After having regular checkups at the Orthodontist in the past 2 years, J’s finally ready to be fitted with braces. With that, we need to have a think about our meals with her new requirements in mind.
Soft foods, easy to eat. No super crunchy or hard to chew things that will risk breaking the brackets glued to her teeth. This is especially for the few days straight after each 6-8 weekly checkup where they adjust the individual brackets, and when her gums will be a bit swollen.
We talked about the different things we can have in her lunch box, and this easy sponge cake came up in the conversation. Soft and pillowy, this is perfect for her.
This one is a nod to my childhood, where fancy buttercream or fondant cakes weren’t prevalent, with a good sponge cake being the absolute gold standard for all occasions. Specifically, layered sponge cakes dressed up with whipped cream and seasonal fruits (think about all the mango cream sponges and berries and cream cakes!) They are still popular in Hong Kong, and very much part of the food cultural fabric.
To make those cakes you can easily use this recipe and bake it in a normal cake pan, add whipped cream along with seasonal fruits. Easy. We’ve made after-school-snack-portions here with tall moulds, just like the ones in my childhood days, and you can also use other baking tins, just find something that is quite tall and deep. Perfect lunch box item – sans cream of course!
- 55g unsalted butter, melted (Lewis Road Creamery)
- 60ml milk
- 100g low gluten flour
- 5 eggs (size 7)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 80g caster sugar
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Separate egg yolks and whites into 2 separate bowls.
- In a large bowl, place melted butter and milk together, whisk lightly.
- Add sifted flour, vanilla extract and egg yolks to the butter mixture. Mix well, ensuring there are no lumps.
- Using an electric whisk or stand mixer, whisk egg whites till foamy and add in cream of tartar. Continue whisking, then slowly rain in the sugar. Whisk until the whites form stiff peaks.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg whites into the flour batter to loosen up the mixture. Fold in 1/3 of the beaten whites into the batter, then the second third and then the last of the whites.
- Pour into lined cake tins, only filling 2/3s of the pan (it will rise quite a lot) and bake for 30 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack and keep in an air tight container.
The closest chinese roast meat shop is 30 mins of driving away. To get our roast pork fix, we have to plan ahead and go on weekends.
There has to be a better way, I thought to myself. So I decided that I will make my own!
- 2kg pork belly
- 3 tablespoon five spice powder
- 1 tablespoon white pepper
- 3 tablespoon shaoxhing wine
- 2 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1 cup salt (coarse or table, I used a mixture)
- Wash and use paper towels to dry the pork belly.
- Make some horizontal slits on the skin side of the pork.
- Rub the meat side with wine, the five spice and white pepper powder.
- Flip meat over and brush skin with some white vinegar.
- Leave overnight to dry in fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180c, arrange a pan on the bottom 1/3 of oven rack and fill with water. Line a roast pan with foil and place the pork belly on a rack that fits this pan.
- Layer the top of the pork belly with the salt evenly.
- Place the pork belly at the bottom 1/3 of the oven and bake for 1 hour.
- Bake until the salt crust forms, the salt should be hardened. Check water in the pan below and add if needed.
- Remove the pork belly from the oven, pull off the salt crust and discard.
- Raise the heat of oven to 465f/240c, place the pork belly back in and roast for another 30 to 40 minutes till the crust is puffed, crackled and golden.
- Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes. Cut and serve immediately with some chilli sauce, mustard and hoisin sauce, or eat as is.
You should have left overs for lunch. What I really mean is you should make enough so that there are left overs, afterall you are going to have the oven on for an hour, so might as well make use of all that heat!
You can use the roasted pork belly in soup noodles, fried rice and stir fry dishes. I had them with some steamed baos for lunch the other day and they were soooo good. 😋
Of all the things I miss of Hong Kong since moving to NZ, 8 out of 10 things are food related. Some of them I have been able to recreate, like the desserts, claypot rice, combination coffee and tea ‘Yin Yeung’ and appetisers such as barbecue pork and cold cuts. One special dish, has eluded me thus far and that is the Bubble Waffle, also known as eggettes. I needed both the tools and the recipe in order to make it and I have not been able to acquire them until this year. Perhaps this is the reason why everytime I returned to HK I needed to frequent the tiny stall for my Bubble Waffle fix. Luckily this establishment is in my neighbourhood, so I am always close to it should I need to satisfy my craving. It also received an honorary mention in the 2016 Michelin Guide to Hong Kong and Macau so I was fully expecting to see queues and hiked up prices. When I went today, queues were present but prices had not gone up one cent. What a gem!
In case you are wondering what the fuss is all about – after all, aren’t these just plain old waffles? What makes these bubble waffles so special?
- Extra crunchy bite
- Soft waffle centre with an air pocket
- Melted fillings (if you chose one other than the original flavour) and lots of it
I have tried and tested many waffle recipes and this below is the closest I have got to recreating the bubble waffle taste, texture and flavour. I hope you find this authentic enough and will enjoy it.
(The following quantity is sufficient for making quite a few pieces but it really depends on the size of mould that you use and the success rate of making good ones.)
- 110g plain flour
- 40g corn flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 60g eggs (About 1 size 8 egg)
- 120g white sugar
- 60ml evaporated milk
- 120ml milk
- small quantity of vegetable oil, for greasing the mould
- Firstly mix and sieve the plain flour, cornflour and baking powder. Set aside.
- Beat the eggs and mix in the white sugar using a small whisk. Add in the evaporated milk and milk. Mix thoroughly. I use a large measuring jug for this.
- Add the sieved flour mixture (1) into the egg mixture (2) in the measuring jug. Stir thoroughly until the batter is smooth without any lumps.
- Cover the batter and refrigerate for at least an hour (this ensures you have crunchy eggettes). Give it a stir when it’s time to cook.
- Warm up the mould, and brush a thin layer of oil on each side.
- Add in any fillings you wish to the batter just before you pour onto the mould.
- Pour the batter into the mould, be careful not to overfill, just to the top of each hole. Close the mould and count to 5. Then flip and turn the closed mould over so that the batter fills the other side of the mould. Leave it to cook for 3 minutes and then flip the mould again to cook the other side for a further 1 to 2 minutes until the bubble waffle is cooked.
- Use silicone tongs to remove the waffle from the mould and place it on a cake cooling rack to cool. You can also fold it up slightly so that it curves up. Using a plastic lid or plate, fan the cooked waffle for a minute for extra crispiness.
- Repeat until all of the batter is used up.
Flavour combinations: You can make many other flavours by adding these to the batter:
- Dark chocolate (1 tbsp of cocoa powder and chocolate chips)
- Shredded coconuts
- Black sesame
- Green tea powder
- Red bean (cooked – you can use the canned ones found in Asian grocery stores)
- Chestnut purée or pieces
- Coffee (powder mixed in with batter)
- Mocha (coffee and chocolate)
- Cheese for a savoury twist (grated cheese)
- Taro purée