fatten oneself with a layer of blubber against the bitter cold winter.

cheese platter

ham platter

liver dumpling in beef soup
roast beef with bread dumpling, rice and berry sauce

deep fried chicken with potatoes

roast pork with butter rice and boiled potatoes

strudel in beef soup

For five consecutive days starting from 23rd December, my stomach never once experienced an emptiness level of more than 50%.

basketful of christmas cookies


dark chocolate cake filled with nutty goodness!

homemade bread with hazelnut fillings
That said, I'm still pooling in my share of work, dolling the house up for the great festivity.

silver christmas tree dangle

a typical navitity display at home