Thursday, July 28, 2016

Pasta with Courgettes

It's Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). For this week, we get to select any of IHCC's past and present featured chefs' recipes. I have chosen to cook with Nigella this week. 

Taken from her book Nigellissima, Pasta with Courgette is a very tasty, meatless, pasta dish. Main star character is the courgettes or zucchini. Nigella has used casarecce pasta, but I've used farfalle instead, as I already have a pack in my pantry.



The courgettes are cooked till soft and almost mushy. Instead of using garlic oil, I have added two cloves of chopped garlic, sauteed in olive oil till light brown and fragrant, then add in the spring onions and diced courgettes. White wine is then added in, cover and simmer until the courgettes are very tender.  I have omitted the parsley since I have forgotten to buy them. 

A simple and tasty pasta dish. But I would add more zucchini the next time, as they are quite delicious, when cooked to a "squashy khaki", as Nigella says!


Pasta with Courgettes
(adapted from "Nigellissima", by Nigella Lawson)
Serves 2
200gm casarecce pasta
salt for pasta water, to taste
2 cloves garlic, chopped (my addition)
2x15ml tablespoons garlic oil
4 spring onions, finely sliced
500gm courgettes, finely diced
60ml dry white wine or vermouth
small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
3x15ml tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more (optional) for sprinkling
salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons (10gm) unsalted butter

Put a pan of water on for the pasta, salting generously (or to taste) when it comes to the boil, then add the casarecce - cooking as per packet instructions, though tasting a couple of minutes before they're meant to be ready - and get on with the sauce.
Put the garlic oil and chopped spring onions in a heavy-based pan (that comes with a lid) on medium heat and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the diced courgettes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring every now and again,
Add the wine or vermouth, letting it bubble up, followed by 2 tablespoons of the chopped parsley, salt to taste, then lower the heat, cover with the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes, by which time the courgettes should be gorgeously tender.
Before draining the pasta, remove a cupful of starchy cooking water.
Tip the drained pasta back into its pan, add the braised courgettes, or add the pasta to the pan of courgettes, along with 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan and 4 tablespoons of pasta-cooking liquid. Combine thoroughly and taste to see if you wish to add more cheese or salt or pepper or; indeed, cooking liquid, then stir in the butter and most of the remaining parsley and divide between 2 warmed bowls, sprinkling with the rest of the parsley, and more Parmesan if wished, on serving.


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





Sunday, July 24, 2016

Chocolate Ice Cream

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. 

To link to Cookbook Countdown Specials : BAKE, click here
To link to Cookbook Countdown #7, click here


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For this month's Cookbook Countdown #7, my selected cookbook is The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz.  This week's treat is Chocolate Ice Cream. Nobody would turn down a scoop or two of chocolate ice cream, especially the kids!



Full of chocolate flavour! You would definitely want more than a scoop!


Chocolate Ice Cream
(adapted from "The Perfect Scoop", by David Lebovitz)
makes about 1 quart (1 liter)
2 cups (500ml) heavy cvream
3 tablespoons (21gm) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 ounces (140gm) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
3/4 cup (150gm) sugar (I use 1/3 cup)
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks (I use 4)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Warm 1 cup (250ml) of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup (250ml) cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.
Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out).


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #7 hosted by 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Penne with Pepperoni, Baby Tomatoes, Olives and Capers

We are cooking with tomatoes at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) for this week's theme "I Say Tomato, You Say Tomahto!"  I've made one of Curtis Stone's pasta recipe which I have bookmarked to try for ages. Some members of IHCC, (Kim, Tina and Susan) has made this pasta for previous themes and everyone has given a thumbs up review. So it's my turn to join the wagon!



Sweet juicy cherry tomatoes roasted in the oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper until the tomatoes begin to spilt, which took about 15-20 minutes. I've used more tomatoes than the recipe calls for.

Originally the recipe is called "Rigatoni with Spicy Italian Salami, Baby Tomatoes, Olives and Capers".  I could not find Rigatoni and have replaced with Penne. Did not have Spicy Italian Salami too, but I do have some frozen pepperoni so that was what I've used. 

Slices of pepperoni are fried in a little oil until lightly browned. Saute the chopped garlic, add in the roasted tomatoes, stir for a few minutes, then pour in the white wine, olives and capers. Stir and add in the pepperoni and parsley ( I have used cilantro). Stir in the cooked pasta, adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper. Serve immediately.



 A very tasty pasta dish. The next time I will add even more roasted tomatoes. 



I sprinkled some chilli flakes over my plate, a habit of mine with most pasta dishes, preferring the chilli flakes over cheese!


Rigatoni with Spicy Italian Salami, Baby Tomatoes, Olives and Capers
(adapted from "Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone")
Serves 4
20 cherry tomatoes on the vine
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces spicy salami, such as Sopressa Vicentina,, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/4 cup extra-fine capers
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsely
8 to 10 ounces rigatoni pasta

Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the tomatoes on a small baking sheet and drizzle with the 2 teaspoons olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until they begin to split. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and let them cool slightly.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
While the water is heating, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy saute pan over medium heat. Add the salami and cook for 30 seconds on each side, until light golden in colour. Remove the salami from the pan and reserve.
Return the pan to the heat, add the garlic, and saute for 1 minute, or until tender. Add the tomatoes and saute for 3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer for about 3 minutes, or until reduced by about half. Add the olives and capers and toss gently. Bring the mixture to a simmer and add the salami and parsely.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling salted water for 8 minutes, or until al dente. Drain the pasta and toss it in the pan with the sauce. Season the pasta to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to plates, spooning any extra salami and tomato mixture from the pan around the pasta, and serve.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week, 
"I Say Tomato, You Say Tomahto!"





Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Cinnamon-Oatmeal Cookies

Cookbook Countdown Specials : Bake is a baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  This is a "spin-off" from our on-going monthly Cookbook Countdown. Cookbook Countdown Specials : Bake is for baking desserts ; pastries, cakes, cookies, pies, tarts, breads. While the monthly Cookbook Countdown is to use from one selected cookbook each month, for CC Specials : Bake, you may use any baking cookbooks of your choice, either from one single cookbook or from numerous books. The link is open from July to end September. You may link your post here. Do join us, everyone is welcome!


To link to Cookbook Countdown Specials : BAKE, click here
To link to Cookbook Countdown #7, click here


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Another keeper recipe from this awesome book, Williams-Sonoma : Home Baked Comfort, by Kim Laidlaw. A personal project of mine to bake through this book, one recipe at a time.

If you like chewy oatmeal cookies, then you would probably love this. There's a few variations as to the add-ons, like raisins, dried currants, or chocolate chips. While the author love hers with chocolate chips, I like my oatmeal cookies with raisins.



As usual, I've reduced the amount of both the brown and granulated sugars, by half, which for us, the sweetness was just right. I've baked the cookies 3 minutes longer than the recipe indicated. When eating them just barely warm, the sides are a little crisp and the centre soft and chewy. The next day, these cookes are chewy throughout, which is really very nice.



Fragrance with the cinnamon, sweetness from the raisins and chewiness of the oats, makes these cookies a great snack to nibble on anytime of the day. And even as a midnight snack! 

One thing to take note is that, while the recipe states that it yields about 2-1/2 dozen cookies, I got exactly 4-1/2 dozens! And I did follow the required cookie size by following the instructions of  "drop heaping teaspoonfuls of dough onto the prepared pans" !


Cinnamon-Oatmeal Cookies
(adapted from "Williams-Sonoma : Home Baked Comfort", Kim Laidlaw)
makes about 2-1/2 dozen cookies
1-1/2 cups (7-1/2oz/235gm) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda (I use 1/2 tsp each baking soda and baking powder)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt (omitted the salt, use salted butter)
3/4 cup (6oz/185gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature (use salted butter)
1 cup (7oz/220gm) firmly packed light brown sugar (I use 1/2 cup loosely packed)
1/2 cup (4oz/125gm) granulated sugar (I use scan 1/4 cup)
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups (7oz/220gm) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (6oz/185gm) dried currants, raisins, or chocolate chips (optional)

Space 2 racks evenly in the oven and preheat to 350F (180C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and oats and beat on low speed until incorporated. Stir in the currants, if using.

Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of dough onto the prepared pans, spacing them slightly apart. Bake until the cookies are golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


Cookbook Countdown

Monday, July 18, 2016

Buckwheat Crepes with Ham, Cheese And Egg

This was supposed to be a Friday post for Cook The Books Friday (CtBF), an online group of bloggers, currently cooking from David Lebovitz's cookbook, My Paris Kitchen. I am late in making this crepe and thus late in posting.

The batter for the crepe is made up of buckwheat flour, eggs, water and salt. Whisk everything well, keep covered in the refrigerator for at least an hour and can be refrigerated overnight. I have kept mine for 3 days! I mixed the batter at night, intending to make the crepe for breakfast the next morning, but somehow that did not happen, and I've only managed to make the crepe on the 3rd morning. The batter is still fine even on the 3rd day. 



Just as David says, the first two crepes are usually "a dud, so don't worry"! haha! Those are my two "dud"! Above crepe was made with 1/4 cup of batter, which is rather difficult for me to make into a large thin crepe.



So, I have used 1/2 cup of batter! Well, this seems to work out for me. It may not be perfect, but it is thin and large!



A piece of the crepe is then placed in the saucepan in hot foaming butter, slices of ham is then placed in the center of the crepe, sprinkle with shredded cheese (I've used Mozzarella), and break an egg in the middle. Cover the pan and continue to cook on low heat until the cheese melts and the egg whites are set. Serve immediately. I did not fold the four sides of the crepes over. 



We love our egg yolks runny! We've enjoyed these buckwheat crepes very much. I like the wheatie aroma of the crepes while it is cooking. Smells really nice.

Please stop by CtBF to see this delicious crepe that everyone has made.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Hot Thai Stir-Fry

This week, I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) is cooking with Nigel Slater. He is our featured chef for this week's theme "Monthly Featured Chef : Nigel Slater!".  A few months ago, I've added one more of Nigel's cookbook, Real Cooking, to my cookbook collection. I now have five of his books. And the first recipe that I've tried from this book is a chicken dish, Hot Thai Stir-Fry



I have a pot of Thai basil plant, which needed to be pruned, and found just the recipe to use up the leaves. This stir-fry chicken dish comes together pretty quickly, so get everything chopped up and ready. The only part that takes a bit of time is to cook and brown the chicken pieces in oil for a few minutes, which really did not take long at all. Remove the browned chicken pieces to a plate. In the same pan, saute the spring onions, ginger and garlic till fragrant. Add the chopped chillies, then return the chicken pieces to the pan. Stir for a minute, add in the dark soy sauce. Seeing that there is no mentioning of any salt or seasoning in the recipe, I have added a dash of fish sauce and light soy sauce to taste. 



This is quite a fairly dry dish as there are no sauce, but it was delicious, we had it for dinner with rice along with some other dishes. I love simple stir-fry like this!


Fragrant Thai basil leaves.


Hot Thai Stir-Fry
(adapted from "Real Cooking", Nigel Slater)
For 2
a generous handful of basil leaves (at least 20)
groundnut oil
350gm chicken, cut into small pieces but skin left on
4 spring onions, roughly chopped (separate the white and green parts)
small lump of ginger, about the size of a walnut, peeled and shredded
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 hot red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce (my addition)
1 teaspoon light soy sauce, to taste (my addition)

Tear the basil leaves up a bit. Heat a wok or deep frying pan and then pour in enough oil to cover the bottom, probably about two tablespoons. When the oil starts to shimmer and smoke, drop in the chopped chicken. If it lands skin-side down so much the better. Do not touch until the bottom side is golden, then move the chicken around in the pan. Chopsticks are as good as anything for this and will seem appropriate, though any old spoon is fine. Cook until the meat is golden on all sides, Test a piece; it should be juicy and only just cooked through. Tip out into a dish (anything will do, it is going back in the pan later).
Add a little more oil to the pan if there seems little left. Throw in the spring onions (I use the white part of the spring onions), ginger and garlic. Shake it all about a bit. It should sizzle and spit. If it doesn't then your pan isn't hot enough. Add the chillies. When they soften, return the chicken to the pan, throw in the basil and stir for a minute. Slosh in the soy sauce (fish sauce and light soy sauce to taste, with the remaining green parts of the spring onions) and serve on hot plates.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
"Monthly Featured Chef : Nigel Slater!"




Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Blueberry-Almond Crisp

Cookbook Countdown Specials : Bake is a baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  This is a "spin-off" from our on-going monthly Cookbook Countdown. Cookbook Countdown Specials : Bake is for baking desserts ; pastries, cakes, cookies, pies, tarts, breads. While the monthly Cookbook Countdown is to use from one selected cookbook each month, for CC Specials : Bake, you may use any baking cookbooks of your choice, either from one single cookbook or from numerous books. The link is open from July to end September. You may link your post here. Do join us, everyone is welcome!


To link to Cookbook Countdown Specials : BAKE, click here
To link to Cookbook Countdown #7, click here


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Made this delicious Blueberry-Almond Crisp, and I thought that this sounds like a crumble to me. When I googled from the internet, I am even more confused! LOL! Some articles mentioned that topping for crisp contains oats, butter and flour and a crumble usually do have use any oats. And some articles mentioned that the topping for crumbles usually have oats, butter and flour, occasionally some nuts are added. Whatever it is called, both are served with scoops of ice cream! At least everyone agrees on this! 



The recipes uses blueberries, but I do not have enough of blueberries, so I have added some chopped ripe mangoes. Toss the fruits together with some sugar and flour. I've made half a recipe to serve 4.


The topping is a mixture of granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, butter, oats and flaked almonds, Sprinkle the mixture over the fruits and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the fruits are bubbling. Let it cool slightly before serving.



Serve the Blueberry and Mango-Almond Crisp while still warm, with a scoop (or two!) of ice cream. We had this with my homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. What can I say, this is one delicious dessert! So good!


Blueberry-Almond Crisp
(adapted from "Williams-Sonoma : Home Baked Comfort" by Kim Laidlaw)
makes about 8 servings
about 6 cups (1-1/2lb/750gm) fresh blueberries
3 tbsp granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup (2oz/60gm)
1 tbsp all-purpose flour, plus 3/4 cup (4oz/125gm)
1/2 cup (1-1/2oz/45gm) rolled oats
1/3 cup (2-1/2oz/75gm) firmly packed golden brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup (4oz/125gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
1/2 cup (2oz/60gm) sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375F (190C). Have ready a 9-inch (23-cm) square or 2-1/2-quart (2.5lt) baking dish.
In the baking dish, toss together the blueberries, the 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, and the 1 tablespoon flour.
In a bowl, stir together the 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the 3/4 cup flour, the oats, brown sugar, and salt until well blended. Sprinkle the butter over the dry ingredients and use a pastry cutter or 2 kitchen knives to cut in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in the almonds. Sprinkle the topping in an even layer over the blueberries.
Bake until the blueberries are tender when tested with a toothpick, the juices are bubbling, and the topping is golden brown, 35-40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cook for 10 minutes. Serve warm with scoops of ice cream.


Cookbook Countdown


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Mojito Granita

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. 

To link to Cookbook Countdown Specials : BAKE, click here
To link to Cookbook Countdown #7, click here


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For this month's Cookbook Countdown #7, my selected cookbook is The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz. I've made Mojito Granita, and it was such a hit, that I've made it a few times already!



I've used my homegrown mint leaves. The first time when I made this, I've used the full amount of lime juice as stated in the recipe and it was too sour. So I've reduced the amount of lime juice to 1/4 cup the second time round, and it was just perfect. It all depends on the sourness of the limes that are used.



A refreshing, delightful granita, What's not to love, there's mint, lime juice and rum! You will love it too!


Mojito Granita
(adapted from "The Perfect Scoop", by David Lebovitz)
makes about 1 quart (1 liter)
2-1/2 cups (625ml) water
1/2 cup (100gm) sugar
2 limes, preferably unsprayed
1 cup (40gm) lightly packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup (125ml) freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 6 limes) (I use only 1/4 cup)
3 tablespoons (45ml) white or light rum

Add the water and sugar to a small, non-reactive saucepan, then grate the zest from the 2 limes directly into the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Reverse 5 of the mint leaves, add the remaining mint to the saucepan, and remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for 8 minutes, then remove the cover and let cool to room temperature,
Once cool, strain the mixture into the container you plan to freeze the granita in, pressing firmly on the leaves to extract all the flavourful liquid. Discard the mint leaves. Stir in the lime juice and rum, then finely chop the reserved 5 mint leaves and add them as well. 
Place the dish in the freezer. Begin checking it after about 1 hour. Once it begins to freeze around the edges, take a fork and stir the mixture, breaking up the frozen parts near the edges into smaller chunks and raking them toward the centre.
Return the dish to the freezer, then check the mixture every 30 minutes afterward, stirring each time and breaking up any large chunks into small pieces with a fork, until you have beautiful, fine crystals of homemade granita. If at any time the granita freezes too hard, simply leave it out at room temperature for a few minutes until it softens enough to be stirred again with a fork, and rake it back into crystals. Then return to the freezer.


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #7 hosted by 




Saturday, July 9, 2016

Club Sandwich with Lemon and Garlic Chicken

This week's theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), is "On The Barbie!" It's time to take out the grill or the grill-pan. Since I do not have an outdoor grill, it will have to be the grill-pan in the kitchen! Made Curtis Stone's, Club Sandwich with Lemon and Garlic Chicken,  "simplified"! And it is smacking good!


As with grilled sandwich, what you need are some crusty breads to start with. I've used my homemade Semolina Bread,  great for making grilled sandwiches.
Spread slices of bread with butter (instead of oil as per the recipe) and toast in a grill pan until crispy. 


Chicken breast marinated with crushed garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook in a grill pan about 3-5 minutes on each side until cooked through.



Spread some mayonnaise on one slice of the bread, top with the chicken breast, and some lettuce, then place another piece of bread on top. Enjoy! We certainly did! The chicken was so moist and tasty! This is such a simple yet so delicious sandwich!

I did make some changes by omitting a few steps. I did not make the potato chips to serve with this sandwich, and skip the mayo aioli and avocado. I've used mayonnaise straight from the jar to spread onto the bread, and have replaced the rocket leaves with lettuce instead.


Club Sandwich with Lemon & Garlic Chicken
(adapted from coles, com, recipe by Curtis Stone)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 x 500gm chicken breast fillets
1 kg potatoes, peeled, cut into 5mm batons (omitted)
1/3 cup (100gm) whole-egg mayonnaise
8 x 1cm thick slices Coles Bakery Stone Baked Pane di Casa (I use my homemade Semolina Bread)
cooking oil spray
4 slices prosciutto (omitted)
50gm baby rocket leaves (use lettuce leaves)
1 avocado, mashed (omitted)

  1. Combine oil, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and two-thirds of the garlic in a glass or ceramic dish. Season. Halve chicken breasts crossways to make two thinner pieces, Add to the marinade and toss to coat. Set aside for 15 minutes to marinate.
  2. Heat oil to 180C in a medium saucepan over medium heat (when the oil ready, a cube of bread will turn golden in 20 secs). Cook chips, in batches, for 3 minutes or until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towel.
  3. Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise, remaining lemon juice and remaining garlic in a small jug. Season. Heat a barbecue grill or chargrill on medium. Spray bread lightly with oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes each side or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a plate. Cook prosciutto on grill for 1-2 minutes each side or until crispy. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  4. Cook chicken on grill for 3 minutes each side or until cooked through. Spread 4 slices of bread with mashed avocado. Top with chicken, rocket, prosciutto and aioli. Top with remaining bread. Serve with chips.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
"On The Barbie"

and



Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Semolina Bread for Cookbook Countdown Specials : BAKE

Cookbook Countdown Specials : Bake is a baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  This is a "spin-off" from our on-going monthly Cookbook Countdown. Cookbook Countdown Specials : Bake is for baking desserts ; pastries, cakes, cookies, pies, tarts, breads. While the monthly Cookbook Countdown is to use from one selected cookbook each month, for CC Specials : Bake, you may use any baking cookbooks of your choice, either from one single cookbook or from numerous books. The link is open from July to end September. You may link your post here. Do join us, everyone is welcome!


To link to Cookbook Countdown Specials : BAKE, click here
To link to Cookbook Countdown #7, click here


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

It will be fun if you could include a picture of your Cake, Pastry and Bread book collection!

Here's some of the baking cookbooks from my collection. 


To share with Cookbook Countdown Specials : Bake, I've made a lovely bread from my recent addition to my cookbook shelf ; Secrets Of A Jewish Baker by George Greenstein.



The first recipe I've tried is Semolina Bread


The author has given three methods of making the dough ; by hand, using the food processor, using the stand mixer. I have used the stand mixer, and made only one loaf instead of three loaves. 

The dough is very easy to work with. Make sure that the baking sheet is dusted really well with cornmeal, otherwise the baked loaf will stick to the sheet.


Spray the top of the proofed dough with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Make three slashes on the loaf and bake as instructed in the recipe. Though the recipe states to bake with steam, I have forgotten to place an empty roasting pan on the floor of the oven during preheating time. When placing the dough into the oven, either toss some ice cubes into that heated pan or pour in 1 cup of boiling water, and quickly close the oven door. This will create the steam resulting lovely brown crispy crust. Since I have forgotten to preheat the empty pan, I have baked the bread without the "bake with steam". I will have to remember this the next time! 


Freshly baked Semolina Bread



A wonderful bread, with lovely crisp crust and soft tasty crumbs. This bread is fabulous as a grilled sandwich for lunch... which I will be sharing next. 


The recipe below is my adaptation to make one loaf of bread. (Actual recipe in the book is for making 2 loaves, either by  hand or the food processor, and 3 loaves if using the stand mixer).

Semolina Bread
(adapted from "Secrets Of A Jewish Baker", George Greenstein)
Makes 1 loaf
Sponge :
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1-1/2 cup semolina flour

Dough :
1 tablespoon sugar or malt syrup
1 tablespoon shortening or olive oil
1 to 1-1/2 cups bread flour
scant 3/4 teaspoon salt
cornmeal, for dusting baking sheet
sesame seeds, for sprinkling (optional)

The sponge :
In the mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and allow a few minutes to soften. Add the flour and mix at second speed until smooth. Cover and let stand until doubled in volume (45 to 60 minutes).

The dough :
Stir down the sponge with one or two rotations of the beater, then add the sugar, shortening, flour and the salt. Pulse with the on/off switch until the flour is incorporated enough that it won't be thrown out of the bowl, (I suggest using the lowest speed, using the pulse switch WILL throw the flour out of the mixing bowl!). If the dough is too soft, add more flour 1/4 cup at a time.
Remove and scrape down the beater and insert the dough hook. Run at first speed until the dough forms up on the hook and comes away from the sides of the bowl (10 to 12 minutes). You can use second speed for the last 2 minutes to strengthen the gluten.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in volume (35 to 45 minutes). 
Shaping : Punch down and shape into Italian-shaped loaves, about 18 inches long. (I shaped the dough into 15" long). Place the loaf on a baking sheet that has been dusted with cornmeal.
Cover with a cloth and allow to rise until doubled in size (45 to 60 minutes). Brush the top with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds. When the bread had proofed, cut 3 diagonal slashes with a sharp knife or razor blade. Hold the knife at an angle to the bread and try to cut inside and underneath the crust. This will cause the bread to open, or bloom, while baking and form a thick, crunchy crust.
Baking : Preheat the oven to 400F. Bake with steam (I omitted the bake with steam), until the loaves are browned and emit a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom with your fingertips (35 to 45 minutes). If baking on an oven stone or tiles, the bread can be removed from the baking pans for the last 10 minutes to firm up the crust.



Cookbook Countdown


Monday, July 4, 2016

Nagore Chicken Curry

It's "June Potluck" at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) this week. I was craving for some chicken curry, so of course, Madhur Jaffrey's books are the ones that I refer to. Found this Nagore Chicken Curry in one of her books, Curry Nation.



According to Madhur Jaffrey, this recipe is the creation of one of the chefs from Nagore in Tamil Nadu, and is usually made with guinea fowl, and served with coconut rice. Here, the recipe is given made with chicken. I served this with plain jasmine rice.


The spices : roasted fresh grated coconut, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, black peppercorns, dried chillies and fresh curry leaves, which are then process in the spice or coffee grinder to a powder, rather a slightly rough powder. I have added half the amount of all the spices, as usual for more gravy.

There's a whole list of other ingredients that went into making this curry ; green chillies, garlic, ginger, onions, turmeric, tomatoes coconut milk, coriander leaves.



This chicken curry is so delicious and the aroma is fabulous. There was no leftovers, well, except for a small bowl of the delicious gravy, which I'm not letting it go to waste! I had it the next day with some leftover rice, along with a fried egg and sliced fresh cucumbers for my lunch. 


Nagore Chicken Curry
(adapted from "Curry Nation", Madhur Jaffrey)
Serves 4-6
For the spice paste :
4 tablespoons freshly grated coconut
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
4 dried chillies
20-30 fresh curry leaves

For the curry :
6 tablespoons olive oil or sunflower oil
3-4 green chillies
6 finely grated or crushed garlic cloves
1 tablespoon peeled, finely grated root ginger
2 medium red onions, halved and finely sliced
2 medium white onions, halved and finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 whole chicken, about 1.6kg (3-1/2 lb), skinned and portioned into 10 pieces (drumsticks, thighs, wings and halved breasts)
120ml (scant 4 fl oz) coconut milk
4 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves

For the spice paste, set a karhai, wok or small frying pan, about 18 centimetres (7 inches) in diameter, over a medium heat and add the coconut, stirring until it browns. Add the cumin, coriander and fenugreek seeds, the peppercorns and dried chillies. Continue to stir for two or three minutes. As the spices release their aromas, drop in the curry leaves. Stir for 30 seconds, then cool. Grind in a clean coffee grinder or spice grinder to a fine, slightly oily powder.

To make the curry, set a large pan, about 25 centimetres (10 inches) in diameter, over a medium heat. When it's hot, pour in the oil. Drop in one whole green chilli. Stir and allow the skin to blister for 30 seconds. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir and fry for two to three minutes, until the garlic just starts to brown. Tip in the onions and saute for 16-18 minutes, until soft and golden. Add splashes of boiling water to prevent any sticking. Stir in the turmeric. Tip in the spice paste and incorporate thoroughly for one or two minutes. Now add the tomatoes and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing the tomatoes into the sauce and reducing the heat if the tomatoes seem to catch. Add the remaining green chillies, slit lengthways, and the salt. Mix well, then add the chicken. Brown the meat for about 10 minutes. Pour in 400ml (14 floz) of water and combine well. Add the coconut milk and coriander. Stir, cover and cook over a low heat for about 35 minutes, or until done.


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



Saturday, July 2, 2016

Raw Vegetable Slaw with Creamy Garlic Dressing

This week at Cook the Book Fridays (CtBF), the selected recipe is Raw Vegetable Slaw with Creamy Garlic Dressing. CtBF is an online group of food bloggers who are currently cooking from David Lebovitz's latest cookbook, My Paris Kitchen. 

Firstly make the dressing by combining mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, Dijon mustard and ground black pepper, in a bowl until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours before using. Now there's a confusion about the amount of garlic when I read the concerns posted at CtBF, is it really 2 tablespoons or supposed to be just 2 cloves? So for a start, I've used two cloves, chopped finely, add to the dressing, and mixed to combine. I had a little taste of the dressing, it was really good, and the taste of the garlic is definitely there, so that was the amount of garlic I've used, only 2 cloves. 


Combination of shredded veggies ; red and green cabbage, carrots, broccoli and apples.

Six cups of thinly shredded vegetables is used with the combination of the suggested veggies given by David. I have however only used these veggies ; red and green cabbage, carrots, apple, broccoli. And I have even skipped the parsley and chives, simply because I have forgotten to buy them! I thinly shred the vegetables using a sharp knife, one process that I quite enjoy doing!



Toss the dressing with the raw shredded vegetables and serve. There's hard-boiled eggs in the ingredients. I did make the hard-boiled eggs, but did not add them to the slaw at the last moment, as I think the slaw is delicious as it is. However, I served the chopped eggs in a separate bowl, and letting the family help themselves, adding to their slaw if they want to. This is a delicious slaw and one that I would be making again.

Do drop by CtBF to see the other lovely ladies take on this raw slaw, perhaps with different combinations of veggies.



Friday, July 1, 2016

Cookbook Countdown #7 : Vanilla Ice Cream, Philadelphia-Style

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. 


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My selected cookbook for this month, 



I have several books on ice cream, but this is the one that I always to go when it's time to make a batch of ice cream. I have tried many recipes from this book and there are many more I am looking forward to try! The weather has been very, very hot lately, so ice cream and frozen desserts are always welcome anytime of the day. Yup, this is gonna be a month of frozen delights! 

What is your favourite ice cream flavour? I love all flavours. And I love vanilla ice creams. I have made a few different recipes of vanilla ice cream, and this is the easiest one of all. There's no need to cook any custard, the only cooking is to warm some of the heavy cream with the sugar and vanilla seeds just until the sugar has completely melted. The rest of the heavy cream with some vanilla extract is mixed into the mixture and chill until cold. Remove the vanilla pods before churning the mixture in the ice cream maker.



This ice cream is delicious, it is light, creamy and soft. The only change I made was to reduce the amount of sugar to slightly less than 1/4 cup and the sweetness was just right.  I have made this a number of times, sometimes we enjoy it plain as it is (which is very yummy!), other times we had it with some other desserts, like the one below.



A slice of Chocolate-Bourbon Bundt Cake with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream, Philadelphia Style. Perfect match, simply divine!


Vanilla Ice Cream, Philadelphia-Style
3 cups (750ml) heavy cream, or 2 cups (500ml) heavy cream and 1 cup (250ml) whole milk
3/4 cup (150gm) sugar (I use scant 1/4 cup)
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour 1 cup (250ml) of the cream into a medium saucepan and add the sugar and salt. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the saucepan and add the pod to the pot. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove from the heat and add the remaining 2 cups (500ml) cream (or the remaining 1 cup, 250ml, cream and the milk) and the vanilla extract.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, rinsing and reserving it for another use, and then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #7 hosted by 





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