Monday, July 9, 2018

Green Onion Pancakes

These green onion pancakes is a Chinese savoury flatbread. The dough is made with only flour and warm water. Dough is rolled out thinly, brush a thin layer of oil, then scatter with some finely chopped spring onions and some salt. Roll up like a swiss roll, then roll into a spiral, then rolled out to flatten into a round disc. They are then pan-fried in a little oil on both sides until golden brown. Cut into slices to serve. The slices are eaten dipped in the very tasty Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce. 

To make the dipping sauce, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, chopped green onions, finely chopped garlic, chopped fresh cilantro and minced fresh ginger. 

They are perfect for tea-time, or an afternoon lunch  and even for breakfast. Do not skip the Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce, they go perfectly well together. 

If you would like to try at making this pancake, the full recipe and instructions can be found here.
Or from the book Chinese Soul Food by Hsiao-Ching Chou, page 90

As for me, I'll be making this again when the spring onions in my garden pot are ready for harvest, which will be quite soon! And I would love to try with fresh coriander greens, my favourite herb.

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Coconut, Almond and Blueberry Cake

This month at Cookbook Countdown, we are making Tea Time Treats! You are welcome to join us. Make any tea time treats, share and link your post with Cookbook Countdown.  Head over to Cookbook Countdown for more details. 

This is a super simple, fuss-free cake to make, no need of a stand mixer! Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another. Pour the combined wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add some of the blueberries, stir to combine, and pour mixture into the baking pan. Scatter more blueberries over the top along with the flaked almonds, then bake. How easy is that!

I made half a recipe, reduced the sugar to 80gm, baked in a 7 inch pan for 40 minutes.

Cake is not too sweet, with tender moist crumbs. A slice is perfect with a cup of warm tea, for a lovely tea-time treat.

The full recipe can be found here

Coconut, Almond and Blueberry Cake
(Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh)
(my adaptation for half a recipe )
90gm ground almonds
30gm desiccated coconut
80gm caster sugar
35gm self-raising flour
2 large eggs
100gm salted butter, melted, then set aside to come to room temperature
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
100 gm frozen blueberries
10 gm flaked almonds

  1. Grease and line a 7inch round cake pan. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Place the almonds, coconut, sugar, flour and salt (a pinch, if using unsalted butter) in a large mixing bowl and whisk to aerate and remove the lumps.
  3. Place the eggs in a separate medium bowl and whisk lightly. Add the melted butter, vanilla extract and lemon zest and whisk again until well combined. Pour this into the dry mix and whisk to combine. Fold in 70gm blueberries, then pour the mixture into the tin. Sprinkle the last of the blueberries on top, along with the flaked almonds, and bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Keep a close eye on it towards the end of cooking, the relatively large number of eggs in the mix means that it can go from still being a little bit liquid in the centre of being well cooked in just a few minutes.
  4. Set aside for 30 minutes before inverting out of the tin, removing the baking parchment and placing the cake the right way up on a serving plate. It can either be served warm with cream or set aside until cool.

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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Triple-Oatmeal Cookies

This month at Cookbook Countdown, we are making Tea Time Treats! You are welcome to join us. Make any tea time treats, share and link your post with Cookbook Countdown.  Head over to Cookbook Countdown for more details. 

Every once in a while, oatmeal cookies would come to mind. I love chewy oat cookies with some dried fruits thrown in. I would choose any oatmeal cookies over chocolate cookies anytime! 

I did make some slight changes to the recipe. The recipe uses oat flour which I do not have, so I have used wholemeal flour, as suggested by the author if oat flour is unavailable. The recipe also uses  both steel-cut oats (a small amount) and old-fashioned rolled oats. Did not have any steel-cut oats, so have used all rolled oats instead. Replaced the pecans with walnuts. As usual I have reduced the amount of both sugars (brown and white) slightly.

The cookies really spread during baking, so make sure to space them well apart. I did bake them 2 minutes longer as I like my cookies a little crispy. 

This recipe yields  31 cookies (32 in the recipe), which is close enough.

I love these cookies. It is crispy round the edges, with chewy centre, and tasted so yummy with the oats, cranberries, and walnuts. After a few days later, the cookies get a little drier but  became crispier as they sit, which is a plus in my books!  I think this is the best oatmeal cookies. Great for breakfast, as snacks throughout the day, and especially with a cup of warm tea for a superb tea time treat!

The recipe can be found here : Triple Oatmeal Cookies, or from Bravetart by Stella Parks, page 39

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Kung Po Chicken

I first tried this recipe from Kylie Kwong's cookbook, My China and have made this dish a few times since then. I love this version. At first I was rather surprised to see this rather light version, from the photo in the book, as the Kung Po Chicken that I am familiar with is coated with dark thick sauce. When eating out at Chinese restaurants, Kung Po Chicken would be one of the frequently ordered dish, cooked with the signature ingredient, dried chillies, and usually with cashew nuts or peanuts.

According to the author, "Although I have eaten several versions of Kung Po Chicken in Chinese restaurants around the world, none of them prepared me for this lip-smacking authentic version". 

I have made this dish with both chicken breast fillets and chicken thigh fillets, both are delicious, but we prefer the thigh fillet. I have omitted the peanuts as we do not care for peanuts in the dish. This dish has no sauce, but it is moist and delicious. Good with white fluffy rice, served alongside some stir-fry greens and a bowl of herbal soup. It has now secured a place in my list of "everyday dishes"! 

Kung Po Chicken
(My China, by Kylie Kwong)
600gm chicken thigh fillets, cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) cubes
2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
2 tablespoons Shao Hsing wine
2 tablespoons peanut oil
10 small dried chillies
2 tablespoons peanut oil, extra
5cm (2in) piece ginger, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
pinch Sichuan pepper and salt

Combine chicken with cornflour and Shao Hsing wine in a bowl. Cover, place in refrigerator and leave to marinate for 1 hour.
Place oil and chillies in a cold wok and then turn heat to low. Cook for about 1-1/2 minutes or until chillies begin to darken slightly. Using a slotted spoon, immediately remove chillies and drain on kitchen paper.
Leaving chilli-infused oil in wok, turn heat up to high and stir-fry half the chicken cubes for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add extra oil to wok with remaining chicken and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Return all chicken to wok, along with ginger and reserved chillies and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
Add sugar and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add peanuts, soy sauce and vinegar and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Serve immediately, sprinkled with Sichuan pepper and salt.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Spanish Chicken

This is another tasty recipe from Rachel Allen. Chicken, peppers and rice cooked in one pot, with the touch of Spanish, from the smoked paprika and peppers. I love one pot meals such as this, especially when there's rice cooked together with all the other ingredients.

Simple, easy and delicious.

Spanish Chicken
(Rachel's Everyday Kitchen by Rachel Allen)
serves 2-4
25gm (1oz) plain flour
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
4 chicken thighs, with the skin on
75ml (3fl oz) olive oil
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated
1 yellow or orange pepper and 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into 2cm (3/4 in chunks)
500ml (18fl oz) chicken stock mixed with 2 tbsp tomato puree
200gm (7oz) basmati or paella rice
200gm (7oz) large peeled prawns (preferably raw) (optional) (I did not use any prawns)
2 tbsp chopped parsley

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, paprika, black pepper and salt. Add the chicken thighs and toss in the mixture until well coated.
Place a large saucepan or casserole dish on a medium-high heat and pour in 50ml of the olive oil. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until crisp and deep golden brown. Remove from the pot and set aside.
Pour the remaining oil into the same pan or dish and add the onion and garlic. Saute, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until almost softened and a little golden around the edges, then add the peppers and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add the mixed stock and tomato puree and the rice, stirring to mix. Return the chicken to the pot, cover with a lid and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked (the flesh white all the way through). If using prawns, add them just before the end of cooking time - 5 minutes for raw prawns or 2 minutes for cooked prawns. Scatter with the chopped parsley and serve with a slice of lemon if you like.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Yoghurt, Apricot and Pistachio Pots

Made this easy and delightful cool dessert to be enjoyed as an after dinner treat. Dried apricots are chopped and simmered in a small saucepan with a generous amount of orange juice and a little honey, until the apricots are soft and plump. Remove from heat and allow to cool. To serve, spoon some of the apricots and the juices into a glass cup or bowl, spoon over some Greek yoghurt, then drizzle with some runny honey, I've used orange blossom honey, and scatter chopped pistachios over. A healthy light dessert, can also be made for breakfast.

Instead of yoghurt, you can replace with ice cream, which would make a divine treat!

Yoghurt, Apricot and Pistachio Pots
(Easy Meals, Rachel Allen)
serves 4
250gm dried apricots, halved
200ml freshly squeezed orange juice
6 tsp runny honey
150ml natural Greek yoghurt
15gm shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

Place the apricots in a small saucepan with the orange juice and 2 teaspoons of the honey. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until soft and plump, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Divide the fruit and its juices between the glasses, then add the yoghurt, spooning it over the top of the fruit before drizzling each serving with 1 teaspoon of honey and scattering over the chopped pistachios.

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Chicken and Garlic Soup

A quick and easy garlicky chicken soup.

We had the soup with my homemade sourdough bread for a simple weeknight dinner. 

Chicken and Garlic Soup
(Home Cooking by Rachel Allen)
50gm butter
1 onion, peeled and diced
10 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast (about 200gm) finely diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
600ml (1 pint) chicken stock
300ml (1/2 pint) milk
300ml (1/2 pint) double or regular cream
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped

Melt the butter in a large saucepan on a medium heat and fry the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes or until soft but not browned. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook for a further 4-5 minutes,
Pour in the stock, the milk and cream and bring to the boil. Stir in the chives and spring onions and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the spring onions have softened. Check the seasoning, adjusting it if necessary, and ladle into warm bowls to serve.

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Mediterranean Pasta

This is a delicious pasta dish. I like it that the pasta, fusili, is simmered in the sauce until tender, instead of boiling it in salted water. A fuss free pasta meal, where the cooking is done in one pot only. 

A one pot meal with flavours of the Mediterranean. Sliced onions and garlic are sauteed in oil until the onions are soft and a little caramelized. Add the sliced peppers, chorizo and cook for a couple of minutes. I have added half a teaspoon of smoked paprika. Pour the can of chopped tomatoes, stock, sugar, pasta and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for about 10 -12 minutes until the pasta is just tender. Remove from heat, stir in the mozzarella, olives and basil leaves, season with some black pepper. Serve immediately.

We love this pasta dish. One that I will cook again. I may omit the mozzarella, for a less creamy taste  but full tomato flavour.

Mediterranean Pasta
(Easy Meals, by Rachel Allen)
serves 4
15gm butter
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 large red pepper, deseeded and cut into 5mm thick slices
200gm chorizo, cut into 7mm thick slices
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (my addition)
1x400gm tin tomatoes, chopped
600ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp caster sugar
350gm dried pasta, such as fusili, penne or conchiglie
salt and freshly ground black pepper
125gm mozzarella, grated
50gm olives, pitted and chopped
2tbsp torn basil leaves

Place the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. When the butter has melted and starts to foam, add the onion and garlic and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly, until the onion is soft and a little caramelised.
Add the sliced pepper and chorizo and cook for a further 3 minutes, (I added the smoked paprika together with the chorizo), then pour in the tomatoes and all their juice, along with the stock, sugar, pasta and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 10-12 minutes or until the pasta is just tender.
Remove from the heat, stir in the mozzarella, olives and basil, add a grinding of black pepper and then divide between bowls to serve.

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Okra with Garlic, Chilies, and Fermented Black Beans

A simple, very tasty Okra dish. I harvested some okras from my garden pots and found a recipe in this lovely book of Cathy Erway's, Food Of Taiwan, to use up those lovely okras.

This dish is best made with tender fresh okra. According to the author, instead of okra, crisp green beans can be used instead.

Very easy and quick stir-fry okra dish, and it is very tasty. A definite repeat!

Okra with Garlic, Chillies, and Fermented Black Beans
(The Food Of Taiwan, Cathy Erway)
2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 to 3 small fresh red chillies, finely sliced
1/2 pound okra pods
salt to taste
1 tablespoon fermented black beans
3/4 cup water

Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chillies and cook, stirring, just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the okra pods along with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until their colour just deepens, about 30 seconds. Stir in the black beans, Add the water and bring just to a boil. Cover and cook until the okra is tender, 3 to 4 minutes. (Taste the okra to test for doneness). Season with additional salt if desired and serve immediately.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Three Cup Chicken

The three cup as in the name of the recipe is originally from one cup each of sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice wine. This savoury dish is very tasty with the flavours from the amount of garlic used, as well as the use of Thai basil leaves which gives this dish a very different taste from other braised dishes.

I however, did not use 1 cup of soy sauce as the recipe indicated. I thought that it will be extremely salty even though the soy sauce I use in my kitchen is the less salty ones. I use only 1/4 cup and thought that this dish is pretty salty! I have also used less sesame oil, but I did use 1 cup of rice wine. 
The dish turns out pretty tasty, only slightly salty but goes great with white hot fluffy rice. Do not omit the basil leaves, as the unique taste of the dish comes from the basil leaves which contributes both the taste and fragrant of the final dish. 

Three Cup Chicken
(The Food Of Taiwan, Cathy Erway)
3/4 cup sesame oil (1/3 cup)
1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into 12 or 15 thick discs
12 to 15 while garlic cloves
4 whole scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 to 3 small, fresh red chillies, halved or sliced
2 pounds bone-in chicken legs, thighs and wings, cut into roughly 2-inch pieces
1 cup rice wine
1 cup light soy sauce (1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons sugar (omitted)
2 cups packed fresh Thai basil leaves

Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, scallions, and chillies, and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken pieces and lightly brown, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice wine and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the chicken pieces are cooked through and the sauce has slightly reduced, about 15 minutes. Stir in the sugar until just dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Serve immediately.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Stuffed Bitter Melon

Bitter melon or bitter gourd is an acquired taste, either you love it or you hate it. In my house we love bitter melon except for my daughter, who does not like the bitter taste of the melon.

Bitter melon is sliced to about 1/2 inch thickness, remove the seeds and white pith in the centre, then blanched in salted water for 2 to 3 minutes, drain, let cool a little and stuffed with pork-dumpling style filling. Place on steaming tray and steam over high heat for 10 minutes or until the filling is cooked through. 

These are for my daughter, made with Fuzzy Melon or also known as Hairy Gourd, and it works well too. Both the stuffed bitter melon and fuzzy melon dish are very tasty. 

Stuffed Bitter Melon
(The Food of Taiwan, Cathy Erway)
for the stuffing
1/2 pound ground pork
2 whole scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

2 medium bitter melons
1 to 2 cups hot stock (optional)

For the stuffing :
In a large bowl, combine the pork, scallions, soy sauce, oil, cornstarch, salt, and white pepper. You can do this up to a day ahead and store, covered, in the refrigerator.

Trim the ends from the melons and slice into rounds about 1/2-inch thick. Entirely scoop out the seed pockets from the centres of the slices. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and submerge the slices. Blanch for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain.
Arrange the melon slices on a flat plate that fits inside a steamer (or directly onto a bamboo steamer rack lined with parchment paper). Fill each centre completely with a scoop of the filling mixture. Steam until the filling feels firm to the touch and is entirely cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer carefully to a deep serving dish. If desired, lade the stock in a shallow pool at the bottom of the dish for serving.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Fish-Fragrant Aubergines

A simple flavourful dish, what we would call, an "everyday dish". Best eaten with fluffy rice and great with plain congee too. 

The brinjals I used are from my garden pot, harvested when the brinjals are young and tender. I pan-fry the pieces of brinjals cut into batons, in a little oil on both sides. The sauce is then cooked and the brinjals are stirred in for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.

If you would like to give it a try, the recipe can be found here
(or from Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop)

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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Sweet-And-Sour Spare Ribs

Come and join us at Cookbook Countdown. This month we are cooking Chinese Cuisine. Cook any Chinese dishes, desserts, or refreshments and link with us at CC. You are welcome to link any other recipes, not necessarily Chinese dishes. As long as you are using any of your cookbooks, you are good to go! More details at CC.

One of my favourite cookbook on Chinese cooking is Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop. The recipes are simple and doable for the home cooks. This Sweet-and-Sour Spare Ribs recipe is similar to our local Pai Kuat Wong (directly translated as King Spare Ribs), with sticky sweet and sour glaze and tender meat. It is always one of the favourite dish to order when eating out at Chinese restaurants. 

This dish takes a few extra steps to make. You would want to get the meaty spare ribs for this dish. The spare ribs are first boiled in water with a few  ingredients, then remove, drain and deep-fried until golden. The ribs are then cooked in the sweet-sour sauce until the sauce thickens and the ribs are coated with the sticky sauce. According to the author, this dish is served as an appetizer in many parts of China, though over here, it is usually served as part of a meal with rice. Delicious dish!

Recipe for this dish can be found here
or get the book, Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop, pg 58

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Monday, April 23, 2018

White Bread

Sometimes all I crave for breakfast is just a simple white bread, spread with salty butter, a favourite jam and a mug of hot coffee. So that's what I made, from The Australian Women's Weekly gorgeous book, Simply Bread.

This is a very straight forward loaf to make. I have used the stand mixer to knead the dough, and reduced the yeast to only 2 teaspoons instead of 3, and also reduce on the salt slightly. The dough is a little sticky, so I've added about 1/4 cup more flour. I did not dust the final dough with flour before rising, preferring my white bread to be "clean" ! 

Bread is nice and soft. 

Good with a spread of salty butter. 

Basic White Bread
(Simply Bread, The Australian Women's Weekly)
3 teaspoons (10gm) dried yeast (2 teaspoons)
2/3 cup (160ml) warm water
2 teaspoons caster (superfine) sugar
2-1/2 cups (375gm) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 teaspoon table salt (3/4 teaspoon)
30gm (1 oz) butter, melted
1/2 cup (125ml) warm milk

  1. Combine yeast, the water and sugar in a small bowl until yeast dissolves. Cover; stand in a warm place for 10 minutes or until mixture is frothing.
  2. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl; stir in butter, milk and yeast mixture. Knead dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in an oiled large bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for 40 minutes or until dough has doubled in size,
  3. Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Oil a 10cm(4in) deep, 9cmx22cm (3-3/4in x 9in) bread tin.
  4. Knead dough on a floured surface for 1 minute or until smooth. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a ball; place side-by-side in bread tin. Dust with a little extra flour, cover with plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for 20 minutes or until risen.
  5. Bake bread for 30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped. Turn bread onto a wire rack to cool.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Arroz con Pollo

An easy one pot meal. Recipe uses saffron threads, I have omitted that, and replace with 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder for the lovely yellow. Chicken thigh is first browned in a little oil. Onions and garlic are sauteed until the onions are translucent, then chopped tomatoes are added in, stir for a few minutes until softened, stir in wine-saffron mixture (or turmeric powder), bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cook until wine is nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add in rice, broth and olives. Place chicken onto rice, bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer to the oven, baked for about 30 minutes. 

A delicious one pot meal. Yum!

Arroz con Pollo
(One Pot, Martha Stewart Living)
1/2 cup dry white wine
pinch of saffron threads (I use 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder)
6 bone-in chicken thighs (about 6 ounces each)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 large tomato, chopped
2 dried bay leaves
1-1/2 cups short grain rice, preferably Valencia
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed
1 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, drained

Preheat oven to 375F. In a bowl, combine wine and saffron.
Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or braiser, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken, skin-side down; cook until browned, 6 to 7 minutes. Flip and cook a minute more; transfer to a plate.
Drain all but 2 tablespoons fat. Add onion and garlic, cook, stirring often, until translucent, 4 minutes. Add tomato and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in wine-saffron mixture, bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until wine is nearly evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes.
Stir in rice, broth, and olives. Nestle chicken into rice, skin-side up. Bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until liquid is absorbed and chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Apple-Coconut Family Cake

I like the combination of flavours in this cake ; apples, coconut, rum and vanilla. A simple, easy cake to make, it doesn't require a stand mixer to mix the batter. A bowl with a hand whisk is all you need, well, OK, a couple of bowls! 

I made half a recipe and use a 7" baking pan to bake the cake, a smaller pan (maybe 6") would result in a taller cake.

Cake is moist with tender crumbs, and the flavours of the coconut with the apples and rum, is a winning combination. Love it! Yummy with a mug of tea!

Apple-Coconut Family Cake
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 apples, peeled and cored
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
6 tablespoons flavorless oil, such as canola or grapeseed
1 tablespoon dark rum
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded coconut, preferably unsweetened
about 1/2 cup apple jelly, for glaze

Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
Cut 2 of the apples into a small dice, cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Cut the third apple from blossom to stem into slices about 1/4 inch thick; cover.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and 1/2 cup of the sugar together for a minute, Whisk in the yoghurt, oil, rum and vanilla and whisk for about a minute, until smooth. Still using a whisk, or switching to a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture, followed by the coconut and the diced apple.
Scrape the batter into the pan and jiggle the pan from side to side a couple of times to even the batter. Arrange the sliced apples in an attractive pattern over the top of the cake - I like to make a sunburst pattern - and sprinkle the apples with the remaining 2 teaspoon sugar.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the apples and cake are golden and a thin knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer the springform pan to a rack, and cool the cake for 20 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, make the glaze, Warm the apple jelly with a splash of water just until it liquefies.
Once the cake has cooled for 20 minutes, run a knife around the edges of the cake and release the sides of the pan. Using a pastry brush, give the top of the cake a generous gloss of glaze.

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Spicy Thai Fried Rice With Sausage and Greens

Even though this is called Spicy Thai Fried Rice, it is not at all spicy. But it is delicious and makes a satisfying lunch for a hungry tummy.

The recipe uses chorizo sausages, but I've substitute with some Chinese sausages instead. And because the Chinese sausages are not spicy, I've added a tablespoon of chilli flakes. The greens that I've used are baby spinach and napa cabbage. Instead of using the eggs to add to the rice stir-fry, I have fried the eggs separately to serve with the rice on top, with a dash of soy sauce. There's a half cup of black raisins in there, and I love it. It reminds me of some pilaf rice I ate before. This plate of fried rice makes such a delicious lunch, especially topped with the fried egg. 

Spicy Thai Fried Rice with Sausage and Greens
(Dinner Changing The Game, by Melissa Clark)
3 tablespoons peanut oil or grapeseed oil
1 small onion, diced
2 scallions (white and green parts), sliced, plus more for serving
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 cup diced cured chorizo or spicy salami (6 ounces)
1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced
1/2 cup black raisins
2 cups cooked white or brown rice
6 cups chopped mixed greens, such as mizuna, baby spinach, or baby greens
1 cup chopped napa cabbage
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Juice of 1/2 lime, plus lime wedges for garnish
Kosher salt to taste

  1. Heat a heavy 12-inch skillet or wok over high heat until it is very hot. Pour in the oil and swirl it around the pan (it will probably smoke, and that's okay).
  2. Add the onions, scallions, and garlic, give them a quick stir, and cook until they have softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chorizo and jalapeno; saute until they start to caramelize, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the raisins and the rice, mix well, and spread the mixture out to cover as much of the surface area of the pan as possible; press down on it with a spatula. Cook without moving the mixture until the rice gets a chance to dry out and take on a little colour, 1 to 3 minutes, then stir it around a little and toss until it is golden in spots.
  3. Add the greens and cabbage, and toss until they are beginning to wilt, 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the soy sauce and fish sauce, coating the contents of the pan. Then push the contents away from the centre of the pan and pour the eggs into the centre. Cook until the eggs are custardly, 1 to 2 minutes. Then mix everything in the pan, breaking up the eggs. Add the lime juice and season with salt to taste. Serve garnished with sliced scallions and with lime wedges alongside.

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Spanish Chicken & Peppers

This is a simple "one pot", or rather sheet pan meal. Great for busy weeknights. Made this when I did not have much time to spend in the kitchen one evening. Bought some really beautiful sweet peppers the day before, and the next evening, simply arrange the chicken parts and the peppers, in a baking tray, seasoned with just salt and pepper, with a drizzle of olive oil. Bake until the chicken is cooked and the skin crispy, about 50-60 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken parts.

Love the sweet red peppers, very sweet and fragrant. There's really no need of any other ingredient for the chicken, a simple seasoning of salt and lots of black pepper is all it takes to make a really tasty baked chicken. A simple, delicious and satisfying meal. I have omitted the garlic-mayo as suggested in the recipe, preferring to serve with some greens instead, which I've used broccoli.

Spanish Chicken & Peppers
(Sheet Pan Cooking, Good Housekeeping)
2-1/2 pounds assorted small chicken parts (cut breasts into halves)
1 pound mini sweet peppers
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
baguette, for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F. In a large bowl, toss chicken and peppers with oil and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Arrange chicken and vegetables on a baking sheet. Roast in oven for 35 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (165F).
  2. While the chicken and peppers cook, stir together mayonnaise, garlic and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Serve chicken and peppers on a baguette with garlic mayo.

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Monday, April 2, 2018

Creamy Leek Tart

This is another keeper recipe from Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss. It is called Süddeutsche Lauchtorte in German (I cannot even pronounce those words!). This tart is very similar to a quiche.

The dough for the crust can be made a day earlier, wrap with cling wrap and keep refrigerated,  the next day, roll the dough to line the tart pan, then bake blind for 15 minutes. 

For the filling, I have replaced bacon with chicken meat. I've used a small piece of chicken breast meat, pan fry lightly in a little oil in the saucepan, seasoned with salt and black pepper, cook until the chicken is done. Let cool and chop to small dices, about 1 cup. And have used homemade chicken stock instead of white wine. The leeks are sauteed with butter until softened, season with salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Mix in a large bowl, eggs, sour cream and cornstarch and stir in the leek, chicken and cheese. I have used Cheddar cheese instead of Emmentaler cheese. Pour this mixture over the prebaked crust, smooth the top and bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Delicious and very tasty filling, with buttery tender crisp crust. I made this tart in the morning, and enjoyed two slices for my lunch, warm from the pan, with a cup of tea. Yum!

The recipe can also be found here.

Creamy Leek Tart
(Classic German Baking, Luisa Weiss)
2 cups, scooped and leveled/250gm all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon/130gm unsalted high-fat, European-style butter, softened, cubed
1 egg

3-1/2 tablespoons/50gm unsalted butter
3 to 4 leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved and sliced into 1/4-inch/6mm thick pieces
1/4 cup (60ml) white wine (chicken stock)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 eggs
1 cup (250gm) sour cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup (125gm) diced Speck or bacon (chicken meat)
4-1/2 ounces (130gm) grated Emmentaler (Swiss) cheese (about 1-1/2 cups) (1 cup Cheddar)

  1. First, make the crust : Place the flour, salt, butter, and egg in a bowl and knead together until well combined. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Make the filling : Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until softened. Stir in the wine and cook for about 2 minutes. Season with the salt, plenty of black pepper, and the nutmeg. Remove from the heat. Let cool slightly.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
  4. Unwrap the dough leaving the plastic wrap on the top side of the disk and placing the unwrapped side on a lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/4-inch/6mm thickness. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch(23cm) fluted tart pan with a removable bottom with the dough. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Place a piece of aluminium foil over the dough, pushing it gently out to the edges, and fill the pan with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and, using the foil as a sling, remove the pie weights or beans. Maintain the oven temperature.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream and cornstarch. Fold in the cooked leeks, and then stir in the Speck and cheese. Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the top. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 30 minutes before removing the tart ring. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges. Refrigerated, the tart will keep for 1 day. It can be reheated in a 325F/160C oven.

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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Marble Cake

I like marble cakes, and have tried quite a number of recipes from various cookbooks. This marble cake is different from the rest as there's melted white chocolate mixed into the plain batter. Since there's dark chocolate used for the chocolate batter, then why not white chocolate for the plain batter, a delicious idea! A lovely recipe, from the cookbook, Classic German Baking, which is fast climbing its way up in the list among my top favourite baking book.

The author, Luisa Weiss, got this recipe from her assistant, Maja, which is her family recipe. The only change I made was to reduce the sugar to 170gm. This cake is baked either in a Gugelhupf or bundt pan. I've used my bundt pan and bake for exactly 45 minutes.

Cake is moist, with soft closed crumbs. The white part of the cake with an almost velvety crumbs, best as described by the author on the melted white chocolate in the batter "Don't worry, this doesn't make the batter taste of white chocolate. When the cake is baked, the white parts simply tastes richer, toastier, and more complex". 

A slice or two is very nice with either coffee, tea or just a glass of milk.

The recipe can also be found here or from the book Classic German Baking, page 72

kitchen flavour's notes :
reduced sugar to 170gm
baked in a bundt pan for 40 minutes

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