Japanese cheesecake

So along with the ragu posted last night, I also attempted to bake a Japanese cheesecake for my cousin’s birthday. Funny thing is, I think I was more excited about his birthday than him because I get to make all this food that I normally wouldn’t… (I need to get a life haha). Cheesecake isn’t even one of these things I eat often…but I think I was just sick of making Chocolate cakes.

The idea to attempt this cake came to me while I was walking down the street, like literally, I saw it in an Asian bakery and thought I might make it later when I had time. I’m not sure what’s so Japanese about this cheesecake. Maybe it was created by a Japanese person, I don’t know.

So I looked around the internet and found that most recipes have similar ingredient quantities. In the end I decided to go with one from here. For mine I didn’t have cake flour so used plain and substituted 5-7g for cornflour. I also took out the lemon juice. The whole recipe was pretty straight forward except I felt a bit uncertain when whipping the meringue as I always do. As my cake tin was a bit leaky, I lined it well and forwent the water bath and instead wrapped a wet tea towel around it when baking. I also placed a tray of water on the rack under it. Through the oven glass door I could see my cake rising nicely with a browned top. I even baked it a further 15min past the recommended time just in case. I was so happy and relieved!

Then this happened…

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The whole thing just collapsed as I opened the oven door slightly to let it cool. See I even knew not to take it out directly onto the bench top but even so I was robbed of my beautifully risen cake. So so cruel…

It really demotivates you to finish decorating, but I decided to press on and tried my hardest to pretty the thing up.

However, I have to say that it tasted pretty good and had a light moist texture without being too airy. Maybe for the next birthday I can perfect it…. Now to google “cheesecake collapse”. 😛

 

 

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Beef and pork ragu with freshly made tagliatelle

Over the long weekend, with the luxury of waking up a bit later than usual, I reverted back to a really bad habit of watching youtube videos in bed. Specifically cooking videos… While tapping away on my phone’s screen, I stumbled onto a very charismatic and vibrant Italian cook called Gennaro Contaldo. I didn’t realise how famous he was, but then I found out he was a part of the show Two Greedy Italians. And he mentored Jamie Oliver….He was so entertaining and passionate that I had soon watched nearly every single one of his recipe videos. His family ragu in particular aroused the greatest craving which was quite inconvenient considering that it was 12:30 in the morning.

Coincidentally, it was also my cousin’s birthday which provided a perfect outlet to bring that ragu from youtube to life. Here’s the video which started it all, and the recipe. The video is a bit different from the recipe but they are both fine. To match the ragu, I also took the risk to make my own pasta. I tried making pasta before and ended up with thick pieces of rubber. After chatting to a former chef at work I found out that I should have used 00 flour instead of plain flour as it has a mid-protein level and is ground finer. I followed a guideline by Jamie oliver which is pretty simple: 100gm flour to 1 egg. I mixed up the egg with the flour until it was roughly combined then tipped it out on the bench and kneaded away. After some strenuous kneading (~5 min) the dough was done. I wasn’t sure whether I should knead longer but then the dough felt smooth and came together like playdoh. I let my dough rest for 3 hours and hoped for the best.

And wow it turned out so well this time. Finally, something that looks like the images in the recipe. After flattening it out as much as possible with my rolling pin (I don’t have a pasta machine) I folded it up and cut it into ~0.5-1 cm widths. I purposely cut it up roughly so it looked handmade haha. After the ragu had finished cooking I boiled some water, slipped the pasta in and let boil for around 2 minutes. Then I dunked it into the ragu and let it soak in all that meaty simmering flavours.

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O my gosh it was so delicious. Too bad it took such a long time to make or else I would have this more often. The pasta was silky soft with a bit of bite and the ragu was just delicious. I broke up the meat after cooking so each mouthful had ribbons of beef intertwined with the pasta. Yum.

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I must have shaken my hand while taking this photo out of hunger. I started cooking at 4 and started eating three and a half hours later.

I would highly recommend trying Gennaro’s recipe and tasting it for yourself.

Salt and pepper flounder

This is another common dish you’ll find at a Hong Kong style restaurant. As soon as you bite into that seasoned crispy batter and moist flaking meat you’ll understand why it’s so popular. The key to this dish is simplicity. There’s nothing much to it but everything works so well together. My favourite part is the vibrant garnish of fried garlic, ginger, green onion and chili which adds that extra boost of intense flavour.

This was my first attempt and I was quite pleased by the result. Perfect with a bowl of rice.

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Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2.5 tbsp self raising flour
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 1 tbsp of water
  • Cornflour
  • 1 flounder
  • Oil for frying
  • 2 spring onion sliced roughly
  • 2-3 chilies chopped roughly seeds removed
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • a small knob of ginger chopped finely

Salt mixture

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chicken powder
  • Dash of 5 spice
  • Dash of ground coriander
  • sprinkle of sugar

Steps

  1. Prep fish and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Mix flour with oil until paste forms. Mix oil little by little.
  3. Add in water little by little until thickish lava like batter forms
  4. Coat fish in batter. It may be more practical to spread the batter over the fish.
  5. Lightly coat fish in corn flour, doesn’t matter if its a bit patchy
  6. Heat oil in pan on medium to high heat.
  7. Lift fish and place into oil. Don’t touch it and let it crisp up.
  8. After frying for around 5 minutes flip and fry for another 6 minutes. Our pan didn’t fit the fish entirely so you may need to shift it around to make sure all parts are cooked through. Using two spatulas helped.
  9. Take out fish and place on presenting plate
  10. Heat a little of the remaining oil in a small saucepan or wok on high heat. Add in garlic and ginger. Mix around regularly to prevent burning.
  11. After the ginger and garlic are just starting to turn golden brown, place in chili and spring onion. Mix around for a bit until garlic and ginger have turned gold. Take out immediately and drain on paper towel.
  12. Scatter the drained mixture ontop of fried fish.
  13. Combine salt mixture ingredients and taste. Then sprinkle lightly and evenly over fish.
  14. Serve and enjoy!

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