Tuesday, September 27, 2011

French Lemon-Poppy Pound Cake

I like this new and easy method of baking pound cakes by Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery, Boston. First, the eggs and sugar are whipped together until the mixture is feather light. Then, just fold-in the rest of the ingredients and place it in your pre-heated oven. That's it! The result is a soft, buttery French Lemon-Poppy Pound Cake that's full of lemon flavor. This cake is a great tea-time treat. If there’s any leftover, just cover and store at room temperature for up to three days. However, I don’t foresee you will have any problems finishing this yummy cake. Try it!

Recipe adapted from Flour By Joanne Chang {pg 70 & 72}

French Lemon-Poppy Pound Cake


2 Cups Cake Flour

¾ tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

½ Cup + 3 Tbsp (1 3/8 sticks/156 grams) Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled to slightly warm

¼ Cup (60 grams) Heavy Cream

3 Tbsp Lemon Zest

1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
3 Tbsp Poppy Seeds

4 Large Free-Range Eggs

1 ¼ cups Granulated Sugar

For the Lemon Glaze

½ Cup Powdered/Confectioners’ Sugar

1-2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice


Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F/180˚C. Butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, or line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and poppy seeds. The mixture should have the consistency of a thick liquid. If the butter hardens into little lumps, heat the mixture gently until the butter melts again. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or a handheld mixer) beat together the eggs and granulated sugar on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy and lemon colored. (If you use a handheld mixer, this same step will take 8 to 10 minutes.)

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture just until combined. Fold about one-fourth of the egg-flour mixture into the butter-cream mixture to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining egg-flour mixture just until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and springs back when you press it in the middle. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.

To make the lemon glaze: While the cake is cooling, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and enough of the lemon juice to make an easily spreadable, smooth glaze.

When the cake has cooled for at least 30 minutes, pop it out of the pan and place it on the rack. Spread or spoon the glaze over the top of the still-warm cake, letting the glaze dribble down the sides.

The cake can be stored tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Espaguetis Con Almejas~ Spaghetti and Clams In A Skillet

Espaguetis Con Almejas (or Spaghetti and Clams In A Skillet) is a Spanish-Mediterranean pasta paella. I like the simplicity of this fantastic recipe from Ferran Adria, the super chef from Spain. The noodles are lightly toasted in olive oil before the rest of the fresh ingredients are added. This method gives the noodles a smokey and flavorful aroma. If Fideo noodles are not available, then you can consider using thin spaghetti or traditional German egg pasta. The other substitute you can consider is to use chicken or even vegetables instead, if clams or fresh shell fishes are not your cup of tea. It will taste just as good. Try it!

Recipe adapted from The New Spanish Table by Anya Von Bremzen

Espaguetis Con Almejas~ Spaghetti and Clams In A Skillet


3 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
12-oz/350 g Fideo Noodles or thin Spaghetti, broken into large pieces
4 Medium-Size Garlic, minced
1 Medium-Size Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, or more to taste
3 Cups Bottled Clam Juice, diluted with 1 Cup Water
Sea Salt
3 Dozen Littleneck Clams or Manila Clams, scrubbed
¼ Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Flat-Leaf Parley


Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet with tight fitting lid over medium heat. Add the noodles and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add diluted clam juice and bring to a boil. Season with salt to taste, cover the skillet, and cook until the pasta is barely al dente, about 8 minutes. Add the clams, nestling them into the pasta, cover the skillet, and cook until the pasta is al dente and the clams have opened, 4 to 7 minutes longer, adding a few tablespoons of water if the pasta looks dry. Discard any clams that haven’t opened, stir in the parsley, and serve at once.

Serves 4

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Home Fries

I had a great summer holiday this year! Now, I am just glad that the kids are back in school, however, not sure if my kids feels the same though. Personally, I'm so relieved and is looking forward to get back to my routine and start updating my blog with some great new postings! Watch this space.

In any case, after taking a few days to get adjusted to the time zone here, I was pleasantly surprised to discover there were potatoes growing in my backyard! I had planted them earlier this summer before I went for my vacation and really did not expect them to survive the hot summer weather here. They did! So, needles to say, I was very excited to cook these homegrown potatoes. After giving it some thought, I decided to turn these fresh potatoes into Home Fries with onion, garlic, and red peppers. The potatoes were crispy on the outside and soft in the center. Home made fries are always fantastic on its own or with some ketchup. Totally enjoyed these fries over brunch, with just some toast and fried eggs. Simply delish!

Recipe adapted from Cook's Country via Smitten Kitchen

Home Fries


4 to 5 (about 600 g) Yukon Gold Potatoes, boiled, peeled, and cubed
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 Medium Yellow Onion, peeled and chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced (optional)
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Scallions, chopped


Heat about 1 to 1 ½ Tbsp of Olive oil in fairly large, or 12-inch heavy-bottomed or cast iron skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until light brown in color, about 5 minutes. Mix in chopped garlic, and continue to cook for another minute. Transfer the onion mixture to small bowl and set aside. Then, toss in the diced peppers in the same skillet. Sauté the diced peppers for about 3 to 4 minutes, and transfer to the onion mixture bowl.

Heat butter together with the remaining oil the same skillet over medium-high heat until butter foams. Add potatoes and shake skillet to evenly distribute potatoes in single layer; make sure that one side of each piece is touching surface of skillet. Cook without stirring until potatoes are golden brown on bottom, about 4 to 5 minutes, then carefully turns potatoes with spatula. Spread potatoes in single layer in skillet again and repeat process until potatoes are tender and browned on most sides, turning three to four times, 8 to 10 minutes longer. Add onion, garlic, and peppers to the potatoes, and stir well. Season the home fries with sea salt and black pepper. Top with some chopped scallions, and serve immediately.

Serves 4