Times are hard and will get harder next year. Belt tightening has to be done.
With quite a heavy heart, I cancelled my domain and subscription plan. I don’t know what’s going to happen after May 2023 when it ends. Will all my previous posts be available or will it disappear? Perhaps the domain will disappear but the posts remain? Maybe the words will remain but the pictures disappear?
However the future holds for this blog which I started in 2010, I’ve had a good run and an enjoyable time. What started as a project to keep recipes for my children will now have to be just a databank of memories and one day I might just delete the entire blog. The children are not interested in cooking at all 😂
Thank you to those who have subscribed and who have accessed this blog site. I bid all of you adieu. I can be found on Instagram : shasha_cooks
Happy holidays and have a great 2023 ahead! ☺️
The Occasional Cook
PS:// if you can’t access shashacooks.com anymore (it’ll end May 2023), i suspect the blog can still be accessed using shashacooks.wordpress.com
Hari Raya, or Eid, is in a week’s time! How time flies and sadly Ramadan will be over. However, in this part of the world, it also means that visiting begins. And this year in Singapore, we have just gotten news that there’s no more limit to people gatherings! We can have as many visitors as we want and go out with as many people in a group as we want! Hooray!
This also means that I have to ensure that my dining table is Raya ready! What this means is taking out my pink Pyrex canisters and filling them with cookies!
This year I decided that I’ll bring a bit of my childhood to Raya. I’ll bake cookies that remind me of my own childhood. Cookies I remember eating as a kid during this festivity and though I may not be able to master them all, I’ll try a few.
One of my childhood memories during Raya is eating these cornflake meringue cookies. Sweet and crunchy, they’re every kid’s dream.
I called my aunt for the recipe and it seemed pretty simple enough. First up, make the meringue. Next, add lightly crushed cornflakes and chocolate chips. Place in a liner (use a dark one for that colour contrast) and bake.
As you can see, this is so old school for me because the measurements given were in ounces. This is a family recipe that has lasted many many decades! 😂
In any case, another achievement unlocked for me. More cookie recipes coming up. 🍪
It’s been some time since I’ve posted. Too much work, and last week I was down with covid. Sigh. Luckily the symptoms I had were very mild but I didn’t want to spread it to the rest of the household so I was stuck in my room for six whole days straight.
So this weekend I decided to make full use of the kitchen. After watching The British Bake-off on BBC Lifestyle, I got inspired again to bake. So I took out my British Bake Off cookbook and decided on an easy recipe.
And oh, what a marvellous recipe it was! The dough came out perfect! Move over Pioneer Woman. I have found my go to sweet bun recipe and this is a complete winner.
This is the recipe book I bought years ago and I’ve only made two recipes from it. One was a Victorian Sponge sandwich (which I’ve posted here before) and then now this sticky buns.
I’m just going to share the recipe for the dough. It worked brilliantly for me and maybe for our humid weather here.
In a saucepan I melted 75g of butter with 200ml whole milk. And then let that cool.
In my trusty Kitchen Aid glass bowl, I measured 500g bread flour and to that added 2 tbsp of sugar, 7g of instant yeast and 1tsp of table salt. I stirred that and then attached the dough hook. With the cooled butter and milk mixture, I beat in one egg. And then added this liquid mixture to the fry ingredients.
I let the dough hook do it’s magic and when it’s formed into w rough dough, let it run till it’s kneaded smooth. From that, I took the nice dough, formed it into w smooth ball and then let it rest for an hour back in the bowl.
While the dough is proofing, I added Demerara sugar (I didn’t have light brown sugar) to 100g of softened butter. Because I was using Demerara, I measured 85g instead of the 75g of light brown sugar. So in that bowl is softened butter mixed with the sugar and 2tbsp of maple syrup. This will serve as the topping.
For the filling of the sticky bun, melt 70g of butter. And then in another bowl, 85g of Demerara sugar with 1tsp of cinnamon powder.
When the dough has doubled in size (about an hour or so), punch it down and roll to a rectangle. Brush the melted butter all over. Sprinkle the sugar cinnamon all over. Then roll and cut.
In a roasting pan, spread the butter sugar mixture all over and then crush about 100g pecans. Place the cut pieces of rolls on it.
Let that proof a second time (about 20 to 30min) before going into a 180 degree Celsius oven till brown.
Last Sunday I whipped up a Turkey lunch for the family. Now, using the word ‘whip’ makes it seem as though I had an easy time but other than the sheer huge size of the poultry, the rest of it was simply that easy.
The turkey I bought was an 8pounder baby. Now, that’s not very big but I don’t usually cook on a large scale. The first problem I had was finding a receptacle big enough for brining it overnight.
After much trial and error, I found the biryani pot which I took from my Mama but never returned. It was still a tad too small and the top of the turkey was exposed but it was the best given the circumstances.
The brining liquid was simple. Water, salt, lemon and orange peels, peppercorns, Bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, onion, garlic. Brine overnight.
So yesterday I made the best kunafe I’ve ever made. After learning the basics from cleobuttera and from others, I decided to combine a few recipes and my own judgement.
Lesson 1: the mould to use is important. I remember the very first time I made kunafe a few years ago, I used a glass dish. Bad idea. The bottom didn’t crisp and I ended up with a very soggy dessert.
Lesson 2: the cheese. You can’t use salty cheese here. I remember once I used a saltier dish and nope, the kunafe was weird. Sweet and salty here is not the combination you want.
Lesson 3: filling the kataifi pastry up the edges. The second time I made the kunafe, I had a run of blackened cheese around. It was not a pretty sight.
So with all of these mistakes, I learnt from them and made a kunafe that was gone in minutes. I use now only a springform metal round pan. I use butter and yesterday, a little bit of colouring. I filled the pan up the edges slightly so when I put the filling in, it won’t leak out.
For the filling: one whole bottle of English clotted cream mixed with one whole pack of ricotta cheese. Mix well. Add to the kataifi in the pan. Top with shredded mozzarella and then cover with more kataifi pastry, and then bake.
Once baked, quickly pour sugar syrup all over the hot kunafe. And then decorate.
This is a great dessert for when you have guests coming over. Make one this weekend!