Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pan-fried Dumplings & a Shout out !!!

To the lurker(s) :D , who cringe as she/he read this grammatically challenged blog , *waves* :D & to the most imporant of all , my AWESOME FOLLOWERS ( whose fabulous blogs I religiously stalk , too :D ) fellow homecooks and wannabe pastry chef heh ! , a BIG  HUG & THANKS for all those heartwarming and sometimes kooky comments that always got me laughing . Hopefully for the coming year , may we all have more kitchen gadgets to own , more food to cook so that we can post more hahaha and hopefully for me - good food shots , I NEED A CANON DSLR wahhhhhh *sigh* DREAM ON , ANNE tsk tsk :P :D . CHEERS !!!!!

And because today's the last day of 2011 , I need to blog something for posterity heh!

I usually made these when I'm not too busy lazing around :P ^-^" You may deep-fried it also or just boiled and served in ( noodle ) soup .  In my earlier post , I called these potstickers but if you google the name , it's not really the same way I usually cook these  . So to be safe , I just called it pan-fried dumplings hee hee

250 minced or ground pork
250 watercress ( spinach is really good , too )
20 grams dried shrimps , soaked and chopped
1/4 cup chopped spring onion
1 tsp chicken powder
1 tsp brown sugar
a pinch of coarse salt
a dash of ground white pepper

about 35-40 store-bought dumpling skin ( we have 2 sizes of white round wrapper here , I used a small one )

* Rinse and blanch watercress , squeeze off excess water then chop .
* Add chicken powder , sugar , salt and white pepper to the minced pork and mix thoroughly .
* Add in the shrimps , watercress and spring onion , mix well .
* Put about a teaspoon of the filling on the center of the wrapper , moisten the lower half , then gather both side , crimping the lower half while pressing both sides together . Repeat until you ran out of wrapper or filling or both .
* Cook dumplings in boiling water until they float , drain and let cool .
* Heat a little bit oil in a non-stick pan , fry on both sides until lightly brown . Serve hot .

For the sauce :  ( No measurement since I usually pour everything in a small bowl , mix it in , taste and adjust if necessary )
    * rice vinegar or white vinegar
    * dark soy sauce
    * brown sugar
    * salt
    * chili sauce

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Anne's Brownies


How's your Christmas anyway ? Me ? Besides vacuuming the floor ? :D All I did was read , sleep , read , sleep , cook  hahahaha

I was planning on baking my way thru next year but our kitchen scale had other idea tsk It expired after more than 5 years of hard labor . I had to buy the cheapest I could find and it's an old-fashion one , the brand's  Tanita so it's a good quality  . After using digital scale for a long time this one will take time getting used to :P , had to bend to better check the correct quantity ^-^"

So onto the brownies , I had to try making it with light brown sugar but of course I have to check some recipes online and some books I borrowed from the library for inspiration . And because I'm the one who's going to clean up , too *sigh* hee hee I had to steal some idea from this one pan brownies recipe so that I don't have to wash TOO MUCH things heh! Oh , these brownies are crunchy on top , gooey and chewy inside and it's really yummmm but since I made it , don't take my word for it heh!

100 grams bittersweet chocolate
100 grams butter
175 grams light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
85 grams plain flour
2 T instant espresso
1 T natural unsweetened  cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
50 grams chopped roasted walnuts
150 grams white chocolate

* Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C
* Butter and line with foil or parchment paper an 8-inch baking pan , set aside.
* Put butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of steaming but not boiling water , stirring occasionally until melted  . Remove from heat , let cool.
* Stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until sugar is dissolved . Add eggs one at a time , beating with a wooden spoon until well combined .
* Sift the flour , espresso , cocoa and salt onto the mixture and mix thoroughly , add in the vanilla , stir and add the chopped walnuts and white chocolate . Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or so .
* Cool in the pan on a wire rack before cutting .

Makes 16 brownies

Monday, December 19, 2011

Taro ( Steamed ) Cake

Gabi in Ilonggo ( our local dialect back home ) and wu tao ( ? ) here in Hongkong . Taro is sold here all year ( almost ) round . The steamed cake is a staple at most Chinese resto so as in vegetarian ( sans meat , duh! ) restaurant . So how come it's really yummy to eat it during winter ? You can either eat this after steaming or fried it - which is the best - and dunk it in hoisin sauce but the best is chili sauce .

600 grams taro , diced and steamed for 15 minutes
200 grams rice flour
2 pc Chinese sausage , boil for 10 minutes then diced
generous 2 1/2 cup lukewarm water
5 small dried mushrooms , soaked and diced
15 grams dried shrimp , soaked and coarsely chopped
generous tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 tsps chicken powder
2 tsps brown sugar
1 tsp coarse salt
a dash of ground white pepper
some chopped spring onion

* In a large pan , panfry the Chinese sausage ( no need to add oil ) until sausages releases some of it's oil . Add mushrooms and shrimp , stir fry until fragrant .
* Add the 3/4 of the diced taro , cilantro , chicken powder , sugar , salt and pepper  , mix well until combine .
* Mash the remaining taro .
* In a large bowl , pour in the water and add the rice flour gradually whisking as you add so that no lumps will form , then add in the mashed taro .
* Pour in the rice flour mixture into the pan , mixing the ingredients thoroughly , adjust taste . When the mixtures bubbles turn off the heat , stirring well until mixtures thickens . Transfer into a well-greased 23-cm / 9-inch round pan . Steam for about an hour . Sprinkle the top with chopped spring onion , take some photos :D . Cool at room temperature before slicing and frying ,  another shot , eat it right away hee hee

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Espresso & Almond Caramels

It doesn't look much :P :D but trust me it taste really good ! But then I'm a coffee junkie , sort of . I love the contrasting texture as I added chopped almonds at the last minutes . Some caramel pix that I've seen online seems smooth but mine's full of pockmarks - the story of my life heh ! Since I'm fond of substituting and reducing most recipe ingredients , this one is no exception :P I guess that's the main reason . Or maybe it needs more cooking time , using no candy thermometer or whatever factor thingie tsk tsk ( NEED TO BUY CANDY THERMOMETER ! ) I had to re-melt  :P the caramel the second time , cook it for another 2 minutes so that it's consistency will be more stable but still soft and slightly chewy -it does the trick but that didn't smooth out the surface . Oh well , taste is more important anyway :P :D Yeah yeah , keep telling yourself that hahahahaha

Coffee Caramels ( stolen er adapted from Betty Rosbottom )

 Makes 64 caramels

4 T ( 1/2 stick - 56 grams ) unsalted butter , plus extra for greasing baking pan
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 T powdered instant coffee ( I used espresso )
3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup brown sugar , packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar ( 1/4 cup )
1/2 cup light corn syrup ( generous 1/4 cup Lyle's golden syrup )
pinch of salt
55 grams chopped roasted almonds
vegetable oil for cutting

Candy thermometer

* Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil , generously buttered . set aside .
* Put butter and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat . stir until the butter has melted . Add coffee and continue to stir until it dissolved . Remove the pan from heat and set aside . Do not worry if the coffee and the butter seem to separate .
* Combine the cream , sugars , corn syrup and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan . Set it over medium-low heat and stir constantly with a long-handled wooden spoon , until sugars have dissolved and the mixtures begins to bubble , about 4-5 minutes.
* Increase the heat to med-high and put a candy thermometer in the saucepan . Continue to stir until caramel reaches 240-242 degrees ( The soft-ball stage ) on the thermometer , about 10 minutes . Remove the pan from heat and stir in the reserved butter mixture . Stir thoroughly until well combine . Pour the mixture into the prepared pan . The caramel will be about 1/4 inch thick .
* Oil the blade of the knife and cut the caramel into eight 1-inch wide strips .

* I cut mine into 2-inch strips .

I smooth out some of the pesky pockmarks ^-^

If you're wondering what are those black spots ? :D uhmm some espresso granules that I sprinkled but just won't melt   ^-^''

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Asian Pork Meatballs & Penne with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Asian pork meatballs ? huh ?! ^-^" My spin on the recipe from my fave magazine . Been planning to roast tomatoes again for the sauce but too lazy to cut up half kilo of cherry tomatoes :P Had to use a huge can of pasta sauce instead :D

Sicilian Pork Meatballs ( from Goodhousekeeping Mag UK , 2010 )

My substitution in red

450 grams minced pork ( 250 grams )
40 grams parmesan cheese ( 30 grams cheddar cheese )
125 grams breadcrumbs ( 50 grams panko )
4-6 T chopped parsley ( about 3 T cilantro )
zest & juice of 1/2 a lemon ( 1 lime )
2 med eggs ( 1 )
1/2 tsp salt ( pinch )
50 grams plain flour ( 25 grams )

* Dump all ingredients except the flour , mix with hands and shape into balls , then roll in flour . Heat 1-2 T oil into a large skillet , panfry the meatballs until golden brown . Add 1-2 glasses of white wine or white grape juice and cook for 2-3 minutes . Add 4  bay leaves and pour enough water to cover the meatballs . Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes until liquid has reduced and juices are syrupy .

* I just mix all the ingredients above including the flour , put it in the fridge for an hour and panfry the meatballs until done .

For the pasta :

500 grams penne
1 can ( 26.5 oz / 751 grams ) pasta sauce
100 ml tomato ketchup
2 T cream
1/2 cup water
generous 1/2 cup grated cheese
about 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
about 1/4 cup shallots , thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic , minced
1 1/2 T brown sugar
1 tsp chili flakes
1 1/2 tsps chicken powder
some ground black pepper
a pinch of salt

* Boil pasta .
* Sauté shallots until soften then add in the garlic , fry until golden brown . Pour in the pasta sauce , ketchup , water , half of the cilantro , chilli flakes and the meatballs . Stir and add chicken powder , sugar , pepper and salt  , mix well until combine then add half of the cheese and cream , adjust taste . Simmer until bubbly .
* Add in the penne , mix thoroughly then add the remaining cheese and cilantro , give another good stir . Dish up .

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Savoury Bread Pudding

I borrowed some cookbooks from the library and saw this savoury bread pudding recipe . I love bread
pudding but most of the time didn't really like it's too soft consistency . Since I still have a pack of cheddar cheese so as 2 bottle of Italian seasoning that needs to be use asap , I had an excuse to try out the recipe . I want it to be a little dry so I made sure that I had some extra bread just in case the mixture will be too runny . The result ? Just the way I want my bread pudding , loads of dry spots  ( and some gooey melted cheese inside ^o^ ) You can add bacon , ham or sausage or add some  ( more ) veggies for a more substantial and colourful puds . Btw , don't mind that ugly diced cheese on top , the freakin' git just won't melt tsk !

Savory Bread Pudding ( from Ciril Hitz )

2 cups milk ( I used 1 cup )
1/2 cup heavy cream  ( 1/4 )
1 1/2 tsp salt ( omitted this )
5 eggs  ( 2 )
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 clove fresh minced garlic
1 medium each of fresh red and yellow bell pepper , cut into cubes ( I used half each )
1 medium onion , chopped ( shallots )
2 T unsalted butter ( 1 T EVOO )
1 1/2 ( 150 grams ) cups grated Gruyère cheese ( 3/4 cup diced cheddar cheese )
6 cups ( 250 grams ) stale bread , cubed into 3/4-inch ( 2 cm ) pieces ( 200 grams )

* In a large saucepan , combine the milk , heavy cream and salt and bring just to a boil over medium-high heat . In a separate bowl , whisk together the eggs with the black pepper , Italian seasoning and garlic until pale yellow . Temper the egg mixture with some of the hot milk mixture , whisking so as not to scramble the eggs then return to the pan ,stirring constantly until the mixtures slightly thickens .

*  In a skillet , melt butter and sauté the peppers and onions until tender , set aside . Brush the inside of an 8-inch round ( I used 2 6-inch flan tin )  casserole with melted butter . In a bowl toss the bread cubes with the sautéed veggies  and half of the grated cheese . Fill the casserole dish to the top with the bread mixture and top with the remaining cheese and slowly pour the warm milk and egg mixture over the bread cubes . Bake in a water bath at 350°F/180°C for an hour .

* I dump the diced cheese , veggies and bread cubes to the pan of milk and eggs mixture and added some extra bread cubes gradually to get my desired consistency .

Friday, December 9, 2011

Chipster & Cranberries Cookies

Procastinator . Nah ! sheer laziness :P :D

Been meaning to bake these since Monday .

Blame it on the weather . I just love winter . At least I could cover up my jiggly stomach tsk !

Hey ! It's the season to be FAT and jolly anyway hahaha

And yet another Mrs Fields recipe , except for the cookie name and some added variations -her recipe has the same main ingredients in almost all of her cookie recipe ^o^". As long as you reduced the sugar , add more flour  , in my opinion , 'tis the best cookie recipe you'll bake again and again :D

You gotta check this out Mrs Fields Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 4 doz or more

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour ( I used 3 cups )
1/2 tsp baking soda ( mine's 3/4 )
1/4 tsp salt ( 1/8 tsp )
1 cup firmly-packed , brown sugar ( reduced it to 3/4 )
1/2 cup sugar ( reduced it to 1/4 )
1 cup cold salted butter , cut into cubes
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips ( I used 1/4 cup each of semi-sweet , white choco chips and butterscotch chips , about 1/2 cup of dried cranberries )

* Preheat oven to 300°F/150°C.
* In a medium bowl , combine flour , baking soda and salt . Mix well .
* In a large bowl , with  an electric mixer , mix sugars at medium speed . Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste . Add eggs and vanilla and mix at low speed just until blended . Do not overmix.
* Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto the cookie sheet , two inches apart . Bake for 20-22 minutes until golden .

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mrs Fields' Christmas Cookies sort of

Hahahaha not really heh ! And it's not gingerbread which I really really want to bake :D Will have to google Mrs Fields gingerbread cookie recipe later . I always think of red and green as Christmas color ;D I'm planning to use pistachios but dried kiwi's a great alternative .

Chocolate Raisins Cookies
    ( from Mrs Fields Cookie Book )

Yield : 4 dozen

1 cup / 227 grams salted butter , cold and divided
2 oz / 56 grams unsweetened chocolate (  I used 70 grams , a combination of 70% Lindt & 63% Guittard )
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour ( I used 3 cups )
1/2 tsp baking soda ( I used 1 tsp )
1/4 tsp salt ( mine's 1/8 )
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (  reduced it to 3/4 )
1/2 cup granulated sugar ( reduced it to 1/4 )
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups raisins ( I used 3/4 cup each of dried kiwi and cranberries )
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

* Preheat oven to 300°F/150°C .
* Melt half cup of butter and the unsweetened chocolate over hot but not boiling water , remove from heat and set aside .
* In a medium bowl , combine flour , soda and salt .
* In a large bowl with an electric mixer blend sugars at a medium speed and add the remaining butter , mix to form a grainy paste , scraping down the sides of the bowl . Add eggs and vanilla and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy . Add melted chocolate and blend  until thoroughly combined .
* Add flour mixture , raisins and chocolate chips . Blend at low speed until just combined . Do not overmix .
* Drop by rounded tablespoons into baking sheets , 2 inches apart . Bake at 20- 22 minutesor until set . Transfer to a cool surface immediately with a spatula  .