Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cherry-lemon mini cheesecakes

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and I had this idea of making minis with lovely hearts on top . In reality , the heart-shaped design that I envisioned looks like Pac-Man chasing each other and some even resembles sperm cells *see the 3rd photo below* lol  Need to process the topping until smooth next time .

I need to used up the remaining cherry and strawberry sauce that I made more than 2 weeks ago . No food poisoning , so far .  I can eat only so much crackers with this sauce and making these cheesecakes is one surefire way to consume it once and for all . 

I used the recipe that I've seen at Bon Appétit , it calls for only 1 package of cream cheese ; baking it is as straightforward as you can get and no water bath ! Instead of baking it in an 8-inch square pan , I used the oddball size muffin liners that I have on hand , just perfect for these minis since you don't have to grease it . The serving size is really good if you're craving for something calorific but you don't want to make a super size version *see last photo*.

Of course , you can just buy a slice to satisfy your craving ! 

Please check original recipe @ Bon Appétit

Makes one 8-inch square cheesecakes or eight 2x1-inch minis

Crust :

130 grams speculoos , finely crushed 
20 grams salted butter , melted

Filling :

1 8-oz / 227 grams cream cheese , room temperature
1/3 cup vanilla sugar 
1 large egg , room temperature
4 tablespoons sour cream , room temperature
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
zest of one lemon 

about 1/4 cup pureéd cherry and strawberry sauce  

Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C .  Mix crushed biscuits and butter together ; press crumbs , about 2 heaping tablespoons each , evenly into 8 muffin liners . Bake for 12 minutes , place crust into freezer while preparing the filling . 

* With an electric mixer , beat cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until smooth , scraping down sides of the bowl . Add in the sour cream , beat for 1 minute , add in egg , beat until just combine then the lemon juice and zest . Divide mixture into the prepared liners . Drop 3 dots of the pureéd sauce on top of the batter and lightly drag the toothpick on top of each dot .  

* Bake cheesecakes for 25-30 minutes or until slightly puffed and set in the center . Leave in the oven with door slightly ajar for 30 minutes . Cool completely in a wire rack and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before consuming . 

Cherry and strawberry sauce 

1 1/2 cup frozen cherries 
1/2 cup fresh strawberries , hulled 
1/3 cup sugar or more if desired
2 tablespoon water 
zest of 1 lime 
2 teaspoon lime juice

2 tablespoon water mix with 1 teaspoon tapioca starch 

* In a small saucepan , combine cherries , strawberries , sugar , water , zest and juice of lime . Let boil and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until mixture thickens , add in the starch mixture and cook for 1 minute . Transfer sauce into a heatproof bowl and let cool completely before using . 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Chinese sausage carbonara

I'm currently hosting the Little Thumbs Up , a cooking and baking  bloghop event organized by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Favourite DIY  . The theme for this month is Pasta / Noodles , if you want to join us , simply cook / bake any dish with noodles / pasta . This event will run until the end of January so the submission must be within this month only . You may link your post HERE .

Looking for an inspiration on what to do with those dried Chinese sausages that has been lurking in your fridge for quiet sometime ?! Don't worry if you don't have it , go buy it asap ! , because if you love Chinese food , you gonna love this Chinese-style carbonara !

Carbonara is an Italian pasta dish , traditionally made from eggs , pecorino or parmigiano , pancetta and black pepper . Spaghetti is usually used but some other pasta like fettuccine or linguine is also used . The meat is fried then the hot cooked pasta is added so as the egg and cheese mixture , the heat from the pasta will cook the egg(s) and it should have a smooth and creamy texture . You can substitute the Italian cheese for any other cheeses , pancetta for bacon and some recipe uses cream . In this recipe both cream and Chinese preserved sausages are used .

Here in Hongkong , you can see different kinds of dried Chinese meat particularly during winter hanging in the grocer's storefront  . The 2 kinds that I used in this recipe is Lap cheong ( in Cantonese ) , it's a pink dried pork sausage speckled with fat and the much darker one is called Yuen cheong and is made of goose or pork or duck's liver . These sausage are widely used in variety of Cantonese dishes from making Loh bak goh or turnip cake , steamed sticky rice , dim sum , stir-fries , to name a few .

This is a simple twist on a carbonara recipe , using Chinese sausage instead of pancetta or bacon , a fast and delicious dish with Chinese flavor ! I made a minor tweaked on the recipe of i am a food blog  and added some  ingredients that I've found on Jamie's . 

Time is important when making this dish , make sure to prepare everything before boiling the pasta . I usually boil the spaghetti for 12 minutes , the Chinese sausages takes only 5 minutes to pan-fry since I steamed it beforehand . 

Recipe adapted from i am a food blog and Jamie O

2 Chinese sausage , steamed for 10 minutes and cut into small dices
2 eggs 
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese , divided
75 ml double cream 
2 sprigs cilantro , snipped , reserve some for garnish
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste  
200 grams spaghetti 

* In a bowl , whisk the eggs , half of the cheese , cream , some of the cilantro , ground black pepper and chili flakes , set aside .

* Boil pasta in a salted boiling water . When the pasta is cooked halfway through , start cooking the chopped sausage . Heat wok or a large pan , when it is hot , add the sausages , no need to add oil , cook on medium heat for 5 minutes , stirring constantly . 

*  Take wok/pan off heat . Drain pasta and add it to the pan , stir the sausages and pasta together then pour in the egg mixture , toss everything quickly , the heat from the pasta will cook the egg delicately just enough for it to thicken but not curdled . Sprinkle the remaining cheese , add salt , if necessary , and black pepper , give it a good stir then transfer to a serving plate or bowl . Garnish with cilantro , sprinkle with black pepper and serve immediately .   

This post is linked to Little Thumbs Up organized by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Favourite DIY . I'm hosting this month's theme , Pasta /Noodles .

Check out all the delicious submission HERE


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Chicken and vegetable stir- fry with easy peanut sauce

To kick start the new year , I've made this moriesh and very flavorful veggie-packed one-pan stir-fry . A satisfying dish when you're hungry and in a hurry but don't want any takeout dish . The flavor goes well together and it pairs well with my favorite grain and it's no wonder that I keep cooking this since last month  . 

The cumin adds a certain depth of wonderful flavor and aroma to this dish , so don't omit it . The sauce can be use as a dipping sauce for grilled chicken or pork or a Vietnamese-style fresh spring rolls . Serve this dish with rice or noodles , you can even add more veggies like cauliflower or French beans or use shrimps/prawns instead of chicken . If you want a meatless dish , use tofu , pan-fry it and it'll be just as scrumptious , well , if you dig tofu , that is  ! You can double the recipe and if you're using whole chicken legs just like the one I used in this recipe , the chicken will still be moist and soft after reheating , steaming's the best way to reheat it . With its delightful texture and a wonderful spicy satay flavor , this speedy dish will surely please kids and adults alike !

Please check original recipe @ Cooking Light / My Recipes 

400 grams / 2 pieces skinless and boneless whole chicken legs  

1 head broccoli 
1 large red bell pepper 
1 clove garlic , minced 
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger 
1/4 cup coconut cream 
2 tablespoon broth or warm water 
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon chili paste / sauce
2 teaspoon grated lime rind 
1 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil 
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
some lightly salted peanuts , to garnish

* Cut chicken legs into four , season with salt , ground white pepper , 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1/2 teaspoon tapioca starch  mix well and set aside , 

* Cut broccoli into florets , trim and peeled the tough outer layer of the stalk and cut into sticks . Blanch in a boiling water for 1 minute , rinse and drain in a colander . Cut bell pepper into bite-sized pieces . 

* In a medium bowl , combine the coconut cream , broth / water , soy sauce , peanut butter , chili sauce , lime rind , lime juice , sesame oil and cumin , stirring with a whisk until peanut butter is dissolved , set aside . 

* Heat a wok or a large skillet over high heat , add some oil , when oil is hot , add chicken , cook for 2 minutes ( depending on the thickness ) on both sides , transfer to a plate and cut into bite-sized pieces . Turn down heat to medium-high , add in broccoli and bell pepper , stir-fry for 2 minutes . Add in the chicken , cook for another 2 minutes then pour in the sauce , stir and cook for about a minute , stirring well to combine . Adjust taste and dish up , serve immediately .