Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween Treats

There's no recipe here because I used packet mix. I didn't think the neighbourhood kids know how to appreciate gourmet cookies or cupcakes made from scratch anyway.

Chocolate cupcakes decorated with chocolate ganache, chocolate sprinkles, coloured choc chips and licorice strips.

Double chocolate cat cookies.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


Kedgeree is an Anglo-Indian breakfast dish.  I was inspired to try cooking it after I had the best kedgeree at The Chelsea Bistro at The Barracks, Brisbane. I didn’t go to the trouble of home-smoking any fish of course. It is actually quite easy to make, a bit like an Indian fried rice.

Ingredients (serves 5)
250g of smoked trout/cod (I used hot smoked salmon in mine)
4 hard boiled egg, cut into quarters
1 ½ cups of cooked basmati rice
1 carrot, diced
4 stalks of celery, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp of black mustard seeds
1 tsp of crushed cardamom
2 tsp of curry powder
1 tsp of tumeric powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
½ cup fish/vegetable stock
2 tsbp cooking oil
Few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
Salt to taste

1.          Heat the oil in a large pan.
2.          Sauté onion and garlic.
3.          Add the mustard seeds and cardamom until the mustard seeds “pop”.
4.          Add all the spice powders.
5.          Add carrots and celery next.
6.          Add a bit of stock if too dry.
7.          Add in the rice, make sure you break up any lumps.
8.          Add the stock and stir well.
9.          Next, add the tomatoes and salt to taste.
10.      Turn the heat off and sitr in the fish, eggs and parsley.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Mango Lychees Trifle

This is a refreshing summer trifle.  This is one of our favourite at Christmas time when mangoes are in abundance.

Ingredient (serves 6)
¾  cup custard
½ cup whipped cream
1 packet of pineapple flavoured jelly
½ mango, diced into 2cm cubes
12 lychees, peeled and deseeded (use canned if fresh ones are not available)
½ sponge cake, cut into 3 cm cubes
splashes of alcohol eg. Malibu, I used Madeira in these ones
3 strawberries halves as garnish

1.          Make the jelly the night before.
2.          To assemble, first place a layer of cake, splash on the alcohol, sprinkle the fruits, pour a layer of custard, then scoop in a tbsp of whipped cream.
3.          Repeat the layering.
4.          Top with the strawberries.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Buttermilk Dates Scones

We have some leftover cream and buttermilk, what to do?

Easy answer, freshly baked warm buttermilk dates scones with big lashings of strawberry jam and a dollop of whipped cream. Yum!

2 ½ cup self raising flour
30g butter
1 tbsp castor sugar
100g of chopped dates
1 ¼ cup buttermilk
Extra flour for dusting the bench top

1.          Preheat oven to 200°C.
2.          Put the flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
3.          Use your fingertips to work the butter into the flour to resemble breadcrumbs.
4.          Make a well in the middle.
5.          Pour the buttermilk in the well.
6.          Use a knife to cut the buttermilk through the flour, add in the dates.
7.          When it is fairly well mixed, dust the bench top with flour.
8.          Knead the dough lightly on the floured bench, just enough to hold it together. Do not overmix.
9.          Pat it down to2cm thickness.
10.      Use a 58mm diameter cookie cutter to press out the shapes.
11.      Place them on a tray together just touching the sides.
12.      Brush the top with a little milk.
13.      Bake for 15 minutes.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Sesame Oil, Ginger and Chinese Wine Chicken Braise 麻油鸡/姜酒鸡

This is a dish that is usually served to women in the post childbirth period to provide “heat” to the womb for healing. It doesn’t stop me eating this anytime I feel like it though. I used Shao Xing wine for this, but I’ve used sweet sherry, a touch of brandy, or Chinese rose wine as substitute.

5 cm chunk of ginger, skinned, smashed with the back of the knife
5 cloves of garlic, smashed
600g of chicken thigh fillet, cut into 3cm cubes
1 can of button mushrooms
5 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked and cut in half
1 cup of Shao Xing wine
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp of sesame oil
1 tbsp of light soy sauce (substitute with gluten free soy sauce for coeliacs)
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp tapioca starch, mixed with 1 tbsp of water to make a paste
Salt and pepper to taste

1.          Heat cooking oil in a deep saucepan.
2.          Sauté the ginger and garlic.
3.          Add the chicken and sauté.
4.          Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, wine and sesame oil.
5.          Add the mushrooms.
6.          Simmer with the lid on for about 15minutes until the chicken is cooked.
7.          Stir in the tapioca paste, and simmer until the sauce thickens.
8.          Add salt and pepper to taste.
9.          Serve with steamed rice.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Pumpkin Salad

We attended a friend’s housewarming BBQ on the weekend and were asked to bring a salad. This is what I made.

200g pumpkin, cut into 3-4 cm chunks about 1 cm thick
10 stalks of asparagus
100g baby spinach
½ red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup of pepitas, toasted
400g canned chickpeas
Parmesan shavings
A handful of chopped parsley
10ml white wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
20ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1.          Soak the cut onions in the white vinegar and sugar.
2.          Grill the asparagus (takes only 1-2 minutes on each side) and the pumpkin.
3.          Drain the chickpeas and the onion, reserve the white vinegar.
4.          Toss the spinach, asparagus and pumpkin with the chickpeas and half of the toasted pepitas.
5.          Mix the olive oil, the while vinegar, balsamic vinegar and parsley until it emulsifies.
6.          Pour over salad, toss.
7.          Sprinkle the rest of the pepitas on top and the Parmesan shavings.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Birthday Noodle (Seh Jit Mee or Lam Mee) 生日面/淋麵

My family hails from Penang, Malaysia where this dish originated from; this noodle dish is a family tradition. I used to look forward to this every year. It is a hawker dish that you seldom see outside of Penang. Thankfully it is very easy to cook, basically boiling a soup and blanching everything in it. (Hence quite a low fat dish too, bonus!) Well it was my birthday yesterday, mum not being here, I had to make this for myself didn't I?

Ingredients (serves 4)
200g Hokkein noodles, blanch for about 5 minutes
200g Rice vermicelli noodles, soaked in cold water, then blanch for 5 minutes
100g Fresh bean sprouts, blanch for 2 minutes
100g Chinese greens, blanch for 5 minutes
100g garlic chives, blanch for 2 minutes
300g fresh prawns, shelled (reserve the heads and shells) and deveined, blanch for 5 minutes
200g pork neck/fillet
200g chicken breast
3 cloves of garlic
3 eggs, beaten lightly
2 tbsp of soy sauce
2 tbsp tapioca starch
2 tbsp cooking oil
3 cups water
Salt and pepper

1 fresh chilli, sliced (optional)
4 sprigs of spring onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp of fried shallots

1.          Sauté prawn heads and shells with a tbsp of oil in a large soup pot.
2.          Add water and garlic and bring to the boil.
3.          Turn the heat down to a simmer; add the pork neck (whole strip) and the chicken breast.
4.          I blanch everything in the soup instead of using a separate pot of boiling water.
5.          In a flat pan, heat a tbsp of oil and make a thin omelette with the beaten eggs. Slice the omelette into thin strips when cooled.
6.          When the pork and chicken are cooked, fish them out of the soup, cooled, and slice thinly.
7.          Lay out all the blanched ingredients on a platter.
8.          Remove the prawn shells from the soup and skim all the impurities.
9.          Make a paste with the tapioca flour with a little water, add into the soup and add soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste.
10.      Boil it for a little while till it thickens slightly.
11.      To serve, put the noodles and vermicelli in the bowls, add the veges, then the meat, eggs, the garnishes.
12.      Lastly scoop some thickened soup over and enjoy!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Savoury Muffins

This is my trustworthy savoury muffin recipe. Actually the recipe came from an ex-colleague called Alex. Whenever I bake these, I often wonder where he is and what he’s doing these days.

Ingredients (makes 10 medium size muffins)

¼ cup vegetable oil
¾ milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups self raising flour
½ onion, sliced
½ cup diced capsicum
½ cup diced ham/bacon
½ cup grated cheese

1.          Preheat oven to 180°C.
2.          Simply mix all the ingredients together.
3.          Spoon into muffin tin.
4.          Bake in oven for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Coming Up in October

Apologies for neglecting the blog for a while. We went away for a week's holiday at Hervey Bay. See the whale watching photos below. I've also not been feeling the best, hence the slackness in cooking and blogging. I hope I'll be up to cooking a bit more in the next month or so. The DH and the boys have been doing some of the cooking lately, but not many of them presentable enough for food blogging.

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