Focaccia Bread

Sorry for the really really long hiatus ): My family is without a helper right now so I’ve been busy doing house chores and cooking the meals. It’s been super tiring cooking most of the meals and running around, so much so that I can see why being a housewife is a legit job all by itself. Hats off to all stay home moms!! On the bright side, I’ve been learning chinese cooking from my mother and trying out new recipes! I now pride myself in ‘marriage worthy veggies’, knowing how to stir fry my chinese vegetables and turning purple cabbage edible. More on my veggies later πŸ™‚

Also my 21st birthday just passed so I was a bit busy preparing my food for my party. It was a two day baking fiesta, consisting of carrot cake, lemon cake, earl grey tea cake, chocolate chip cookies and pizza. Decided to treat my friends to all my home baked stuff to show my appreciation for their wonderful presence in my life :))

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Thank God for my mother and D for being kitchen assistants πŸ™‚ Also, D came up with a super awesome drink combination of sprite, lemon and mint. Try it out if you need respite on a sweltering hot day (which means tomorrow).

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Anyway!
Today’s post is on anΒ amazing focaccia bread that I made for my family for lunch.Β I was a bit fearful and skeptical about how it would turn out because I never ever had affinity with bread making. But this bread is soft and pillowy. Topping it off with roasted garlic and onions made it perfect πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to make this more often just that I’m not really in the mood of cleaning up ten million baking equipment right now hahah but do try this out if you love bread and have lots of time to spare, waiting for bread to rise. It’s worth the wait.

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Focaccia Bread
from Epicurious
40cm x 30cm focaccia bread

Ingredients
350ml cold water
20g instant dry yeast
625g plain flour
13g salt
70ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing

Directions
1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer.
2. With a dough hook, knead for 5 minutes. Turn up the speed by 1 level and kneed for another 10 minutes until dough is smooth.
3. Transfer dough into a lightly greased mixing dough and cover loosely with a cling wrap. Wait for the dough to double, approximately for 1 hour.
4. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. Punch down and flatten onto lightly greased baking tray. Spread till approximately 40cm x 30cm, not taller than 1/2 inch.
5. Brush with olive oil and proof for another 15 minutes.
6. Place desired toppings on dough and proof for another 20 minutes.
7. Bake at 210 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.
8. Remove from oven and brush with olive oil. Cool before serving.

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Roasted Chicken

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I’m baaaaaaack πŸ™‚ Sorry I’ve been away for so long because my exams just ended. All I’ve done for the past few weeks was sleep, mug, eat and sleep. But now that exams are over, I’m super excited to be baking and cooking for November :> before everything starts piling up again and there are exams again in January ):

Anyway, here is the roasted chicken a made a couple of weeks back which follows Heston’s way of cooking. If you don’t know who Heston Blumenthal is, he’s this eccentric British chef whose restaurant, Fat Duck, is a place I dream of eating at. But it’s going to cost at least $400 per person, so I’m just going to continue dreaming. He has really science-y ways of cooking stuff but it comes out perfect and this roasted chicken is very replicable at home!

I first ate this chicken at D’s place and it had one of the most tender chicken breast meat ever. It was soft and juicy, nothing like those dry, stringy breast meat I was used to. Sadly, the skin wasn’t crispy because we didn’t have time to blast it (it was 2 something by the time the chicken was cooked and we were famished). So without a doubt, I had to remake the chicken at home to get the crispy skin.

Preparing for this chicken takes a day and the roasting takes a few hours which makes it a bit troublesome but then there are really little skills involved. All you need to do is to brine the chicken overnight, dump it into your oven for 2 hours, then turn up your oven to its maximum temperature to blast the chicken and get that crispy skin.

It was actually quite epic to turn my oven up to the maximum temperature because when I opened the oven door, the entire kitchen filled with so much smoke that we all ran out. Oh oh oh be mentally prepared that your kitchen will smell like roasted chicken for the entire day hahahah.

Other than that, roast away!!! πŸ™‚

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Ingredients
1 kg whole raw chicken
Water
Salt
50g of melted butter
1 Lemon
Pepper
Herbs de Provence

Directions
1. Mix 1 litre of water and 40g of salt. You can change the amount of water according to how much you need to cover the chicken but always use this ratio of 1 litre of water to 40g of salt.
2. In a pot large enough to fit your chicken but small enough to reside in your fridge, place the chicken and pour the salt water over, ensure that the water completely covers the chicken.
3. Place the pot in the fridge and leave it overnight.
4. The next morning, pour away the salt water and replace it with normal water.
5. When you want to cook the chicken, take the chicken out and pat it dry.
6. Place it on a baking tray and brush it with melted butter. Sprinkle the herbs, salt and pepper on the chicken.
7. Roast it at 100 degrees until the thickest part of the breast meat reaches 60 degrees Celsius.
8. Take the chicken out and let it rest for 45 minutes.
9. Turn your oven up to its maximum temperature.
10. Brush your chicken with melted butter again and place it in the oven.
11. Roast it for about 10 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and crispy.

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Cucumber, Tomato and Feta Greek Salad

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School’s tiring and sometimes you need to self-declare a school holiday even though it has only been a week since school started πŸ™‚ So on self-declared school holidays, I cook my own lunch and today I made pita breads stuffed with a mint yogurt grilled fish, roasted harissa carrots and a greek salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and feta cheese. I absolutely loved the greek salad because it had the right balance of sourness (from the cider vinegar), sweetness (from the honey) and saltiness (from the feta cheese). You can just eat it straight from the bowl or stuff it in some pita breads.

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Serves 4
Ingredients
1/2 cucumber, diced
3 tomatoes, diced
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey

Directions
1. Mix the cider vinegar, olive oil and honey together
2. Pour the dressing over the vegetables in a large bowl and serve πŸ™‚

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