Thursday, May 25, 2017

Stir-Fried Tofu with Black Bean and Chilli

This colourful stir-fry dish tastes as good as it looks (from the photo in the book, that is!). The main flavouring comes from Laoganma black bean sauce, a rich oily black bean relish made from fermented black soy beans, chilli oil and other seasonings. I thought that this sauce is delicious! It is not the same as the regular black bean sauce. It has chilli oil and other seasoning, which makes it really tasty. 

To make this dish, I've used spiced firm tofu, which is sliced to strips. The veggies; celery, red pepper, onion, spring onions are all to be cut to similar size as the tofu. For the Laoganma black bean sauce, I have added an extra tablespoon. Get everything sliced up and all the other ingredients ready before you start with the stir-fry. 

This dish is a delicious way of cooking tofu, a tasty dish with hot fluffy rice, though I could settle down with a pair of chopsticks and enjoy this dish alone!

Laoganma black bean sauce

Stir-Fried Tofu with Black Bean and Chilli
(Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop)
150gm firm tofu (spiced or smoked)
2 garlic cloves
an equivalent amount of ginger
5-10 dried chillies, to taste
1/4 red onion
1/4 red pepper
2/3 celery stick, de-stringed
2 spring onion
3 tbsp cooking oil
3 tbsp Laoganma black bean sauce
1/2 tsp whole Sichuan pepper
1/4 tsp caster sugar
ground white pepper
light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

Cut the tofu into 5cm strips, each 1/2-1cm thick. Peel and slice the garlic and ginger. Snip the chillies in half with a pair of scissors and discard their seeds as far as possible. Peel the onion and cut lengthways into strips of a similar thickness to the tofu. Cut the peppers and celery into strips of similar dimensions. Cut the spring onions into 5cm lengths, keeping the green and white parts separate.
Heat the oil in a seasoned wok over a medium flame. Add the black bean sauce, chillies and Sichuan pepper and stir-fry until wonderfully fragrant. Then add the ginger and garlic and sizzle for a few minutes more. Tip in the onion, peppers, celery and spring onion whites, increase the heat to high and stir-fry until hot and fragrant.
Season with the sugar, a good pinch of pepper and light soy sauce to taste. Add the tofu and continue to stir-fry until it is hot and everything smells delicious, adding the spring onion greens towards the end of the cooking time. Remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil and serve.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #17 hosted by 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pineapple Coconut Cakes

This month, at The Cake Slice Bakers, the four recipes selected from the book World Class Cakes by Roger Pizey, which we are currently baking from are ;

Genoise with Raspberries and Cream
Lime and Poppy Seed Syrup Cake
Pineapple Coconut Cakes with Pineapple Syrup
Sacher Torte

Members can choose any of these cakes to bake, and my choice is Pineapple Coconut Cakes. 

In the recipe, the author has used eight small fluted petit-Brioche pans. I do not have any Brioche pans so I've used two small round pans instead, size 5-1/2". I bought those cute little pans from Ikea a couple of months ago and have not used them before. Now is the good time to put those pans to use.

Some changes I've made with the recipe :

  • reduce the sugar to 1/3 cup (original was 3/4 cup)
  • added 1 tbsp dark rum to the batter
  • adjustment to the baking time ; bake at 170C for 40 minutes
  • omitted the pineapple syrup

This cake was brushed with pineapple syrup, but I have omitted it. I was afraid that it might be too sweet.

A slice or two makes a wonderful tea-time treat.

Overall review : Very nice cake. Moist and buttery with soft crumbs. I was glad that I have reduced the sugar, as with the reduction in sugar, the sweetness was just right for us. Not too sweet but with a touch of sweetness. The only thing that I would change is to add more chopped pineapple to the batter. Lovely cake to snack on with a mug of warm green tea.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Braised Chicken With Chestnut

Chestnuts is one of my favourites, delicious in braised dishes and really good when roasted, eaten as a snack. Here it is used in a braised chicken dish. I have used a claypot to cook this dish. For this dish I have used ready-to-eat vacuum packed chestnuts. You may however use raw chestnuts, refer to the instructions at the bottom of the recipe on how to prepare the raw chestnuts for cooking. 

A homey dish that is perfect with a bowl of rice. Chunks of boneless chicken thigh browned in oil and then braised in a claypot with the chestnuts. Can be cooked in advance and reheat just before serving. 

This dish is great with a green stir-fry, of which I have made Stir-Fried Romaine Lettuce, recipe which can be found in the same book. This veggie stir-fry is very similar to how we cook our stir-fry veggies. I have however, added some chopped garlic, just because we have always used chopped garlic for stir-fry veggies.  

These two dishes with a bowl of soup makes such a lovely meal with a bowl of hot fluffy white rice.

Braised Chicken with Chestnuts
(Every Grain Of Rice, Fuchsia Dunlop)
4 boneless chicken thighs (about 350gm)
20gm ginger, unpeeled
2 spring onions, white and green parts separated
3 tbsp cooking oil
1-1/2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
300ml chicken stock or water
1 tbsp brown or caster sugar
1-1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
200gm cooked, peeled chestnuts (canned or vacuum-packed)

Cut the chicken evenly into bite-sized chunks. Crush the ginger and spring onion whites slightly with the side of a cleaver blade or a rolling pin. Cut the spring onion greens into neat 4cm lengths.
Heat the oil in a seasoned wok over a high flame. When it is hot, add the ginger and spring onion whites and stir-fry until you can smell their fragrance. Then add the chicken pieces and fry over high heat until they are lightly browned: don't move them around too much, but let the, rest against the base of the wok so they have the chance to take on a little colour. Drain off some of the excess fat at this stage if you wish. Splash in the Shaoxing wine and stir well. Then tip in all the stock.
Bring the stock to a boil and add the sugar, sou sauce and chestnuts, with salt to taste (3/4 tsp should do). Then reduce the ehat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the chicken to cook through and the chestnuts to absorb some of the flavours of the sauce, stirring from time to time.
Increase the heat to reduce the liquid if you wish and adjust the seasoning if necessary. At the last minute, add the spring onion greens, cover for just a moment to let them feel the heat, then serve.

To cook and peel your own chestnuts :
Slice off the bases of the raw chestnuts and blanch them in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then drain. When cool enough to handle, remove their shells and inner skins as far as possible.

Stir-Fried Cos Lettuce
(Every Grain Of Rice, Fuchsia Dunlop)
1 heart of romaine or cos lettuce (about 250gm)
3 tbsp cooking oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped (my addition)

Cut the lettuce heart across its width at 2.5cm intervals. Wash the cut leaves, then shake dry or (even better) spin in a salad spinner.
Pour the oil into a hot, seasoned wok over a high flame and swirl it around. (Saute the chopped garlic until aromatic and light brown, if using). Add the lettuce and stir-fry until hot and fragrant, but still very crisp, seasoning with salt to taste towards the end. Serve

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #17 hosted by 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wholemeal Drop Scones

This week' s at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), we are celebrating all Bready Things! I've made Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls, (our current featured chef at IHCC), Wholemeal Drop Scones.

These are super easy to make. The drop scones are tender, moist and very tasty. Great with a dollop of salted butter and some honey.

We had the drop scones with some sliced bananas which I've cooked for a few minutes until the bananas are softened, with some butter and honey, with a handful of dried cranberries. Yummy!

Wholemeal Drop Scones
(River Cottage Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
Makes 20-30
250gm self-raising wholemeal flour (or plain fine wholemeal flour mix with 2 tsp baking powder)
a pinch of baking powder
a pinch of sea salt
25gm caster sugar
2 medium eggs
about 275ml milk
50gm butter, melted
a little sunflower oil

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir in the sugar. Make a well in the centre and break in the eggs. Pour in about half of the milk. Whisk, gently at first, and then as you start to get a thick paste, add more milk and the melted butter. Beat until you get a creamy batter a little thicker than double cream - you might not need all the milk.
Put a large, heavy-based frying pan or a flat griddle over a medium-high heat. Add a few drops of oil and rub with a thick wad of kitchen paper to oil the pan very lightly. Pour (or drop) a scant tablespoon of batter into the pan - to get a disc about the size of a digestive biscuit; you should be able to fit 4 or 5 in the pan.
After about a minute, little bubbles will start to appear on the surface of the drop scones. As soon as they cover the surface, flip the scones over with a spatula - be warned, the first batch may stick. Cook the other side for 40-60 seconds or so, then transfer the drop scones to a warm plate and cover them with a clean tea towel so that they stay soft - or hand them over to those waiting eagerly to get stuck in.
Cook the remaining drop scones in the same way, adjusting the heat level if they start browning too quickly and re-oiling the pan with kitchen paper as necessary.
To serve, top with a little butter and sprinkle with some sugar, and a fine dusting of cinnamon, if you like. Or serve buttered and spread with jam, honey or macerated fruit. Eat quickly, while still hot.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
Monthly Featured Dish : Bready Things!

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #17 hosted by 


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