Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Apricot Sweet Buns

These buns are soft and delicious, with a delicious filling made with dried apricots. I love dried apricots, they are my favourite dried fruits, great for snacking or used in baked goods. And also delicious made into jam.

There's milk and sour cream used for the dough, which makes for a nice soft tender crumb. I've used vanilla extract instead of almond extract for the dough. To make the filling, bring dried apricots and water to a boil, then reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes until the apricots are softened. Drain apricots, reserve some of the cooking liquid. Process the softened apricots in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid, sugar, butter and ground cinnamon, and process until mixture has the texture of jam. I have however added only 1 tablespoon of the cooking liquid and 2 tablespoons of dark rum. Smells so lovely and tasted amazing. This filling would be a wonderful jam for bread and toast, it is quick to make, and can be made in small amounts. I'm making a batch of the filling soon just to enjoy with bread. Love it!

The dough is rolled out and spread  with the apricot filling, then fold in thirds in a rectangle, which is cut to 1 inch strips. Each strip is then twisted and tie in a knot, tucking ends under. Place on parchment lined baking sheets,  spaced well apart, then left to rise until puffed. Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown.

The buns are glazed with a brown sugar glaze of which I have omitted, preferring to brush the hot buns with melted butter instead.  These buns are soft and delicious with the apricot-rum filling. Especially good when eaten still slightly warm. 

This fabulous recipe is from The Bread Collection cookbook, page 65, and can also be found at Bake From Scratch website. There is a video where Brian Hart-Hoffman shows how he shape the strips of dough into knotted buns. 

This post is linked to Cookbook Countdown #48

Friday, December 13, 2019

Gingered-Turkey (Chicken) Meatball Soup

Gingered-Turkey Meatball Soup is one of the recipe selected for this month, from Everyday Dorie, at Cook The Book Fridays. Ground turkey is not an easy ingredient to find, so I have used ground chicken meat instead.

This is a fairly easy dish to prepare. To make the meatballs, mix together egg, yoghurt (I've used sour cream), chopped onion, fresh cilantro, dry bread crumbs, chopped garlic, grated fresh ginger, lemon zest, salt and pepper. This mixture is then scooped (I used a heaping tablespoon )and shape into round meatballs. Drop them into the pot of boiling broth, and add veggies of your choice. I've used spinach and carrots. Then add the drained noodles (which was cooked in boiling water earlier), heat through and ladle into bowls to serve.  

The meatballs are tasty. With it's name Gingered-Turkey Meatball Soup, I cannot taste the ginger at all, and the taste of the lemon is a little strong. I may make the meatballs again, as they are rather tasty, but I'll skip the lemon, perhaps pan-fry them as small patties, to enjoy them with chilli sauce.

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Cookbook Countdown #48

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Afelia (Pork In Red Wine With Dried Coriander Seeds)

December Cuisine Spotlight : Holidays Around The World, is the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs.

I've made Tessa Kiros's, Afelia, a traditional Cypriot dish, which I think is perfect for any festive holidays or simply anytime of the year. 

Pork is marinated, soaked in red wine for a few hours, then braised with garlic, generous amount of cracked coriander seeds, bay leaf, and seasoned with salt and pepper. 

Tessa says Afelia is usually served with fried potatoes, bulgur wheat or a simple white pilaf. 

I wanted to eat the Afelia with rice, so I've made a simple rice pilaf, Rice With Butter And Lemon, another of Tessa Kiros's recipe, from the same book. Potatoes are our favourite, so I made some fried potatoes seasoned with salt and black pepper. Of course, we need our greens, so french beans sauteed with lots of crispy chopped garlic complete the set.

This Afelia dish is delicious. The pork is soft and tender, very flavourful from the red wine and coriander seeds.  This dish is wonderful with the fried potatoes, the rice pilaf, and the greens. A complete satisfying meal!

Afelia (Pork in Red Wine With Dried Coriander Seeds)
(Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros)
1.3kg boned shoulder of pork with some fat, sliced into 3/4 inch thick
2 cups (500ml) good red wine
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and squashed a bit
5 heaped teaspoons of coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1 or 2 bay leaves

If there is rind on the pork, remove this and any excess fat. Cut the pork into chunks of about 2 inches. Put in a bowl with the wine and leave to marinate overnight, or for a few hours in the fridge. Lift out the pork pieces with a slotted spoon (keeping the marinade) and pat dry with kitchen paper. (I drained the pork pieces in a colander in a single layer for 5 minutes).

Heat the oil in a casserole and fry the pork until it is dark golden on all sides. Season with salt and pepper, then add the garlic and coriander.  Continue cooking until you can smell the garlic and then add the marinade with the bay leaves and about 1 cup of water. When it begins to boil, lower the heat to a minimum, cover and simmer for about 1-1/2 hours, or until the pork is very tender and there is a fair amount of sauce in the pan. If necessary, add a little more water during cooking. Serve warm.

Rice With Butter and Lemon
(Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros)
30-40gm butter
1 long strip of lemon rind
400gm basmati rice

Put the butter, lemon rind, a pinch of salt and 1 litre (4 cups) water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil for a couple of minutes. Rinse the rice a few times with cold water, drain and add to the pan. Stir through once and then leave the rice. When it comes back to the boil, lower the heat to a high simmer and cook for 10 minutes, uncovered, until the rice seems dry and there are lots of holes in the surface. Don't stir the rice at all. Remove from the heat, fluff up from the bottom upwards with a fork and transfer gently to your serving bol.
(I cook the rice in the rice cooker ; boil the lemon rind and water in a pot on the stove. Place the washed basmati rice in the rice cooker, add the butter, and pour the hot lemon water into the rice cooker pot. Cook as per the rice cooker instructions).

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Cookbook Countdown #48

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Ginger Shortbread

It is potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). We have 19 chefs featured at IHCC, and Ina Garten, one of the chefs featured, whose recipe Ginger Shortbread, I've made for this week's potluck.

I love shortbread, and shortbread usually contain lots of butter, so I did not make them as often as I want. It has been too long since I've eaten or made any shortbread, it's time to indulge in some buttery shortbread!

There's 3 whole sticks (about 375gm) of butter used! Butter in Malaysia are mostly packed in 250gm bars. I've used one bar and the balance from an opened bar, which comes to 350gm weight in total, and I consider that as 375gm. I did reduce the sugar, using only 2/3 cup instead of the full cup. There's 3/4 cup of minced crystallized ginger used, next time I'll use a full cup.

Ina's Ginger Shortbread is just wonderful, so happy I've made them! They are buttery, crisp tender and yummy. Ina says these shortbread are great as dessert with vanilla ice cream. But I like them with a cup of warm Earl Grey tea, without cream. Yums!

This Ginger Shortbread recipe is from Ina Garten's cookbook, Make It Ahead, page 230. The same recipe can also be found at foodnetwork website, here.

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Cookbook Countdown #48