Friday, April 29, 2016

Cookbook Countdown #4 : Simple Sausage And Bean Bake

Cookbook Countdown is a monthly cooking/baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  Everyone is welcome to join us. How does it work? To summarize, you may select a cookbook from your own cookbook collection, to cook or bake from each month. That selected book shall be your cookbook of the month. You may cook any recipes and as many recipes as you want from your selected book of the month. This is a fabulous way of using your cookbooks at least once! For more information on how to join Cookbook Countdown, please click here


************************

Cookbook Countdown #4 : Recipe No. 6 - Simple Sausage and Bean Bake
from my selected cookbook for this month, Bake by Rachel Allen



Just as it is named, this is a simple sausage and bean bake. According to Rachel Allen, you can use any kind of sausage you like for a different result each time. I've used Hot Italian Sausages, and for the beans, I've used borlotti beans since I have that in my pantry. Very easy to cook, firstly, saute the onion and garlic in a little oil until onions are soft, about 5 minutes, Season with salt and pepper, add the tomatoes and beans, and bring to a boil, season to taste with some pinches of sugar. Add the sliced sausages and transfer everything to the baking dish, bake for about 40 minutes until bubbling. 



This is delicious! We ate this with my Homemade Sour Bread (from Rachel Allen's recipe), which I kept frozen and simply thaw and reheat it again, wrapped in foil for a few minutes. We had a most satisfying lunch and request from the kids to cook this again! I will definitely be baking this simple bean bake again, with different sausages the next time. 


Simple Sausage And Bean Bake
(adapted from "Bake", by Rachel Allen or here)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
400gm tin tomatoes, chopped
410gm tin haricot beans, drained (I used borlotti beans)
few pinches of sugar
225gm (8oz) sausages (any type works well), cut into 2cm(3/4 in) thick slices

Medium ovenproof pie dish

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F), Gas mark 6.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan set over a medium heat, add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook, stirring every now and then, for 5-8 minutes until the onions are soft.
  3. Add the tomatoes and beans and bring to the boil. Season to taste with a few good pinches of sugar and more salt if necessary.
  4. Add the sausages to the tomatoes and beans, then tip everything into the pie dish and bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the sausages are cooked and the mixture is bubbling. Serve with baked potatoes or pasta or lots of crusty white bread.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by 




Cookbook Countdown has a new website :
We are happy to inform everyone that Cookbook Countdown has it's very own website blog, which you can find here. Effective from May 2016, please link your posts at the Cookbook Countdown new website, in the linky provided. We hope to see you there! Thank you!




Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Vietnamese Pork Noodle Soup

It's Potluck Week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). We get to select any recipe, from any of IHCC featured chefs (past or present), and once again, I've cooked with Nigella. I like her recipes and her books are the most frequent ones I go to, for our Potluck week. I've made Vietnamese Pork Noodle Soup, for one of our weekday lunch.


Quick and easy to cook, and tastes great! For the noodles, instead of ramen noodles, I've used fresh yellow noodles, which just need a quick blanch in hot boiling water. I did not use baby bok choy, but have replaced with Chinese Choy Sum, the last batch of  choy sum harvest, from my container garden. They are tender and delicious!


I've made this for lunch, but it would be great as a one-dish meal for dinner, or even breakfast. We, Asians, love having noodles for breakfast!


Vietnamese Pork Noodle Soup
(adapted from "Nigella Kitchen", Nigella Lawson, or here)
Serves 2-4
10 ounces pork tenderloin, cut into thin discs and then fine strips
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons fish sauce
8 ounces ramen noodles
1 tablespoon garlic flavoured oil
6 thin or 3 fat scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh (or frozen) gingerroot
1 quart chicken broth (good-quality carton, can or cube is fine), preferably organic
3 cups (10 ounces) bean sprouts
2 small baby bok choy, torn into pieces
2 teaspoons chopped red or green chiles

  1. Put the strips of pork tenderloin into a bowl and add the lime juice, soy sauce, paprika and fish sauce, but don't let this stand for more than 15 minutes.
  2. Cook the noodles following the package instructions and then refresh in cold water. Heat the chicken broth until almost boiling.
  3. Heat a wok or a deep, heavy-based frying pan, then add the garlic flavoured oil and fry the scallions and ginger for a minute or so. Add the pork and its liquid to the wok, stirring as you go.
  4. Cook the meat in the pan for another 2 minutes, then add the hot chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil.
  5. Check that the pork is cooked through, then add the bean sprouts and baby bok choy. Add water if the soupy base has evaporated too much - about 1/2 cup of freshly boiled water should do the trick, but you may not need it.
  6. Arrange the drained noodles equally in 2 large or 4 small warmed bowls, ladle over them the pork and vegetables, and finally the soupy stock. Scatter the chopped chiles on top and serve.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
April Potluck



and 




Monday, April 25, 2016

Cookbook Countdown #4 : Dutch Apple Cake

Cookbook Countdown is a monthly cooking/baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  Everyone is welcome to join us. How does it work? To summarize, you may select a cookbook from your own cookbook collection, to cook or bake from each month. That selected book shall be your cookbook of the month. You may cook any recipes and as many recipes as you want from your selected book of the month. This is a fabulous way of using your cookbooks at least once! For more information on how to join Cookbook Countdown, please click here


************************

Cookbook Countdown #4 : Recipe No. 5 - Dutch Apple Cake
from my selected cookbook for this month, Bake by Rachel Allen

According to Rachel Allen, this cake has been made in Ballymaloe for years. They have guests requesting for it specifically every time they visit. After reading about it, I just had to bake this cake.


A slice of freshly baked Dutch Apple Cake with a cup of warm tea.



The batter is made by first whisking the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl until the mixture is thick and mousse-like, which takes about 5 minutes. Butter which is melted with the milk is then whisked into the egg mixture. Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into the batter and fold carefully so that there are no lumps of flour. Pour into the prepared baking pan, smooth the surface and arrange thin slices of apples on top, finishing with a sprinkling of sugar over the apples.
According to the book, the apple slices will sink to the bottom which is meant to happen, leaving a light sponge on top with a lovely sugary crust.



I find that only some of the apples sink to the bottom, and mostly remains on top! But I am not overly concerned as when I sliced into the cake, it really is so very soft, spongy and light!



Can you see the apple slices at the bottom of the slice? That few slices of apple managed to find their way there after all!  This is a lovely, moist, soft and spongy cake. I can see why this cake is specifically requested at Ballymaloe. I did reduce the sugar slightly and still find it a little sweet, so I would reduce more sugar the next time.


Dutch Apple Cake
(adapted from "Bake", Rachel Allen)
Makes 12-16 squares
2 eggs
175gm (6oz) caster sugar, plus 15gm (1/2 oz) extra sugar, for sprinkling (I use 130 gm)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
90gm (3oz) butter
75ml (2-1/2 fl oz) milk
125gm (4-1/2oz) plain flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2-1/4 tsp baking powder
2 small (or 1 large) cooking apples
75ml (2-1/2 fl oz) double cream, to serve

20 x 20cm (8 x 8in) square cake tin

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F), Gas mark 6. Line the sides and base of the cake tin with parchment paper.
  2. Using an electric whisk, whisk the egg, 175gm (6oz) caster sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl until the mixture is thick and mousse-like and the whisk leaves a figure of eight pattern (this will take about 5 minutes).
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan with the milk, then pour onto the eggs, whisking all the time. Sift in the flour, cinnamon and baking powder and fold carefully into the batter so that there are no lumps of flour. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface.
  4. Peel and core the apples and cut into thin slices. Then arrange them over the batter. They will sink to the bottom (this is meant to happen!). Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C (350F), Gas mark 4 and bake for a further 20-25 minutes or until well risen and golden brown. 
  5. Allow to cool in the tin, cut into squares and serve warm. It is delicious with cream!


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by 



Saturday, April 23, 2016

Sweet & Salty Popcorn

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), the theme is "Something To Eat On The Sofa!". I've made one of Curtis Stones's (the current featured chef at IHCC),  popcorn recipe, Sweet & Salty Popcorn, which I got from the website coles.com before the recipes became unavailable. 



These popcorn are made using maple syrup, of which I did not have any, so I've used Lyle's Golden Syrup, Maple Flavoured. I love Lyle's Golden Syrup which I always have in my pantry, and think that it is a wonderful substitute for Maple Syrup.  



Popping Corn kernels and Lyle's Golden Syrup. I love Lyle's Golden Syrup which I always have in my pantry, and think that it is a wonderful substitute for Maple Syrup.  



These popcorn are addictive! But they are not as crunchy like the ones we buy from the snack corner at the movies. My kids and hubby never fail to get their tubs of popcorn whenever we go for a movie. Not me though, I would pinch from their tubs if I want, but most times I prefer not to snack when at the cinema. At home is entirely different though!  :)

According to the tip by Curtis Stone, these popcorn would not set hard and crunchy because maple syrup is used. For a crunchier popcorn, replace half the maple syrup with sugar. I've made these using all golden syrup and even though they are not as crunchy, these are really yummy to eat. With the butter and the golden syrup, it has a delicious buttery butterscotch flavour. A big bowl of these yummy popcorn is just what you need when lazying on your sofa watching your favourite TV show. According to my son, these popcorn are even better than the ones they always buy from the snack corner at the cinema! I still have about 2 cups of popping corn kernels, so I'll be making more popcorns real soon. I think I'll try Curtis Stone's suggestion to replace half the maple syrup with sugar for a crunchier bite, just to see the difference.  


Sweet & Salty Popcorn
(adapted from coles.com by Curtis Stone)
Ingredients
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use 3 tablespoons)
1/3 cup Popping corn (I use 1/2 cup)
75gm butter, chopped
3/4 cup Maple syrup
1 tsp sea salt flakes (I use scant 1/4 tsp, as the butter is salted)
2/3 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped (optional) (omitted this)

Method :
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Stir in corn. Cover and cook, shaking pan, for 3 minutes or until corn has popped. Pour into a large heatproof bowl. Set aside to cool.
  2. Place butter, maple syrup and salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until reduced and thickened slightly.
  3. Drizzle maple mixture and nuts (if using) over popcorn. Toss gently to coat. Spread popcorn on a tray lined with baking paper. Set aside to cool.
Tip : This popcorn won't set hard and crunchy as maple syrup is used instead of sugar. If you want crunchy popcorn, replace half  the maple syrup with caster sugar. Store popcorn in an airtight container for up to 2 days.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
Something To Eat On The Sofa!




Thursday, April 21, 2016

Dark-Cherry Chocolate Muffins : Bake-Along #94

This week at Bake-Along, I've selected to bake Dark-Cherry Chocolate Muffins, together with Lena and Zoe


According to the book, "the muffins have an excellent crusty exterior, so you will want to butter the muffin cups rather than use paper liners. which may come away with the crust." So I baked the muffins without using any paper liners. I did not use any nuts in the batter, but have placed one walnut on top of 6 muffins before baking.


These muffins do have a crusty exterior when freshly baked, and they rise really well. The crumbs are soft, though they are not what I expected them to be. I wished that they are a little more moist and more chocolaty in taste.  But that being said, they are quite nice to eat with a glass of cold milk.



I love eating the plump moist dried cherries! 


Dried-Cherry Chocolate Muffins
(adapted from "Williams-Sonoma : Essentials of Baking")
2 oz (60gm) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1-3/4 cups (9oz/280gm) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (4oz/125gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (7oz/220gm) firmly packed golden brown sugar (I've used 170gm)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)
1 cup (8 fl oz/250ml) buttermilk
3/4 cup (2oz/60gm) dried cherries
1/2 cup (2oz/60gm) toasted, skinned, and chopped hazelnuts

Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 375F (190C). Butter 12 standard muffin-pan cups.
Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler placed over (not touching) barely simmering water. Heat, stirring often, until the chocolate melts. Remove it from over the water and set aside to cool slightly. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter on low speed until creamy. Gradually beat in the brown sugar until dissolved. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and chocolate. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches alternately with the buttermilk and mix on low speed just until smooth.
Fold in the cherries and nuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup about three-fourths full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 2 minutes, then turn out onto the rack. Serve warm. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.


*******************************

This news comes with a heavy heart....Bake-Along is coming to an end.  Lena, Zoe and myself have come to a decision that it is time for Bake-Along to say goodbye. Bake-Along's last post shall be the coming theme Bundt Cake, For Bake-Along's Fifth Anniversary and now, Farewell post. 

Photobucket

We are not using the linky thumbnails, if you have baked the muffins above, leave a comment and we shall mention you with a link to your blog post. Thank you!


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cookbook Countdown #4 : Baked Mediterranean Pasta

Cookbook Countdown is a monthly cooking/baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  Everyone is welcome to join us. How does it work? To summarize, you may select a cookbook from your own cookbook collection, to cook or bake from each month. That selected book shall be your cookbook of the month. You may cook any recipes and as many recipes as you want from your selected book of the month. This is a fabulous way of using your cookbooks at least once! For more information on how to join Cookbook Countdown, please click here


************************

Cookbook Countdown #4 : Recipe No. 4 - Baked Mediterranean Pasta
from my selected cookbook for this month, Bake by Rachel Allen




This is an easy and delicious baked pasta. There's no need to cook the pasta first, which is usually the way it is done. The only thing that needs to be cooked for a while is the chorizo sausages, which takes only 2 minutes. The uncooked pasta is mixed with boiling water, then stir in the rest of the ingredients and bake! Simple and easy! Make sure you get the seasoning right, taste before you bake the pasta, adding more salt or pepper as necessary.

I've added a little more water and cream so that the pasta do not get too dry during baking. For the cheeses, I've used a mixture of grated Cheddar and Mozzarella.



Simple, easy and yummy! 


Baked Mediterranean Pasta
(adapted from "Bake", Rachel Allen)
Serves 6
100gm (3-1/2oz) chorizo, finely sliced
1-2 tbsp olive oil
500gm (1lb 2oz) penne pasta
2 x 400gm tinned tomatoes, chopped
175ml (6fl oz) boiling water
175ml (6fl oz) double cream
50gm (2oz) chopped spring onion
2 tbsp chopped basil
50gm (2oz) capers
100gm (3-1/2 oz) olives, pitted and chopped
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
Salt, freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp caster sugar
75gm (3oz) soft goat's cheese, crumbled
150gm (5oz) Gruyere cheese, grated
75gm (3oz) Cheddar cheese, grated

30 x 23cm (12 x 9in) ovenproof dish

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F), Gar mark 6.
  2. In a frying pan set over a high heat, cook the chorizo with the olive oil for 2 minutes and drain.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the dried pasta with the tomatoes, the boiling water and cream. Add the chorizo and then the spring onion, basil, capers, olives and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and the sugar.
  4. Place the mixture in the ovenproof dish and scatter over the three cheeses, making sure the pasta is completely covered, then bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes or until the pasta is cooked and the sauce golden and bubbling. Cover with foil after 30 minutes if it begins to dry out.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by 




Sunday, April 17, 2016

Okra With Potatoes

Over at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), this month's Monthly Featured Chef  is Madhur Jaffrey, and I've made another one of her recipes, from her cookbook "World Vegetarian", one of the many cookbooks that I bought at a book sale a year ago. 


I've harvested some okras from my garden pot, and turn to "World Vegetarian" for recipes using them. There are six okra recipes in the book, and decided to make Okra with Potatoes, as I have all the ingredients. 



The flower of the okra.
 Who would have known that by looking at an uninteresting plain okra pod, it was once a lovely flower? 



A Gujarati specialty, this dish may be served with any Indian meal, rice or bread. I pretty much followed the recipe without any changes. An easy dish to cook, though the potatoes needed to be prepared earlier, boiled, peeled and diced, before you start to cook this dish. It is a very nice vegetarian dish, but a little sour from the lemon juice. So the next time, I would use a small amount of lemon juice to taste, or omit it altogether. The okra is cooked till tender which takes about 10 minutes. Young and tender okra works best for this dish. I like the taste of the spices with the okra and potatoes, a nice dish, and goes great with white fluffy rice.


Okra With Potatoes
Serves 4 to 6
(adapted from "World Vegetarian", Madhur Jaffrey)
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 (1-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
14 ounces fresh okra, trimmed at the ends and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
9 to 10 ounces waxy red potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium tomatoes (1/2 pound), cut into 1-inch dice
1 teaspoon sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Put the garlic, ginger, and 4 tablespoons of water into a blender and blend to a puree. Empty into a small bowl. Add the cayenne, ground cumin, ground coriander, and turmeric and mix well.
Put the oil in a 9-inch frying pan and set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop, a matter of seconds, turn the heat down to medium-low and add the spice paste. Stir and fry for 30 seconds. Add the okra, potatoes, tomatoes, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and 1/2 cup of water. Stir well and bring to a gentle simmer. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook, very gently for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the okra is tender. Stir. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
Monthly Featured Chef : Madhur Jaffrey


Friday, April 15, 2016

Fried Ham and Cheese Sandwich : Cook the Book Fridays

Cook The Book Fridays (CtBF), is a group of bloggers who are currently cooking/baking from David Lebovitz's cookbook, My Paris Kitchen. This week's selected recipe is Fried Ham And Cheese Sandwich, or Croque-Monsieur. 

Of course, with any Croque-Monsieur, what you would need are nice slices of sourdough or country-style bread, ham and cheese. To turn Croque-Monsieur into Croque-Madame, a sunny-side up egg is added on top of the sandwich.


I've used my homemade Sourdough Bread, an easy and quick sourdough version from Rachel Allen's recipe.

There's a bechamel sauce that needs to be made first. The sauce takes sometime to thicken when it was taken off the heat, so best prepare in advance. Mine took about 40 minutes to thicken.



To make the Croque-Monsieur, the bechamel sauce is spread ovenly over the four slices of bread. Place a piece of ham over two of the bread slices, top with slices of cheese, then with another piece of ham. Place the two remaining slices of bread over, and brush the outsides of the bread with a generous amount of melted butter. I thought the ham slices were a little too big, but the photo in the book with the ham slices peeking out from between the bread slices looks so nice.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat, Place the sandwiches in the pan, cover with a piece of foil, then rest a heavy pot or pan over the foil. Cook until the bottom of the sandwiches are golden with grilled marks. Turn over carefully and repeat on the other side.



Scatter some grated cheese over the top of the sandwiches and put it under the broiler to broil the sandwiches until the cheese melts. Serve immediately.

I wanted to add a sunny-side egg to make Croque-Madame, but I thought that this Croque-Monsieur is filling enough!



This is indeed very filling! Love the melting cheese and the tasty bechamel sauce.  I made this for brunch, with a cup of warm tea and it was good. If you would like to give it a try, you can get the recipe here. It would be all the better to get the book and join us!

I wonder what the other lovely ladies at  CtBF made, Croque-Monsieur or Croque-Madame? Drop by CtBF to find out! 




Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Meatball Curry (Kofte)

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), the monthly featured chef is Madhur Jaffrey. She is one of my most favourite Indian chefs, and have made so many of her delicious recipes, some of which I've cooked over and over again, for family gatherings and to enjoy at home with my family. The most requested dish that I'm asked to cook for family get-together parties, is her Red Pork Curry, a firm favourite! 

I've made this Meatball Curry a few weeks ago and it was really good! The recipe uses ground lamb and is called Lamb Meatball Curry (Kofte), but I have used ground pork instead. Madhur Jaffrey got this recipe from  Punjab'n de Rasoi, a restaurant in Edinburgh, from a lady named Jagdish Kaur.



Despite the long list of ingredients, this is an easy dish to cook. Just make sure that the onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, green chillies are chopped or sliced as indicated in the recipe, and the spices measured and ready to be used. 

The meatballs are pretty easy to do. All ingredients for the meatballs are mixed in a large bowl till well combined and then form into round balls. Usually in most recipes, meatballs are browned in a little oil, then added to the sauce to simmer till cooked. But this recipe calls for the sauce to be cooked first without the water, then the meatballs are added in, cover and cook over a low heat for five minutes, then turn over to cook for another five minutes. Instructions in the recipe says to shake the pan gently, but I've turned the meatballs over. The meatballs are soft so turn them over gently. When the meatballs are firm enough to be moved, rearrange them gently so they all have a chance to sit covered in the bubbling sauce. A cup of water is added in, covered, continue to simmer for 30-40 minutes until cooked, stirring gently now and then.



This is so very tasty and delicious! 



We ate it with plain basmati rice, Tomato Salsa (Rick Bayless) and Dukkah Roasted Cauliflower (David Lebovitz). It was a delicious meal! Pork Meatball Curry is one dish that will be appearing in my kitchen again! 


Lamb Meatball Curry
(adapted from "Curry Nation", Madhur Jafrrey)
For the meatballs
1 kg (2lb4oz) minced lamb (I've used minced pork)
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
4 hot green chillies, finely chopped
1 tablespoon peeled, finely grated root ginger
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves

For the sauce :
5 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely grated or crushed
1 tablespoon peeled, finely grated root ginger
1-1/4 teaspoons turmeric
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
4 hot green chillies, finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons garam masala
3 cloves
5 centimetre (2 inch) cassia bark or cinnamon sticks
2 cassia leaves or bay leaves

Put all the ingredients for the meatballs into a large bowl. Mix well, and with wetted hands, form golf ball-sized meatballs, about 4 centimetres (1-1/2 inch) in diameter. Set aside.

To make the sauce, pour the oil into a large pan 25 centimetres (10 inches) in diameter and set it over a medium heat. When it's hot, add the cumin seeds. Let them sizzle for 10 seconds, tip in the onions and stir for eight minutes, or until they brown lightly. Stir in the garlic and ginger, loosening with a splash of boiling water if they stick. Add the turmeric and stir for one minute. Add the tomatoes and stir for two minutes, then add the chillies and salt. Stir and cook for five minutes, again adding a splash of boiling water if they stick. Add the garam masala, cloves, cassia bark and leaves and stir for two minutes.

When the oil separates, place the meatballs in the pan. Cover and cook over a low heat for five minutes. Shake the pan to loosen the meatballs. Leave for a further five minutes and shake again. The meatballs will now be firm enough to  be moved. Gently rearrange them so they all have a chance to sit covered in the bubbling sauce. Continue cooking, covered, for 30-40 minutes over a low heat, shaking now and then, and serve.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
Monthly Featured Chef : Madhur Jaffrey


and I'm sharing this cookbook "Curry Nation" by Madhur Jaffrey with

           
 






Sunday, April 10, 2016

Cookbook Countdown #4 : Sourdough Bread

Cookbook Countdown is a monthly cooking/baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  Everyone is welcome to join us. How does it work? To summarize, you may select a cookbook from your own cookbook collection, to cook or bake from each month. That selected book shall be your cookbook of the month. You may cook any recipes and as many recipes as you want from your selected book of the month. This is a fabulous way of using your cookbooks at least once! For more information on how to join Cookbook Countdown, please click here


************************

Cookbook Countdown #4 : Recipe No. 3 - Sourdough Bread
from my selected cookbook for this month, Bake by Rachel Allen


According to Rachel Allen. "This is a simplified version of a sourdough, which, while delicious to eat, can be quite fiddly to make at home. Classic sourdough starter has no added yeast, however I do use a little bit in this faster version. I leave the starter for three days to "sour" (ferment), but if you prefer a stronger flavour, you can leave it for four days."


Sourdough Bread. 

The bread has a crusty crispy crust when freshly baked, and the crust gets very chewy after a day. It has a soft crumb texture, with the mild sour taste to it, very nice. While the bread is baking in the oven, I can smell the sourish bread aroma, in a very delicious way!



This is not the classic artisan sourdough bread with gorgeous open crumbs. But I think that this is good enough when you want a sourdough bread, and do not have the time to make the classic sourdough starter which takes more time and a little more work.  I left the starter to ferment for 3 days, and it smells sour. The recipe makes two large loaves, and since my stand mixer cannot knead the huge amount of flour at one time, I have divided the starter into two, and knead the dough in two batches.

The first dough is slightly sticky to the touch, so I've added a little flour to it. For the second dough, I have reduced the amount of water. You will need to dust your hands with flour when handling the dough. Other than this, the dough is pretty easy to handle. 

I've shaped the loaves into ovals and bake them accordingly as per the instructions in the recipe.



I really like this bread, it has a really nice sour taste to it with chewy crust, which I love. Some slices are used to make "Fried Sandwich",  an assignment at Cook The Book Fridays, (a group of lovely bloggers who are cooking from David Lebovitz's "My Paris Kitchen"), post coming up next week. Recipe makes two large loaves, so I've kept the balance in the freezer, with plans to use it all up in the coming week.


Sourdough Bread 
(makes 2 large loaves)
For the sourdough starter :
1-1/2 tsp dried yeast or 15gm (1/2oz) fresh yeast or 1x7g sachet fast-acting yeast
500ml (18 fl oz) warm water
300gm (11oz) plain flour (I use bread flour)

For the white sourdough :
900gm (2lb) strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp salt
1 x sourdough starter
400ml (14 fl oz) warm water

  1. Three or four days before you intend to bake the bread, place the yeast for the sourdough starter in a medium-sized bowl, add the water and mix together. Sift in the plain flour and hand whisk to mix, then cover with cling film and leave to stand at room temperature for three or four days.
  2. When you are ready to make the bread, sift the strong white flour and the salt into a large bowl (or the bowl of an electric food mixer). Mix together the sourdough starter and the warm water, then pour into the flour.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together, and knead for 10 minutes, or 5 minutes if using an electric food mixer (with the dough hook attached). Stop kneading when the dough feels springy to the touch.
  4. Place in a large, oiled bowl, cover with cling film or a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for about 1-1/2 hours, until doubled in size. (To test whether the dough has fully risen, push your finger into the dough - it should leave a dent that does not spring back).
  5. Knock the dough back and knead on a floured work surface for 2 minutes before shaping it into loaves, round or oval.
  6. Place the loaves spaced apart on a floured baking tray, dust with flour, then score the top of each loaf a few times with a sharp knife. Cover with a clean tea towel, and place somewhere warm to rise again - about 30-45 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 220C (425F), Gas Mark 7 and bake the loaves for 30-45 minutes. After 15 minutes, you may need to turn the oven down to 200C (400F), Gas Mark 6 if the bread has already risen and is golden in colour.
  8. The bread is cooked when it is a deep golden brown all over and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Kitchen Flavour's notes :
For one loaf of bread, I have used about 150ml of water during the kneading of the dough. 



I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by 




Thursday, April 7, 2016

Kale, Chilli & Squid Stir-Fry

The next featured chef at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) is Curtis Stone. We shall be cooking from his recipes for the next six months, from 4th April to 2nd October. This week's theme to welcome Curtis Stone to our kitchen is, G'day Curtis!, where we can make any of his recipes to welcome him to our kitchen. If you would like to join us, (please do!), you may get the full details from IHCC's website here.


Curtis Stone


I have tried a few of his recipes before and now, am so looking forward to explore more of his recipes for the next six months. To kick-start on welcoming Curtis Stone to my kitchen, I've made one of his recipes Kale, Chilli & Squid Stir-Fry.



A simple, quick and easy stir-fry dish. I used my homegrown Kale, and it is the first time I'm trying Kale. It is not a common veggie here in Malaysia, and I have never seen Kale being sold at the supermarkets before. Out of the many seeds that I've sowed, only one seedling survived and grow into a healthy plant. 

I have forgotten to buy the sugar snap peas, so I have omitted that. And I did not use kecap manis, an ingredient I am not fond of. I have used about 1/4 teaspoon of black soy sauce, for colour. From the ingredients list, there's sliced chillies and garlic used, and that brings to mind where's the ginger! I've added some julienned ginger, as I think ginger always goes well with chillies and garlic, and with any seafood. As for the squids, I cut them into rings, and did not fry them until browned as per the recipe indicated. I stir-fry the squids in one whole batch with a little oil, for about 3-4 minutes until almost cooked. The squids would release all their juices. Scoop everything into a plate, and cook as directed in the recipe, replacing the water in the recipe with the juices accumulated from the squids.

This is a delicious, easy dish, and great eaten as part of a meal with steamed white rice. I'm glad that I have forgotten the sugar snap peas, as I think that it is great without it. The only thing is, the next time I will add more Kale, as we love it! 



Kale leaves from my container garden. Beautiful fresh green! I have seen so many recipes using Kale that I was pretty curious, which led me to buy the seeds and grow this veggie. This is the first time we've tried Kale, and we love it. I'll be sowing the rest of the seeds soon.


Kale, Chilli & Squid Stir-Fry
(adapted from coles.com.au, Curtis Stone)
500gm squid tubes, rinsed, dried, scored, cut into 4cm pieces
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1" ginger, sliced thinly and julienned (my addition)
1 long red chilli, thinly sliced, plus extra to serve
1/2 small bunch kale, washed, trimmed, shredded
150gm sugar snap peas, trimmed (omitted)
2 tbsp kecap manis (omitted kecap manis, added 1/4 tsp of black soy sauce)
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
Steamed Jasmine rice, to serve

  1. Season squid. Heat half the peanut oil in a wok over high heat. Cook the squid, in 2 batches, for 2-3 minutes or until browned and tender. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Heat remaining peanut oil in the wok over high heat and stir-fry onion for 1 minute. Add garlic and chilli. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the kale, sugar snap peas and 1/4 cup water. Stir-fry for 4-5 minutes or until kale wilts. Return squid to the wok and add kecap manis, soy sauce and sesame oil. Toss for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.
  3. Top the stir-fry with extra chilli and serve with rice.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
G'day Curtis!




Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Cookbook Countdown #4 : Meredith's Zucchini Bread

Cookbook Countdown is a monthly cooking/baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  Everyone is welcome to join us. How does it work? To summarize, you may select a cookbook from your own cookbook collection, to cook or bake from each month. That selected book shall be your cookbook of the month. You may cook any recipes and as many recipes as you want from your selected book of the month. This is a fabulous way of using your cookbooks at least once! For more information on how to join Cookbook Countdown, please click here


************************

Cookbook Countdown #4 : Recipe No. 2 - Meredith's Zucchini Bread
from my selected cookbook for this month, Bake by Rachel Allen


This is a lovely, very tasty cake (not a bread!). I've made half a recipe for one loaf (full recipe makes 2 loaves). As usual, I've reduced the sugar and have omitted the walnuts and ground cloves.



Easy and simple to make. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the other ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined. Pour into the loaf pans and bake in a preheated oven at 150C for about 1-1/4 hours or until done. Mine was done at 1 hour.



The cake is moist and soft, not too sweet (after I've reduced the sugar), and very tasty. Bits of zucchini are speckled over each slice. This is the kinda cake that is great for breakfast, tea-time snack or just to snack on when you are feeling a little hungry. With a cup of warm tea!



Meredith's Zucchini Cake
(adapted from "Bake", by Rachel Allen)
Makes 2 loaves
400gm (14oz) plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
300gm (11oz) caster sugar
100gm (3-1/2oz) demerara sugar
3 eggs, beaten
200ml (7fl oz) sunflower oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
380gm (13oz) courgettes, grated (with the skin left on)
75gm (3oz) walnuts, chopped

Two 13x23cm (5x9in) loaf tins

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C (300F), Gas Mark 2. Butter or oil and flour the loaf tins.
  2. In a large bowl, sift in the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and spices. Add both sugars and stir well to mix.
  3. Add the beaten eggs, oil, vanilla extract and grated courgettes to the dry ingredients and mix well until combined. Add the walnuts, mix in and divide the mixture between the two prepared loaf tins.
  4. Bake in the oven for 1-1/4 hours or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve on its own or toasted and buttered.
Rachel's Baking Tip :
Tightly wrapped in cling film, these loaves keep well for up to 10 days.

Kitchen Flavour's notes :
I've made half a recipe to make one loaf and have reduced the sugar to :
110gm caster sugar
30gm soft brown sugar



I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by 





Saturday, April 2, 2016

Artichoke Tapenade with Rosemary Oil : Cook The Book Fridays

Cook the Book Fridays (CtBF) is currently cooking from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. This week's selected recipe is Artichoke Tapenade with Rosemary Oil. I have never made tapenade before, and have only eaten it once, store-bought black olive tapenade in a jar.


Rosemary Oil

Rosemary Oil, which is drizzled over the tapenade before serving. It is made by heating some olive oil and salt to warm. Fresh rosemary leaves and parsley leaves are blanched in boiling water for a few seconds, then cool in an ice bath. Drain and wipe dry thoroughly. Infuse the herbs in the oil for 15 minutes. Place the oil, and the herbs in a food processor and process till fine. Strain the oil in a fine mesh strainer. What you get is a lovely emerald green of Rosemary Oil. 



Artichoke (either fresh or canned) is not easily available over here in Malaysia as it is not a common ingredient for us. This recipe uses canned artichoke. After a few trips to different supermarkets, I finally found it (big smile!), and there's only one brand available (still a big smile!). 



The tapenade is made by putting the artichoke, green olives, capers, lemon juice, garlic, cayenne pepper and olive oil in a food processor and process to a puree. Season with some salt if necessary. I tasted mine and it was just right, taking into account that there's salt in the rosemary oil. 



To serve, drizzle a generous amount of the Rosemary Oil over the tapenade and serve with slices of toasted baguette.


It was so delicious!  We love it!



It was so good over toasted baguette slices. I bought only one baguette and it was gone pretty quick! The tapenade makes quite a lot, so the next morning we had it again, (yup, for breakfast, which we were looking forward to!), with some toasted whole wheat bread which I've made the week before, which I've kept frozen. This recipe is a keeper! Canned artichoke is on my grocery list now! 

To see the other members' review on this Artichoke Tapenade with Rosemary Oil, please visit CtBF. If you would like to try this tapenade, you can get the recipe from this link. It would be even better to buy the book and join us at CtBF.



LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails