Quick and Easy Garnishes

Monday, April 13, 2009

How many times have you eaten out at a restaurant and found the edge of serving plates garnished with a flower pattern of veggie, a fan shape of fruit slices, and even a cute rabbit of quail egg, a heart of cherry tomato surrounding the food? Wouldn't those garnishes make your dining experience more pleasant and enjoyable? I have a couple of quick easy garnishes to share, hoping they would add excitement to your family banquet, casual brunch with friends, or just dinner for one. If you want to get fancy with the designs, then a book about garnishing would be more practical.

Tomato or Apple Rose

  1. Starting at the stem end cut round an apple or a tomato and keep the peel unbroken. Make the strip of apple or tomato skin narrower and narrower while you continue cutting.
  2. Start curling the skin at the narrow end towards the wide end. Turn upside down, adjust the roll if necessary to resemble a flower and set on a serving plate.

Tomato Heart and Rabbit


  1. Holding a sharp knife at a 45-degree angle slice off 1/3 of a cherry tomato. Place the 2/3-part, cutting side down, on a cutting board. Slice it into even two halves and put them together to form a heart.
  2. Slice 1/4 of a cherry tomato horizontally with a sharp knife. To make a little rabbit ear, we need to cut a V-notch with scissors at either side of this horizontal slice. Put the cutting side of the 3/4-part as a base, and cut a slit on the top to fit in the rabbit ear.

Carrot Flower and Cucumber Loop


  1. Peel carrot and place on cutting board. Cut off ends and discard. Cut out a thin, shallow lengthwise wedge from side of carrot. Lift out wedge with tip of knife. Give carrot a quarter turn and cut out another wedge. Repeat, turning and cutting two more times. Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Sprinkle chopped olives or caviar onto center of each carrot flower. Use a thin strips of green onion for stems and garnish as you like.
  2. Slice the cucumber open lengthwise and cut unpeeled cucumbers at angle into lengths about 3 inches long. Cut 5 thin slices along the length, leaving slices connected at one end. Curl the second and fourth slices towards the base to form an open loop.

I am sending this to Innovative In-Laws who hosts the event "Garnish the Dish" .

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Chicken Broth Jelly

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Chicken broth contains the broken down material from bones and tendons. When the broth is cooled, it congeals due to the presence of gelatin.
  • 700 g Bones and skin of chicken drumsticks
  • 1200 ml Water
  • 1-2 stalk Spring onions, cut into chunks
  • 3-4 slice Ginger
  • 2 tsp Chinese rice wine or sherry
  • 1 tsp Vinegar
  • 1/3 tsp White pepper powder
  • 1/3 tsp Salt (I used 1 tsp and it’s way too salty)

  1. Wash the chicken bones and skin thoroughly and add them into a pot of boiling water. Boil for 2 or 3 minutes and then turn off the heat. Drain and rinse the bones thoroughly under the tape water.


  2. Fill a pot with water with ginger, spring onions, rice wine, vinegar, chicken bones and skin. Bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until liquid has reduced by half, about 2 hours. Strain stock into a bowl. Discard solids. Season the stock with salt and pepper. Allow the liquid to cool down and set to a jelly. It’s ready for use. The broth can be kept in a fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for at least 6 months.
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Sweet Crust Pastry (Pâte Sucrée)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Crumble, cookie like sweet pastry dough is mainly made of sugar, egg (or just yolk), and flour. Sweet Pastry Crust (Pâte Sucrée in French) is a sweet, crumble, cookie like pastry dough made of sugar, egg (or just yolks), and flour. It’s a kind of shortcrust pastries. Low-fat butter or margarine should be avoided in making pastry because they usually have high water contents.
  • 200 g German #405 flour
  • 1/5 tsp Baking powder
  • 100 g Caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Egg, medium
  • 100 g Butter or margarine, softened

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add sugar, salt, egg and butter or margarine. Mix first at slow speed with a hand mixer, then increase the speed and mix until a soft but not sticky pastry is formed.
  2. Cover tightly with cling film and allow to rest in a fridge for 30 minutes before use. Roll out to the required thickness. The recipe is good enough for a 26-28cm springform
    . With fork, prick dough to prevent puffing and shrinking during baking. Bake in the middle rack of the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden. The dough can be prepared the day before you plan to use it and should keep in the fridge for up to three days if needed.
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How to Prepare Sweet And Sour Sauce

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Typical Chinese dishes incorporating sweet and sour sauce are sweet and sour pork tenderloin, spareribs, shrimp and chicken.

Seasoning
  • 4 tbsp Corn oil
  • 4-5 slice Ginger
  • 1 tbsp Garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk Spring onion
  • 2 stalk Dried chillies
  • 150 g Pineapple (preferable fresh)
  • 10 g Dried Hawthorns
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  • 1 cup Water
  • 4 tbsp Ketchup
  • 3 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Sherry (preferable Jiafan rice wine)
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Maggi sauce
  • 1/2 tsp White pepper powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  1. Use a serrated knife
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    to cut off the leave stem of the pineapple. Quarter the pineapple lengthwise and remove the core. Cut the pineapple into the small chunks. Cut the spring onion and chillies into smaller pieces. Set a skillet over medium heat until hot and add in oil. When hot, stir in ginger, garlic and white parts of spring onion until aromatic. Add in the green parts of the spring onion, pineapples, dried hawthorns and the seasoning.
  2. Adjust the fire to high and bring all the ingredients to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the vegetables and pineapples, adjust the heat to high and reboil the sauce. Thicken the sauce with 1 tablespoon of starch solution. When cool, store in a covered container in the fridge.

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How To Cream Butter

Monday, April 07, 2008

Creaming in baking refers to the technique of beating butter or shortening and caster or icing sugar together until fluffy, lemon white in colour and increased in volume due to the incorporation of tiny air bubbles. These bubbles stay in batter and enlarge the cakes with the help of a certain amount of leaving agents such as baking powder or baking soda. Poorly creamed butter can result in cakes or cookies that are disappointedly coarse and dense. The traditional fat used for creaming is real butter, but vegetable shortening is the most effective to work with. Never melt the fat to soften.

110 g Unsalted butter
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220 g Caster sugar
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  1. To cream butter and sugar properly, begin with the butter of right temperature. Butter that is too cold and it is difficult to work with and won’t blend with sugar. Too warm, it won’t held the air bubbles at all. To cream effectively, 18C/65F is the ideal temperature. Measure with a temperature thermometer or lightly press the block of butter with the index finger and it bents slightly, it is ready to be creamed. Make sure your mixing bowl is at room temperature too. I usually dice the butter directly out of the fridge and allow them to sit for 5 minutes to reach the right temperature. Meanwhile I go ahead with other instructions called in the recipes, such as sifting the flour or greasing the baking pan. Another important influencing point is the ratio of butter to sugar quantity. The general ratio for creaming is half as much butter as sugar.
  2. For a smooth textured cake, fine white sugar (or brown or a combination) will apply in the recipe. When creaming butter by hand, use a wooden spoon as it holds the butter best and keeps it from sliding around the bowl. While it is possible to cream butter and sugar by hand, it is much faster and easier to use an electric mixer. In this step, we add sugar gradually at the side of the bowl while mixing, beating thoroughly after each addition. When using an electric mixer, it is important to start at low speed first to combine all the ingredients, then switch to medium speed to beat sugar and butter until the mixture fluffy and pale. Stop to scrape the bowl down periodically to make sure everything is thoroughly combined, about 5 minutes. If you have patience and time, then add sugar one tablespoon at a time, the whole process should take 8-10 minutes. It is important not to beat any more than absolutely necessary as it will just diminish its strength o hold the air bubbles. Any extracts can be added in this step.
  3. The creamed mixture is suitable for making creamed cakes or cookies and it should be used immediately because you don't want the butter in the creamed mixture to soften and the beaten air pockets to disappear. After creaming, room-temperature eggs usually will be required to beat in for optimal volume and for a smooth texture because the lecithin in yolks acting as a perfect emulsifier.

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Stabilizing Whipped Cream

Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Creamy whipped cream with a hint of sweetness, it’s perfect for piping and decorating layered cakes, or making mousses or just as an accompaniment to tarts and many other desserts. To create whipped cream, dairy whipping cream is usually sweetened with sugar during beating. Cream are categorized and sold according to the amount of milkfat or butterfat they contain. Light whipping cream has between 30% and 36% butterfat and heavy whipping cream contains 36%-40% fat, or even 42%. If a cup of cream in the supermarket labeled whipping cream, then most likely means light whipping cream. Both creams can be turned into whipped cream by beating them with air. The fat grobules in the cream then trap the air bubbles, resulting the foam, which is roughly the size of the original cream.
"Whipping Cream" with varied butterfat content
#30% Butterfat:#32% Butterfat:
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#33% Butterfat:#35% Butterfat:
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In Germany whipping cream (Schlagsahne in German language) usually contains 30%-33% fat, if cream has 35% fat content, then it is probably labeled as “Schlagsahne Extra” (33% fat content from Eifel NRW ) or “Teesahne” with maximal 40% butterfat and “Crème Double or Doppelrahm” between 43% and 45% butterfat content. Cream has slightly lower butterfat content, between 25% and 29% are labeled and simply sold as “Sahne”. “Coffee cream or Kaffeesahne” here contains 10-15% fat. In UK, a cream labeled as “Double Cream”, must contain 48% butter fat, and 35% for a whipping cream. “Half Cream” with 12% fat content used only for coffee in UK is correspondent with German “Kaffeesahne”, while a 18% “Single or Light Cream” correspond to American “Half And Half. Ok, enough confusion. All you have to remember is that whipping cream with a fat content of 30% to 36% works best when making whipped cream. The higher the butterfat, the more flavourful and stable cream will be.
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  • 400 g Dairy whipping cream
  • 15 g Icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 3 Plain gelatin sheets
  • OR 1 tsp granulated gelatin
  • Some cold water
#Leaf Gelatin:#Soaked In Water:
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  1. Cream is easier to whip up when cold. So start by chilling a large, clean mixing bowl (preferably stainless steel bowl which helps keeping cream colder), a beater or whisk, and the cream in the refrigerator overnight or until thoroughly chilled. To make sure they are VERY cold, I put the mixing bowl and beater in the freezer 15 minutes again before start whisking the cream. In summer time, place the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice water and whip the cream in the coolest place of the room. Turn on the air conditioner if you have one. While the bowl and beater are still in the freeze, prepare the stabilizer.
  2. Submerge the gelatin sheets in a small bowl filled with cold water until softened, 3-5 minutes, then gently squeeze out excess water. If using granulated gelatin, add 2 tablespoons or just enough of cold water to the gelatin so that the liquid is thoroughly absorbed. Temper the bowl of softened gelatin inside another pan of very hot water, or heat it in a microwave on high for about 20 seconds. Stir the heated mixture until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool it to about the body temperature. Do not let the gelatin set.
  3. Besides gelatin, the starch-based stabilizers, like RUF, Dr. Oetker, or Kuechle, can also be used to help stabilize the whipped cream. They are usually to be found in every supermarkets in Germany.
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  4. Whip cream either by mixer(handheld or stand) or by hand (not recommended though, especially when whipping a lot of cream; if you do, use a balloon whisk). To make life easier, I use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment to whip cream. Fill the well-chilled mixing bowl at least 1/5 full fitted with the well-chilled whisk with nice cold whipping cream, so that air can be incorporated quickly and efficiently with the cream.
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  5. To avoid cream splashing, start it off slowly until the mixture becomes soft and thicker. The cream drops from the whisk when it is lifted. Now it is the right time to add in extract and icing sugar (icing sugar contains cornstarch which helps stabilize the whipped cream) along the sides of the bowl, and continue to beat at medium speed. Slowly add in the dissolved gelatin all at once and beat until the cream holds soft peaks. The volume of well-whipped cream is about doubled. Overbeating will cause it to curdle and become butter.
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Natural dairy cream are produced from milk and unsweetened, while the artificial cream are manufactured of coconut or palm kernel fat, corn syrup, emulsifiers, antioxidants, flavouring enhancer, colourings, and some other food additives.
Imitation Of Whipping Cream
RUF Artificial Powdered Cream:Aritificial Cream Ingredients:
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Similar Products From Dr. Oetker
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