Grandmother’s fried rice

It’s not mine but Ken’s. In our conversation the other day, Ken was reminiscing about the fried rice that his grandma cooked with those lap cheong (chinese sausages) and egg and dark soy sauce. It didn’t sound too different from the one that my mom cooked for me too and I decided to attempt it, just to satisfy his cravings.

Lap Cheong, the Chinese sausage, gives off a strong flavour when you cook it and is definitely a comfort food. However, it has high fat content and that’s the main reason why I would choose to avoid it if I could. Perhaps mom knew about it  and only cooked them once in a blue moon by adding to the fried rice or just steam them. You could also place them with the rice in the rice cooker and definitely add them when you are making claypot chicken rice. Yum! And thankfully, I could find them here!

So, here goes. What you would need are rice (obviously), lap cheong, eggs, garlic and spring onion (for garnish). Firstly, I pan-fried the lap cheong (cut into cubes). No oil is needed since they would give off their own oil. Using the oil, I fried the garlic (minced) till they gave off an aroma and then pour in the rice. The rice was cooked last night and chilled in the refrigerator over night. You would have to cook them in room temperature though.

After the rice is mixed with the garlic, add in the lap cheong. Then, make a well in the middle and add two eggs. Fry the eggs till they are almost cooked and then stir-fry together with the rice. Add soy sauce, dark soy sauce  and some pepper for tasting. Lastly add some sesame oil and top it with spring onion for the

garnish before serving.

One thing to note is that when frying the eggs in the well, try as much as possible not to mix with the rice in the initial stage as they will make the rice turn soggy. I like it when I could see the grains of the rice when the fried rice is done and that the texture is not too oily. At least, that’s the style that I like for fried rice and well, the hubs loved it. Mission accomplished!

 

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Raspberry Jam Sandwich Hearts

I would have baked these for our wedding anniversary if not for the fact that I couldn’t find the cookie cutter (yes, I left all my cutters back home). A few days ago, I found the one that I wanted and today, it has arrived! Imagine the great joy!

So, the hands immediately went to work. I’ve all the ingredients ready, just waiting for the cutter. The ingredients needed were simple and mixing easy. I found the difficult part was the moulding of the shapes since one had to be careful to peel the dough and bring to the baking tray. Since it was not thick, it could go out of shape easily and my patience was tested. However, when you were able to assemble all the ‘parts’ together, the product was beautiful!

Let’s go through the steps together!

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
6 tsp seedless raspberry jam

1. Sift the flour and salt together. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the butter and icing sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the  vanilla and almond extracts and beat on low speed until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat until the dough comes together in large clumps (midway through, I gave up and used hands instead as the dough stuck to my mixer).
3. Press the dough together into a ball and divide it into half. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 40 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. Remove 1 dough from the refrigerator. Lightly dust a work surface and a rolling pin with flour. Roll out the dough about 6mm thick. Slide a thin metal spatula under the dough to loosen it from the rolling surface. Using a 6cm heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Using a 2.5cm heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out the centre of half of the cookies. Place the larger hearts 4cm apart on the prepared parchment paper. I return the smaller hearts back to the dough to work on the remaning hearts. Repeat the procedure.

 

 

6. Bake the cookies until the edges are light brown about 15-20 min (depending on your oven). Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to the wire rcks to cool completely.
7. Leaving a 6mm border uncovered, spread about 1 tsp of the raspberry jam over each cookie with a cutout. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the cutout cookies with icing sugar. Place the cutout cookies on top of the jam-covered cookies. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Adapted from Essentials of baking.

Mid-week!

I’ve got an email from a friend: How is life on the other side of the globe? What keeps you occupied?
Life has been busy for both of us. Ken, without a doubt, has gone full gear with his studies with assignments due each week. For me, apart from planning and preparing for meals, I have been busying myself with going to school.
School? Yup. I have gone to visit an elementary school on Tuesday to offer my service to them. It would not be too much of a commitment, just a few hours and in an area that I’m comfortable with. I was there to chat with the the officer from Boston Connect and to know how I could offer my help. The school was a busy place, as with all schools and I nearly felt a little bad to take up their time. I was apprehensive, of course since I am in a totally different culture and knowing that this is a neighbourhood school, the challenges would be more. But, I believe all these would provide more insights about education in the Boston Public Schools and I’m sure I would learn heaps from the teachers.
Besides that, I attended a self-defence class signed up for me by Ken in his college. I cannot explain in detail here as it is highly confidential =p But it taught some tactics that we could use when faced with danger. I realised too about the weaknesses of my body and though I can last the distance (as in endurance sports), I really am not up for tactical games. My body is just not conditioned for attacks or contacts and I believe that is why I always avoid contact sports. =p There will be a simulation next week and I am so terrified! The facilitators (BC police officers) are so HUGE! How on earth would I be able to escape from their clutches? *sweat*

OK, I have to go back to cooking and baking. My baking stuff came just 5 minutes ago! Yay!

French Toast

The other day, we bought one whole packet of frankfurters for the Boston Rolls and it seemed that it is taking forever for us to finish them. And then last night, I was swept by homesickness and thought what mom used bread for. When we were younger, back when we still had the shophouse, we would have half-boiled eggs with pepper and soy sauce and occasionally, mom would make French Toast. Breakfast at Killiney

Every weekend too back home, Ken and I would have our long run along the tracks at East Coast Park. Thereafter, we would sometimes head for Killiney Kopitiam where we would have our Kaya Toast or Mee Siam, all these not without the dear coffee.

So today, I decided to make French Toast with a little twist. Besides adding the eggs, I would top them up, each with a different ingredient – roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, lap cheong, egg and fine sugar. Of course, all these without the good old coffee.

Good morning! What are you having for breakfast?