I’ll be the first to admit, I am a gadget junkie. This weekend I stepped inside the mall and stepped out with an electric groom tool and a soft serve ice cream maker. It really didn’t matter that even the salesman tried to dissuade me to get the groom tool or that I had previously bought two ice cream makers (which I had each used once). My desire to have a soft serve ice cream party during the summer (only six months away) was enough to cloud my normally better judgement. The truth is, most of the gadgets would be lucky to be used twice… Like my coconut grater, express pizza oven, and smoker (oh actually, that was only used once!).
Posts Tagged ‘recipe’
We were once asked to fill out a questionnaire at work that was meant to assess our strengths and weaknesses. The survey had over 150 questions and we were meant to share our results with our group when done. After the 10th question, I gave up, there was simply no way I was going to sit through the remaining 140. I decided instead to ask my husband what he thought my strengths were, and what areas I could improve on.
“On the positive side,” he said “you are resourceful, always wanting to learn new things and you get along well with others.”
“But…” I asked.
“Well, you’re impatient” he told me. ”Impatient?? I’m not impatient!” I protested.
“You are – you can’t even sit down long enough to fill out a survey!” he answered.
When I want something, I want it right NOW. The smallest hint of delay can frustrate and exasperate me.
I remember the exchange of emails just like it was yesterday. A couple of Filipina friends exploring the possibility of starting a cooking club that would promote Filipino food. We talked about designing a banner and spent a few days coming up with an “introduction” to our club. We talked about having monthly themes which we would then post our own version of on our blogs. So in November 2009 a group of three friends decided to officially kick off the the Kulinarya Cooking Club. I’m proud to say that twenty dishes later, the group still continues to celebrate the wonderful flavours of the Philippines. In fact, the group today numbers over 50 members!
I’ve chosen to share my version of one of the Philippine’s well known and most loved dishes…adobo. Now, you must realize that Filipinos take their adobo very seriously. Almost everyone seems to think that their version is the best. Well, this version is sure to rival the best of the best. Seriously.
A more common version of adobo is cooked with vinegar and soy, this recipe eliminates the soy sauce, which makes it the “white” version of adobo. Adobo is essentially a stew, usually made with chicken and pork, where the meat is simmered over and the dish is finished by pan frying the meat before serving. Quite different from most stews where the meat is seared and then simmered over a long time. As for me, I’ve pan fried the meat before and after simmering – a little extra step but I do love the resulting crispiness of the chicken skin in this recipe.
Adobong Puti (White Chicken Adobo)
- 8 chicken thighs, de-boned (with skin on)
- 6 tablespoons oil
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled
- 125 ml white vinegar
- 6 pieces black pepper corns
- 2 bay leaves
- salt to taste
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large pan. When hot, add the chicken in batches to brown the skin, around 3 minutes. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan.
- Remove the chicken pieces and take out some of the oil in the pan and put the pan back on the heat.
- Add the garlic and saute, then add the white vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaves and chicken. Allow the vinegar to come to a boil then add enough water to cover the chicken, around 500 to 750 ml.
- Allow the chicken to simmer, around 30 minutes until cooked. When done, remove the chicken from the pan and allow the sauce to simmer further until the sauce thickens to almost a syrup, around 20 minutes. When ready to serve the chicken, heat the rest of the oil in a separate pan and crisp the skin once more. Serve the sauce on the side and some white rice.
I had a friend who was visiting for a few days and I found out that she had stopped eating meat since the last time I saw her. On a whim, I told her that I too would give up meat. If you read my blog, you’ll notice that I’ve always loved cooking/eating meat and there are a considerable number of recipes penned here. So while the decision to do this was initially born out of curiosity to see if I could last a few days, I knew lasting more than a week wasn’t going to be easy. I don’t know how long this will last – a few more weeks? Months perhaps? Forever? I’m not really sure but for the meantime, I’m starting to enjoy the challenge of making tasty and meatless dinners.
This is one of those meatless dishes that I could happily eat everyday. Think layers of creamy pumpkin puree and ricotta in between sheets of homemade pasta – believe me – it’s enough to convert any carnivore.
A little note about the recipe – it’s very simple to put together – unless you’re like me where you want to complicate things and make your own pasta (it’s worth it though) – but if you’re pressed for time, use store bought lasagna sheets. Also, the pumpkin puree is delicious as a side dish too.
“I’m vegetarian!” I told proudly told a work colleague during drinks one day.
“Since when?” he asked.
“Wait a second,” another friend interrupted. ”Didn’t you just put that pate in your mouth?” She asked.
“Ahh… actually I still eat chicken… and sesafood.” I clarified.
Pumpkin and Ricotta Lasagna with Sage, Hazelnuts and Burnt Butter Sauce
- 1 kilo Pumpkin
- 150 grams unsalted butter plus 50 grams butter
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 400 grams ricotta
- 1 egg
- pinch of nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 recipe pasta (see here)
- 100 grams parmesan cheese
- 10 sage leaves
- 20 grams toasted hazelnuts
- To make the pumpkin puree, peel the pumpkin and diced into 2 inch cubes. Heat the 150 grams of butter in a pan and add the pumpkin once the butter is melted. Add the vanilla bean and scraped seeds and cook the pumpkin until soft enough that you can cut it with a spoon, around 20 minutes. Stir the pumpkin once in a while to make sure that the pumpkin doesn’t catch to the bottom of the pan. Once the pumpkin is soft enough, blend or process the pumpkin until smooth. Set aside.
- Mix the ricotta, egg and nutmeg together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside
- Grease a baking pan with some olive oil and lay sheets of cooked pasta to cover the bottom of the pan. Layer a third of the pumpkin puree and top with more of the lasagna sheets.
- Top with a third of the ricotta mixture and the cover again with more lasagna sheets.
- Now add half of the remaining pumpkin puree and cover with the lasagna sheets. Add half of the remaining ricotta and again, more lasagna sheets. Finally, spread the remaining pumpkin puree and on top of this add the rest of the ricotta. Top with parmesan cheese.
- Bake the lasagna in a pre-heated oven at 180c (fan forced) for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown.
- Heat the remaining butter along in a small sauce pan until it goes nutty brown. Add the sage leaves and to crisp them up. Top with the toasted hazelnuts.
On another note, the Council of Italian Restaurants Association (CIRA) has just posted their latest class schedule for June/July/August. If you are interested in attending any of their classes, email email@example.com or follow @italcira on twitter for more details.
I once challenged my husband (then boyfriend) to a food contest. We were planning a dinner and I told him that we both should come up with our own menu and get my Mom to judge which was better. He had very simple tastes (then) and I since I would pour over food magazines during my spare time – it was a no brainer who would win. I can’t even remember what his menu was (nor could I remember mine) – but I do remember how excited he seemed and how serious he was taking the challenge. I took one look at his “entry” and in a moment of kindness I decided that I would let him win. I liked that he tried hard and was I excited to see him passionate about food (for once). When he wasn’t looking I snuck to where my Mom was and told her that we were having a competition on who could make a better menu and whatever happened – to please say that he had a better menu.
I regret doing this now.
He has never let me forget that he won the menu challenge. No matter how many times I tell him it was rigged, he insists that he won.
To this day we have these menu competitions. The last one was about a month ago when we had dinner at Duke’s Bistro in Darlinghurst. One dish we shared were these slow cooked beef ribs with mustard sauce, daikon and some shiso served with mandarin pancakes – like how you would serve peking duck. We both loved the idea of the pancakes and thought wrapping something other than peking duck was genius. ”Can you come up with something better?” He asked.
“Challenge accepted.” I told him.
On pieces of paper we wrote what we thought would go best with the pancakes…
Can you guess whose idea the roast pork belly was?
Easy Crispy Chinese Roast Pork Belly
This is the first part of two. The dish is served with some Mandarin pancakes, spring onions, and cucumbers. I’ve used sriracha sauce although a spicy Chinese mustard sauce would also work well. The secret to the crispy skin is to make sure it is completely dry before roasting. To ensure the meat is moist, roasting over a pan of water does the trick. I’ll post the Mandarin Pancake recipe next.
- 600 grams pork belly
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon five spice powder
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons caster sugar
- Score the pork belly lengthways (or ask your butcher to score the skin for you). Place the pork belly skin side up, on a plate and on top of the kitchen sink. Boil around three cups of water and pour this over the pork belly. Pat the pork belly dry and place on a plate in the refrigerator for an hour or two.
- In the meantime, prepare the paste by mixing the salt, five spice, garlic and caster sugar – using a mortar and pestle or food processor until the mixture resembles a rich dark brown paste.
- Once the pork is ready, place this on a chopping board, skin side down, and cut through the flesh, making sure not to cut through the skin. You will need to rub the spice paste all over the flesh, including the crevices and sides. Make sure not to rub any paste on the skin.
- Place the pork belly on a rack and place this back into the refrigerator to allow the skin to dry, at least four hours, or overnight.
- To cook the meat, remove the pork belly from the refrigerator. Bring the oven to 220 c (fan forced). Fill a deep baking tray around half way with water and place a wire rack over this. This will keep the pork flesh moist while the skin crisps up. Place the tray and rack in the oven and put the pork belly (skin side up) on top of the rack. Roast the pork for 20 minutes at this temperature and then drop the temperature to 180 c for 30 minutes. Finally, take the temperature up to 230 c for 15 minutes. Remove the pork from the oven and rest for around 10 minutes. Cut into serving pieces and serve with Mandarin pancakes.
“Why can’t you help out more with the housework?” I screamed at my husband early on Saturday.
I must have shocked him at six in the morning but I was tired and grumpy and the dogs were whimpering for a walk and I wanted him, for once, to take care of it.
“Where is this coming from?” he asked. ”I’m always walking the dogs, cooking and washing and YOU need to do your share!” I told him.
Now, I know that arguing with your husband at six a.m. isn’t the best of ideas and no arguments get resolved so early in the morning, but I wouldn’t back down. So back and forth we went about who was going to walk the dogs and why I thought he wasn’t “sharing the burden” (yes, those were my words) and how he thought I was crazy for bringing this up so early in the morning and after twenty minutes we never really got to any resolution.
Instead of dwelling on our fight, I decided to take my mind off things and bake this beautiful Braised Onion Pie which I saw from the cookbook of Gary Mehigan and George Colombaris called “Your Place or Mine” The recipe is George’s take on his Mum’s Spanakopita, a Greek pie made with spinach and feta. Instead of the spinach, George makes onions the star of this dish. The dish is made with caramelized onions, shallots, garlic, leeks, ricotta and a beautiful crumbly Greek feta.
A word of caution, there is a lot of onions to go through with this dish. I normally refrigerate my onions prior to slicing them which, at least for me, helps to prevent my crying while I slice them. But on that morning, there were lots of tears.
It was worth it though. I started cooking at 10:00 am and at 10:30 my husband took the dogs for a walk. At 11:30 he came back and watered the plants…. at 12 noon he took the trash out.
Something was going on. Could it be the smell of the sweet caramelized onions making him sorry? Was he trying to make amends so he could have some lunch?
As we sat down for lunch I asked him why he was being so nice.
“I knew you were upset, I saw you crying and wanted to make it up to you.” he said.
Crying? Should I admit that it was the onions?
Or maybe wait for him to read this post…
Onion Spanakopita (Braised Onion Pie)
From Your Place or Mine? Gary Mehigan & George Calombaris
- 150 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 12 onions, thinly sliced
- 8 shallots, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
- 10 sprigs thyme
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 400 grams firm ricotta cheese
- 400 grams feta, crumbled
- 18 sheets filo pastry
- 200 ml butter
- sea salt flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil over high heat in a heavy based sauce pan. Add the onions, shallots, garlic, leeks, picked thyme sprigs and bay leaves and cook out for around 5 minutes over high heat. Turn the heat down to low and cook the mixture gently until the onions are caramelized, this will take around 45 minutes. Make sure to stir frequently to prevent the onions from catching the bottom of the pan and burning.
- Allow the onion mixture to cool and remove the bay leaves. Mix in the ricotta and crumbled feta.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170c fan-forced.
- Cut the sheets of filo to fit a baking tray (I used a baking tray measuring 30cm by 24 cm) and lay the sheets on top of some greaseproof or baking paper and then cover with a damp cloth to prevent drying and cracking. Take one sheet of filo and butter the bottom of the tray. Spread a layer of the filo and brush some butter to cover and then layer another sheet of filo and brush some more butter to cover. Repeat this with six more sheets, brushing some butter each time.
- Place half of the onion mixture on the filo sheets and spread evenly. Next, cover with three more buttered sheets of filo and then the remaining onion mixture. Finally, place another seven sheets of buttered filo (make sure you butter the last sheet).
- Bake the pie in a pre-heated oven for 45 minutes and serve warm. If you are making the pie in advance, you can reheat the pie in a 180c oven for 15 minutes.
A year ago I attempted to make har gow and failed miserably. It might have been because I used wheat flour instead of wheat starch and the resulting dough was so sticky that I had to throw the “ball of glue” away. The experience was enough to turn me away from trying to make them for a very long time. That is until I had a monumental craving for these dumplings. Cravings so intense that I had har-gau for lunch, FIVE straight days. I would go to one of the nearby yum cha places and order take-away. By the third day it was not only getting expensive – it was also getting slightly embarrassing to arrive at the restaurant and have the waiter smile knowingly, and then signal the lady in the dumpling cart to bring the har gow for me.
By the fourth day I felt like an addict trying to hide a bad craving. My husband called at 11:30 asking whether I wanted to have Japanese for lunch. My heart being set on the dumplings, ”I can’t, I have an important meeting that I need to prepare for.” I told him.
By the fifth day I had to admit that things were getting out of hand and vowed to try my hand at making them again.
So here’s the result. If you are thinking of having a go at making these crystal prawn dumplings, this is a great place to start. This version of har gow is delicious – just like the ones in the yum cha place.
Here’s the thing – after having them for five days straight and then making them on my own on the sixth day, I’ve suddenly gotten over my craving.
My husband however, is a different story.
He can’t get enough of them.
Being invited to someone’s house for dinner always poses a problem for me. I often wonder, what’s the best thing to bring? Given a choice between bringing the standard wine, flowers or food, I’ll inevitably resort to bringing food. Then there’s the dilemma of what dish to bring. Do I bring an entree or dessert? And God forbid if I bring the same dish that the host is cooking! Being asked to guest blog is just as nerve wracking. Especially when the one asking has such a beautifully written and photographed blog like Xiaolu from 6 Bittersweets.
After much internal debate, I managed to settle on this Frozen Brazo De Mercedes, a very much loved layer cake from the Philippines. I wanted to make a dish that showcased one of the most unique (and delicious) desserts that the Philippines had to offer. What to take a guess as to what the layers are made of? Well, I’m not going to spoil it for you – just head on over to Xiaolu’s blog for the recipe of this Frozen Brazo De Mercedes Cake. And while you’re there, make sure the check out the rest of her lovely blog!
I think that at some point in time, most of us have openly defied our parents. When I was growing up I had friends who would skip school, or go out with boys their parents banned them from seeing. Some of them take up drinking and go out past their curfews.
Me? My form of rebellion was eating fish balls from the street vendors outside my school.
Because she worried that the stalls were not clean and the food was not sanitary, my Mom explicitly banned all of us from buying any food from the vendors who lined the streets outside the school walls. Every afternoon I would watch as my classmates would spend whatever was left of their daily allowance buying snacks from the vendors. Sometimes they would buy boiled peanuts or green mangoes… but I was always most envious when they’d buy the deep fried fish balls.
The fish balls were served on a barbecue stick and served a sweet and sour dipping sauce. Sometimes, I’d ask my friends for a bite which was always a mistake as it would make me want even more. Finally, one day the little rebel in me decided enough was enough. I decided to sneak out one afternoon with a friend to buy the fish balls. In fact, I bought three sticks and those five minutes it took me to finish eating them, was pure bliss.
When I saw these homemade prawn balls from Indochine Kitchen’s blog, it brought back memories of the days I’d sneak out to buy the fish balls. I had always wondered how to get that crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside texture from these deep fried balls made from seafood (whether it be prawns, fish or squid) and Jun’s recipe was simple enough to try.
Not only did making them take me back to that afternoon I snuck out to eat the forbidden fish balls, but these prawn balls were better – and so incredibly easy to make. In fact, I’ve made these twice already. The first time I made them plain similar to the recipe on Jun’s blog. The second time I added a bit more flavours like coriander, ginger, garlic and soy sauce. Both version were definite crowd pleasers, especially with some sweet chili sauce.
Homemade Prawn Balls
Adapted from Indochine Kitchen
- 500 grams prawn meat, veins removed
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or tapioca flour
- 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
- 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
- 1 stalk spring (green) onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- Oil for frying
- Mix all the ingredients together in a food processor and blend well.
- Take a rounded spoonful of the prawn mixture and shape it into a ball. It helps the shaping if you wet the spoon with cold water.
- Heat a wok or pan with oil for frying. When hot enough, gently drop the prawn balls in the oil and fry for around 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper before serving with some sweet chili sauce.
There are New Year’s resolutions I make that I never keep, despite good intentions. The other day I realized it was already mid January and I still hadn’t gotten around to exercising, or reading my “book of the month”. Sometimes I think to myself, would it work if I made some Reverse New Year’s Resolutions instead? I’d love to be able to resolve to (1) Eat as much junk food as I want, (2) Buy as many cookbooks as I can, and (3) Never exercise.
The resolutions I like to make however, are those relating to food. Those ones I gladly keep. This year I decided that one of them was to learn how to cure fish. Curing to me has always been one of those things that only seriously weird and crazy food fanatics make. It’s right up there with the sausage making and making. Considering that I have already gone to a sausage making class AND I’ve learned how to make cheese, it was really only about time that I decided to bite the bullet and cure my own salmon.
The recipe I chose was from Dietmar Sawyere’s Table By The River. Sawyere is executive chef and director of two-hat restaurant Berowra Waters Inn located on the Hawkesbury river. If you’re like me and have never had the pleasure of dining in this restaurant – some caution – reading this book will make you want to hop on the next sea plane to get there (my booking is in mid- Feb!).
There is nothing difficult about curing – the one thing you need though, is patience. However, if you are new to curing, this recipe is probably the best place to start. For one, given the size of the fillet used, the curing only takes four hours, much shorter than many recipes I’ve seen that can take up to two days. The curing recipe is only made up of coriander, sea salt, sugar, dill and citrus zest. The cured salmon is also accompanied with a crisp tortilla (next time, I’ll try using a fried wanton wrapper as well) with some spiced avocado, and topped with salmon roe. Each bite has the gorgeous sweet-citrusy salmon, the crunch of the tortilla, tang of the avocado and the “pop” of the briny salmon roe. To me, an epitome of a perfect bite.
Sugar-cured Salmon, Spiced Avocado, Crisp Tortilla
Recipe from Dietmar Sawyere, Table By The River
- 8 coriander seeds
- 30 grams (1 oz) salt
- 30 grams (1 oz) sugar
- 20 grams (2/3 oz) dill sprigs, roughly chopped
- 1 lime, zested, juice reserved
- zest of 1 lemon
- 30 ml (1 fl oz) lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil
- 400 grams (14 oz) centre-cut salmon fillet, skin-on, pin boned (I used salmon with the skin off)
- 1 ripe Hass avocado
- 2 tsp shallot, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp red chilli, finely diced
- 20 ml (2/3 fl oz) chicken stock, chilled (I used double cream)
- Juice of 1 lime (above)
- sea salt
- 2 large soft flour tortillas
- grapeseed oil for frying
- sea salt
- 30 grams salmon roe
- micro coriander leaves
For the Sugar-cured Salmon
- Place the coriander seeds, sea salt and sugar in a mortar and lightly crush with a pestle. Add the dill, lime and lemon zests and spread evenly over the flesh side of the salmon. (Since my fillet was skinned, I rubbed the mix on both sides)
- Warp the salmon in clingfilm or aluminium foil and place on a plate with a light weight on top. Leave the weighted salmon in the fridge for 4 hours, then wash the fish under cold running water and dry well with a clean cloth.
- Using a sharp knife, remove the salmon fillet from the skin. Rub the salmon with a little lemon infused extra virgin olive oil and keep tightly wrapped in the fridge until needed.
For the Spiced Avocado
- Cut the avocado in half, discard the stone and scoop out the flesh. Place the avocado flesh in a blender along with the shallots, chilli, and chicken stock (or cream, if using). Blend of a puree and correct the seasoning with the lime juice and some sea salt.
- Cut the tortillas into rectangles and crisp-fry in some grapeseed oil. Remove and season lightly with sea salt. Spoon some avocado puree on top of the warm tortilla and then place a slice of the sugar-cured salmon on the avocado. Garnish with salmon roe and some micro coriander leaves.
Thank you to New Holland for the Review Copy.
Table By The River, Dietmar Sawyere RRP $49.95