Thursday, July 31, 2014

Potato, Parmesan and Anchovy Focaccia

Once again, another month has passed... and today is the last day of July 2014!!! My son said that today marks the 100th school day since he and his foundation schoolmates had started school. Isn't it amazing to see how time really files?

Once again, the Little Thumbs Up event (July 2014 with potato theme) has been a delicious event for all. We have a total of 135* entries linking with us. Everyone is using the potato ingredients to cook savoury rather than sweets and all are wholesome food with high satisfying index! ... like potato cakes, pancakes, creamy salad, curry puff, curry, breads and pies.... All are so yummy! Thanks, Jasline for being the queen of potato! Now, whenever I think of potato, I will think of you! You have been a great host for this event. High-five!!!

*will update the final number at the end of the event.

Can't have enough potato? Sadly, we have to move on... I reckon next month will be equally exciting with two cooking events! We have (1) Little Thumbs Up (August 2014 with Flour theme) with Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe and (2) Cook like a Star (Gordon Ramsay) with Yen from Eat your heart out and Mich from Piece of Cake and myself. Diana's LTU starts on 5th August 2014 and Gordon Ramsay event starts on tomorrow. Please join us!

Can't have enough potato? Yup... so this is my last potato food for July 2014.

When I first saw this potato focaccia recipe at Epicurious, I know that my family and I will love to eat this. The combination of its toppings sounds very delicious to me. True enough, it is!

We really enjoy every aspect of baking and eating this bread... It is very moist, spongy (QQ) and delicious!

potato parmesan anchovy focaccia
A fabulous combination - potato + Parmesan + anchovy on a Focaccia
My son's squash-and-squeeze technique of mashing potatoes - LOL!
Mixing and proving the wet and sticky bread dough
Love everything in this oil mixture - Yum!
The other two main ingredients that I used
Assemble and bake!
Ready to feast on this bread?
potato parmesan anchovy focaccia
Moist, spongy and tasty!

Here's the recipe from Epicurious
(With my notes and modification in blue)


2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

(for half amount of recipe, I used 50g Italian "OO" flour + 250g bread flour)
2 cups mashed cooked peeled russet (baking) potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds)

(for half amount of recipe, I used 3 medium golden delight potatoes)
2 tsp table salt
6 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin

(I preferred finely minced garlic)
1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped fine, or 1 tsp crumbled dried

(I used the fresh one)
1/4 tsp anchovy paste, or more to taste

(I used all from a 45g can, drained)
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, scrubbed

(for half amount of recipe, I used about 4 small sized Desiree potatoes)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 tbsp coarse salt, or to taste

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment proof the yeast with the sugar in the water for 5 mins, or until the mixture is foamy. In a large bowl combine 4 cups of the flour, the mashed potatoes, and salt until the mixture resembles coarse meal, add it with 2 tbsp of the oil to the yeast mixture, and combine the dough well. With the dough hook knead the dough, scraping down the dough hook occasionally and incorporating as much of the remaining 1/2 cup flour as necessary to prevent it from sticking, for 2 mins, or until it is smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball, transfer it to an oiled bowl, and turn it to coat it with the oil. Let the dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours, or until it is double in bulk. (I mixed, kneaded and proved my dough for 1 hr using a bread-maker with dough setting) 


The dough may be made up to this point, punched down, and kept, covered and chilled, overnight. Let the dough return to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe (I didn't chill the dough overnight).

In a small bowl stir together the garlic, the rosemary, the anchovy paste, and the remaining 4 tbsp oil and let the mixture stand, covered. Press the dough evenly into an oiled jelly-roll pan, 15 1/2 by 10 1/2 by 1 inches, and let it rise, covered loosely, in a warm place for 1 hr, or until it is almost double in bulk. 


Cut the red potatoes into paper-thin slices with a mandoline or handheld slicer, arrange the slices on the dough, overlapping them, and brush them with the oil mixture, discarding the garlic. Sprinkle the focaccia with the Parmesan, the coarse salt, and pepper to taste. Bake the focaccia in the bottom third of a preheated 400°F. oven for 40 to 50 mins, or until it is golden brown, let it cool in the pan on a rack, and serve it warm or at room temperature.

Note: Using half of the recipe, I have baked this bread at 180°C fan forced for 30 mins using 20 cm x 20 cm square pan.

Happy Baking

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and me, Bake for Happy Kids, hosted by Jasline from Foodie Baker at this post.

 

Our Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday until the last day of the month. Please join us! To join, simply cook or bake any recipe with the theme of the month which is POTATO for July 2014 and link with us at this post anytime until 31st July 2014. 

Don't forget your thumbs up or display this badge! And make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post preferably within this month. (2) Please mention Little Thumbs Up in your post and link back to Bake for Happy Kidsmy little favourite DIY or/and Jasline from Foodie BakerFor more details, please see this.

What after July 2014? Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe will be the next hostess of August 2014 and her theme is FLOUR! Her Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday of August 2014 (5th Aug) until the last day of the month. If you are wondering what kind of flour you can use to participate this event, please check out this message from Diana...

"Flour is an essential ingredient in my (and I am sure, many of your) kitchen. It is the base of pastas and noodles, cakes and biscuits, or even as thickening agents in the making of a roux. The list of food items made using flour is endless. As such, we will be limiting the theme to mainly Wheat Flour, namely:
  • All-Purpose (also known as Plain) Flour
  • Bread Flour
  • Cake Flour
  • Self-raising Flour
  • Pastry Flour
  • Wholemeal Flour
  • Hong Kong (also known as Waterlily) Flour
  • Superlite Flour
  • Top Flour
You must use one of these flours in its raw form in your recipe and you must use at least 1 tablespoon or 10g of these flours in your cooking /baking.

----
Sorry for being a nag but I like to mention this again...

Yen from Eat your heart out and Mich from Piece of Cake and I (Zoe) from Bake for Happy Kids will be cooking and baking lots of Gordon Ramsay's recipes for the whole month of August 2014.

Sadly, this will be our second last Cook like a Star event. Whether you love Gordon Ramsay or not, I hope that you won't miss this event and enjoy cooking with us.


Join us!!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Curry Puffs made with Traditional Melt-in-the-Mouth Pastry

After cooking these traditional curry puffs, I feel like I have conquered a victory...

traditional nonya chicken potato curry puffs
Traditional Curry Puffs with Melt-in-the Mouth Pastry

... but feeling "defeated" while enjoying these curry puffs with flaky layers of melt-in-the mouth pastry. Geez! My boy and I were enjoying every single bit of these flaky folded edges of these puff.

Flaky? This is what I mean... This is one of the non-curry puffs that I made for my boy.

Feeling winning and defeated? Why? After enjoying all of our spiral chicken curry puffs, my boy has been constantly reminding me that I have to make more curry puffs with no curry for him and his school lunch. With no hesitation, I will. Although I really like the spiral kind of curry puffs that I have made, I like to re-create curry puffs with the most traditional kind of all margarine kind pastry that I used to love. Most traditional kind of curry puff? Yeah... Sort of like the Old Chang Kee kind with melt-in-the-mouth and rich-tasting kind of pastry. Being a health freak, I know that I sounded ironic too, trying to make curry puffs that is healthy...

Healthy curry puff ??? I bet anyone who know and eats curry puff often enough will say..."huh!" Ok ok... I must agree that the obvious answer is... Never!

I always remember those good old days when I was a little fatty helper shaping curry puffs with my grandmother, mum and auntie Lita. I remember that we made our curry puff pastry based on my grandmother's agak agak (meaning estimation in Malay) instructions. And, the pastry was mainly made with Planta margarine and its final texture was fine-tuned with the addition of water and also depending on the humidity and amount and type of flour that we have on the day.


Do we add eggs or egg yolks in our pastry?
What is the ratio of flour and margarine that we used?
What is the best texture of pastry that we are after?

Seriously, I don't have firm answers to these questions?

All that I know now is the negative effects of trans fats in the margarine that we used to eat and should avoid using this ingredient.

With all I can recall, I have tried to make curry puff pastry using following methods...
1) all butter pastry made with chilled butter with no egg in sort of this proportion (as mentioned in Poh's Kitchen) but it was flaky and hard to shape
2) all butter pastry with no egg and higher butter content but pastry disintegrated into the frying oil during frying - Oh! NO!!!
3) butter pastry with egg and water to bind but pastry was too tough and rubbery to shape - resulting broken curry puffs!
Fail! Fail! Fail!

Obviously, butter is not the right fat to use to make the best traditional curry puff pastry. As I'm trying to say NO to margarine, my next best option is to use shortening and this is why I was feeling a little defeated. For a healthier option, I'm using Crisco shortening which contains 25% saturated fat and 0% trans fat and at least I know that I am not feeding my family with excessive trans fat with all these curry puff pastry.

This curry puff pastry recipe that used is mostly adapted from Rasa Malaysia. What I like this recipe is... It doesn't contain a ridiculous high amount of shortening as it uses a good amount of water to bind the dough and yet the pastry is still so tasty.

Is this pastry as good as Old Change Kee? Not exactly but kind of... It is flakier and more melty. Old Change Kee curry puffs are slightly firmer with smoother outer texture. and I reckon the different brand and types of margarine or shortening used will create all these difference...

I'm not advertising for Crisco here but this is better option that I have chose to use.
Pastry before resting... This recipe requires kneading and resting to get a smoother texture.
For my curry-sensitive boy, I cooked two types of filling to make these puffs.
Shaping the puffs
... and frying them.

Phew! Glad to see that these pastry stay in shapes and doesn't disintegrated into hot frying oil... Clearly, being stable enough in room temperature, margarine and shortening are the most appropriate fat to use to make the traditional kind of pastry for curry puffs.

For a different texture, I like to try another recipe that I have seen at Joceline's post (Butter, Flour and Me) in the future. It uses a lighter combination of all-purpose flour, glutinous rice flour, tapioca flour, butter, oil and water. With the use of oil instead of all shortening or all butter in the pastry, I reckon Joceline's curry puffs should be the more healthful kind rather than these melt-in-the-mouth ones that I have made.

Here are the recipes that I used to make these traditional melt-in-the-mouth curry puffs.

Chicken curry (or non curry) filling recipes are found here.
Please note that I didn't make these puffs with any hard boiled eggs as I was going to freeze them.

Shortening pastry that is mostly adapted from Rasa Malaysia

Makes about 20 small curry puffs or 10-15 medium ones
450g all purpose flour
150g shortening, preferably Crisco
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt

To make pastry:
In a mixing bow, combine flour with shortening, water and salt to form a dough. Place dough on a clean surface and knead it for at least 20 mins or until it become pliable with a rather smooth surface. Divide dough into two equal portions and roll each into cylinder shape. Let it rest in room temperature for at least 30 mins.

Using a knife, divide or slice each portion of dough into 10 or 5 equal segments (depending on the size of puffs that you want to make). Using a rolling pin, roll each sliced dough into flat and round disc. Place enough filling (about 1 1/2 tbsp for small or 2 tbsp for medium curry puffs) in the middle and fold pastry to enclose.

To crimp the pastry manually like the traditional way, pinch the edges flat and fold in at 45° angle to form a plait. 

Heat sufficient frying oil (preferably canola oil) in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat. Deep fry the puffs, tossing continuously until golden brown. With reference to my previous curry puff post, please note the addition of shortening in this frying oil is not required as this pastry itself contains shortening.

Remove with a pair of wooden chopsticks or a slotted spoon, shake off excess oil and drain on kitchen towels before serving.


Happy Cooking

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and me, Bake for Happy Kids, hosted by Jasline from Foodie Baker at this post.

 

Our Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday until the last day of the month. Please join us! To join, simply cook or bake any recipe with the theme of the month which is POTATO for July 2014 and link with us at this post anytime until 31st July 2014. 

Don't forget your thumbs up or display this badge! And make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post preferably within this month. (2) Please mention Little Thumbs Up in your post and link back to Bake for Happy Kidsmy little favourite DIY or/and Jasline from Foodie BakerFor more details, please see this.

What after July 2014? Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe will be the next hostess of August 2014 and her theme is FLOUR! Her Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday of August 2014 (5th Aug) until the last day of the month. If you are wondering what kind of flour you can use to participate this event, please check out this message from Diana...

"Flour is an essential ingredient in my (and I am sure, many of your) kitchen. It is the base of pastas and noodles, cakes and biscuits, or even as thickening agents in the making of a roux. The list of food items made using flour is endless. As such, we will be limiting the theme to mainly Wheat Flour, namely:
  • All-Purpose (also known as Plain) Flour
  • Bread Flour
  • Cake Flour
  • Self-raising Flour
  • Pastry Flour
  • Wholemeal Flour
  • Hong Kong (also known as Waterlily) Flour
  • Superlite Flour
  • Top Flour
You must use one of these flours in its raw form in your recipe and you must use at least 1 tablespoon or 10g of these flours in your cooking /baking.

----
Sorry for being a nag but I like to mention this again...

Yen from Eat your heart out and Mich from Piece of Cake and I (Zoe) from Bake for Happy Kids will be cooking and baking lots of Gordon Ramsay's recipes for the whole month of August 2014.

Sadly, this will be our second last Cook like a Star event. Whether you love Gordon Ramsay or not, I hope that you won't miss this event and enjoy cooking with us.


Join us!!!