Really like these two photos...many shades of green..colourful! and the messiness and neatness (both have different kind of energy) in it.
A friend bought me the green tea powder from his recent trip to Tokyo. To repay his kindness, I made this ice cream for him. I think it is one of my best home made ice cream! Strong green tea freshness, just the right amount of sweetness!
The recipe of the ice cream can be found here
Introducing the Golden Piggy Family!
The first attempt to learn to make these Chinese mooncake inspired pastry. The pastry skin is quite difficult to make. For this trial, instead of using home-made syrup (which I have already prepared few weeks ago. According to the recipe, the freshly made syrup must not be used until it is at least 2 weeks or more old), I read from some online resources, it is OK to substitute the home-made syrup with shop-bought golden syrup. And I also use ready-made sweet adzuki bean paste as the filling for my trial. When I have mastered the whole making process, I will do it properly again with all components home-made!
The recipe book I used for this experiment was a bilingual "Moonlit Mid-Autumn Festival" by Choong Su Yin. I bought the mooncake recipe book many years ago when I was in Malaysia visiting my family. I have read it MANY times, but not gutsy enough to try to make them in the kitchen! I am still trying to understand the original recipe from the book, which didn't tell me how long to bake these piggies in the oven. The temperature of 180'C stated in the book seems way too hot for this sweet pastry dough. Maybe I should not have substituted the home-made syrup with the golden syrup? Maybe the temperature of my oven is too hot? Maybe the ready-made filling is not cooked as per instructed as the recipe?
But I am quite happy with this first attempt. The flavour is not too bad, sweet scented pastry skin. (slightly too golden syrupy!) A few more attempts to learn the process I think. I am excited!
Note: 26.01.2013 - The pastry skin soften after 2 days which make it really close to those shop-bought mooncake's texture. Really quite tasty now!
Spicy Snake Bean With Pork. 乱棍打死猪八戒
This dish has an interesting Chinese name...乱棍打死猪八戒 (many random sticks killed the pig! Literal translation! haha). The pig here refers to one of the characters from the Chinese novel, Journey to the West.
This is also one of the dishes that reminded me of home, Malaysia. A typical Malaysian home-cooked dish using spicy dried shrimps paste (sambal). Spicy and a bit salty, perfect with a bowl of steamy rice.
Ingredients you will need: (enough to serve 2 persons)
- A bunch of snake beans (Cut into few centimetre long) (You will be able to find these beans fresh in most of the Chinese green grocery shops)
- About 150g sliced pork belly (You could you more or use less meat, really depending on your own preferences)
- About a handful of dried shrimps (soaked in water for 5 mins)
- Few cloves of garlic
- 2 Shallots (roughly sliced)
- Chilli (Fresh or dried) (Depending of your preferences, you can have it very spicy or mild)
- 2 tbsp Cooking oil
- A dash of soy sauce
- Some water
First clean the snake bean and discard the top and bottom ends. Cut them into few centimetres long. Set aside.
To make the shrimp paste. Put the garlic, shrimps, shallots, chilli and a tablespoonful of oil in a blender. Blender everything finely and set aside.
In a wok or deep pan, put the shrimps paste and pork with some oil (the pork will produce some oil later once fried in the hot pan), so keep the cooking oil just about 1-2 tablespoonful. Gently cook the paste and the pork in medium heat until fragrant. About 5 mins.
Add the beans and stir fry it for few minutes add some soy sauce and stir-fry everything until slightly dry. Add the water, enough to cover the ingredients and let it cook for few minutes until the beans are just tender and the sauce is slightly thicken.
Serves it hot with steamed rice. Equally nice with brown rice or couscous...mmmmm.....
Pineapple Jam Pastry
These Pineapple jam pastries slowing becoming my signature bake! I love how the clove acts like the stalk for the fruity looking pastry. So delicate and elegant.
You will normally find this kind of pastry during Chinese New Year. Many home bakers have their own little secret recipes and different interpretations of the shape of how these pastries should look like. I have made them with apple jam before, so I shaped them round-ish to resemble the apple (Picture below - I think my baking skills have improved a lot! I made those apple jam pastries in 2009!).
For these pineapple jam pastries, I shaped them into a large almond shape but slightly rounded top and bottom part of the pastry before inserting the whole clove to the top end.
They are prefect for afternoon tea, or as little gift for a special occasions.
It is not particular easy to make these pastries. I have made the pastry dough a bit softer by adding more boiling water. This will give a very buttery and delicately lighter pastry skin.
You should prepare the pineapple jam few days ahead before making the pastry. This will allow the jam cool down and slightly thicken to the right consistency to shape them into small balls.To make the pineapple jam. You will need:
- 1 Large Pineapple. (Skinned and discard the core. Coarsely grated. Then squeeze all the juices out (don't waste it!) and set aside.) (Pineapple juice is particularly good for preventing bloating and acidity.)
- The amount of the sugar should be the same weight as the grated and drained pineapple.
- A few cloves
- 1 Cinnamon bark.
Put all the ingredients in a pot and slowly cook it over high heat for approximately 15 minutes. Reduce the heat and cook further until the pineapple jam is thicken and glossy. Let it cool down completely and shape them into small balls for later.To make these pastry, you need the following ingredients:
- 170g Plain flour
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 140g butter (cold and finely diced)
- 1 Egg yolk (lightly beaten)
- Small pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp hot boiling water
- Extra few handful of flour (for kneading)
Grease a baking sheet with butter and pre-heat the oven to 150'C.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and sugar together and then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add in the beaten egg yolk and the hot boiling water. Mix it to form a dough. Add a few handful of additional flour if the dough mixture is too wet. The dough should be quite soft but not sticky. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap it in a piece of cling film and chill it in the fridge for at least 1/2 hours.
Once the pastry is ready, roll it out into a tube. Divide the dough into equal portions. You should be able to make at least 20 pastries (depending of the size you want to make).
Roll all the divided dough portions separately into small balls. Slightly flatten each ball with your palm and then roll it out with the rolling pin. Carefully wrap the pineapple jam ball with the dough. Shape it nicely and stick one clove to the top of the dough. Place it to the greased baking sheet.
Repeat the whole process until you have make use of all the dough. Chill the pastry in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Prepare the glaze by mixing 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk and 1 tsp water together.
Brush each pastry carefully with the glaze and then chill them in the fridge for further 10 minutes.
Bake them in the oven for 15 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 125'C and bake them for further 15 minutes. Remove the pastries from the oven and let them cool down completely on the wire rack. They should be ready!
But, for the finishing touch, if you think the pastry is a bit too pale. Once the pastries are cool, brush another layer of the glaze and bake them in 150'C oven for few more minutes until they are golden in colour.
ALL Done! Quite a long process, but it is worth it!If you would like to learn how to make these lovely pastries, let me know! I can provide 1:1 tuition or small group cooking classes arrangement at your connivence. Please get in touch here...
I am really quite missing some authentic Malaysian food at the moment. There is a Malaysian/Indonesia restaurant in Brighton, they have satays in their menu, it tasted not too bad, but pricy for 2-3 skewers of satay!
As usual, I think I can re-create those satays at home in my tiny kitchen with much cheaper spending and can eat to my heart's contents! These chunky, juicy and fragrant satays are probably better (in taste and value) than those I had in the restaurant!
I want to organise a cooking class to teach how to make these delicious and nice satay!
Linguine all’orientale - Cheap and Lazy Linguine Chinese way!
Food in foreign languages always sound rather good! This is my cheap and lazy food that always get me through the end of the month when I need to look after my out goings! Very delicious though! When I first moved to UK, my family and friends thought I must be eating a lot of white bread with water, as food are expensive in the UK comparing the costs of food in Malaysia. But luckily, I know how to cook since very young age, so I always be able to eat well with quite low monthly food expenses. I think that was the time when I really started to be creative with ingredients and ways of cooking.
This stir fry linguine is really simple to prepare...and you just use anything you have in the fridge - leftover meat, vegetables (cabbage), chillies, garlic, onions, eggs and mushroom etc. Some dried pasta of course!
Cut all ingredients as you like, no rules. Put everything in a large deep pan and stir fry the ingredients until soft and fragrant. In another pan, fry the eggs (as many as your like - one or two is good enough). Set aside.
Cook the pasta as your normally do and drained. Put the cooked pasta in the vegetable pan, and season it with dark soy sauce, salt and pepper. Mix everything evenly, add a few dash of fish sauce. Add the cooked eggs. Stir fry everything for few minutes.
Serves it with some pickled chillies and garnish with some fresh herbs - coriander, spring onions as you wish
Tip: To do this stir fry linguine, you must always keep the pan in high heat.
I love to cook simple but delicious food. When you are busy with work and you will (very possibly) search for something quick and easy (junk) food from the supermarket. I know it too well...! But you can make fresh meals from home if you have only 20-30 minutes time for cooking. Try these!
It's been quite a long time since I have wanton soup. This is one of the childhood food memory moments. There was a well-known wanton noodle restaurant in my childhood hometown - Kulai. I remember every week, my parents would take us to have breakfast at the restaurant at least once a week. Sometimes with few of my childhood friends, we venture there without our parents. We were all so young then (around 10 years old!). I am sooo old now, and since lost contact with most of those childhood friends....
Sometimes, I think I cook and eat as the acts of remembrance...Different food reminded me of different events and/or people in my life.
To make this wanton soup (which the taste is very different from the "childhood" restaurant), you will need the following ingredients (you can add more or reduce any of the listed ingredients depend on your own taste - all very flexible!):
- Minced pork (amount depends on how many wantons you intend to make!)
- Wanton skin (from Chinese supermarket)
- Some spring onion (thinly sliced)
- Minced fresh ginger (to taste - the more the better I think!)
- Light soy sauce (to taste)
- Salt and white pepper (to taste)
- Oyster sauce (to taste)
- Chinese leaves (as much as you like!) (sliced - for making the stock)
- White radish/ Mooli (as much as you like!) (cut into sticks for making the stock)
- Few dried Shiitake mushroom (for stock)
- Enough water to make the stock
- Coriander (for garnish)
- Few fresh chilli slices (for garnish)
- Fish sauce (few drop or to taste for final touch)
- Lemon (few squeezes for final touch)
Prepare the wanton first of all. In a large bowl, mix the pork, spring onion, ginger, soy sauce, oyster sauce, salt and pepper together and set it aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Next, prepare the stock, use a deep heavy pot, add the water, white radish, mushroom and Chinese leaves and bring it to a boil over high heat. Turn to lower heat and simmer the stock for at least 30 minutes or so.
Once the meat has been marinated, wrap about a teaspoon of meat with wanton skin (there is no rule of how you should wrap the meat with the wanton skin, place the meat in the middle of the skin and just close the edges of the skin towards the centre, it will all stick to the meat!). Repeat the process until you have used up all the marinated meat.
To cook the wantons, a lazy way is to just put them directly to the boiling stock and cook for few minutes until the skin is soft and the meat is cooked.
Or do it properly, you need a separate pan with plain boiling water, put the wantons and cook until the skin is soft and the meat is cooked. It should be under 5 minutes or so. Then drain and put them to the stock and cook for further few minutes before serving.
Serves the wanton soup hot. Just before serving, add a few dashes of fish sauce and a squeeze of lemon to over the soup. Garnish with chilli and coriander. Done. Yum!
This is especially a nice and balanced meal to have during Winter months.
Pork Wanton Soup
When you are busy and tired - all you want, I suspect, is something sweet with deep flavours! (That's all I want!)
This Coconut milk sago dessert is quite easy to make. Other then some effort to prepare the sago, you can make this in less then 5 minutes!
- About 1 cup of white sago pearls (soak the sago in cold water for 5 minutes and then put them in boiling water to cook until they turn transparent. Add more water as necessary during the cooking process. Once cooked, drain and wash the sago in cold water few times and drain completely)
- Few large tablespoonful soft dark brown sugar (to taste)
- Coconut milk (at least few large tablespoonful) (to taste)
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together and serves them in a small bowl. You may add more coconut milk or sugar to give it a richer taste. Nice dessert to serve cold during Summer.
Coconut Milk Sago Dessert With Soft Brown Sugar
Finally found an alternative way to upload images on Weebly. I don't know what is going on with it, kept having problem to upload images direct from my computer.
I have cooked/ learned quite a few dishes since April 2012. These Chinese Pork Jerky, (Bak Kwa) 肉干, were inspired by the Biltong (South African beef jerky) my friend gave me to try. She mentioned about the kind of Chinese jerky she had when she was a child. After some research online, I found out that, the process of making the Chinese Pork Jerky is quite similar to Biltong (except the pork is marinated in some Chinese sauces and the end of the BBQ stage)These Chinese pork jerky is a must-have-snack for Chinese New Year in Southeast Asia. You will find many pop-up stalls along the roadside, in front of the shops selling this snack. Each brand will have their own celebrity's endorsement. You will smell the sweet BBQ fragrance all over the street. It is the kind of snack always reminded me of Chinese New Year.I have not been back to Malaysia to celebrate Chinese New Year with my family for few years. I have almost forgotten about the taste of these pork jerky. From my earlier jerky research, I came across some really easy recipes to make the Chinese pork jerky at home. It is so easy, I am starting to question why is it during Chinese New Year, these special snack is particularly expensive! I am sure a homemade version will be free of any preservatives and artificial food colourings!To make this jerky at home, you will need the following ingredients:
Put everything in a large bowl and mix well. Set aside to let it marinate for overnight.When it is ready, arrange some of the marinated minced pork in between two sheets of baking paper. Use a rolling pin, flatten them to about the thickness of 3-5mm. Carefully peel off the top sheet of the baking paper and set aside (with the bottom sheet of baking paper attached ) the flatten minced pork. Repeat the same process with new baking paper until you have used up all the minced pork.Pre-heat the oven to 130'C. Bake each flatten minced pork sheet separately in a different tray for about 5-8 mins. The colour of the pork will be darken. Remove it from the oven, and set aside to cool down. Repeat the process until all minced pork sheets are baked. This is the first drying process.
- 1kg Minced pork
- 2 tbsp Soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Dark soy sauce
- 2 Large tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup sugar (Ideally unrefined cane sugar)
- 1 tbsp Chinese BBQ sauce (this can be found in Chinese Supermarket)
- 1 tbsp Sesame seed oil
Once the pork are cooled. Carefully remove it from the baking paper. Then cut the semi-dried pork sheet into squares (or rectangular shapes). You can keep the squares in a air-tight container for later use. Or you can turn the oven to 150'C to finalise the cooking process. Arrange the pork squares in the baking tray, return the tray to the oven and bake for about 5 mins or until the pork is fully cooked. These Chinese pork jerky should be moist and tender. Over cooked it, you will get a tough and hard jerky!Now who want to place their order for this Chinese pork jerky for the coming Chinese New Year!??
Mock Apam Balik (Scotch Pancake with peanut and sugar fillings)
I am having a lot of problems with Weebly image upload lately - I wasn't able to update the blog!
Two weeks ago, I completed a cookery leadership course - Cookability with Brighton and Hove Food Partnership
. It was an interesting 10 weeks course. We start from 9:30am until 2pm every Wednesday. The main objective of the course is to train people to lead community cookery courses. These community cookery courses introduce students some basic cooking skills and recipes to prepare fresh homemade meals using affordable local ingredients.
Every week during the Cookability session, we have training in food safety/ hygiene, basic food nutrition knowledges etc. Then a couple of hours to prepare (always) very exciting and big group lunch. Each week, the tutor talked a different food group - meat, fish, vegetable, daily etc, and everyone of us (9 students) will prepare one dish according to the week's food group topic.
It is always very exciting to see how all these simple ingredients transform into various delicious dishes to share amongst us. Food is really more delicious when shared..
Every week, student will prepare a cooking demo to the class. I have been putting it off due to my lack of confidence!
But my time of avoiding it was up at the last training session! I have to give a cooking demo! So I decided maybe making Scotch pancake can be interesting and fun.
There are so many different regional pancake recipes I found out. I thought I will demonstrate three pancake recipes using Scotch pancake mix as the basic ingredient and find inspirations from other regional recipes to give the Scotch
pancake mix a twist.
I made one portion of traditional plain Scotch pancake with homemade blueberry sauce, a portion of honeyed bacon savoury pancake (inspired by North American - Canada in particular - (thanks to my friend Lily!) - bacon and maple syrup) and then the last one, a local Malaysia pancake with crushed peanut and sugar fillings - Apam balik.
I have almost forgotten this common Malaysian street food - these pancake are popular as breakfast. I am very happy that I can re-create this pancake at home (although it is not exactly the same as what you will get in Malaysia) but I think they still tasted rather delicious. The slightly salted peanut worked wonderfully with the sugar.
To make this mock Apam balik (Apam - fold) (balik - turn)...you need:
- 125g self rising flour (sifted)
- 25g sugar
- 1 egg
- 150ml milk
- about 100g salted peanut (grind/ crush until reasonably fine)
- 2-3 tbsp unrefined cane sugar
Preheat the heavy based pan.
Mix the flour, sugar, egg and milk (little by little) to form a double cream consistency batter.
Wipe some oil to the pan, and drop one tablespoonful of the batter to the pan and slowly sprinkler some of the peanut and sugar filling on top of the pancake and cook until small bubbles forming on the surface of the pancake. Slowly fold the pancake in half and wrap the peanut filling inside. Cook until the pancake turn golden on both side of the folded pancake.
Repeat the process for the rest of the batter. Serves warm.
Make this as the alternative to plain pancake to impress your family and friends!
How interesting!! Exactly the same ingredient as the parsley pasta, but I manage to make a totally different kind of food with Asian flavours! And I found a different use of the left-over pasta dough! Simply divide the pasta dough into small balls and roll them out as a round "papadum" dish. Gently fry them until crisp and lightly coloured in a lightly oiled pan
Serves with the minced lamb sauce and chilli and tomato condiment. YUM!For the home-made chilli and tomato condiment
: I used the followings: (make 1 jar)
- 2 Large tomatoes (roughly chopped with skin and seeds)
- 4 Large red chillies (roughly chopped with seeds)
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 cup jam sugar (or just normal sugar)
- A handful of finely chopped coriander leaves
- A handful of roughly chopped coriander stalks
In a pan, cook the chopped tomatoes, chillies, lime juice and coriander stalks until soften and mashy. Add the sugar and cook until the sauce thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped coriander leaves and pour the mixture to a sterile jam jar and close the lid immediately and store it away until later. Done!