Sunday, May 31, 2009

Home-Made IIDX Controller - Getting the Parts

Finally decided to start on building my home-made IIDX controller with actual SANWA buttons that will light up when pressed and also a turntable following the dimensions of the arcade machine. I will be using two 2nd-hand KOCs and ripping their PCB to do this project as I have no idea how to build my own turntable circuit.

I decided that I'll first make the circuit to allow the buttons to light up when pressed, just like in the arcades. Only after this is done will I start on the box itself.

Getting the Parts

Getting the parts was the "fun part". Overall, I had made countless trips to Sim Lim Tower to finally get all the parts I needed, so much so that my darling YY got impatient a few times . So the last few trips to SLT were made without her to spare her the boredom.

Actual SANWA buttons used in arcade machines, ordered through my friend's friend in Japan. About S$30 each. OUCH. The square buttons for Select and Start cannot be found and I read from somewhere that they are out of production! =( So I replaced them with another brand of square buttons (not in picture). Much cheaper (~S$3 each) but it is obvious that the quality is not as good as SANWA's.

This circuit, found off the internet (URL lost -_-) uses diodes and will allow the SANWA buttons to light up when pressed. There is another circuit that uses transistors to do the same job but I prefer this as I found it easier.

Above circuit stated 12V, so I went to buy 12V wedge-based lamps for the buttons (pics to be uploaded later). $2.50 each. Yeouch! Wallet pain...

Some of the other miscellaneous parts I bought for this project. Connectors, diodes, wires etc. Initially I decided to use an external power adaptor to power the lamps so I bought the input/output power jacks as well (top right hand corner).

With everything set, it is time to start work!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

First attempt to cook a lamb shank

Finally found frozen lamb shanks selling at mmmm! and I reckoned it was time to try to cook my first lamb shank.

Very simple ingredients were used:
Lamb shank
Chopped onions and garlic
A can of diced tomatoes
Red wine (about a cup)
Vegetable stock
Bay leaves
Black Peppercorns

Start by seasoning the lamb shank with salt and pepper and coat it with flour.

From top left:
1. Lightly brown all sides of the lamb shank over medium fire.
2. Remove shank from the pan and sweat the onions and garlic till fragrant.
3. Add in a can of diced tomatoes and put in the lamb shank.
4. Add in the red wine, stock, peppercorns and bay leaves and simmer for a while.

Cover the pan with aluminium foil and put into the oven preheated at 170°C for 3 hours. Turn the shank every 1 hour.

From top left:
Shank after 1 hour; after 2 hours; after 3 hours.

Cooked shank removed from the pan. Looks good enough to eat already!

Gravy from the pan. Season it whatever way you want and pour it over the cooked lamb shank.

My first lamb shank completed! And I have to say it tastes quite good! Even my darling YY says so~~Hohoho~~

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pão de queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bun)

Ate this once in the Brazilian restaurant at Bukit Timah and fell in love with it instantly! So I decided to try my hand on making them myself.

The method to make this is similar to making choux pastry but the end result is totally different.

Main ingredients:
Tapioca flour
Cheese (I used grated parmesan cheese)

1. Boil the milk, water, oil and salt in a pan. Remove from heat. Immediately add in all the tapioca flour to the boiling liquid and stir with a wooden spoon until the liquid is incorporated into the flour. Let the dough cool down.

2. Put the dough in a mixer and add in the egg. Mix well with a dough hook.

3. Add in the parmesan cheese and knead till the dough is smooth (took me about 10 min on my SPAR mixer. Imagine the HORROR if I have to knead by hand -_-'')

Clockwise from top left: Boiling liquid mixture; how the dough looks like after mixing in the flour; egg added; parmesan cheese added.

How the dough looks like after kneading for 10 minutes:

4. Roll the dough into a ball, cover it up and let it rest for a while so that it will be easier to work with.
5. Divide the dough into bite-sized balls. Bake the balls in an oven preheated at 170-175°C for about 20min or till golden brown.

The texture of the interior:

Yummy cheesy balls!

Note: The texture of the buns totally changed the next day -> became harder. Will experiment changing the amount of milk, flour, oil or eggs to see if it will help to prolong the chewy texture.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Seasoning my black iron pan

Just bought a black iron pan for $40+ from Pantry Magic in Holland V about 2 weeks ago.

Been eyeing it a long time because it is fully metal -> can transfer to oven from stove.

Just like a wok, a black iron pan needs to be seasoned before use. Pantry Magic will give out a sheet of instructions on how to season the pan if you need one.

1. Remove any stickers and scrub the pan with a steel wool to remove any leftover stickers.
2. Fill the pan with water and bring the water to a boil on high heat for 10 min. Pour away all the water and wipe dry and let it steam-dry for a few minutes.

3. Coat the pan with a layer of oil. I used a piece of pork lard for this as I don't want to waste any vegetable oil and besides, you can get a piece of pork lard for free from your local butcher! When you are buying some meat from the butcher, just tell him/her that you need a piece to season your wok when you buy some meat and you'll get it for free. And lard is actually more flavorful than vegetable oil~~ =P

The piece of lard:

Fry the piece of lard in the pan and the oil will gradually come out.

Coat the pan all over (interior and exterior) with the oil using a piece of kitchen towel.

4. Place the oil-coated pan on a 180°C pre-heated oven for one hour and leave it to cool in the oven for another hour.

5. Wipe off all the oil and lightly coat the pan with a layer of oil for storage. It is recommended to leave the pan overnight with the layer of oil before using.

See how shiny the surface is!

The instructions also recommend that the pan use only warm water to scrub clean from now onwards. Using detergent will remove the oil layer. In case the pan gets rusty, scrub off all the rust and re-season the pan again, steps 1-5.

And you're set! The pan is seasoned and ready to be used to cook your yummy dishes!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

xbox360 SF4 joystick modification!

Last Saturday, my friend requested me to help him modify his xbox360 SF4 joystick as 1 of the buttons became unresponsive after 2 weeks.

How the original joystick looks like:
My job: To help him change out the 6 buttons to SANWA buttons.

Started to disassemble the joystick. This is how the interior looks like.

Notice that the buttons are soldered to the PCB. Time to do some de-soldering. This took me quite some time to complete as I took too long to realise that the solder sucker was clogged. -_-''

After removing the buttons, it's time to remove the metal plate on the top of the joystick. Removing the plate means that the decal on it will get slightly creased as there are 5 or 6 screws securing the plate to the joystick. Here's me trying to remove the plate with as little damage to the decal as possible.

The metal plate.

There are 2 small tabs on each of the holes, which need to be grinded down in order for the SANWA buttons to be able to fit in. Used a dremel tool I borrowed from my best pal for this job.

After grinding:

Soldered wires to the connections where the buttons were once soldered on.

Connectors were attached to the end of the wires, which will be connected to the SANWA buttons microswitch connectors.

Put in the SANWA buttons. There are 4 tabs on each button that need to be shaved so that the buttons can fit in easier to the metal plate holes.

Connect the wires to the microswitches. The microswitch connectors need to be bent 90° as the joystick do not have enough space.

Cover up the joystick base and VIOLA! Job completed!

Took me 3 hours to finish this job (within target). Later my friend called me and said that the joystick is working perfectly! Success!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

First product using my SPAR mixer

Having some left-over eggs in the fridge, I decided that it was a good time to make my first loaf of bread using the SPAR mixer. I chose to make challah again to compare the difference between hand-kneaded and machine-kneaded.

Made a 6-plaited one again as it's my fav. ^_^

Challah after baking. Nice and golden brown.

How the crumb looks like.

Taste test: Soft and fluffy crumb, with a tinge of egg fragrance and subtle sweetness. YUM!

Compared to the hand-kneaded challah made last X-Mas day, today's challah takes the cake.

Final verdict: SPAR wins. Me lose.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

SPAR Mixer is here to stay!

Well, what do you know? I finally got a SPAR mixer to pursue my baking interest.
Being $856 bucks poorer now, I hope that this wonderful mixer will help me make better breads, cakes and whatever I want to make and more family and friends will be able to enjoy my bakes!

How the SPAR Mixer looks like.

A closer look at the brand~ SPAR Mixer. You fight with a SPAR mixer, you lose.

Besides the big bowl, the mixer also come with 3 accessories you cannot do without.
From left to right: A flat beater, a dough hook, a whisk.

Place and address where I purchased this mixer:

Lau Choy Seng
No. 23 & 25 Temple Street
Singapore 058568

Free delivery or you can hand carry it yourself. HIGHLY recommended to get the free delivery service as this mixer is HEAVY (20-30kg?) and quite big although it says "Mini Mixer" on the box. LOL~