Our company server died on 31 Jul. It was right after I finished the monthly accounts close, but just before I clicked the button to submit monthly reports to company headquarters. Darn it!
Turns out the battery powering the hard disks was damaged. It was swollen and according to the supplier, just about to explode. We were lucky it didn’t.
It was a very stressful weekend, though I did not need to come to the office. But there was a possibility the precious data we had entered could not be saved and we would have to redo everything for the past week. On normal days, that was fine. At the last week of the accounts close, the amount of data we had already input was quite a lot. Sigh. So the problem was weighing down on my mind the entire weekend and I was so restless and feeling very helpless. I had to do something. My hands needed to work! I chose to bake, rather then to clean house. :P
I thought to de-stress everyone, these cookies would be just the thing. Actually it was just an excuse. I think I needed the de-stressing more than anyone else.
Totally chocolate chocolate chip cookies(spotted from Nigella Lawson, by Elinor Klivans)
125 grams dark chocolate (I used 85% cocoa solids)
150 grams all-purpose flour
30 grams cocoa, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
125 grams unsalted butter, softened
75 grams brown sugar
50 grams castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, cold
350 grams dark chocolate chips (I used 62% cocoa solids chocolate discs)
Maldon sea salt flakes (optional)
Preheat oven to 170 C. Prepare 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine.
Beat butter with both sugars until light and fluffy.
Add in vanilla extract and egg. Beat until combined.
Reduce mixer speed to low and add in dry ingredients gradually.
Fold in chocolate chips.
With a ice-cream scoop, scoop 6 balls of dough onto each baking sheet. Do not press down on the cookie. Or if like me, you do not have an ice-cream scoop, use a 1/4 cup to scoop out and use hands to lightly roll into a ball.
Sprinkle some sea salt flakes over the cookies. It is optional but really makes a lot of difference. Chocolate and salt flakes go very well together.
Bake for 18 minutes. Cool completely before storing.
Very chocolaty cookie that is absolutely divine. There is an insane amount of chocolate chips in the dough. Take care to fold in and divide the chips equally or some cookies will end up consisting almost entirely of chocolate chips.
I love that it doesn’t spread out much but puffs up and is quite thick. Thick fat cookies are my favorite. It is not cake-y but somewhat crumbly in texture. We ended up scattering a lot of crumbs at the office pantry table.
I didn’t reduce the sugar at all since I’m using dark chocolate. If using semi-sweet, you can consider reducing slightly. I like that the sugar content is not as high as some recipes I’ve come across.
So is the server problem solved? As of today, not yet. The earliest we can expect the server to be up and running would be Wednesday. By then the workload would be…ah, can’t think about it. Eat chocolate chip cookie and de-stress. Eat. Eat.
I started loving kimchi when I visited Korea. The taste of good kimchi is simply wonderful. I’ve tasted the ‘not-so-nice’ type, where the taste of brine and preservatives was very strong. This type is typically made from mass production and with a short fermentation time. This type was also the first kind of kimchi I ever tried. Thereafter, my impression of kimchi was yucks, until I went Korea.
Making kimchi is a time-consuming project. Plenty of washing, cutting and waiting to do. But the end result is better than the store-bought packages. It tastes fresh and is free of chemical preservatives.
1/4 cup fermented shrimp, chopped (I used chinchalok)
200 grams hot pepper flakes
Slice cabbage in half. Make a small vertical cut in the center, at the root.
Dunk the cabbage into water to wet the leaves.
Sprinkle salt into each leave of the cabbage.
Set aside the salted cabbages for 2 hours. Turn the cabbages every half hour to ensure evenly salted.
Mix water with rice flour in a saucepan. Turn on heat and cook until boiling. Let it simmer for 5 minutes, turn off the heat and let it cool completely.
Place garlic, ginger, onions, apple and pear in the blender. Blend until fine. Pour into a large bowl and add fish sauce, fermented shrimp and hot pepper flakes. Mix well to combine.
Add radish, carrot, chives, scallion and glutinous porridge into the blended sauce. Mix well to combine.
Wash the cabbage thoroughly to rinse off the salt. Each leave must be washed carefully. I washed the cabbages 3 times in total.
From the small vertical cut made at step 1, carefully tear the cabbage halves into quarters.
Put on disposable gloves. Smear the prepared sauce onto each leave of the quartered cabbage. Fold the cabbage and place into prepared container. I used a claypot and glass airtight containers.
Leave the kimchi to ferment for 24 -36 hours at room temperature. Due to warm weather, I fermented for 24 hours. To check if kimchi is fermenting, with a clean spoon, press down lightly on the kimchi and you should see some bubbles.
Keep kimchi in refrigerator.
For a better idea at what to expect during kimchi making, head over to Maangchi’s website (linked above) and watch the video.
I love the sour taste of kimchi. If you do not like your kimchi sour, reduce the fermentation time.
Making kimchi out of 4 kg of cabbage is no joke. Imagine 200 heads of cabbage, as what Maangchi shared on her video about her mum making kimchi!
A very interesting experience, though tiring. I sure slept well that night after making kimchi. :)
Pandan gula melaka hotteok(adapted from Zenkimchi)
170 grams water
200 grams coconut milk
20-30 pandan leaves, snipped into small pieces
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
333 grams flour
250 grams glutinous rice flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
4 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
120 grams gula melaka, chopped finely or crushed with a pestle
3 tbsp chopped almonds, lightly toasted
Place water, coconut milk and pandan leaves in a blender.
Blend until fine. Pour the mixture into a cheesecloth bag and strain out the liquid into a bowl. Set aside.
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Add in wet ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms.
Place dough in a bowl and cover with cling wrap or kitchen towel. Proof for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until at least doubled in size.
Mix the ingredients for the filling together.
Oil hands, lightly punch down the dough and divide into 12 pieces. Form each piece into a ball.
Heat up a frying pan on medium fire with 3 tbsp of oil. Add more oil as you fry when needed.
Flatten dough into a disc about the size of your palm. Place 1 generous tbsp of filling and seal the dough well. Form into a ball.
Place dough in the frying pan and press down with a spatula to flatten.
Fry for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown.
Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot.
This dough is not so wet and easier to handle. The end result is still crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. The fragrance of the pandan and coconut is quite subtle. I did better with the wrapping and the flattening this round. The proportions are more even.
I didn’t add cinnamon to the filling since that would overpower the pandan and coconut taste. My taste testers gave this 2 thumbs up. My mum didn’t like this though. She said the coconut smell was overpowering. Guess that came from the good quality gula melaka I used. Can’t please everyone. :P