Monday, October 17, 2011

New York Style Pizza - Homemade in HK!

Pizza toppings - tomato, Iberico sausage and mozzarella

Adapted from Mario Batali Pizza Dough recipe
  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ¼ cup dry white wine, at room temperature  (consume the balance with the pizza)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Combine flour, yeast, salt & sugar in mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the warm water, wine, and olive oil. Using a Kitchenaid mixer (I skipped the handmixing process), mix until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  The dough is ready once it is  smooth, elastic, and only slightly sticky.  Oil a large clean bowl, add the dough, and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheating the oven with a  pizza stone takes a long time - best to preheat earlier.

Divide into 3 portions and roll on a lightly floured work surface into an 28cm round.
Spread each with 1/3 cup tomato sauce and add your favorite toppings.  
Bake on the pizza stone at 200°C for 15 minutes or until the sides brown (in fact patiently wait until you see tiny bits of black burn marks to ensure maximum crunchiness).   

The right out of the oven pizza was truly yummy with crispy crust and juicy toppings.

To do - get an even thicker and larger pizza stone, will go to our local stone mason and get a piece tailor made, get one of those big wooden spatulas to put the pizza in and out of the oven and get a pizza cutter perhaps.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ippudo HK - 一風堂 香港

Some people like queuing up to try new places. The longer the queue, the better it must be. After all, 50,000 Frenchmen can't be wrong. Mum and dad are not huge fans for queuing up for food, but often end up doing so. Last night was another such occasion.

Ippudo finally comes to Hong Kong, after opening oversea branches in New York and Singapore. Officially it was opened on 18 July, less than 3 weeks ago. So perhaps the word hasn't really spread and they could avoid the queue. Truth is too many people knew already!!

Having arrived just before 6:30pm, they were 474 and it was number 380 turn to be seated. It wasn't after 8:30pm when they were seated. Total waiting time 140 minutes. At that point, the shop had stopped giving out new numbers and the tally was 740!! With last order at 10:15pm, the maths just didn't add up.

But was it worth the wait?

The pork bone broth was as good as the one in they had in the original main shop in Fukuoka, Japan and the tenacity of the noodles was similar as well. The pork slices somehow weren't as tasty. Tough to pinpoint what's the difference, since it's never an A-B comparison with these things. Some might say the broth was too greasy, but then that's the Ippudo style. Dad till can't forget the stomach upset after gulping down the last drop of Ippudo's broth in Osaka 8 years ago.
一風堂 香港 - 辣肉味

If you like the feel of a lighter broth, go for the Karaka (Spicy) ramen. Never had that in Japan, but its taste was reminiscence of the Chinese dan-dan noodles 擔擔麵.

一風堂 香港 - 白丸

一風堂 香港 - 赤丸

The Hong Kong shop also makes a distinction between the pork slices they served in the Shiromaru (白丸 original pork bone broth) and the Akamaru  (赤丸 broth with red miso paste). The former is served with leaner "char siu" and the latter is served with fattier "pork loin".

一風堂 香港 - 叉燒角包

Another item you wouldn't have seen in the original Ippudo Japan menu, it's the Char-siu bun (叉燒角包). It was created as Hirata Bun in the Ippudo New York menu in 2008 and offered in selected outlets in Ippudo Japan in 2009 as a reverse import (逆輸入). ref ippudo official website

Momofuku Pork Bun taken in New York 2009
As you can see it looks remarkably similar to the most famous pork bun in New York, the Momofuku pork bun. And if you read David Chang's Momofuku cookbook, you see that the inspiration of the bun most probably came from the kitchen in Grand Hyatt Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong. It's really gone the full circle!! Also 角包 is not a description of the shape of the bun, but instead from Japanese 角煮 (kakuni which means stew made with cubed pieces of meat). This bun wasn't very tasty and definitely not as good as those in Momofuku.

Overall, Ippudo Hong Kong gives you the best and most spacious environment to enjoy your bowl of ramen. Even the waiting area is spacious and well ventiliated. Its quality is probably among the best in Hong Kong and the prices are very reasonable (HK$68 for the basic ramen before 10% service charge). You can avoid the queue by going there early, like 11am when it opens. Go before the crowd gets even larger!!

Ippudo, Shop 210, 2/F, Silvercord, 30 Canton Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2957 8893; Daily 11:30 - 23:00
see link for ippudo fukuoka and other ramen in kyushu
see link on momofuku NYC

Some of the other ramen places that we wrote about. Ramen

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Personalized dog leashes

Mum made us these two leashes. Straps, snap hooks and threads turned into these unique leashes. Dogalized!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bread Making at Home Part 3 - Pain de Dieppe and more

Pain de Dieppe
This bread came from here ->

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メロンパンの一種 墨西哥包

Madeleines - Part 2

Another attempt at baking Madeleines, this time with slight variation in ingredients and tried to bake mini ones using traditional non-stick Madeleine pan. The problem was still in taking the cake out. Small pieces sticking to the pan became noticeable bruises on mini ones. But alas, the flexible silicone mold doesn't seem to come in mini sizes.

Photos we like - Part 2

Big lychees at the front from Hainan Island looked delicious but the Hong Kong grown small ones were the sweet ones. Not sure if they apply to other things as well?!

Sicilian eggplants - sound classy and continental. But these are bought in North Point market and grown in Thailand!! ゼブラなす, its Japanese name comes from its other common name, Zebra eggplant.

This red-vented bulbul was heading for its last session of feeding the baby bird before the whole family left their nest when young bulbul finally completed its flying lesson. It might look cute but it is included among the world most invasive alien species!! We know coz these are the birdies who ate our peaches.

A clear night in Hong Kong, when everyone was watching TVB......

A tree taller than IFC came out from nowhere,

Monday, June 27, 2011


Mum tried making it a few times with different recipes and different Madeleine pans. It was often too dry or the cakes were impossible to dislodge from the mould. Today, she found the perfect combo using the soft silicone mould and a recipe from an old cookbook - Paris Boulangerie Patisserie edited by Linda Dannenberg - this particular recipe was from Patisserie Lerch.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Mum's latest hobby - Bread Making at Home Part 2

Homemade Ciabatta - right out of the oven
Baguette Viennoise

So far she has tried making......
Milk Bun (pain au lait)
Baguette Viennoise
and now Ciabatta (one of them has sun dried tomatoes added)

I can spend all day like this!!!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kyushu 九州 Trip - Best of the rest

eeny meeny miny mo

 100 Yen loop bus taking you around the city centre of Fukuoka

Special guide dog toilet - not sure if the signs are for the guide dogs or the blind people?!

Surely Yadoya is the name of the hotel......

The warmest outside temperature was 27C.

Cobble path in Nonohana (野の花)

The extended sakura season - shortly after a drizzle.

Sakura in the morning

Onsen bath attached to the room (露天風呂付き部屋) in Nonohana (野の花)

Onsen Egg, the natural way

Onsen Pass in Kurokawa (黒川)

Thought our parking lot is tight!! Kurokawa (黒川)

One of the many feral cats in Kurokawa (黒川)

Look out for cows and horses. En route to Mount Aso (阿蘇山)

Taking a break on top of Mount Aso (阿蘇山)

Japanese Giant Hornet (オオスズメバチ) - kills about 40 people on average in Japan every year. Of course, mum had no idea when dad urged her to take a closer look at the beast!!

Luck and fortune are literally in your hand.

Guys need to throw it into small puddle of water at the back of the rock turtle using their left hands and girls do it with their right hands. Mum got one in. Yahoo!!

The taxi rank outside JR Hakata station