Friday, 30 November 2007

Banana Balls or Jemput Jemput Pisang or Cekodok Pisang

The hubby had a craving for banana balls... and I had over-ripe bananas with a wish to be made into anything other than banana cake or remaining a fruit. So after a thorough search online for banana balls, I finally found it in Mama Fa Mi's fotopages.

I've modified her recipe a little, especially since the bananas I had were very sweet and the amount was way more than her 3 ripe bananas. That said, this is really a recipe for the impatient cook - it takes less than 5 minutes to get the preparation done and all it takes is to fry up the banana balls.

350g ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tbsp milk powder
3/4 tsp Baking powder
2 tbsp Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
Oil for frying

1. Sift flour, baking powder and milk powder.
2. Mix the mashed banana, sugar and salt well.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mix. Make sure that the overall mixture is neither too dry nor too wet.

4. Heat the oil and drop tablespoonfuls of the mixture into it. Once the batter balloons and turns a golden brown, scoop it up and drain it well.

5. Enjoy!

It's a heavenly taste - wonderful bite of banana, soft, yet chewy in texture. And it I mention that it's so simple to make? *g*

Monday, 26 November 2007

Homemade Mayonnaise

In my previous post, I mentioned homemade mayonnaise. And here's how to make it:

2 egg yolks
1 tbl fresh lemon juice
1 tbl white vinegar
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil mix (I use 3/4 cup olive oil and 3/4 cup canola oil, but it's really up to you. If you find the scent of the olive oil a little heavy, you can use more canola oil. I've not tried this recipe with other oils like soya bean or corn oil, but I suppose those oils might add their own flavour into the mayo, so you can experiment to get the flavour you like.)

1. In the mixer, beat the yolks, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, sugar and Dijon mustard.
2. Whilst the mixer is beating the above ingredients, drizzle a teaspoonful of the vegetable oil into the mixer at intervals of 5 to 10 seconds. This is to allow the oil to incorporate into the yolk to from an emulsion.

(Here is a whole aside into Science which you can teach your kids - and I do since Ethan's being homeschooled. *winks* An emulsion is a mixture of two liquids that normally can't be combined, eg oil and water or here, vinegar/lemon juice and oil. Emulsifying is done by slowly adding one ingredient to another while simultaneously mixing rapidly, which disperses and suspends tiny droplets of one liquid through another.

However, the two liquids would quickly separate again unless an emulsifier is added to set and stabilise the mixture. Eggs and gelatin are among the foods that contain emulsifiers, and in mayonnaise, the emulsifier is the lecithin in egg yolk.

Emulsification is used in making medicine, and in making various items like paint, make-up, detergents and explosive. Thus concludes this post's Science lesson.)

3. Once you get a pasty mixture from your oil addition, you can add the oil in larger amount, making sure that the mixture remains an emulsion.

4. Once all the oil is incorporated, just put your mayonnaise into a jar and you're done!

For those of you worried about using raw egg yolk in cooking for fear of salmonella, make sure that the egg shell is washed before use. The egg itself doesn't contain the salmonella germs, which are actually found in fecal matter - on the outside of the egg or on unwashed hands. Therefore, wash your eggs in a mild bleach solution if you're worried (and keep those hands clean!), to kill those salmonella germs. Hey, now the Science lesson is really over! *grins*

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Welcome to McBrenda's!

Healthy hamburgers are an oxymoron? Not necessarily so! *grins* Homemade burgers are not only delicious, they are a chockful of healthy veggies, proteins and carbohydrates. Besides, you're almost guaranteed an empty plate after the kids have sat at the dinner table. *winks*

McBrenda's Burgers
Ingredients for Beef Patty:
500g lean minced beef
1/2 red onion, chopped finely
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 egg yolk
1 dash dried oregano (and other dried spices for taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix all the ingredients together.
2. Weigh the entire mixture and divide the amount to get your desired number of patties. This ensures that not only will you get the right number of patties for the number of hamburger buns you bought, but also that each patty is equal in weight... which help you avoid all those "But mmmmuuuum, his patty is bigger than mine!" complaints. heh.
3. Pat the patties into shape and put it in the fridge for about half an hour for the flavours to mingle, and for the patties to retain its shape. If you'd like to freeze the patties, do so by all means - just make sure to separate the patties by sandwiching them between plastic bags. When you want to use them, just thaw them out before cooking.

4. To cook them in the oven, pre-heat the oven to 200 deg Celsius. Put your patties on a rack and grill them to perfection... which takes about 10 to 15 minutes depending on how well-done you like your patties. (Warning: Be careful not to flip the patties too early, otherwise they might break up. If you do feel the need to flip the patties - which I don't - do it at the last minute and let the oven grill it on the other side for a minute or two.)

5. Assemble the burger. Make that a two-all-beef-very-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun... erm... well, it helps, but you can put the usual suspects into the burger - cheese, lettuce and onions. I use my homemade mayonnaise to hold the patties etc to the bun. Serve with homemade baked potato wedges. *grins*