Feast For The Family with Alce Nero & 100comments - Sebrinah Yeo

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Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Feast For The Family with Alce Nero & 100comments

I've always wanted to experience joining a cooking competition that is not so hectic like those reality cooking shows on TV. And thanks to Alce Nero & 100comments my wish came true this year!


It was definitely an experience worth sharing because it's not like everyday you get to join a friendly competition with your fellow friends and synchronize together cooking dishes that can be eaten together at the end of the day!


We were at Berjaya University College of Hospitality today at Berjaya Times Square. Presented by Alce Nero, alongside with the co-sponsors, Oilum, Nutriva and EUBOS, with its media partners Natural Health magazine and 100comments we get to learn new recipes that truly emphasizes on Cooking Right, Looking Good This 2019!


I arrived on time to visit the sponsors booth in the premises to really get to know these brands up-close.


I've heard of Alce Nero since last year on social media but it was my first time seeing the product and experience cooking it today too! I like how it is organic and it's good for children too. My kids will surely love this.


We started by forming groups of 3 and me, Shermyn & Linda were in Group #1. There were 8 groups in total for the cooking competition and we had to either follow the recipe or follow the Chef's instructions for each dish.


We were tasked with 3 meals to prepare, the Appetiser, Main Course and Pastry Dessert. We had 4 hours to prepare them together and there was an additional recipe for the beverage that we were tasked to also prepare but none of us did it due to lack of time.


As we prepared to kick-start our morning, I for one am glad that I'm with my team members because knowing them as mothers themselves who also cooks for their child at home, means that even though we not be as creative as we could but we can cook food that is cooked properly and yummy to be eaten, which our kids approve.


The kitchen was really well equipped and today we were under the guidance of Chef Athira, who is the Chef Lecturer at Berjaya University College. Her instructions were clear and simple, yet, informative at the same time.


Chef Athira, first taught us how to mix the flour with the pastry ingredients from scratch by hand. And I learned that through mixing by hand, it makes the pastry much more tastier and properly mixed well enough through the crumbling method. I mimic-ed her exact methods and the outcome was really good! We got a full score of 10 for this pastry dessert because our pastry tart was really crunchy and doesn't flake easily. It was the perfect Chinese Strawberry Jam Cakes!


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CHINESE STRAWBERRY JAM CAKES
Yield: 4 servings (A Recipe by Berjaya University College & Alce Nero)

Traditionally pineapple are used but this can be replaced with strawberry Jam for this CNY all-time favourite.

Ingredients:

For the Filling:
1 (270 g) jar Strawberry jam

For the Pastry:
250 grams cake flour
60 grams icing sugar
1/4 cup fat free milk powder
1/4 cup custard powder
180 grams cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
2 egg yolks

Instructions:
1.   To make the pastry, add all ingredients except egg yolks into a food processor. Turn on and let it mix for about 2 minutes or until it becomes little balls of dough. At first the dough will turn very crumbly as your food processor breaks down the butter, but it will eventually turn soft into the little dough balls. If you want to try the recipe without egg you can just squeeze these dough balls together to form one big ball of dough. Otherwise, add egg yolks in and pulse for about 1 minute, until smooth dough forms.
2.   Scoop out 1.5 tbsp dough balls and shape between palms to form round balls. Continue until all dough is used up. Set aside.
3.   Take strawberry jam filling from the fridge. Scoop out 1 tbsp of filling and compress between palms. Filling will be sticky and wet to work with. Gently roll between palms to shape into balls. Make enough filling balls to match the dough balls.
4.   Lightly grease the inside of your mould, by brushing them with oil. You can also shape it into your liking.
5.   Take a sheet of plastic wrap and stretch over a flat surface, keeping it as smooth as possible.
I found that plastic wrap really helped to make these cakes pretty. You want the plastic wrap to be 
smooth because your dough will have creases if your plastic wrap has creases. Take one of your dough balls and place it on top of the plastic wrap. Press down with your palm until it spreads out to a thin round. You want the round to be just big enough that it will wrap over the filling. The round should be thin because the pastry is supposed to be only a thin layer of crust. However, keep the middle section of your round slightly thicker and thin out more on the edges. This way, when you bunch all the edges together to seal your pastry, the bunched edges won't become too thick, which would make one side of your cake uneven.
6.   Place a teaspoon of the strawberry jam filling ball in the middle of your round. Lift one side of plastic wrap and peel the round from that side. You should be able to easily peel it off and the bottom side of the round should be completely smooth. Lift round completely from plastic wrap and then cover your pineapple filling with the dough, sealing the edges on top, attempting to smooth them as much as possible.
7.   Place your square mould on top of the plastic wrap. Place your dough ball inside the square, with the bunch up ends side facing up, smooth side faces down. Carefully push and spread your ball until it spreads out completely across the square mould. It may take a few tries to get the hang of it. The dough should fit completely inside the mould. Try to smooth the surface of the dough as much as possible. Flip over. The underside of your dough should look nearly completely smooth and should fill the entire square mould.
8.   Place mould, with the smooth side facing up, on a baking sheet lined with silicone mats or parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350°F. While your oven is heating up, finish making the rest of your strawberry cakes.
9.   Bake for about 25 minutes or until the tops turn a light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes. After about 15 minutes, gently push the cakes out the moulds. You can eat immediately or wait for them to finish cooling. Store any uneaten ones in an airtight container at room temperature.

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We were then taught to make Italian Seafood Laksa with the Alce Nero Spaghetti from scratch. Making the paste from scratch within a certain time frame was really challenging. Even cutting up all the raw ingredients for the paste was a challenge in itself!



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ITALIAN SEAFOOD LAKSA
Yield: 4 servings (A Recipe by Berjaya University College & Alce Nero)

Ingredients:
24 raw tiger prawns
500 g fresh mussels with shell (approximately 6-7 pcs)
110 g Alce Nero organic spaghetti
400 ml Ayam Brand coconut milk
50 g shelled, unsalted macadamia nuts or peanuts
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
50 g piece of cucumber, peeled
110 g beansprouts, cleaned
Juice of 1 lime
A small bunch of fresh basil, stalks discarded and leaves roughly shredded A small bunch of fresh mint, stalks discarded and leaves roughly shredded Sea salt to taste


For the paste:
3 medium red chillies, deseeded and chopped
1 dessert spoon dried shrimp paste
4 shallots, peeled
2 stems of lemon grass, trimmed and outer layer removed, stems chopped
A small piece of fresh galangal or root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 dessert spoon ground turmeric

Instructions:
1.   Prepare the seafood. Peel the prawns, then run the point of a small, sharp knife along the back of each one and remove any black threads that may be present. Set aside. Scrub the mussels under cold running water and remove any barnacles and pull off the little hairy
'beards'. Discard any mussels that are broken or don't close when given a sharp tap with a knife.
2.   Cook the spaghetti al dente and drain the pasta in a colander when they are ready, rinse in cold water and set aside.
3.   To prepare the paste, place all the paste ingredients, plus a tablespoon of water, into a blender or the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Now place the macadamias or peanuts in a medium saucepan and dry-roast over a medium heat until golden brown, then remove to a plate. Add the oil to the same pan and, when warm, add the prepared paste and cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and stir, then leave to simmer gently for 10 minutes.
4.   Meanwhile, cut the cucumber into four slices lengthwise, then cut each into four long strips.
Set aside.
5.   Roughly chop the toasted nuts.
6.   When the coconut-milk mixture is ready, add the spaghetti, cucumber, three-quarters of the beansprouts and the lime juice. Now season to salt, with taste, then bring back to a simmer, add the prawns and mussels and cook for 3-5 minutes – the prawns should turn a pretty pink colour and all the mussels should open. Discard any mussels that don't open during cooking. Now add half the shredded herbs, then mix the remaining herbs with the chopped nuts. Finally, ladle the laksa into four deep bowls, then sprinkle over the remaining beansprouts and the herb mixture

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The 3rd dish was the Tri-Color Asian Pasta Salad that was pretty easy to do which we had to complete it in 15 minutes! Also because my team members Shermyn & Linda was busy preparing the Italian Seafood Laksa and doing the last finishes for the Chinese Strawberry Jam Cakes, so I took up the challenge and went for this recipe and kinda improvised at the last second because we lacked certain ingredients like green capsicum. So I replaced it with a refreshing cucumber (without the insides) and added chicken stock powder for an enhanced flavour which I personally love how it tastes myself.



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TRI-COLOR ASIAN PASTA SALAD
Yield: 4 servings (A Recipe by Berjaya University College & Alce Nero)

Ingredients:
2 cups uncooked Alce Nero organic fusilli tricolore pasta
2 large carrots, cut into 1-inch strips
1 cup snow peas, halved
2 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sweet red pepper, thinly sliced

Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Alce Nero Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions:
1.   Cook fusilli according between 8 to 12 minutes. Test dry pasta for doneness after about 4 minutes of cooking by tasting it. Drain and rinse in cold water.
2.   Place the pasta in a large bowl; add carrots, peas, onions and red pepper. Set aside.
3.   In a small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients until smooth. Pour over salad and toss to coat.
Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
4.   Optional: You may add “Ayam Brand Tuna Flakes in Water”, drained to the pasta for added twist to this summer favourite.

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During the judging by Nathan Deverre, Strategic Marketing Advisor of Ayam Brand Malaysia (Brand : Alce Nero) and Chef Athira, Chef Lecturer at Berjaya University College; Each of our dish will receive a score and also remarks from the judges and the total score will be the Top 3 winning group.

Chinese Strawberry Jam Cakes : Scored a Perfect 10
Tri-Color Asian Pasta Salad : Scored 7
Italian Seafood Laksa : Scored 6
Total Score : 23
Even though we didn't win but we knew that ours tastes the most delicious because everything was well cooked and it was made with lots of motherly love by 3 moms! The only thing we lack in is creativity. "Moms will be moms." Sometimes a good meal don't have to be overly creative as long is it tastes and feels good from the inside out. Even a dish that looks good doesn't entirely means it's cooked or tasty. And through this judging event, it was true, that some had amazing creativity but the prawns were uncooked and whatnot's. BUT it's not about comparing who is the best cook here, I believe the true essence of this event is how we bond with our team members during a short period of time and come up with something together as one. This moment is more precious than any cooked or uncooked food, it's something that money can't buy. It's priceless moments spent together in synchronization.


And thanks to the super quick and clear cut instructions from watching Chef Athira teaches us how to make the Tri-Color Asian Pasta Salad; I went home that day and cooked that dish for my family that night with the Alce Nero Tri-Color Pasta. I changed the ingredients because I didn't have capsicums at home, hence, I used diced onions, potatoes and tomatoes with Tuna in Brine (without the Brine) and Mayonnaise. It came out perfect! I added a dash of Nutriva Premium Nutritional Yeast Flakes (which I bought at their booth today) as garnishing and it really enhanced the flavour way better than an ordinary chicken stock powder!


The 4th recipe that we couldn't make it in time was the beverage where I would probably make it at home instead.

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GINGER SPICED APPLE CIDER COOLER
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients :
1 tablespoon Organic Apple Vinegar-unfiltered
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoon honey @ to taste
2 cups of cold water
A pinch of salt

Instructions:
1.   Mix together and serve cold or with ice cubes

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Have fun cooking!

Alce Nero Malaysia

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