Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

When Fortune knocks, open the door, they say. 

But why should one make Fortune knock, by keeping the door shut?

~Idries Shah (Caravan of Dreams)

Now, my ‘fortune’ started at my SIL’s place when she hosted the yearly family reunion celebrating the New Year. I happened to grab one of the mags lying on a magazine rack. I flipped through the pages quickly as lunch was about to be served. There was this page that bewitched me. It was in Dutch. I stopped a little longer and then I took my iPhone and took a snapshot of the pages. They were 2 blurry pages. My SIL saw my action. 

Oh-oh… now what?” 

She said, “Stop! I can do better. I will print the pages for you” 

Phew! That was a close one…

So yes, my SIL printed the pages for me and in colour prints on A4. What a relief I did not have to squint my eyes reading the small prints on my iPhone. 

Curious to know what my SIL printed for me?

Well, my fortune cookies, of course!

What did my Fortune tell me?

Go make more fortunes! Ha ha ha…

Seriously? Well, I’ve been wanting to make the cookies for a long time. 

Origin

The exact origin of fortune cookies is rather vague. There are 3 claimants who claimed they invented or founded the cookie, however, to this day, the debate on the real founder is still on-going. Contrary to popular belief, the cookies were not invented in China (as rumoured). It’s an American thing, created by Asian immigrants in either the LA or SF areas, migrated from Hong Kong or Japan, depending on which crystal ball you want to believe in. LOL!

Whatever or wherever the origin came from, I see it as part of an entertainment, an ice-breaker or simply, a gift! (Hint: Mother’s Day is up next … ;-))

When I left my previous job more than a decade ago, I distributed about 50 store-bought fortune cookies much to the curiosity and delight of my former colleagues. It was something to remember by and a great way to stay engaged even if it was my last day. Cool!

Oh by the way, I met up with some of my ex-colleagues recently, one of whom I have not met since I left  “Coy P” in 2003! It was good meeting and catching up with them ~ a very international reunion with 6 different nationalities out of 8 that Friday evening!

We went to a Thai restaurant, so no, there were no fortune cookies 🙂

Now I get my fortune cookie when I am at a Chinese restaurant. You can tell the fortune cookies are mass-produced. Identical in size, shape, texture and taste. You will also notice that the pastry is pretty thick, like so …

   
 
 

With the recipe my SIL printed out for me, I wanted to surprise myself that I, too, can make these cookies in the comfort of my own kitchen. By the way, it looked damn easy on paper ~ but oh dear ~ the actual execution was near to disaster. The recipe yields 10, ten-centimeter diameter cookies. I wanted 6 cookies which I wanted to bring to a small gathering the next day. Did I manage to get 6 fortune cookies? We’ll see…

Ingredients (with some modifications)

(Makes 10 fortune cookies)

  • 36 g egg white (room temperature)
  • 30 g superfine sugar 
  • Pinch sea salt (ground in pestle and mortar)
  • Zest of 1 lime 
  • 55 g APF
  • 28.35 g melted butter

Decoration (optional – my own addition )

  • Poppy seeds
  • White sesame seeds

Method 

  

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160 deg C (Note: Different ovens work differently. Frankly, this was more a trial-and-error. Cfr my verdict at the end of this post)
  2. Whisk the egg white until frothy
  3. Add sugar and whisk until smooth and glossy
  4. Add salt and lime zest. Whisk to combine
  5. Add flour. Whisk until the batter is smooth and lump-free
  6. Add melted butter and whisk for the last time
  7. Draw three 10 cm circles on a parchment or baking paper. Make sure to turn the paper pencil side down with the circles still visible on the reverse side
  8. Scoop about 3/4 Tbsp of the batter and spread it to follow the pattern of the circle on the baking sheet. Make sure to even out the thickness of the batter with the back of a spoon or a flat butter knife or even a fish knife
  9. Do not rush to bake the cookies. Make 3 at a time. Trust me, that’s plenty to keep you busy! Bake the cookies for 6 to 8 minutes. Seriously, the baking time depends on the type of oven you own. (Note, you need to work very fast as the cookie will crisp up and become brittle in no time at all)
  10. Insert a fortune in a cookie and ply the cookie in half immediately. Hold the cookie at both ends and gently curve the centre of the long straight side of the cookie on the edge of a cup or glass and transfer it to a muffin tin to hold the shape until it cools.
  11. Repeat the process until the batter is used up completely
  12. If the cookie is not crispy or under-cooked, crisp it up by baking in a low heat oven for 3 to 4 minutes or until you are satisfied with the texture. 

   
   

My verdict : I made 10 cookies, but I managed to salvage 6 – yes, on target !! I must confess, though, that the execution was not as easy as it sounded or looked on paper! The first 3 cookies that went in the oven first were a complete disaster – not the taste – but the cookies were not pliable at all. They crisped up and turned out to be crunchy as they were, round thin cookies! BUT, they were delicious! I was so happy I added lime zest  and sprinkled some poppy seeds and white sesame seeds. My younger son, was waiting nearby like a mindless eating machine, preying for the failed cookies. Mine! Mine! Mine! And failed, I did – 4 out of 10 times! To be honest, the failure stats would have been higher. To overcome subsequent  failures, I purposely under-baked the cookies first, and then took them out of the oven and placed a fortune in the cookie and started plying and folding to form the shape of a fortune cookie. Once done, I re-baked them in the oven to crisp them up. The cookies were soft when they were still hot. Re-shaping the cookie was a must and then immediately nesting each cookie in a muffin cavity. I brought the 6 cookies for a birthday gathering the next day for lunch. I was quite disappointed that the cookie was not as crispy as I wanted it to be (btw, that’s the honest verdict from the cookie I ate that afternoon). I’m sure the other girls were too polite not to mention about some of the calamities…(?) I thought, the cookies could do with more re-baking time. After all, it was my maiden attempt in making fortune cookies and for such an “important” function *wink*. 

Happy Birthday to the Birthday Girls , and thanks “A” for hosting us and for the scrummy “mee sua”

Now, there’s someone else who’s waiting for these cookies …My SIL! I promised her that I would make these when it is our turn to host the family reunion, total 17 pax (including 4 kids)! And that’ll be this summer!!! Fingers crossed for success.


By the way, what did my fortune say? 

Lol! 

I’m linking this post to #CookBlogShare: May 3-9, hosted by Snap Happy Bakes

Happy Mid Week!

Cheers!

This is an extraordinary special dish and a special dish does not come by everyday. I made this dish on Sunday although it should have been served today, 9th December.

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Too Good To Be Forgotten 

It was 18 years ago today when this special tot became plus one mortal to earth’s population, however, I can tell you that this homo sapiens was not ready to come out into this world that soon. It was comfortably curling itself in its own world, called the ‘water bag’.

Was it going to be 1st Dec? 3rd Dec? 6th? 10th? 15th? I hadn’t the clue because it was all new to me. No contractions. No pain. Nothing. I could dribble a ball and do a slam dunk. No problem at all. And yet my OB/GYN confirmed full term and scheduled the planned date for delivery on 1st Dec. 

Hubby was anxious, or rather, nervous, because I showed no signs of labour. Then what?

Going back to my OB/GYN, she said, “Check in early on 9th Dec. The baby should be out.” Hubby checked me in at 8 am on 9th Dec… but the baby did NOT want to come out. The ‘gateway’ was too narrow and it was curling and snuggling comfortably really high up. And then a nurse came and I felt a sharp and piercing pain. She did something to open the ‘gateway’. I was in agony. It went on for hours on end. I was the loudest (literally speaking) patient on that floor, because the pain was just unbearable. I felt like I was dying. I was completely exhausted and worn-out. Poor hubby was nervy and on edge seeing me wailing in pain.

After a long and grueling 12 hours and 45 minutes on the ward, baby made the statistics – after an induced labour, ten hours of excruciating pain, one hour of epidural anaesthesia and the last one hour without – the little dude came at exactly 20:45CET! My firstborn 💙

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And that was the day when our lives changed completely. We were no longer two, but three and counting 😉 My second experience was an exact opposite. Baby could not wait to come out. You can read my experience here

A Birdy December 

Have you ever realised that the meat dish that is normally served on Christmas Day is usually a bird? Even the Christmas Carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas mentioned 7 different feathered friends. Oh by the way, if you had counted six, count again. It’s SEVEN – really!!

7 Swans a Swimming
6 Geese a Laying
5 Golden Rings
4 Calling Birds
3 French Hens
2 Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

You must be wondering, 5 Golden Rings? Well, the 5 gold rings were not actually gold rings but they refer to the five golden rings of the ring-necked pheasants!

It’s December, so a bird on a plate is the best gift ever for a birthday boy.

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Last year, we had Baked Quails with Bacon Rashers in White Grapes Sauce – A Christmas Eve Special. On the request of the birthday boy, I bought some quails on Sunday. Instead of baking them, I braised the little birds.

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This recipe is adapted from Cooking Channel’s Braised Quails with Wild Mushrooms. I tweaked the recipe and improvised according to taste and available ingredients. Instead of white wine, I used Bourbon Whiskey. I excluded the mushrooms altogether as my sons are not fans of wild mushrooms. My recipe as follows –

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INGREDIENTS 

  • 6 quails, cleaned 
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • Some butter 
  • Olive oil 
  • 250 g bacon, cut into slivers 
  • 2 small onions, chopped 
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour 
  • 2 caps Bourbon Whiskey (Jim Beam)
  • Water or stock broth 
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves 
  • 1 bay leaf 

DIRECTIONS 

1. Season the quails with salt, and pepper. Melt a knob of butter with a drop of olive oil in a casserole dish and brown the quails on all sides. As you can see, my casserole dish is quite small. The 5th and 6th birds were browned in a separate pan (I did not photograph).

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2. Remove the quails from the dish, and set aside. Add the bacon to the pan, brown it, and remove. Finally, fry the chopped onions until fragrant, adding a bit of olive oil, if needed.

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3. Stir the flour into the onions, and cook for one minute. It will get dry and lumpy at this stage. Deglaze the pan with a capful or two of the Bourbon Whiskey, stirring up the good bits at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Return the onions, bacon and quails to the casserole dish. Pour over the stock and bay leaf, cover, and simmer until the quails are just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Toss in fresh basil leaves.

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4. When the quails are done, remove them from the cooking liquid and keep them warm. Make a gravy from the cooked liquid. Season to taste.

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If only you were here to see my son finished this plate. He licked his platter clean – literally speaking – and if only bones were edible, too 😜

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With Christmas round the corner, I am bringing this platter to the following Christmas Cooking Challenges –

My Treasured Recipes #4 – Ho Ho Ho It’s Christmas (Dec 2014) hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders and co-hosted by Charmaine of Mimi Bakery House

Cook and Celebrate: Christmas 2014 hosted by Yen from Eat your heart out, Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids

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I am also sharing this pre- Christmas story to readers following
Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking

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Nine months of anxiety, ten hours in agony but pride and joy forever. 

Happy birthday, Niels! 🎁🎉🎂 

And happy mid-week all! 

 

Cheers!