Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rich and Creamy Ginger Scones

This month's selected recipe at Rose's Bread Bible Bakers, is Rich and Creamy Ginger Scones. Rose's Bread Bible Bakers is a group of bloggers who are currently baking from Rose Levy Beranbaum's book, The Bread Bible.

I've made half a recipe as I do not want to freeze any leftovers, there's no space in my freezer! And since I've made only half a recipe, I've mixed the dough by hand method. Rose has provided both methods of using the Food Processor Method and Hand Method. These scones are easy to make and did not take up much time at all. There's ground ginger and diced crystallized ginger in the dough.

One of the ingredients used is whipping cream, which is whipped just until soft peaks. But according to Rose's Pointer For Success at the end of the recipe, these scones will just be as delicious without whipping the cream. So I took the easy way out and did not whip the cream, that makes me smile as there will be no extra bowl and beater to wash! Ha! 



The dough is very sticky and with some sprinkling of flour on the work surface and a light dusting over the dough helps in handling the dough better. Shape into a 6" round, about 3/4" thick, and freeze for 15 minutes. Cut the firm dough into 6 or 8 wedges, brush the top with some whipping cream and sprinkle with some turbinado sugar. I did not have any turbinado sugar, so I have used what I have, demerara sugar. The oven is preheated with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. I do not have any baking stone, so I have used an upturned baking tray. Place the scones on greased baking tray, and place the baking tray on the preheated upturned baking tray in the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the edges are browned and the tops are golden brown. Mine was done at 17 minutes. 



Cool to room temperature though these are so, so good when eaten while still warm. 



These scones are light and delicate, just as Rose described. They are tender, buttery and delicious! I love the crystallized ginger. These are so perfect with a cup of hot tea! Love these scones!

Up next in December, we will be baking "Levy's" Real Jewish Rye Bread, pg 324.

I'm also linking this post with Cookbook Countdown Specials : Bake


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Shortcut Sausage Meatballs

It's Potluck time at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). This week we get to select any recipes from either our present or past featured chefs, and once again, I've cooked with Nigella. I've made her Shortcut Sausage Meatballs, though it is not shortcut for me. Nigella's recipe using store bought Italian Sausages, but I have made my own, without the casing.



For the Italian sausages, I used minced pork mixed with some salt, coarse black pepper powder, fennel seeds, paprika and hot red pepper flakes. Combine well and leave covered overnight in the refrigerator. Taste the seasoning by frying about a teaspoon of the mixture in a little oil. Add more salt or any of the spice ingredients if needed. 

The sausages are then rolled into small balls, about the size of cherry tomatoes, and fry in some oil until golden, then the rest of the ingredients are added in. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly.



A very easy and simple meatballs in tomato sauce, and do not take long to cook. We had this meatballs served over spaghetti for a weeknight dinner.


Shortcut Sausage Meatballs
(Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson)
serves 4, approximately 40 meatballs
450-500gm Italian sausages
2 tablespoons garlic oil
4 fat or 6 spindly spring onions, finely sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
60ml white wine or vermouth
2 x 400gm cans chopped tomatoes, plus water to rinse 1/2 can
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper, to taste
chopped fresh parsley, to serve (optional)

Squeeze the sausage meat from the sausages, and roll small cherry-tomato-sized meatballs out of it, putting them onto a clingfilm-lined baking tray as you go. Your final tally should be around 40.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan or flameproof casserole and add the meatballs, frying them until golden; as they become firmer, nudge them up in the pan to make room for the rest, if you can't fit them all in at first.
When all the meatballs are in the pan and browned, add the spring onion and oregano and stir about gently.
Add the wine or vermouth and chopped tomatoes, then fill half of one of empty cans with cold water and tip it into the other empty can, then into the pan. The can-to-can technique is just my way of making sure you swill out as much of the tomato residue as possible.
Pop in the bay leaves and let the pan come to a fast simmer. Leave to cook like this, uncovered, for 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly and the meatballs are cooked through. Check the sauce for seasoning, adding some salt and pepper, if you like.
During this time you can cook whatever you fancy to go with the meatballs, whether it be pasta, rice, whatever.
Once the meatballs are ready, you can eat them immediately or let them stand, off the heat but still on the stove, for 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken up a bit on standing. Sprinkle with parsely on serving.

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



Friday, November 25, 2016

Tofu with Sauteed Kimchi

My selected cookbook for November's Cookbook Countdown #11 is Seoul Food Korean Cookbook by Naomi Imatome-Yun. The next recipe I've made is Tofu with Sauteed Kimchi.



A simple dish but nevertheless quite delicious. Here I have used my Homemade Napa Cabbage Kimchi. The kimchi is chopped into 1-inch pieces which is sauteed with some thin slices of soft pork fillet, chopped garlic and is seasoned with soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Firm white tofu is simmered in boiling water for just a few minutes until cooked, then drain, and sliced to rectangles or cubes. Place the sauteed kimchi in the centre of the serving plate and place the sliced tofu all around.

Really easy and simple, we enjoyed it with rice, along with other dishes.


Tofu with Sauteed Kimchi (Dubu Kimchi)
(Seoul Food Korean Cookbook by Naomi Imatome-Yun)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced pork (or bacon), cut into1-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Napa Cabbage Kimchi, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 block (12 to 14-ounce package) firm tofu

  1. Coat a large skillet or wok with the vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the pork and saute until almost cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drain off excess oil if necessary.
  2. Add the garlic and saute for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the kimchi and saute for about 5 minutes, or until it becomes a darker reddish brown. Add the sugar, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and sesame oil to the pan and cook, stirring, for about 1 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a gentle boil. Add the whole tofu block and boil for 3 minutes. Drain the tofu well and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  4. Gently cut the tofu into rectangles or squares.
  5. To serve, arrange the tofu on a serving platter and top with the sauteed kimchi. Alternatively, you can place the sauteed kimchi in the center of serving plate and arrange the tofu around it.

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I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #11 hosted by 



Grab a  cookbook and join us!

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. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Whoopie Pies With Salted Dulce De Leche

I've made some Dulce De Leche for a tart recipe, and still have more than a jar left. So I'll be using it for various recipes using dulce de leche, which I have bookmarked to try for ages. One of it is, Whoopie Pies with Salted Dulce de Leche.

Even though Whoopie Pies are listed as under Cookies, they are really cake-like, and to me, are really little mini cakes. Sandwiched with some filling, they make nice little snacks. The dough for these cookies are really very thick batter, which needs to be refrigerated for 2 hours to firm up before shaping into small balls.



You will need to wet your hands when shaping tablespoons of the thick batter into little rounds and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, spacing them slightly apart, and pressing them down a little. These cookies are baked for just 8-10 minutes until puffed and slightly firm. Leave to cool on pans for 5 minutes, then tranfer to the wire racks to cool completely.

The filling is made of ; butter, confectioners' sugar, a little heavy cream, salt and dulce de leche. I have reduced the amount of the confectioners' sugar to half. I like this filling, as it is not too sweet, even with the dulce de leche, very nice actually.



Spread some filling on the flat side of one cookie and top with another cookie, with flat side on filling. The recipe indicate to refrigerate the whoopie pies for at least 1 hour until the filling is set. But there's really no need for that, the filling is firm enough that it holds very well. Plus we could not wait to taste it right away!



I was expecting these cookies to be on the sweet side, but surprisingly the sweetness is just right. Maybe because I reduced the brown sugar for the batter slightly, by using about 3 tablespoons less than the amount stated in the recipe. The cookies are a little chocolaty bitter and goes perfectly well with the not-so-sweet filling. Very nice! For those who love a sweeter cookie, use the full amount of brown sugar as per the recipe.

I keep the leftovers in the refrigerator and they are as good on the next day.


The Whoopie Pies cookie is soft, chocolaty, moist and perfect with the salted Dulce de Leche filling.


Whoopie Pies With Salted Dulce De Leche
(Home Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw)
makes 10 whoopie pies
for the cookies :
6 tbsp (90gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (105gm) firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (125gm) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (45gm) natural cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt

for the filling :
4 tbsp (60gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (90gm) confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/4-1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup (80ml) dulce de leche

To make the cookies, in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until combined. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until blended. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into the bowl and beat just until blended. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough until firm, about 2 hours.
Space 2 racks evenly in the oven and preheat to 350F (180C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
With dampened hands, shape tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls. Place them firmly on the prepared pans, spacking them slightly apart and squishing them a little. You should have about 20 balls. Bake until the cookies are puffed and slightly firm, 8-10 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
While the cookies are cooling, make the filling : In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and confectioners' sugar on medium-high speed until lightened. Stir in the cream and salt, to taste, on low speed, then stir in the dulce de leche until the filling is smooth.
Spread the flat side of half of the cookies with a big dollop of the filling. Top each with a second cookie, placing the flat side on the filling. Refrigerate until the filling is set, at least 1 hour. Whoopie!


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I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown Special : BAKE! hosted by 


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. 


Grab a cookbook and join us!

To link to Cookbook Countdown #11, click here
To link to Cookbook Countdown Specials : BAKE, click here


Monday, November 21, 2016

Danish Apple Cake

The Cake Slice Bakers, an online group of lovely bakers are starting from a new book starting this month, World Class Cakes by Roger Pizey, to bake for a year, once a month. Each month, four recipes are selected from the book and members can choose any one of these recipes to bake. I am a returning baker, having baked with TCS a few years ago while Katie (one of the founders of this group) was the administrator. Over the years, the group has been managed by a few administrators and now the running of TCS is taken over by Anabel of Oven Delights. I'm happy to be back baking with TCS!

To kick start the bakes from this book, the first four selected recipes are :

Bee Sting Cake
Danish Apple Cake
Maple Syrup and Pecan Layer Cake
Chocolate and Rum Canneles


My chosen cake to bake : Danish Apple Cake


Could not decide between Bee Sting Cake and Danish Apple Cake, but since I have lots of apples in my refrigerator, Danish Apple Cake it is! This is a very simple and easy cake to bake. The only changes I've made was to reduce the sugar to 130gm. Apples are peeled and cored, cut into 1/2-in wedges, and arrange around the top of the cake, pushing them slightly into the batter. Some brown sugar is sprinkled over the batter and apples before the cake goes into the oven. The baking time took longer to bake, about 60 minutes. 

As soon as the cake was baked, I brushed the top with a thin layer of apricot glaze.



The cake bakes up nice and golden.



It may be sliced and served while still warm, and was suggested by the author that it's the most delicious when served warm from the oven with a scoop of ice cream. Too bad I don't have any ice cream!



But we are happy to eat it as it is! This cake is delicous, though it is a little sweet for me even though I've reduced the sugar quite a bit. The crumbs are buttery, moist, tender and wonderful with the golden raisins and apple slices. 



A slice is good with a cup of hot tea or coffee. This would make a wonderful plain butter cake without the fruits, one that I plan to bake one of these days. 

My first bake from World Class Cakes by Roger Pizey, and it is a keeper recipe, Looking forward to more baking from this lovely book. Get the book and join us. you may get full info here. 


Linky is for TCS members only

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Kale Rice Bowl

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs, we are making Buddha Bowls!. Heidi Swanson-Inspired Buddha Bowls, a one bowl meal with several added components like grains, beans, veggies, nuts, etc... I've made her Kale Rice Bowl, to use some kale which I've harvested from my garden pot. 

Kale Rice Bowl is a one bowl meal which is really some cooked rice stir-fry with sauteed kale, and is topped with several toppings as recommended by Heidi Swanson. I have made some slight changes.



Firstly, instead of brown rice, I have used some leftover jasmine rice. The recipe did not use any garlic, but I have used three large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped, fry in a little oil until light brown, then add in the shredded kale. Stir-fry for a minute or two until wilted, add some salt and stir in the cooked cold rice. Fry for a few minutes until the rice is heated through and taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Scoop into a bowl and top with the suggested toppings.

The toppings I've used are, capers which are pan-fried in butter until blistered. I love this! Instead of a poached egg, I made soft hard-boiled eggs. I've made some caramelized onions seasoned lightly with a pinch of salt.  There's toasted sesame seeds and zaatar, a wonderful Middle Eastern spice blend, to sprinkle over. I've however, omitted the yoghurt, simply because I had none left.



This is delicious. I love everything in this bowl! The capers are really nice fried until blistered in butter, yum! Caramelized onions, I'm so glad that I've made these, as I love caramelized onions! The soft hard-boiled eggs are perfect for this rice meal, the sesame seeds added some light nutty crunch but I would not miss it if it's not there. But the star of this one bowl meal has got to be the spice blend, Zaatar! No wonder Heidi recommends to use lots of Zaatar! It really adds a delicious flavour to the rice meal. I sprinkled more zaatar in my bowl as I was eating the rice. Same goes with my son! I kept a bowl of this rice meal for my daughter who wasn't in, but she came back late, hours later. So I reheated it by stir-frying everything together with some zaatar added in, and she said this is a delicious "fried rice", yum! 

I'll be cooking this again. A very versatile rice meal, you can use any other veggie you like and try with a different spice blend as suggested by Heidi. One thing I must put on my grocery list, a new jar of Zaatar!


(my changes, listed in blue)
Kale Rice Bowl
(source from Heidi Swanson's blog, 101cookbooks.com)
serves 2-3
olive oil or clarified butter
1 bunch of keale, destemmed, chopped/shredded
3 cups cooked brown rice (jasmine rice)
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

To serve :
capers, rinsed, dried, and pan-fried until blistered in butter
a poached egg (soft hard-boiled eggs)
a dollop of salted greek yoghurt (omitted)
a big drizzle of good extra-virgin olive oil (omitted)
lots of zaatar
toasted sesame seeds
caramelized onions

In a large skillet or pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the kale and a couple pinches of salt. Saute until the kale softens a bit and brightens, just a minute or so. Stir in the rice, and cook until the rice is hot. If your rice is on the dry side, you might have to add a small splash of water.
Serve the kale rice topped with (preferably) all of the following : the capers, poached egg, yoghurt drizzled with olive oil, and plenty of zaatar.


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


Friday, November 18, 2016

Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Tart

This week at Cook The Book Fridays, the selected recipe from My Paris Kitchen cookbook, is Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Tart. A chocolaty dessert with dulce de leche sandwiched between a chocolate crust and dark chocolate filling on top.

Dulce de Leche is one ingredient that I have not seen over here before. So I have made my own by baking condensed milk in a water bath, using David Lebovitz oven method recipe, which I have posted here before, more than two years ago!






I've been making lots of baking lately and did not want to over indulge in desserts, so I've made only half a recipe, for two mini 4-inches tarts. Which is just nice for the four of us. 

Since it was only half a recipe, I've mixed the dough crust by hand, it was easy and takes only minutes. After filling up the base and sides of the mini tart pan with the chocolaty dough, they are blind bake, then spread with a layer of the dulce de leche and top with the chocolate filling. I've used dark chocolate for the filling, which is melted over the stove, then the cooked custard of eggs and milk is poured over the melted chocolate over a sieve, add some vanilla, whisk until smooth. Either vanilla extract or rum can be used here. Well, I've used my homemade vanilla-rum extract.



The tart is then baked in the oven for 20 minutes, and with the oven turned off, leave the tart for another 25 minutes, then remove from the oven. The chocolate filling sets up nicely. Once the tart comes to room temperature, I placed them in the refrigerator to chill.

There's some salt which is sprinkled over the chocolate filling before baking, but I skimped on the salt, as I was afraid that it might be too salty, as there's also some salt sprinkled on the base of the bottom crust. After baking, when I ate a slice later, I could not taste the salt (I've used kosher salt), and wish that I have sprinkled more! 




Two mini tarts. That's half a tart per person! How often did you serve a whole half tart for one? Haha! But I've sliced each mini tart into 8 little wedges. Makes very cute elegant dessert for entertaining! The chocolaty crust is lovely and the dark chocolate filling goes perfectly with the sweet dulce de leche. I was expecting a very sweet dessert, but I was pleasantly surprised that the sweetness was just right, a contrast with the bitter chocolate filling. A lovely desssert, but best served in small servings.

We are cooking through David Lebovitz's cookbook, My Paris Kitchen. If you have the book or thought of getting one, please do, and join us! Full details here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Stewed Chicken with Mushroom

My selected cookbook for November's Cookbook Countdown #11 is Seoul Food Korean Cookbook by Naomi Imatome-Yun. The next recipe I've made is Stewed Chicken with Mushroom.

This braised chicken dish starts on the stove and finishes in the oven.



Onions are sauteed in some oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, then add the mushroom and cook until softened, 2-3 minutes more. Remove veggies to a plate, and brown the chicken pieces about 2 to 3 minutes each side. Add the veggies to the ovenproof saucepan and pour the seasoning mixture (whisk together chicken broth, soy sauce, mirin, ginger, salt and pepper), stir everything to combine. Cover saucepan and place in a preheated oven at 350F, bake until the chicken is cooked and tender, about 30 minutes. Serve, eat with rice. 


Stewed Chicken with Mushrooms
(Seoul Food Korean Cookbook by Naomi Imatome-Yun)
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and cut into thin slices
6 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken brith
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons mirin
2 teaspoons chopped fresh peeled ginger (or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger)
pinch of salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat in an ovenproof skillet. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened, another 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Move the vegetables to the side of the skillet and brown the chicken, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, soy sauce, mirin, ginger, salt, and pepper until well combined.
  7. Pour the seasoning mixture over the chicken in the skillet, stirring the ingredients to combine thoroughly.
  8. Bake, covered, stirring a few times, until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife, about 30 minutes.
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I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #11 hosted by 



Grab a  cookbook and join us!



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. 


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Peach Butter Shortbread

This recipe for Peach-Brown Butter Shortbread is a Smitten Kitchen's recipe, and it is one of the recipes featured in "Home Baked Comfort" by Kim Laidlaw.

One of the ingredient used in Peach-Brown Butter Shortbread squares is brown butter. Butter is melted over medium-low heat and is heated and boiled until it turns brown and starts to smell nutty, stir frequently to avoid burnt. Then it is transfered to a heatproof bowl and freeze for 30 minutes just until solid but not completely frozen. Well, I made the brown butter but did not use it! Simply because at the end of 30 minutes, the butter is still in liquid state, and did not seem to harden at all. Since I was in a rush, I did not want to wait, so I've used a new block of cold butter instead, cut to cubes before adding to the rest of the ingredients for the shortbread. 



The handy food processor is great in mixing the shortbread dough, and it was done in just seconds. Two thirds of it (recipes says 3/4) is used as the base, pressing them firmly on the bottom of a greased baking tray, which I lined with parchment paper. I've used canned peaches, drain, sliced them thinly, about 1/4-inch thick. Arrange the sliced peaches over the shortbread dough in the pan. Scatter the remaining shortbread dough over the top of the peaches.



Bake until golden brown. Leave to cool and cut into squares to serve.



I brought the whole tray to my sister's house that evening, and we've enjoyed it with scoops of ice cream. 

Peach-Brown Butter Shortbread
(Home Baked Comfort, Kim Laidlaw)
makes about 2 dozen squares
1 cup (8oz/250gm) cold unsalted butter
1 cup (8oz/250gm) granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2-3/4 cups (14 oz/440gm) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 large egg
2 juicy, ripe but slightly firm peaches, pitted and thinly sliced

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. The melted butter will foam, then become clear golden, and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom. Watch the butter carefully at the end, as it turns brown quickly. Chill in the freezeer until solid but not completely frozen, about 30 minutes.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375F (190C). Butter a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking pan.
In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, baking powder, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 table knives, blend the solidified brown butter and the egg into the dry ingredients. The brown butter mixture will be crumbly. Pat three-fourths of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Arrange the peach slices on top in a single layer. Crumble the remaining brown butter mixture evenly over the peaches.
Bake until the top is slightly brown and you can see a little colour around the edges, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan, then cut into squares.


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

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown Special : BAKE! hosted by 


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. 


Grab a cookbook and join us!

To link to Cookbook Countdown #11, click here
To link to Cookbook Countdown Specials : BAKE, click here


Friday, November 11, 2016

Summer Squash Soup

This week's theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) is "Monthly Featured Ingredient : Squash!". We can make any squash recipe using the recipes from any of our featured chefs, past or present. I've made Summer Squash Soup, recipe from our current featured chef at IHCC, Heidi Swanson.

I've used green and yellow squash for this mild curry dish.


This curry dish uses Thai red curry paste, adjusting the amount to your taste. I've used about four full tablespoons. Firm tofu are cut into cubes, then pan-fried in a skillet with a little oil until golden brown to make tofu croutons, which is then used as a garnish before serving.



I've added some rice vermicelli to make a one bowl meal. Garnish with some chopped red chillies and chopped coriander with a calamansi lime from my garden pot. The lime is squeezed over the noodle soup before digging in!


Summer Squash Soup
(source from kitchn, recipe by Heidi Swanson)
8 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon red Thai curry paste, plus more if needed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the tofu croutons
3 large shallots, chopped
1 1/2 pounds yellow summer squash or zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
12 ounces potatoes, unpeeled, cut into tiny cubes
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups lightly flavored vegetable broth or water
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk



Season the tofu with a pinch of salt, toss with a small amount of oil, and cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Toss gently once or twice, and continue cooking until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy, 3 to 4 more minutes. Set aside.
Mash the curry paste into the coconut oil until the paste is well-incorporated. Heat this paste in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the shallots and a couple of pinches of salt and sauté until the shallots are tender, another couple of minutes. Stir in the squash and potatoes and cook until the squash starts to get tender, a few minutes. Stir in the garlic, then add the broth and coconut milk. Bring just to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt or curry paste, if needed. Serve each bowl topped with some of the tofu croutons.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week is
Monthly Featured Ingredient : Squash

and 



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Seasoned Eggplant

My selected cookbook for November's Cookbook Countdown #11 is Seoul Food Korean Cookbook by Naomi Imatome-Yun. The second recipe I've made from this book is a delicious dish of Seasoned Eggplant.



A simple and easy dish to prepare. The only cooking involved is to steam the sliced eggplants until cook and tender. I use my homegrown brinjals, harvested when they are young and tender. The brinjals are not very big in size, about 5 to 6 " in length, so I have cut the brinjals in half lengthwise and cut into 2-3 inch lengths. Since they were young and tender, it took only about 5 minutes of steaming time until cooked and fork-tender. Transfer the eggplants to a large bowl.

The sauce is prepared by mixing scallions, minced garlic, sesame oil, sugar, gochugaru, sesame seeds, salt and pepper to taste, in a small bowl. Stir this sauce mixture into the bowl of the steamed eggplants, mix gently to combine so that each piece is coated with the sauce. You may taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Leave to cool and serve at room temperature.

I served this with rice as part of a dish at dinner time and the family loves it. Tender brinjals seasoned with the sweet, salty, not so spicy sauce, is very delicious indeed! Makes a great side dish and would be good as an appetizer too.

Seasoned Eggplant (Gaji Namul)
(adapted from "Seoul Food Korean Cookbook" by Noami Imatome-Yun)
2 medium Asian eggplant
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon gochugaru
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
  1. Wash and cut the eggplant in half and then crosswise into quarters. You might have to cut it again if you have long eggplant. Then cut into 2-inch strips.
  2. Put the eggplant in a steamer basket set over boiling water and steam until fork-tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Add the scallions, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, gochugaru, sesame seeds, and salt, and season with pepper.
  4. Cool to room temperature before serving.

Brinjals from the garden pot

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I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #11 hosted by 



Grab a  cookbook and join us!

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. 



Monday, November 7, 2016

Fruit Salad with Thai Herbs

We are getting colourful at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), with this week's theme, "A Colorful Plate!".  Heidi Swanson's recipes are not short on colours! I've made her colourful fruit salad, with honey lemon grass dressing and some mint leaves for that lovely minty flavour.


The salad dressing ; minced lemon grass, honey, lemon juice, vanilla extract, pinch of salt



I have used our tropical fruits, dragon fruits, crispy guava, mango and papaya. Drizzle with the fruit salad dressing, and sprinkle some mint leaves on top. Serve immediately. Very refreshing and yum!


Fruit Salad with Thai Herbs
(source from 101cookbooks.com , Heidi Swanson)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon
2 tablespoons honey
1 pinch of salt
the tender interior of a stalk of lemongrass, minced
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
5-6 cups of seasonal fruit, sliced
20 mint leaves, chiffonade
to serve : any of all of the following, toasted coconut, dollops of  creme fraiche or yogurt, toasted walnuts

Whisk together the citrus juice, honey, salt, lemongrass and vanilla. Set aside.

Arrange the fruit in a large bowl or on a platter, and drizzle with about half of the dressing. Taste, and decide if you'd like to add more dressing. Then add the coconut, nuts, and creme fraiche, and serve.



I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
A Colorful Plate!




Friday, November 4, 2016

Scalloped Potatoes with Feta and Roasted Garlic


At Cook the Book Fridays, recipe for this week is Scalloped Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Roasted Garlic. 

I have a pack of feta cheese which needed to be used up, so that goes into this dish, instead of buying a pack of blue cheese, as I'm trying to clear the "bits and pieces" stashed in my refrigerator and pantry. There's a lot of heavy cream used, all of 3 cups, but David Lebovitz has suggested that half and half can be used instead. I mixed an equal amount of heavy cream and milk to make 3 cups of half and half. 




Ingredients used are potatoes sliced into thin slices, chives of which I've used Chinese chives from my garden pot, blue cheese (I used feta), salt, pepper and the mixture of cream and roasted garlic.

Mine took about 1-1/2 hours to cook through as the potatoes was not done at 1 hour. The sauce was bubbling happily towards the last 45 minutes of cooking time. There's roasted garlic mixed into the sauce and it smells garlicky delicious. More roasted garlic the next time!


As suggested by David, we had the scalloped potatoes with some green salad, for lunch. My salad was plain, with no dressing, simply fresh green salad leaves and some sweet cherry tomatoes. The scalloped potatoes is delicious, both my son and daughter like it. 

Do stop by CtBF to view everyone's garlicky scalloped potatoes. We are cooking through David Lebovitz's cookbook, My Paris Kitchen. If you have the book or thought of getting one, please do, and join us! Full details here.




Thursday, November 3, 2016

Apple-Cinnamon Hand Pies

I bought some Fuji apples a few weeks ago, and maybe I bought too many! Got to use them up and what better and delicious way than an apple pie? In this case, it's hand pies! Recipe is from Home Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw, and so far I have had success with all the recipes I've tried.



I started by making the flaky pie dough in the morning, and by late afternoon, we have warm fragrant apple pie for tea time treat. Fuji apples, it's one of my favourite apples to use for baking. The apples are peeled, cored and cut into small cubes, then mixed with some brown sugar, ground cinnamon, lemon juice and a tablespoon of flour. Once the dough is done, it is rolled out and cut out into 6 or 7 inches rounds, using a bowl as a guide. Brush some egg mixture along the border of half of each rounds. Scoop some filling and place in the centre of the round, bring the sides of the dough together and press to seal. Use a fork to press the borders. Brush the top of the dough with more egg mixture. The recipe did not say anything about slashing the top, but I made a couple of slashes, to allow steam to escape during baking. I've used a 5-1/2 inch bowl as a guide to cut out the rounds and the dough yields 9 rounds for 9 pies.

Bake until golden brown, and the juices are bubbling and oozing from the slashes.


Freshly baked, still warm, about to be served!


Yum! The pie crust is flaky, buttery and crisp tender. Juicy soft apple filling and fragrant from the cinnamon. There's a vanilla glaze which is drizzled over the baked pies, (given in the recipe), but I have omitted the glaze. I let the baked pie rest for 10 to 15 minutes before eating. So good when eating the still warm pie, but be careful when biting into the filling, it's hot! We did not miss the glaze at all, the pie is very good even without it. With a mug of warm tea, this is the perfect afternoon snack.


Apple-Cinnamon Hand Pies
(adapted from "Home Baked Comfort", Kim Laidlaw)
makes 8 hand pies
Flaky pie dough for double crust * refer below
4 baking apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small chunks (scant 3 cups/12 oz/375gm)
juice of 1/4 lemon
1/3 cup (2-1/2oz/75gm) light brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tsp milk

for the glaze (optional)
1/2 cup (2 oz/60 gm) confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Prepare the flaky pie dough and chill as directed.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375F (190C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a large circle about 1/8 inch (3mm) thick. Using an inverted bowl, cut out eight 6 or 7-inch (15 or 18-cm) circles of dough. You'll have to gather the scraps and reroll the dough a few times. Alternatively, you can divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and roll each piece into a circle. Place the circles on the prepared sheet and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
In a bowl, toss together the apple chunks, lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Remove the dough circles from the refrigerator and place in an even layer on your work surface. Brush a thin layer of the egg wash around the border of half of each circle. Divide the filling among the dough circles, placing it in the middle of each circle. Fold the dough over the filling to make a half moon and press the edges with a fork to seal. Brush the tops with the remaining egg wash.
Bake until the hand pies are puffed and golden brown and oozing juice, 25-30 minutes. Set aside to cool on a wire rack.
To make the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon water. Brush the glaze over the pies as soon as they come out of the oven while they are hot.
Serve the pies warm or at room temperature.

Flaky Pie Dough
2 cups (10 oz/315gm) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
3/4 cup (6 oz/185 gm) very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
8 tbsp (4 fl oz/125 ml) ice water, plus more if needed

In the bowl of a food processor, stir together the flour, salt, and sugar. Sprinkle the butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds, or just until the butter is slightly broken up into the flour but still in visible pieces. Evenly sprinkle the water over the flour mixture, then process just until the mixture starts to come together. Dump the dough onto a work surface, press it together, then divide it in half. Press each half into a disk, then place the disks in a large lock-up plastic bag. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes or up to 1 day, or freeze for up to 1 month.


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I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown Special : BAKE! hosted by 




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. 


Grab a cookbook and join us!

To link to Cookbook Countdown #11, click here
To link to Cookbook Countdown Specials : BAKE, click here


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Braised Chicken and Potatoes

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


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My selected cookbook for this month, 


A lovely book on Korean food, recipes are simple and doable by any homecooks. I like the simplicity of the recipes with delicious results. 


The first dish I've made from this book, Braised Chicken and Potatoes



I have made braised chicken and potatoes many times. I first got to know about this dish from maangchi.com website, my favourite Korean food blog. Maangchi calls this dish as Spicy Braised Chicken, which I cook very often at home. The main ingredients for the braising sauce are similar, with just minor differences in the veggies used in both recipes. Maangchi has sliced green chillies added in, and this author has added carrots. But both have potatoes, and I would usually add lots of potatoes to the pot. Also, Maanghi's recipe has a little sugar added in, but I have always omitted the sugar, preferring it without. The gochujang paste is savory yet a little sweet with mild spiciness, and I absolutely love it! I used to buy a 500gm pack of gochujang paste, but now I always buy a 1 kg pack. 

This is a very easy dish to cook and the flavour is so delicious! Mix everything together and braise until the chicken and potatoes are tender! Note : I've added the potatoes during the last 15 to 20 minutes of cooking time.



I have cook this dish using half a large chicken chopped to bite-sized pieces, boned-in, and skinless. In the recipe below, it was listed as 2/3 cup of soy sauce with 1/3 cup water. I'm not sure whether is this correct, but I have used 1/4 cup of soy sauce and 1-1/2 cups of water. I've added more water, gochujang paste and gochugaru, because we wanted more gravy to go with rice, adjusting the amount of each ingredient to taste. With the 1/4 cup of soy sauce, it was salty enough. 

We love this dish, I have cooked this many times, and will be cooking it many more times! I have even cooked this dish with pork shoulder cut to bite-sized cubes cooked till tender. It was even better with pork! Of course if using pork, you got to adjust the cooking times a little longer and the potatoes to be added in later. Either with chicken or pork, this is one dish that you will enjoy with white fluffy steamed rice.


Braised Chicken and Potatoes (Dakdoritang)
(adapted from "Seoul Food Korean Cookbook", by Naomi Imatome-Yun)
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into large pieces (half a large chicken, cut to bite-sized pieces, bone in, skinned)
1 large carrot, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 yellow onions, cut into large chunks
2 large potatoes, cut into large chunks
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2/3 cup soy sauce (I use 1/4 cup)
1/3 cup water (I use 1-1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons gochujang (more, according to taste)
1 tablespoon gochugaru (more, according to taste)
1 chopped scallions, for garnish (optional)

  1. In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, combine the chicken, carrot, onions, and potatoes.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, soy sauce, water, gochujang, and gochugaru. Whisk to combine.
  3. Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken and vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. (I've added the potato chunks during the last 15 to 20 minutes of cooking).
  4. Add the scallions, if using. Serve hot.


Grab a  cookbook and join us!

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #11 hosted by 



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