Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Iced Pistachio Cupcakes

I LOVE nuts !

Especially pistachio .

Have you tried grinding it in a food processor ?  Seriously ! hahaha Ahhhh the smell , it's just really incredible ^-^"

So when I saw this recipe from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book , I knew I had to bake it. It's pistachio overload and I'm in pistachio heaven lol

I'm not planning to iced these but I still have some cream sitting around so I made half of the icing recipe . Sadly  , I added too much cream and the result is not drippy but still okay though . Iced or not , the cupcake itself tastes FANTASTIC !

I halve the recipe but just used a generous cup of sugar , I also used salted pistachios and a pinch of salt  and made 15 cupcakes . My cupcakes sizes are not uniform . Oh , I over baked some , again ! tsk tsk

Recipe from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

Makes 34

1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
1 1/4 cups ( 2 1/2 sticks ) unsalted butter , at room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese , at room temp
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs , at room temp
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon coarse salt
3/4 cup coarsely chopped salted pistachios

* Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C . Line standard muffin tin with paper liners . In a food processor , grind shelled nuts to a paste .
* With an electric mixer  on medium-high speed , beat butter , cream cheese and pistachio paste until light and fluffy , about 3 minutes . Reduce speed to med-low , gradually add sugar ; beat until smooth , scraping the sides of the bowl as needed . Add eggs , one at a time , beating until each is incorporated . Beat in vanilla . Reduce speed to low and add in flour and salt , beating until just combined . Fold in chopped nuts by hand .
* Divide batter evenly among lined cups , filling about three-quarters full . Bake for about 30 minutes or until cake tester inserted comes out clean .

Drippy icing :

1 cup plus 3 T icing sugar , sifted
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 pistachio slivers or chopped pistachios to decorate

* Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth . Use immediately .

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Glutinous Rice Balls with Peanut Filling

Tong yuen in Cantonese and Tangyuan in Mandarin .

Basically made of glutinous rice and  mixed with water to form a small balls , filled or unfilled - your choice , and boiled with ginger and rock sugar .

It's usually served during Spring Lantern Festival . I usually made these during cold winter days to warm my innards .

Recipe from one of the free Chinese dailies here , am 730 , by Terry Chow

50 grams peanuts
25 grams sugar
10 grams butter

220 grams glutinous rice flour
180 ml water

rock sugar and water for  cooking

* In a wok without any oil , stir fry peanuts until fragrant and skin a little bit burnt ; transfer to a plate , let cool  and you can either use your fingers or palm to loosen the skin . Crush peanuts by using rolling pin or use a mini food processor which is easier, add sugar and butter , mix well ; refrigerate the mixture for an hour .
* In a large bowl , put in the flour and gradually add water ; knead to form a pliable dough  that won't stick  to your hands . Pinch a small amount of the dough , flatten it and put in some peanut filling and roll it into balls . Repeat until you used all the dough or the filling .
* Boil water and add sugar ; dump in the balls and when it floats , it's already cooked . Serve hot .

*** Note : I added 2 teaspoon of creamy peanut butter and use brown sugar . I used about 350 grams of glutinous rice flour and makes 60 small balls . I cooked 20 balls in 4 1/2 cups of water with 50 grams of sliced ginger and 100 grams of rock sugar .

Friday, February 24, 2012

Stir Fried Shrimps with Cashew Nuts , Celery and Asparagus

Here's another dish that will make your mouth water or not ....

As with most Chinese dishes , this one's not only colorful and full of veggies but very simple and easy to make . Healthy , too , if you just overlook the deep fried cashew nuts hee hee  

This is a popular dish during Chinese New Year but since the ingredients are very easy to find all year round , you can make this anytime it takes your fancy . 

Again , there's no need to measure the ingredients , I didn't . Just trust your taste buds .

I added some asparagus and about a teaspoon of chili garlic sauce .

Got this recipe from a cookbook which stupid me forgot the title tsk tsk  -__-" Gotta borrow that book again to give credit to the author .

300 grams medium-sized shrimps or prawns
80 grams cashew nuts
120 grams celery , sliced
some carrot slices
a clove garlic , minced
1 tsp ginger , finely chopped
a sprinkle of Chinese wine , optional

Seasoning : 1 tsp salt , 1/2 tsp sugar , 1 tsp oyster sauce , 1/2 tsp chicken powder , pinch of pepper
                 1 tsp cornstarch and 4 T water , mix together  

* Mix shrimps with 2 tsp egg whites , 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp cornstarch . Refrigerate for an hour ; you can either deep-fry or shallow-fry (or pan-fry ) the shrimps .
* Blanch celery and carrots so as asparagus if using , drain and set aside .
* Heat up some oil in a wok or a pan , sauté garlic and ginger , sprinkle wine ; add in celery , carrots , asparagus , shrimps and  chili garlic sauce ; stir fry for a minute and mix well until combined . Add in the seasoning and the cornstarch mixture ; stir thoroughly until well incorporated ; add in some nuts , mix well . Dish up . Sprinkle more nuts if prefer .
* Great on its own but best serve with rice .

* How to cook/fry cashew nuts :  Before deep-frying , soak the cashew nuts in hot water for 15 minutes , drain well . Cashew nuts must be deep fried in hot wok but cold oil over low heat . Transfer to a plate when the nuts floats and its color turned golden brown . 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kiwi Swirled Cheesecakes

Now now stop rolling your eyes 'coz 'tis cheesecake again hahaha

I made this few days ago for my friend's mom's birthday .

But sadly the lovely green color didn't really retained it's vibrant color after baking tsk !

Maybe I'll try making a kiwi topping instead next time .

I love the taste of these though , the tangy flavor of the kiwi sauce in contrast with the richness and creaminess of the filling .

Taste like calorific heaven . And it goes clogging up our arteries and settled down to our waistline hee hee

Original recipe @ Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

For the kiwi sauce : Process 2 peeled kiwi into the food processor until smooth ( I used 100 grams ) and add in 1 T sugar , mix well .

For the crust : Mix 40 grams coffee cookie crumbs + 30 grams honey graham crumbs and 25 grams melted butter . Press mixtures into 14 paper liner and put it into the muffin pan . Put in the freezer for 10-15 minutes

* Preheat oven to 325°F / 160°C .
* With a handheld mixer , on medium speed , beat 250 grams cream cheese ( at room temp ) until light and fluffy , scraping the sides as needed . With mixer on low speed , add 235 grams sour cream , 1/3 cup sugar , pinch of salt and 1/2 tsp vanilla ; mix well until combined . Add ( 2 large eggs ) eggs one at a time , beating just until combined .
* Spoon 3 T of the filling  over crust in each cup . Dollop 1 tsp of kiwi sauce in a few dots over each . With a toothpick or a wooden skewer , gently swirl sauce into filling . Place each tin in a roasting pan ( bake in batches if necessary ) ; pour enough hot water into pan to come halfway up the sides of the cups .
* Bake for 30 minutes . Carefully remove tins from the water bath and transfer to wire racks to cool completely  . Refrigerate in tins , uncovered at least 4 hours .

Lovely green color before baking

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stir Fried Fish Fillet with Assorted Veggies

Here's another stir fried dish that's very simple and easy to prepare .

There's no need to measure the ingredients . This is the 2nd time that I made this dish and it turned out delicious ! You can use any veggies and meat that you like . Add chili sauce or shrimp paste for a more interesting flavor 

It's a wholesome and healthy dish that I'm sure everyone will love .

230 grams fresh or frozen firm white fish fillet , cut into chunks
60 grams pine nuts ( omitted this )
1 stalk celery , sliced 
1 red bell pepper , sliced
1 green chili pepper , sliced
2 tsp garlic , minced 
1 tsp ginger , chopped finely

Marinade : 1/4 tsp salt , 2 tsp egg white , 2 tsp lemon juice , 1 tsp potato starch , 1 T light soy sauce and some white pepper 

Sauce : 3 T stock or water , 1/4 salt , 1 tsp potato starch , some sesame oil and ground white pepper 

* Add marinade to the fish and put in the fridge for 10 minutes . Pan-fry until golden brown . Transfer to a plate and keep warm . 
* In the same pan , fry the garlic and ginger until fragrant  . Add in the celery ,and peppers , fry until veggies are tender . Add in the sauce , stir until thickens and add in the fried fish . Mix well to combine .
* Transfer to a plate and sprinkle some pine nuts . Serve hot .

Recipe from this book 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Strawberryfic huh!

Yup ! T'is cheesecake again !

And this time I'd eaten a slice hahaha forgot to take photo of it though *sigh*

I'm planning to steal Ann's idea hahahaha but since some of the strawberries are not really sweet so I made the same ( or nearly ) topping as last time .

Mansie said that the strawberries were really good and sweet and that was echoed by her cousin , the birthday girl hahaha   And I thought huh! ^__^ '''   Don't think so haha But then she loves ( almost )  everything I made and she's so easy to please heh !

I still have some leftover topping from last time so I pureed it and added it to my fresh strawberries .

Strawberry topping : Original recipe here and my tweaks

3 1/4 cups strawberries
generous 3 T sugar
pinch of salt
2/3 cups of my leftover strawberry sauce, pureed
1 tsp calamansi juice
1/2 T tapioca starch and 2 T lukewarm water , mix together

* In a large bowl , combine strawberries , sugar and salt ,  let stand for 30 minutes ,stirring from time to time
* In a small saucepan , pour in the pureed sauce and the tapioca mixture , stirring until the mixtures thickens and add the calamansi juice , mix well and add this to the fresh strawberry mixture . Mix thoroughly and set aside for later use .

For the cheesecake : Original recipe @ Martha Stewart

* Make a crumb crust : Mix 45 grams graham cracker crumbs and 1 1/2 T /21 grams melted butter . Press mixture evenly into a well-greased 8-inch loose-bottom pan  . Put in the freezer or fridge for 10 minutes .

* Preheat oven to 350°F/ 160°C .
* With a handheld mixer on medium speed , beat 300 grams Philly cream cheese ( at room temperature ) until light and fluffy . On  low speed , add 235 grams sour cream , 1/4 cup sugar and 2 eggs , scraping the side of the bowl from time to time to have an evenly smooth mixture . Add in the vanilla . Pour the mixture in the prepared pan .
* Please check how I bake this .
* Bake for an hour , tenting the top after 30 minutes to prevent browning . Let stand in the oven for 30 minutes , opening the oven slightly to let some of the steam/heat escape , thus preventing the cheesecake to crack .
* Let cool at room temperature before putting in the fridge overnight .
* Put on topping and serve .

Friday, February 10, 2012

Strawberry Cheesecake

Isn't she purty ? heh !

Sadly , it's not for personal consumption ^__^''

San Yee had requested that she would like some cheesecake for somebody's birthday , which we weren't invited by the way tsk hahahaha

I LOVE making cheesecake and always looking around for a good topping recipe .

I really want to make another cherry topping as there are loads of cheap fresh cherries in the wet market but I don't have a cherry pitter .  I want my cherries round as it looks really good when you put it on top of the cheesecake . The one I made last time was cut in half *sigh*

So the next best fruit ? Strawberries ! Okay , would love blueberries but I'd already made it . Maybe next time I will use kiwi hmmmmm

Oh ! I guess I hit a jackpot when I stumbled upon this gorgeous site . I was getting cross eyed lurking from site to site looking for the best way how to make strawberry topping . I guess this one's a keeper . I just  made some few tweaks along the way .

Strawberry topping : Makes about 2 cups

Please check original recipe @ How To Eat A Cupcake

1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries , cut in half
 2 1/2 T sugar
pinch of salt
2 T cherry jam and 2 T four fruit jam
2 tsp strawberry-flavored jelly powder
1/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 tsp tapioca starch
 1/2 tsp lemon juice

* Mix the first 3 ingredients in a bowl , mix to combine . Let sit for 30 minutes . Stirring occasionally .
* Process the jam in the  food processor until smooth and simmer for few minutes . Transfer to a bowl and set aside .
* Mix boiling water and jelly , stir until powder dissolves completely and gradually add the tapioca starch , stirring well so that no lumps will form . Add this mixture to the jam , mixing thoroughly .
* Add the jelly and jam mixture to the strawberry mixture and add in lemon juice , mix well .
* Arrange the strawberry pieces on top of the cooled cheesecake and drizzle in the strawberry sauce .

strawberry topping

Cheesecake : Original recipe @ martha stewart

For the crust : Mix 90 grams of graham cracker crumbs and 3 T/ 42 grams of melted butter . Press crumbs into an even layer to well-greased 9-inch springform pan  . Freeze or refrigerate for 10 minutes .

* Preheat oven to 160°C/ 350°F .
* Beat 650 grams Philly cream cheese ( at room temperature ) on medium speed until light and fluffy . On low speed , add the 1 cup sour cream , scant half cup sugar , 2 large eggs and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract . Mix well until smooth .
* Please refer here on how I bake this .
* Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes , tenting the pan with foil after 30 minutes of baking to prevent the top from browning .
*  Let stand in the oven for 30 minutes with foil still on top of the pan , opening the door slightly to let some of the steam escape thus preventing the cheesecake from cracking .
* Let cool at room temperature and chill overnight before putting on the topping .

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Easy Peasy Steamed Eggs

One of the easiest egg dishes around .

Okay besides sunny side up , boiled eggs and scrambled eggs ^-^ .

Got this recipe from one of the Chinese magazine but can't remember the name -_-

Beat 2 large eggs , (at room temperature) in a shallow bowl/dish and season with a pinch of salt . Pour 180 ml lukewarm water to the beaten eggs and mix thoroughly . Use a wire/plastic strainer to strain the mixture (for a smooth , velvety texture) . Pour the mixture in a lightly oiled plate . Cover with plastic wrap/foil or plate . Steam for 10 to 15 minutes . Be sure to put a chopstick or a stick at the edge between the pan and the cover ( to let some of the steam escape thus preventing the top of the egg mixture to puff  up while the middle is still uncooked ) . Sprinkle some diced spring onion at the top and a drizzle of light soy sauce . Serve hot .

You can also add some sliced century egg and salted eggs to the mixture before steaming .

Monday, February 6, 2012

Linguine with Tomato and Cream Sauce

Not cream . It's cream cheese .

The decadently rich yumminess that makes my stomach expand but can't stop myself adding it to my savoury dish , too tsk !

Hey ! I used 850 grams of fresh tomatoes heh! So maybe that would offset some of the calories ^o^"

I wish .

Since today is the last day of Chinese New Year I have an excuse .

And 'tis the end of the lai see giving hee hee But be generous , I'm still accepting hahahaha

I'm planning to roast the tomatoes but I'm too hungry to wait for 45 minutes for it to cook . I made this sauce for less than 10 minutes .

850 grams fresh tomatoes , cut in half
280 grams minced pork
500 grams linguine
150 grams Philly cream cheese
1 cup loosely packed cilantro , chopped
8 small shallots , sliced thinly
4 T tomato paste
4 cloves garlic , minced
1 tsp chili flakes
5 chicken franks , sliced
some sliced ham
some ground black pepper
some Italian seasoning
salt and sugar to taste

* Boil pasta . Reserve 1 cup of pasta water .
* Heat some extra virgin olive oil , add half of the shallots and garlic , fry until fragrant . Add in the tomatoes , let simmer until bubbly then add a dash of Italian seasoning , half of the chopped cilantro , sugar , salt and black pepper , stir to combine . Cook until tomatoes are very soft . Set aside .
* In a pot or  a wok , heat some evoo , fry the remaining shallots and garlic until lightly brown then add in the ground pork , fry until pork changes color then add in the chicken sausage and ham . Add a dash of black pepper and chili flakes , stir to combine .
* Pour in the tomato sauce , the reserved pasta water , tomato paste and cream cheese , stir well and adjust taste . Add in the pasta , stir thoroughly and add in the remaining cilantro and some black pepper .
* Serve hot .

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A dimsum a day ....

These awesomeness were really worth waking up early !

The early birds hahaha

Thank you Mama & Yeye for these delectable faves ^o^

shrimp siomai 

steamed chicken feet/paws

cheung fan (  steamed rice roll ) with you tiao ( deep fried dough ) filling

steamed meatballs 

steamed fish balls

spring rolls

(don't really know what's these ) crispy thingie ^-^" with shrimp filling

steamingly hot ! egg custard buns 

fried loh bak goh ( turnip cake ) with xo sauce

the benefactors ♥

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Baby Asparagus & Beef Stir Fry

Another easy and simple dish that everyone can make . You can also use pork or chicken slices but beef really works and taste great in this recipe . Omit and substitute if prefer .

100 grams baby asparagus , snap or trim hard ends and cut in half
100 grams thinly sliced beef , cut into quarters and sprinkle some ground white pepper
1 red bell pepper , sliced
1/4 of a medium sized onion , sliced thinly
2 cloves of garlic , coarsely minced
1/8 cup water
15 grams chili garlic sauce
some ground white pepper
some salt & sugar to taste
1/2 tsp tapioca starch , 2 T water and 1/2 tsp light soy sauce , mix together

* Heat some oil in the pan , fry garlic until golden brown then add in the beef slices , stir fry until beef  changes color. Transfer to a plate , keep warm .
* In the same pan , fry onion until transparent , add in the asparagus and bell pepper , stir to combine then add in the chili garlic sauce , salt , sugar and white pepper , mix well . Pour in the water and simmer , adjust taste . Cook for 2 minutes or until asparagus turns a little bit soft , add in the beef , mix well to combine . Pour in the starch mixture , stir until mixture thickens , give it a good stir . Dish up . Take photos immediately . Best serve with rice