Its time for baking cakes again. I love trying out recipes. The triumphs, the failures, I love it all. I enjoy the learning curve and Hunky and colleagues get to reap the benefits of my spoils. When I do finally figure out a recipe I get incredibly excited (partly from the sugar high) and then I don't want to eat cake for at least a month after. As much as I love the Hummingbird Cake, I think that whole week of eating nothing but has put me off it for now. Who knew you could be traumatised by too much cake! Now I know why they call it Death By Chocolate.
Here is a picture of my attempt at black and white cake. The cake was too dense for the buttercream. The recipe actually called for a different frosting but it involved too many tools and measurements for someone like me. Easy peasy please. However, the buttercream is to die for! Super smooth and incredibly light and buttery. Gives the Red Velvet cake icing a run for its money. Today I tried another cake which uses caramel. I'm very inspired to replicate a Snickers bar in a cake form but less junky, more posh. So far so good. I don't know if anyone would eat it since most people I know don't like peanuts. The peanut has been treated unkindly. Tossed aside as its posher cousins take over the shelves. The humble peanut is relegated to stalls, wakes and red table-clothed restaurants. Peanut my friend, I will bring you to justice!
Lately I've been getting reacquainted with Asian cooking. I've almost forgotten how to stir fry vegetables and make simple curry. Its just so much easier to make a salad or pasta. I made some nam yue pai guat the other day and it turned out surprisingly well! I marinated the ribs with fermented bean paste, ginger, garlic, rice wine, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, ketchup (yes), dark soy, salt and honey and then simmered the ribs for about an hour before frying them. Mum would be so proud of me. Frying, with oil! It was tender and moist. Lovely! However don't think I will be cooking them often. I can't stand how oily the floor gets. Did I mention I like my floor squeaky? The other night I made a quick curry with the little ingredients that I had in my fridge. Chili padi, lemongrass, dried shrimp, shallots and garlic were blended coarsely. The paste was then fried in hot oil until I started choking from the fumes of the chili! Toss in the chicken pieces, couple of kaffir lime leaves and a little water. Finally salt, some leftover fine beans and freshly squeezed coconut milk. Doesn't look very pretty but it was tasty and light on the palate.
Moving on, I was honoured to be invited to Nigel and Allan's Pot Luck dinner for fellow flogger from afar, Msiagirl. I decided to bring pomelo salad after reading all about Rama V. Except that their version is a lot fancier with abalone. Mine was just humble chicken and shrimp. I don't know why it never occurred to me to make it before as it is incredibly easy and wonderfully refreshing given the hot and humid nights we're having lately. Ciki text me today with compliments about the salad. So here it is Ciki monkey! You will need juice and zest of 2 limes, 1 tablespoon palm sugar/brown sugar, 1 chili padi, 1 stalk lemongrass sliced very finely and 3 tablespoons of fish sauce. First muddle the juice, zest, sugar and lemongrass like you would a mojito. Ah, I sense I have piqued your interest! Then add the rest of the ingredients and adjust according to taste. This measurement is for 1/3 - 1/2 pomelo segments and enough for two monkeys! Don't forget the coriander and toasted peanuts. The nuts are a must!
Seasoned one chicken breast fillet with salt and pepper. Pan fry on non-stick skillet for about 3 minutes on each side. If you butterfly the breast it will cook much faster. Clean, shell and devein 6 medium prawns. Bring some water to gentle simmer with some salt added. Poach prawns for 30s to 1 min. Until it turns opaque. To assemble just throw everything together and toss in the dressing. Crushed peanuts right at the end. Voila. So easy right? Now, your turn to make for me!