Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tom Yum Hot Pot


First of all, I would like to wish my family, friends and readers a very "Happy New Year"!

I can't believe it! Another year has gone by so quickly! Is it a good thing? Who knows, right?

Well, this evening we had Hot pot or Steamboat for dinner. It's rather cold today, so I have decided to cook Tom Yum soup for the hot pot. You can get the soup recipes from my previous posts here. I have doubled up the recipes and added an extra cup of chicken stock. I cooked some rice noodles, so everyone can have them with the soup. Let's see, I have Big Dungeness Crabs, River Prawns, fish dumplings, fish balls, tofu, Enoki mushrooms and some vegetables. Guess, my ingredients were pretty simple but that's how my family likes their hot pot :)

So, have a good feast everyone! Don't forget the Champagne! Cheers!!!



Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pineapple Jelly


I'm sure every kid or even adult would love to have some jelly or jello. You can serve this pineapple jelly as a dessert or starters. Of course, you can use any kinds of fruits for this jelly. I'm making some for this New Year Eve's!


Pineapple Jelly

Ingredients

1 tin 540 ml Pineapple Chunks, reserved the juice
2 tsp Agar Agar Powder
2 to 3 Tbsp of Sugar
2 cups of Water 
2 Pandanus Leaves, knotted

Method

In a saucepan, combine the reserved pineapple juice (you should have about 1 cup, if not top it up with some water to reach 1 cup), water and pandanus leaves.

Bring it to a boil and add the agar agar powder and sugar. Simmer until the agar agar powder dissolves. Then let the mixture cool slightly.

Strain the mixture and fill them up with jelly mould and top it with pineapple chunks. Then set it a side and keep it chilled. Serve cold.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Top Hats (Kuih Pie Tee)


First of all, I want to say Yay! This is my 100th posting in exactly 3 months!

Well, I remember when I first started blogging about my cooking, I had informed a few of my closest friends which includes Ben and Suanne from Chowtimes. You might want to know, how I met them... Of course through the Internet!!

Its all started before I even moved to Vancouver. I had search for everything about Vancouver, and no surprise there...I found Chowtimes. They are the nicest couple I have met here. They invited my family for lunch and from then onwards, we became good friends.

Anyway, back to my blogging story. One day, while having lunch with Ben and his family, he had mentioned that I blog everyday. Well, that's true and I even told them that I wanted to achieve my 100th posts by end of the year! And... I have done it!

Ben and Suanne have helped me a lot by getting readers to my new blog and so, I am dedicating this post to them. I really appreciate their humility and their friendship!


Top Hats (Kuih Pie Tee)
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients

Shells

100 g All Purpose Flour, sifted
50 g Corn Flour
110 g Rice Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
400 ml Water
Oil for deep frying

Filling

1 kg Yam Bean (Jicama), shredded
300 g Carrots, shredded
5 Shallots, sliced
250 g Prawns, shelled and chopped
2 Tbsp Peanut Oil
2 tsp Sugar
Sea salt to taste
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
3 stalks Scallions
3 Red Chillies, finely sliced

Method

Prepare the Top Hats shells. Combine all the ingredients and let the batter rest for an hour.

In a moderate heat, dip the mould in the oil ( make sure the oil is not too hot). Then dip the mould into the batter and plunge the mould into the oil. Jiggle the mould lightly, up and down motion and they should slip away from the mould. Let the shell cook until they are light brown in color. Remove and drained the excess oil. (You might want to fry the shells ahead of time. Its rather time consuming!)

Store them in an airtight container or in a ziplock bags (like me). They will stay crisp! Unless if there's any humidity then just pop them into the oven on a low heat for awhile.

In a large pan or wok, cook the shallots on a low heat until they are golden in color.

Turn the heat on high and mix in the chopped prawns. Saute briefly and add the yam beans and carrots. Stir and add some pepper, sugar and sea salt to taste. Cook for another 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a non-stick pan, make the omelet. Let it cool slightly and sliced them thinly.

To serve, put some yam beans and carrot filling and top it with the omelet, chilies and some scallions. Serve with some sweet chili sauce.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Osso Buco


Hey! Merry Christmas everybody and have Happy Holidays to all my friends and family :)
Okay, this is what we had for our Christmas Eve's dinner. This year, I'm staying away from the old tradition, turkey and stuffs. I'm not a big fan of turkey anyway! As a matter of fact, this month alone, we went to quite a number of parties and turkey's were always served, right on the table! Can you imagine having turkey since Canadian and American Thanksgiving and now? I really can't take it anymore! LOL!!

Well, since it's so cold and snowy out there, I have decided to make Osso Buco for tonight's dinner. It's a comfort food to me. I made some mashed potatoes and risotto Milanese to go with it. Dinner was perfect and everyone enjoyed the meal.

This recipe was adapted and slightly tweaked from the Dean and Deluca Cookbook, which is one of my favorite cookbooks. Enjoy!


Osso Buco

Ingredients

1/2 cup Flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
5 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 center cut slices Veal Shank (each about 1 1/2 inches thick and tied around with string)
1 cup Diced Yellow Onion
1 cup Diced Carrot
1 cup Diced Celery
2 1/2 tsp finely minced Garlic
2 Bay Leaves
3/4 cup White Wine
2 tsp grated Lemon Zest
3/4 cup Beef Stock
28 oz can Plum Tomatoes, drained
1 tsp chopped Fresh Thyme
1 tsp chopped Fresh Rosemary
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp chopped Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley

Method

Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C).

Mix flour with 1/2 tsp of the salt and the pepper and put on a plate. Over high heat, heat 3 Tbsp of the oil in a deep, heavy, straight-sided, ovenproof skillet with a tight-fitting lid, large enough to hold the veal shanks in a single layer. When the oil is hot but not smoking, dredge veal shanks in flour, coating each side well. Brush off any excess flour. Place in oil and sear until well browned, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.

Add the remaining oil, and when oil is hot add onion, carrot, celery, 2 tsp of garlic, bay leaves, and another 1/2 tsp of salt. Cook until golden, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. (Make sure that the vegetables don't burn). Add the white wine and 1 tsp of the lemon zest. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Cook until wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the beef stock and cook until liquid is reduced by half, another 5 minutes.

Put drained plum tomatoes into the skillet along with thyme, rosemary, and the remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Break up the tomatoes with back of a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Return the veal shanks to the skillet. (The tomato mixture should come about two thirds of the way up the shanks. If it does not, add some more beef stock or water.)

Cover with the lid and braise in the preheated oven, turning shanks every 30 minutes, for 2 hours. (Add extra stock or water if liquid is getting too thick or too low. When shanks are done, they should be extremely tender and the meat should be starting to pull away from the bone.) Place the shanks on a large platter and cover with foil until ready to serve. Cook the sauce over moderate high heat until it is reduced to the desired consistency, about another 10 minutes, and adjust seasoning.

Make the gremolata by mixing the remaining lemon zest, garlic, and parsley in a small bowl. Stir well.

To serve, remove the strings from the shanks and cover the shanks generously with the sauce. Sprinkle with the gremolata.


Care for some "fatty" marrow??

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pineapple Fried Rice


I know everyone has their own unique way of cooking fried rice. I guess, the most important is to have a "quick" hands on cooking on a very high heat. Well, you may noticed my cooking style might be a little bit different from the others. But, I bet you will succeed using my method! It works all the time, perfect bowl of fried rice. Have a go!



Pineapple Fried Rice

Ingredients

5 cups of Cooked Cold Rice, preferably overnight
1 1/2 cups of tin Pineapple Chunks, drained
150 g Prawns, shelled and deveined
1/3 cup Sweet Corn Kernel
1/3 cup Frozen Sweet Peas, thawed and drained
1/3 cup Roasted Cashew Nuts
30 g Raisins
2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
2 Thai Birds Eye Chili, chopped
2 stalks Scallions, chopped
2 Tbsp Peanut Oil
Ground White Pepper
Sea salt to taste

Method

In a medium pan, heat 1/2 Tbsp of Peanut Oil, and cook the egg. When cooled slightly, finely shred the eggs. Set aside.

In a large wok with a low heat. Add 1/2 Tbsp of Peanut Oil and saute the garlic until they are golden in color. Set aside.

With moderate heat, saute the prawns until they are pink and then set aside.

Stir in the remaining oil and turn the heat on high. Add the rice and stir briefly. Then add the chili, corn kernel, peas, pineapple and garlic. Stir quickly for about 5 minutes.

Then add in the cooked prawns, cashew nuts and eggs. Followed by the soy sauce and some grounded white pepper and sea salt to taste. To serve, top it with some chopped scallions. Serve immediately.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Lemon Curd Tartlets

This lemony tartlet recipes came from one of my favorite cookbooks, Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros. I have used some her recipes for my cooking and so far, they are pretty good. In fact, I am gonna try a couple more recipes from her book. Btw, I have reduced the sugar slightly for the lemon curd. (Not much of a sweet tooth family here!) Also, you may want to double up the recipes. They are really good!

Lemon Curd Tartlets

Ingredients

Pastry

70 g (2 ½ oz) Butter, slightly softened
30 g (1 oz) Sugar
70 g (2 ½ oz) Plain (All-Purpose) Flour
25 g (1 oz) Ground Almond
A Pinch of Salt

Lemon Curd

75 g (2 ½ oz) Butter
3 Eggs, lightly beaten
230 g (1 cup) Sugar
Juice and Finely Grated Rind Of 2 Lemons

Method

To make the pastry, cream together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon. Add the flour, ground almonds and a pinch of salt and mix well, using your hands when it becomes a little stiff, until the pastry comes together. Flatten slightly, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour before using.

Now make the curd. Melt the butter in a metal bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Whisk in the eggs. Add the sugar and whisk until thoroughly combined. Whisking continuously, gradually add the lemon juice and zest. Cook over the simmering water for about 20 minutes, stirring often, until thickened. Cool at room temperature.

Preheat your oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Roll out the pastry thinly on a lightly floured work surface and cut out circles of pastry to line about 12 shallow tartlet tins. Line with baking paper, fill with baking beans or weights and blind bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the visible pastry is golden and cooked. Remove the paper and beans and cook for another couple of minutes to dry the bases. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before gently removing from the tartlet tins. When completely cooled, fill with lemon curd.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Eggplant With Chili Bean Sauce


I like eggplants a lot but, they do need quite a bit of oil to cook. They absorb oils like sponge!! So, instead of chopping and sauteing them in oil, I have decided to roast the whole eggplant with only a few drizzles of oil. It's much more healthier to cook this way.


Eggplant With Chili Bean Sauce
Ingredients

1 Medium Eggplant
2 Tbsp Toban Chili Bean Sauce
200g Prawns, shelled, deveined and chopped
2 Shallots, sliced
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 tsp Oyster Sauce
2 tsp Chinese Cooking Wine
2 tsp Light Soy Sauce
2 tsp Dark Soy Sauce
2 tsp Sesame Oil
2 tsp Corn Flour
1 Tbsp Peanut Oil
2 stalk Scallions, chopped
1 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 cup Water
Ground White Pepper
Tin Foil

Method

Preheat the oven at 205˚C (400˚F). Drizzle the eggplant with some peanut oil and wrap in a tin foil. Roast the eggplant for about 20 minutes. Then open the tin foil and roast the eggplant for another 5 to 10 minutes until they are soft.

Meanwhile, marinate the prawns with light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, chinese cooking wine, oyster sauce, sesame oil and corn flour for about 10 minutes.

In a wok and a moderate heat, saute shallots until they are lightly brown. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Then add the marinate prawns.

Cook the prawns until they are pink in color. Then add the chili sauce, some ground white pepper and stir quickly. Add the water and bring the sauce to a boil.

To serve, slit the eggplant open and spoon over the sauce and top it with some chopped scallions. Serve immediately.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Agadeshi Tofu


How can I have a Japanese meal without the good old Agadeshi tofu, right? Simple and refreshing.

Anyway, as I'm typing out this post, my daughter said to me, "Wow! I have been hearing so much about dashi, soy sauce and mirin this week!" Ha! I guess a little bit too much Japanese cooking for this week. Well, at least my family enjoyed the meal.




Agadeshi Tofu
Ingredients

2 Packet Soft Tofu
Corn Flour
Some Grated Ginger
1 Red Chili, minced
1 Egg, Lightly beaten
Some Bonito Flakes
1 cup Dashi Stock
1 tsp Mirin
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Sake

Method

Cut the tofu into 6 or 8 squares for each packet. Drain the tofu well on a paper towel.

Prepare the sauce. Combine the dashi stock, mirin, soy sauce and sake. Bring it to a boil and set it aside.

Heat the oil over a moderate heat. Dip the tofu into the lightly beaten egg, then coat with corn flour and shake off any excess flour. Deep fry the tofu until light golden in color. Make sure to fry in small batches. Dish out and drain on paper towel.

To serve, arrange 3 or 4 pieces of fried tofu in a bowl. Ladle the soup into the bowl and top it with some grated ginger and minced red chili. If you like, top it with some bonito flakes. Serve immediately.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Baked Scallops


I bought some nice looking scallops in their shells, and for the first time I forgot to ask the fishmonger to remove and clean them up properly for me! Hey, turns out it's even better to do it yourself! Well, the scallops might not look perfect but, they are really, really fresh and tasty after cooking.

Can you imagine? I can still see and feel the scallops moving while trying cleaning them? I did startle a little bit at first, but it was all okay when I got the hang of it after removing few more scallops from their shells. And the thinking of gobble them up too! LOL!

The shells are so pretty, so I have decided to bake the scallops in them. Another thing, I noticed the color of the roe are different too. I wonder why? I like the darker color ones, they are tastier.


Baked Scallops

Ingredients

8 Scallops in their shells, cleaned
2 Tbsp Japanese Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Mirin
1 Tbsp grated Ginger
3 Tbsp Peanut Oil

Method

Preheat the oven at 180˚C (350˚F).

Arrange the scallops in their shells in a baking tray.

Divide the ginger, soy sauce and mirin equally onto the scallops. Drizzle with some peanut oil.

Close the scallops with the other half of the shells.

Bake them for about 10 to 12 minutes. Serve immediately!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Japanese Beef Rolls


These beef rolls are so delicious! You can serve them as starters or even as a main course. This dish is definitely on my list for my next party. It's so easy to prepare and cook in less than 20 minutes!


Japanese Beef Rolls

Ingredients

8 thinly slices of Beef (sirloin)
8 stalks of Asparagus, trimmed
3 stalks of Scallions, halved
100g Enoki Mushrooms, trimmed
3 Tbsp Japanese Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp Mirin
1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
Toothpicks or small skewers

Method

Preheat the oven to 400˚F (205˚C). Oil a baking tray.

Prepare the basting sauce. Mix the soy and mirin. Set aside.

Lay the beef slices, place the asparagus, scallions and mushrooms. Roll them tightly, and secure with toothpicks.

Bake in the oven for 5 minutes and baste the beef rolls with the sauce. Repeat the basting every 5 minutes until the beef rolls are cooked.

Boil the remaining sauce lightly and brush the beef rolls again. To serve, remove the toothpicks. Top it with some chopped scallions! DELISH!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chawan Mushi


I guess this must be a Japanese week for us. So it all started with a "horrible" lunch at one of the restaurants near my neighborhood. So, I decided to cook my own simple Japanese meal at home. I will be posting mostly Japanese meals for this week. All the easy-peasy meals to prepare at home. The best part of a home cooked meal is, you can add whatever ingredients you like and just cook them to your liking. Well, this simple egg custard is usually cooked with pieces of chicken, but I have omitted that. Don't feel like having chicken today! Ha Ha!

Btw, this recipes is good for 4 people. My kids said, I should double them up and have some steamed rice with it! Well... should have told me earlier! :)


Chawan Mushi
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients

3 Large Eggs, very lightly beaten
1 tsp Mirin
1 tsp Japanese Soy Sauce
2 cups of Dashi Stock

12 Prawns, shelled and deveined
12 Gingko Nuts
3 Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced (or whole if small)
12 thinly slices of Japanese Fish Cake

Method

Mix the beaten eggs with mirin, soy sauce and the dashi stock. Strain and set aside.

Divide the rest of the ingredients into 4 small bowls and pour in the egg mixtures. Cover the bowl with a small sheet of tin foil.

Steam the egg mixture on a high heat for about 5 minutes. Then reduce the heat to low and steam for another 15 minutes or until they are set. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cha Soba With Tempura


We love having cold buckwheat noodles, especially the green tea type. I find them very refreshing especially with some wasabi.



Ingredients

400g of Dried Green Tea Noodles
3 stalks Scallions, chopped
Toasted Japanese Seaweeds, shredded
Wasabi

Sauce

250ml Dashi Stock
350ml Water
4 Tbsp Mirin
3 Tbsp Japanese Soy Sauce

Tempura

Assorted Vegetables, such as Okra, Aubergine, Sweet Potato, Bell Peppers and Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms
Prawns
250g Tempura Flour
400 ml Cold Water
Some grated Ginger and Daikon
Oil for frying


Method

In a large pot of boiling water, add the noodles and cook until al dente. Drain and rinse the noodles with cold water. Then drain well.

Prepare the sauce by combining the dashi stock,mirin, soy sauce and water. Bring it to a boil and set aside to cool.

Mix the tempura batter and deep fry the vegetables and prawns in a hot oil. Make sure to cook it in small batches. Deep fry until crispy. Drain on a paper towel.

To serve the cha soba, top it with toasted seaweed, dipping sauce with some scallions and wasabi.

Serve the tempura with some grated ginger and daikon.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Buffalo Chicken Wings



Recipe adapted from the Dean & Deluca cookbook.

Buffalo Chicken Wings

Ingredients

24 Chicken Wings (about 4 pounds), tips removed
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 quart Vegetable Oil
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Louisiana Hot Sauce, or more to taste
1 Tbsp White Vinegar
Celery Sticks as an accompaniment
Blue Cheese Dressing as accompaniment

Method

Cut the wings in half, and season them well with salt and pepper.

Heat oil to 375˚. Fry the wings, in 2 batches, until crisp and golden brown, about 10 minutes for each batch. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, and add the hot sauce and vinegar. Stir to blend. Dip the wings into the sauce, and place wings on a serving plate. Pour any extra sauce over wings. Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Nachos


Fancy some Nachos for a little afternoon snack? Try this easy Nachos recipe. The Nachos were layered with kidney beans, salsa, pickled Jalapeno peppers, and with lots of Monterey Jack cheese. Do serve the Nachos with some guacamole. Enjoy!


Nachos
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients

1 Bag (about 350-380g) Tortilla Chips
200 ml Prepared Tomato Salsa or 3 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 Cup of tin Kidney Beans, drained
½ Cup of sliced Pickled Jalapeno Peppers, drained
350 g of Monterey Jack Cheese (or Jalapeno Jack Cheese), shredded
Guacamole
Chopped Fresh Coriander

Method

Preheat the oven at 190˚C (375˚F).

In a large pizza pan, assemble a layer of the tortilla chips. Toss some cheese on top of the tortilla chips. Then scattered some salsa or tomatoes, kidney beans, and Jalapeno peppers. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up.

Bake in the oven for about 12 to 12 minutes. Serve immediately with additional salsa, guacamole and top with some chopped fresh coriander, if desired.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Apple Cake


The idea of baking this cake came from Tessa Kiros cookbook. I made a few adjustments to the measurements to suit my smaller Bundt pan and added some cinnamon to the apple cake. Who doesn't like apple with cinnamon, right?

To make it easier, instead of slicing and arranging the apples, I cut them into smaller chunks. Just fit the apples into the Bundt pan and when you invert the pan, the apples will be on top. I am very happy with the result. The apple cake was moist and yummy!



Apple Cake

Ingredients

4 Apples, skinned, core and cut into small chunks
2 tsp Cinnamon
3 Tbsp Fine Granulated Sugar

1 stick (1/2 cup) Unsalted Butter, softened
160g of Fine Granulated Sugar
4 Large Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
250g Cake Flour, sift
1/2 cup of Milk

Method

Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Grease and flour the baking pan.

Combine the apple chunks with cinnamon and sugar. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder until well blended.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale in color and creamy. Add the eggs, beating well after each one. Then, mix in the dry ingredients and follow by the milk and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides.

Put half of the apple chunks into the pan. Make sure to press down the apples down. Then, pour half the batter, followed by the remaining apples. Then scrape the rest of the batter into the pan and smooth the surface with a spatula.

Bake for about 45 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for about 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto a wire rack. Serve the cake warm.

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