Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Stir Fried Fuzzy Melon with Fried Minced Fish & Bean curd Stick

Some of you will wonder , fuzzy melon ? huh ?! It's also called hairy gourd , we call it  節瓜 ( written by Mansie ) or jié gua . It has this clear fine hair on its surface thus the name . You can  steam it - stuffed with minced pork ( and shrimp ) , stir fry with dried shrimps and vermicelli  , use it in soups , stews and some other Chinese dishes . You can also use pork spare ribs or chicken in this recipe or go vegetarian . Omit , substitute if prefer .

1 fuzzy melon , peeled and cut into pieces and scrape the seeds ( optional )
about 120 grams store-bought minced fish , fried
about 100 grams soft bean curd sticks , blanched and water squeezed out , cut in half
3/4 cup water
2 cloves garlic
some ginger slices
1 tsp bagoong ( Filipino for shrimp paste ) or any shrimp paste
some salt and sugar to taste
some spring onion , sectioned
1/2 tsp tapioca starch , 2 T water & 1/2 tsp light soy sauce , mix together

* Heat some oil in the pan , fry ginger and garlic until fragrant then add in the shrimp paste  . Add the melon , fried fish and water and season with salt and sugar , bring to boil , adjust taste and add in the bean curd . Cover and let simmer until the melon turns soft and transparent . Add in spring onion , stir and pour in the tapioca mixture , mix until the sauce thickens , give it a good stir and transfer to a plate . Serve hot . Best serve with rice

Fuzzy melon / hairy gourd

Store-bought minced ( dace ) fish

Soft bean curd sticks

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cherryfic Swirl Cheesecake

I know I know 'tis cherries again !

But I'm starting my Valentine's celeb early by baking this hahaha

Nah !

The cherry swirl in this cheesecake was a leftover topping from the cheesecake that I baked 2 weeks ago :P

Haven't blogged about that one since I forgot to take photos after I sliced that cake .

Anyway , I would like to dedicate pfttttt hahaha this post to my sister , Helen and her daughter ,  Nikka , whom I told months ago to lurk at my site hahahaha   Happy Birthday , guys !!!!! Gifts will be late as usual hee hee Expect it on the 32nd of this month ^o^

Original recipe @  Martha Stewart

* Combine 1 cup / 90 grams graham cracker crumbs and  3 T / 42 grams melted butter . Press into a well-greased 8-inch loose-bottom pan . Refrigerate for 15 minutes .

* Preheat oven to 325°F / 160°C .

* Beat 250 grams cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy . Reduce to low and add 235 grams sour cream , scant 1/2 cup sugar , 2 eggs and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract . Scrape the side of the bowl from time to time to have an evenly smooth batter . Beat well until well combined .

* Pour half of the cheesecake mixture in the prepared pan  and dot in some of the pureed cherry sauce . Top with the remaining cheesecake mixture and dot in the remaining sauce . Swirl batters gently using a toothpick or the tip of the knife .

* Please refer to this post on how to bake this without water seeping inside the cheesecake mixture .

* Bake for 60 minutes , tenting the pan with foil after 30 minutes to prevent the top from browning .

* Cool completely and refrigerate overnight , uncovered .

Fresh cherry topping :

Makes about 2 cups or so

350 grams fresh cherries , pitted
2 T cherry jam
1 1/2 T lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup water
2 T tapioca flour

* Dump all ingredients in a 3-quarts saucepan , cook until mixtures thickens .

Note : I have about a 3/4 cup of this topping left , I pureed it in the food processor and used it in this recipe .

Days gone by .......

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cherry Cheesecake Brownies

Another recipe from Cooking Light .

I over baked this for more than 5 minutes , as I'm busy doing nothing :D So the top looks darker . Instead of dotting the cream cheese mixture , I spread it , so there's not much swirls to be seen pftttt tsk tsk  But of course , no matter what mistakes ( I'm always doing it with any recipes , anyway heh! ) I made with this recipe ,  it still turns out delicious ;) . Luckily .

" From Cooking Light : Matzo cake meal thickens the cheesecake batter but allows the texture to remain creamy when baked . You can always substitute all-purpose flour for the cake meal .  This recipe also works with all matzo cake meal - no flour .  Cherry liqueur reinforces the fruity flavor , but sub plain brandy , if necessary . " 

Recipe from Cooking Light Mag Sept 2011

Yield 20 brownies

Cheesecake :

1/2 cup chopped dried tart cherry
1 T cherry liqueur
1/4 cup sugar
6 oz / 180 grams 1/3-less-fat cream cheese , at room temp ( I used Philly regular cream cheese )
1 T matzo meal  ( I used cake flour )
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg , lightly beaten

* Place cherries and liqueur in a microwave-safe bowl . Microwave at HIGH 45 seconds or until boiling ; let stand for 20 minutes . Place 1/4 cup sugar and cream cheese in  large bowl ; beat with a mixer at medium speed 1 minute until smooth . Add matzo meal , 1/4 tsp vanilla and 1 egg ; beat just until blended . Stir in the cherry mixture .

Brownies :

Cooking spray
1 1/2 tsps unsweetened cocoa , for dusting the pan
3 oz/ 90 grams bittersweet chocolate , finely chopped ( I used 4 oz / 120 grams bittersweet ) 
1 oz / 30 grams unsweetened chocolate , finely chopped ( omitted this )
6 T/ 84 grams unsalted butter, cut into small pieces ( 75 grams )
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
3.38 oz all-purpose flour ( about 3/4 cup )
3/4 cup sugar ( I used a generous 1/3 cup )
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt

* Preheat oven to 325°F / 160°C .
* Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray ; dust with cocoa . Combine chocolates and butter in a microwave-safe dish ; microwave at HIGH for 1 min , stirring every 2 seconds . Let stand for 5 minutes . Stir in 1/2 tsp vanilla , egg whites and 1 egg . Weigh or lightly spoon flour into measuring cup . Combine flour , 3/4 cup sugar , baking powder and salt in a large bowl . Stir the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture .
* Scrape half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan . Dot half of the cheesecake batter on top . Top with remaining brownie batter . Dot with remaining cheesecake batter . Swirl batters using the tip of the knife    
* Bake for 50 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs . Cool completely in a pan on a wire rack . Cut into squares.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Loh Bak Goh aka Turnip Cake

Kung Hei Fat Choi !!!!

This dish is quiet popular during Chinese New Year  . As with taro cake , it's also steamed before frying but in Chinese resto , they also served it steamed with some spring onion on top and drizzled with soy sauce .

This recipe too wet , adjust the water if using this recipe .

Recipe from Sharp Daily ( one of the free Chinese dailies here )

Translation by Mansie

1200 grams radish
some shrimps , soaked & chopped
some dried mushrooms , soaked & diced
some lap cheong or preserved Chinese sausage , diced
some dried scallops , soaked & shredded
228 grams cornstarch
304 grams rice flour
1.2 L water , divided
1 tsp each of salt , sugar , chicken powder & white pepper
some light soy sauce and sesame oil

* Slice or grate radish , put in a wok or large pan or pot , pour 800 ml of water and let it boil . Add seasoning , cover and cook for 20 minutes.
* In a large bowl , combine both flours and add the rest of the water . Stir well to avoid clumps . Add this to the radish mixture . Stir well .
* In a pan , pan fry the sausages until it releases its oil , add shrimps , mushrooms , and scallops . Fry for a while and add it to the radish and flour mixture . Stir thoroughly until combine and transfer to a well-oiled baking pan . ( I used one 8-inch & one 6-inch baking pan )
* Steam for 45 minutes or until cook . Cool completely before slicing .
* Slice and pan fry on both sides until golden brown . Serve with hoisin sauce or chilli garlic sauce .

Chinese preserved sausage


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Claypot Rice with Minced Pork & Dried Squid

It's been a long time that I haven't made this pork & squid combo . I just steamed it usually and serve it as one of the main dish during dinner . But when we bought some take out from our fave dimsum shop last time , I ordered it and decided to make it myself since it's cheaper and I have all ingredients at home .

The previous  claypot  rice that I've made seems so fuzzy , so this time I just cook the rice the way when I cook it using the rice cooker , it's easier and it turns out okay . The sauce that I drizzle was from the dimsum shop ^-^" , it's really good compare to just a soy sauce but light soy will do ;D

Serves 1 hungry me or 2 normal person

1 cup / 185 grams rice
260 ml water

150 grams minced/ground pork
1 small dried squid , soaked and diced
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp chicken powder
1/4 minced ginger
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp oil
1/2 T tapioca starch
2 T egg white
1 T water
a pinch of salt
some ground white pepper

* Mix all ingredients above and set aside .
* Wash rice and put in a claypot , add water . Cook over high heat , when it boils , scrape the bottom to prevent burning , give it a good stir and turn down to low . Let simmer for few minutes and when some of the water evaporates at the top , add the pork & squid mixture . Cover and cook for 20 minutes . Turn off the heat and let stand for 10 minutes before serving .

Dried squid 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Easy Taro Fritters

Sort of my steamed taro cake but instead of steaming it after mixing all ingredients , I just fried it right away . You can also add more veggies like carrots or corn or cilantro for more color , add fresh shrimp or dried one , add lap cheong or yun cheong or go vegetarian .

250 grams taro
3/4 cup rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
2/3 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup diced (steamed) lap yuk
4 T diced spring onion
2 small dried mushrooms , soaked and diced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chicken powder
a pinch of salt
a dash of ground white pepper

chili sauce for dipping

Lap yuk 

* Cut taro into cubes , steam for 10 minutes , mash half and leave the rest as it is .
* In a large bowl , combine all ingredients , adjust taste .
* Heat some oil in the pan , drop a heaping tablespoon of the mixture , pan fry on both sides until lightly brown
*  Serve hot . Goes well with steamed rice or noodles or can be eaten on it's own .

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Peanut Butter Chips Blondies

I'm always on a lookout for any recipes that are easy and that have ingredients that I can find in my stash ^-^" & can also be easily substituted . As I'm always almost at the library , okay okay , the lib's in the same building as the market , so who can resist the lure of current gossip mags ? hee hee So I borrowed this back issue of Cooking Light magazine , yes siree , the cover is the photo of scrumptious brownies ! As I always love brownies , who doesn't anyway ? I am tickled-pink when these 4 recipes are easy , meaning not too many pots , bowls and utensils to use and wash heh ! As I don't have peanut butter cups : ( , which would really look good as a topping , I used peanut butter chips instead . These blondies turns out to be just a fine line between cakey and fudgy ( if there's such a thing ) and after few hours , the top and the sides are still crunchy . One of the plus of making these blondies , it takes just 19 minutes to actually bake it !

Recipe from Cooking Light Mag , Sept 2011

Serves 20

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

5.6 ounces all-purpose flour , about 1 1/4 cups
1 cup granulated sugar ( I used a generous 1/2 cup )
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup / 56 grams butter , melted and cooled slightly
2 T 2% reduced-fat milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs , lightly beaten
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips ( a combination of semisweet and white chocolate chips )
Cooking spray
4 ( 0.75 oz ) peanut butter cups , coarsely chopped ( more or less half-cup peanut butter chips )

* Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C .
* Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups , level with a knife . Combine flour and the rest 3 ingredients ( through salt ) , stirring well with a whisk . Combine peanut butter and the next 4 ingredients ( through eggs ) , stirring well . Add peanut butter mixture to the flour mixture ; stir until combined . Stir in the chocolate chips .
* Scrape the batter into 9-inch square metal baking pan lightly coated with cooking spray and arrange the peanut butter cups over batter . Bake for 19 minutes or until a wooden stick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs still clinging . Cool in a pan on a wire rack .

Friday, January 13, 2012

Stir Fried Snow Peas & Lap Cheong

"Lap Cheong" is basically made of pork that has been air-dried , never mind just google it for more info :D  . "Yun Cheong " ( my absolute fave ) , is made of duck liver & the "Lap Yuk" or air-dried pork , it  looks like a petrified :D bacon .  These are everywhere during winter . It's really versatile , you can add it as a topping to your claypot rice or " Lap Mei Fan " ( I usually know the Cantonese name or how to say it it Cantonese of some of my fave Chinese food hee hee ) . Add it to steamed radish or taro cake , as a filling to the steamed rice dumpling or just merely stir fry it with some veggies as I usually do . Buy the best you can afford . We love the one from Wing Wah , it's a little bit expensive , good thing I'm not the one's buying it heh ! , it's the best , in my own opinion ^-^ You can just slice it thinly , the sausages , and stir fry it right away - note that it's a tad hard to slice - but I usually do the boil and steamed thingie as it works for me besides I stir fried it for just few minutes that way my veggies wont be overcooked .

2 lap cheong , boil for 5 minutes and steamed for 15 minutes , sliced
about 150 grams snow peas , snip both ends
some ginger slices
1 clove garlic , sliced
some water
some salt and sugar to taste
1/2 tsp tapioca starch or cornstarch combined with 1 1/2 T water

* Heat a little bit oil in the pan and stir fry ginger and garlic until fragrant . Add in the snow peas and sausage , stir to combine then pour in some water , add some salt and sugar , adjust taste . When some of the water evaporates , add in the starch mixture . Mix thoroughly . Dish up . Serve hot .

lap cheong ( red )  and yun cheong ( black )

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Espresso Pound Cake

Every time I see cake recipes with coffee as one of the ingredient , I usually jot it down right away . Yeah , I'm sort of addicted to coffee heh! I don't know if you can see some gooey thingie in the sliced cake ? It's the white chocolate , dulce de leche & coffee mixture that I'm going to use as a topping , supposedly as a topping to a 3 layer bars that I'm planning to make . As I added too much milk , the mixture's too runny to be use as a topping so I just added that into this cake . The result is really interesting , it added another texture and flavor to the otherwise plain cake .

Recipe from Williams-Sonoma Cake Book

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 T finely ground dark roast coffee beans ( I used 1 1/2 T instant espresso )
1 lemon zest ( omitted this )
140 grams unsalted butter at room temp ( I used 115 grams , a combination of salted & unsalted )
1 cup sugar ( about 2/3 cup )
2 large eggs at room temp
1/3 cup buttermilk at room temp ( I added 1/2 tsp lemon juice to 1/3 cup milk )

* Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F . Generously butter an 8 1/2x4 1/2-inch loaf pan .
* Sift the flour , baking powder and salt . Stir in ground coffee . Add in lemon zest.
* Beat butter on medium speed until creamy , add in sugar until mixture is light and fluffy . Add eggs one at a time , beating well after each addition , reduce speed and add the dry ingredients into 3 additions alternately with the buttermilk in 2 additions , starting and ending with dry ingredients . Beat well just until combined .
* Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top . Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until cake is browned and puffed .

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Salmon Chunks in Sweet & Sour Sauce

I love salmon . I like to fry it seasoned with just salt and pepper . But as I want to blog it , taking photos of just a slab of pan-fried salmon seems a little bit boring hee hee  So I dressed it up a little bit . If you're going to wonder what's with 10 grams of ketchup ? why don't she just use a tablespoon to measure it ? Actually I used a packet of ketchup that I got from McDonalds as I have loads of it ^o^" Oh so as the chili sauce , too :P   Salmon's rich in omega-3 fatty acids so it's good for you & me . I sound like a salmon commercial hahaha

about 250 grams salmon steak , bones removed and cut into chunks
1 - 2 celery stalks  , sliced
1 small  yellow bell pepper , sliced
some chopped onion
1 clove garlic , minced
some sugar & a tiny bit of chicken powder
1 1/2 T water

For the sauce :

10 grams ketchup
15 grams chili sauce
1 T rice vinegar
2 T water
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/4 tsp dark soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp tapioca flour or cornstarch

* Mix above ingredients and set aside .
* Season salmon chunks with a little bit salt , ground white pepper and some tapioca starch , mix well .
* Heat a little bit of oil in a pan and pan fry salmon chunks on both sides . Transfer to a plate and keep warm .
* Wipe some oil off the pan and add onion , fry until slightly soften , add garlic , stir fry until fragrant . Add in the celery and bell pepper , fry for few seconds then add water , season with some chicken powder and sugar continue stirring until water evaporates . Pour in the sauce , let mixture thickens ,  immediately add the salmon , mix well to combine . Dish up . Serve with rice .

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pebbly Beach Fruit Squares

Okayyyy mine's more like a rectangle than a square -_- but these cookies looks good or what ? Uhmm don't answer that :D  I can't seem to get a hang of rolling the dough , so instead rolling 16 inches as stated in the recipe , all I get was 12 . I had to manhandle the dough and roll it several times , good thing that didn't affect much of the  texture . I also used different filling for the 2nd dough , it should to be dulce de leche and dark chocolate chips but I already folded the dough with only ddl in it so I just added the chips on top of it  and left some as it is . As I used cinnamon the dough look darker in color but when you baked it for 12 minutes the cookies will be lighter in color and you can see from the photos some of it are darker as I baked that for 15 minutes .

Recipe from Chewy , Gooey , Crispy , Crunchy Cookies by Alice Medrich

Makes 32  ( 2 1/2-inch ) square or rectangle :P cookies

1 3/4 cups plus 2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
8 T / 1 stick / 113 grams unsalted butter ( I used 100 grams )
3/4 cup granulated sugar ( I reduced it to a generous half cup )
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest or ground cinnamon ( I used this ) or anise
1 cup moist dried fruit , one kind or a combination , dark or golden raisins ; dried sour cherries ; dried cranberries ; coarsely chopped dates ; dried apricots or prunes ; finely chopped candied ginger  I used a combination of dried kiwi and cranberries so as dulce de leche ) 
1/4 cup turbinado or other coarse sugar

* Combine the flour , baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk or a fork .
* With a mixer , beat butter with the sugar until smooth and well blended but not fluffy . Add the egg , vanilla and lemon zest and beat until smooth . Add flour mixture and mix until well incorporated .
* Divide the dough in half and form each into a rectangle . Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight .
* Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C .
* Remove the dough from the fridge and let sit set for 15 minutes to soften slightly . On a sheet of parchment paper or a plastic wrap , roll one piece of dough into a rectangle 81/2-inches by 16 1/2-inches . With a short side facing you , scatter half of the dried fruit on the bottom half . Fold the half of the dough over fruit using the paper as a handle . Peel paper from the top of the dough , dust the top of the dough with flour . Flip the dough onto a lightly floured cutting board and peel off the remaining paper . Sprinkle with half of the coarse sugar and pat lightly to make sure the sugar sticks . Use a heavy knife to trim the edges and cut into 4 strips and then cut each strip into 4 pieces to make 16 squares . Repeat with the remaining dough , fruit and sugar .
* Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned .

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tri Color Fusilli with Salmon & Bacon

I've made this calorific pasta for our New Year's dinner . It was a bit dry as I forgot to add milk . But  I added some cream cheese and it really adds a more creaminess to this dish , I didn't add too much since I'm going to add milk tsk ! - but when I'll make this again , will add more of it :P ^-^" . My plan was to use the long pasta , uhmm , for a long life ? hee hee but of course with so much going on and so little time , it just flew out of my mind . Good thing there's still Chinese New Year here :D Will cook pasta using spaghetti heh ! , so what if it's not a part of their CNY tradition having to eat pasta during that festival ? hahahaha

500 grams tri color pasta
about 450 grams salmon , steamed for 10 minutes and cut into chunks
200 grams pan fried bacon
50 grams cream cheese
180 ml cream
1 cup water
50 grams grated cheese plus extra for sprinkling
1 medium chopped onion
2 cloves garlic , minced
1/2 tsp chili flakes
about 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt , sugar & black pepper to taste

* Cook pasta .
* Pan fry chopped onion until slightly transparent then add garlic , cook until fragrant .
* Add in the bacon , cream cheese , grated cheese and water , mix well and simmer for 2 minutes .
* Add chili flakes , half of the cilantro , salmon chunks and cream , stir and adjust taste by adding some salt and sugar .
* Dump in the pasta , mix thoroughly , add in half of the cilantro and a generous dash of black pepper , give it a good stir . Serve hot .

Monday, January 2, 2012

Blueberry Cheesecake

So I broke my New Year's Resolution -__-" Kidding !!!! This is a food blog er sort of heh! and there's no way in hell would I attempt to be on diet :P I don't even have that word in my limited vocab bwahahahaha

I still have some frozen blueberries in the freezer so there's no better way to use it by making a topping for this scrumptious , diet heh ! be damned , calorific cheesecake . 

I usually made cheesecake using 500 grams of cream cheese and a cup of sour cream when I stumbled upon Missus Stewart's site . I'm just looking around for a better way to make a blueberry topping since the last one I made was so disappointing , it's beyond description hahaha And when I saw her cheesecake recipe , I decided to use it , too instead of my trusty Philly recipe . Re topping , it did not disappoint , it's the best topping  in my opinion and you may use it as a topping for your ice cream , pancake etc . Though I used frozen blueberries , it's still quiet good , a good balance of tart and sweet ( if there's such a thing :D )

Original recipe here ( I halve the recipe )

For the crust :

3 T unsalted butter , melted
1 cup / 100 grams Marie biscuits crumbs
1/2 T sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

For the filling :

250 grams cream cheese , at room temp
235 grams sour cream , at room temp
scant 1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

* Preheat oven to 325°F/ 160°C .

* Make the crust : Stir all ingredients together . Press mixture firmly into the bottom and sides of an 8-inch loose bottom/springform pan that have been buttered generously and refrigerate for 15 minutes .

* Make the filling : Beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed . Reduce speed to low and add the rest of the ingredients , mix until combine . Pour into the prepared crust .

* When I bake this , instead of putting the loose bottom/springform pan  in a large roasting pan with water , I put the large roasting pan with water in a separate rack , in the bottom and at the top , on a separate rack , the pan with the cheesecake mixture . That way I don't have to wrap the bottom of the pan with foil and there's no way in hell would the water will seep inside the pan .

* Bake for an hour , after 30 minutes of baking , tent the pan with foil to prevent the top from over browning  Let stand in the oven for 30 minutes , still the foil on top , opening the oven slightly to let some of the heat escape thus preventing the top to crack .

* Let cool on the wire rack and refrigerate overnight .

For the topping :

2 cups frozen blueberries
80 grams sugar
1 T butter
1 T lemon juice
generous 3/4 T tapioca flour

* Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat , cook until berries pop , about 5 minutes . Let cool completely before spooning it over cheesecake .