Sunday, 14 February 2010

New Year Goodies II

The next thing I made for new year was Pineapple Tarts.  Essentially, this is a cookie with a jam paste centre.  It's popular with Malaysian, Singaporean and Indonesians during the Chinese New Year.  I tried these last year after some blog-surfing as I like pineapple.  This year I made the pineapple jam myself from fresh pineapple as opposed to tinned which I did last year.  The flavour is much better.

There are many, many recipes for these out there on the internet and different shapes too.  Some are sausage roll like where the pineapple paste is encased in a rolled pastry which has been squeezed from a pastry press leaving lines over the pastry surface.  Indonesians call it Nastar.  Others are completely encased in pastry and perhaps shaped into oranges with a clove as the stalk or into animal shapes. 

I tried a piped version but it wasn't very successful as the dough is firm and my piping nozzle too fine.  The butter in the dough began to melt with the force of my squeezing and didn't look that good.  Plus, it was really hard work!  Eventually, I settled on rolling the dough out and cutting flower shapes out with a cookie cutter.  I made indentations with a spoon and filled the centres with a blob of pineapple paste. 

I have seen a recipe for melting moments which are piped into pretty rosettes.  I need to get a bigger star nozzle before I make them and I imagine they will be quite tasty with the sweet sharp gooeyness of pineapple paste!

New Year Goodies

As I said, I have been busy in the kitchen leading up to New Year.  I've decided I want to give new year food gifts to family and it's been a challenge to find the time after work.  Nevertheless, I have made peanut cookies, pineapple tarts and steamed radish cakes for my new year goody bag.  I am adding tangerines, japanese pears and some lai-see sweets to complete the ensemble.  I had wanted to present the gifts in a round basket but had trouble sourcing these.  Besides, I think it would have to be a large one too!  All I can come up with is a large gift bag.

Here's what I've made:

Peanut Cookies

They were shaped using a measuring spoon so each one is the same size.  They are quite simple to make once you've got everything prepared.  The time consuming bit is the peanut preparation.  It's well worth the effort as the result is a light and crispy, crumbly cookie with an aromatic roasted peanut aroma.  Very popular with my family!

The recipe is not mine but from another food blogger. 
Here is the link to her blog Chinese Peanut Cookies

Here is the peanut preparation. 
I roasted the peanuts in the oven til they were brown and fragrant.  You can do this in a dry wok/frying pan but have to be careful to toss peanuts constantly otherwise you will scorch the peanuts!  I often do that so I find the oven easier - the peanuts roast more uniformly too which makes skin-shelling easier. 
When peanuts are cool enough to handle, you just rub the skins off with your fingers.  My mum does this in handfuls.  When this is all done, she tosses the peanuts gently over the empty sink and blows on them simultaneously.  The papery skins fly off into the sink which you can clear up later.  This I find too messy, so I have the laborious task of rubbing each peanut in my fingers and putting the skins in a separate bag for disposal later.
I used my hand blender attachment to grind the peanuts.  I can't get it to a fine powder but my family like the course grainy texture of the peanuts.

The next bit is easy as you just mix the ground peanuts with flour and sugar and add some oil.  It comes out looking like wet sand but it's not a problem.

When you squeeze the sandy mix together it stays clumped.  So I used a measuring spoon to get my little cookie shapes.  I then placed these on a baking tray (no greasing required) to bake.  You can glaze with egg-wash.  I forgot.

Happy Chinese New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!!

May the new year bring you fortune, good health and may a million wishes go your way!

This year has been busy for me with returning to work after my Christmas break and I've somewhat neglected my blog.  I have been busy baking and crafting but not had a chance to update on here.

Year of the Tiger is MY year!  Both myself and my husband are born in Year of the Tiger and what is especially exciting for us is that we are going to have our own little Tiger too!  Baby is due in August and we are v-e-r-y excited as he/she will be baby no 1!

Here is the scan of our little tiger!  My work colleagues have said it's smoking a cigar!  Hubbs says it's on the bottle already!  Next scan due in Mid-March and am looking forward to baby's developments!

Have been very fortunate and this little one has not caused me any sickness at all!  The same went for my sis-in-law (hubbs, bro's wife) she didn't suffer from sickness either!  Have had a couple of instances where unpleasant food smells or food sights have made me feel queasy but that is about it!  Lucky b**** you may say!  Only thing is with not being sick it means I am gaining weight!  Seem to get hungry again very quickly!  I will be as round as a barrel very quickly!

I made some cupcakes to take into work when I made the news public to my work colleagues.  I said it was to fatten them up as I got fatter over the coming months!

They did a good job of demolishing the lot!  There were three different butter icing flavours: vanilla, lemon and chocolate.  I used a variety of sweets to decorate them with: Dairy Milk chocolate buttons, Milky Bar chocolate buttons, Minstrels and some sugar decorations.  I had wanted to put jelly babies on them but they didn't look very good.