Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mrs Fields' Mocha chip cookies

I saw this girl munching a cookie and thought , "Darn , I haven't baked cookies since January ! " I'm so tempted to buy a piece or two just to satisfy my sudden craving but my wallet keep on sighing lol 

In some bakeries , 2 piece of cookies cost more than one block of butter . President , Elle and Vire and Anchor butter are three of the cheapest brands of butter here . As long as you won't buy it at the supermarkets . Baking shops around here gives the best value for your money when it comes to baking ingredients and paraphernalia . No wonder that some popular baking shops around here are full every weekend . The best thing about these small independent shops is you can buy different kinds of chocolates like Valrhona or Callebaut without burning a hole in your pocket . Okay , maybe a bit expensive compare to US but here , you can buy 200 grams of Valrhona ( 70 % cocoa ) couverture either in blocks or feves for HK $46. ( less if you're a member ) . So , an occasional baker just like me with less money to burn , prefer to bake instead . Of course , I didn't use Valrhona chocolate for these cookies , I'm too cheap to use that for cookies heh ! Guittard and Hershey's chocolate chips are the ones I usually use for cookies and they're really affordable .

Anyway , the recipe I have here is my to-go recipe whenever I've got this craving for that particular cookies ^___^ I've got this recipe  , I think 6 years ago from the library , where else ?! when I was looking for some cookbooks to borrow and stumbled upon this book . I xeroxed several recipes but this particular recipe is one that I use , again and again .

These cookies are soft , sort of chewy  and with crisp in every bite . It'll remain crispy if stored in an airtight container .

If you ask me if these cookies tastes like the one in Mrs Fields ?! All I can say is that , these cookies are worth baking  lol 

Recipe adapted from Mrs Fields Cookie Book ( page 22 ) 

Yield : 4 dozen  I made 3 dozen 3-inch cookies ( dough size ranging from 35 , 40 and 45 grams , surprisingly , almost all cookies measures 3-inch each , different cookie dough size withstanding  )

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons instant coffee powder ( French roast or other dark coffee )
2 teaspoons coffee liqueur I used chocolate liqueur  
1 cup granulate sugar scant cup
3/4 cup dark brown sugar , packed
1 cup salted butter / 227 grams salted butter . softened
2 large eggs
2 cups  semisweet chocolate bar , coarsely chopped a cup each of milk and white chocolate chips

* Preheat oven to 300°F / 150°C . 

* In a medium bowl , combine flour , cocoa , baking soda and salt . Mix well with a wire whisk and set aside . 

* In small bowl , mix together coffee powder and coffee liqueur , set aside . 

*  In a large bowl , blend sugars with an electric mixer at medium speed , add in the butter and beat to form a grainy paste , scrape down the sides of the bowl . Add in eggs and the coffee mixture , beat at medium speed  until smooth . Add the flour mixture and the chocolates , blend at low speed until just combined . Do not overmix . 

* Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 23-25 I baked mine for 21 minutes . Immediately transfer cookies with a spatula to a wire rack .  Leave to cool slightly for 10 minutes before removing cookies from the baking sheet . 

This post is linked to the bloghop event Cook your Books organized by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours 
                                                      cyb12 photo 77951578-1914-4b72-8eda-9e40a91183ac_zps331eb4b4.jpg

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Roasted sweet potato and Thai sausage hash with onsen eggs

Whether I buy or make sausage , 99 % of the time , I'll eat it with rice . The 1 % ? I'll use it for fried rice lol 

In my mind , pork sausage and rice goes hand in hand . I need to change my eating habits . Eating/cooking sausage with anything beside my favorite grain never cross my mind . Nah , I remember making this tomato and sausage combo last time but wait , after I've finished taking photos of it , I actually eaten it with rice !

Sweet potato ?! I usually eat sweet potato , steamed , on its own or dip in condensed milk .

Sweet potato and Thai sausage together ?! 

The spicy and flavorful Thai sausage goes really well with the sweet potato ! If sweet potato is not available , use potato instead . Of  course , rice and sausage pairing is still my first choice but this is a fantastic and really easy dish if you want a filling yet more healthier option . Okay , more healthier if there's no sausage in it ! Yeah , right !

I stumbled upon onsen egg when I made Yoshinoya-style beef bowl , now I couldn't get enough of it ^___^''

What food combination are you craving right now ?!

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn / Onsen egg from Cookpad

Serves 2-4 

450 grams yellow and purple sweet potato , peeled and cut into about 2 cm dices 
130 grams sliced shallots 
150 grams homemade Thai sausage or any store-bought sausage / chorizo
4 tablespoons chopped / snipped coriander plus extra for garnish
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
about 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
freshly ground black pepper  

* Preheat oven to 220°C / 425°F .

* In a rimmed baking sheet , mix together diced sweet potatoes , olive oil , salt and black pepper . Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes , cooking time depends on the thickness and the variety of the sweet potatoes . 

* Meanwhile , add some olive oil in a pan and cook shallots over medium heat for 10 minutes , stirring from time to time , transfer to a plate and set aside . Pan-fry , add more oil if necessary , sausage over low heat until lightly brown , take out from the pan , let cool slightly and cut into 2 cm thick slices .

* After 25 minutes , take out the potato mixture from the oven and toss in the shallots and the sausage slices , put it back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes . 

* For the onsen egg , boil water in a small saucepan when water boils turn off heat , add in the eggs , and let stand for 10 minutes .

* Transfer potato and sausage hash into a serving dish , top with onsen eggs , sprinkle with coriander and serve immediately .  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Homemade ( skinless ) Chiang mai sausage / Sai oua

If you're familiar with Filipino food , you've probably encountered or tried skinless longganisa . This post though is not about our native sausage . Whereas the ingredients of the Filipino sausage is much easier to procure and even if you're not a Filipino and love meat dishes , you can easily make it in your own kitchen , since most ingredients are already in your pantry .  I'm not saying that making Thai or the Chiang mai-style sausage is difficult , if you're in Asia ( or if you're living in the other side of the world , in your well-stocked local Asian store ) , you can easily find all ingredients in your local wet market . Making homemade sausage whether it's skinless ( or with pork casings ) is easier than you think ! 

Now , these sausages doesn't look like the ones you've seen in the streets of Chiang mai , right ?! Those sausages hanging in food stalls , the wonderful aroma of grilled meat . I've made the skinless version of this popular Thai sausage  since I couldn't find pork casings here .

The recipe is really straightforward , the pork mixture is full of delicious flavors that you don't even need to cure it for hours or overnight , before using , just mix everything , pan-fry and you're good to go . Well , much easier if it is skinless but if you want a more authentic look , try to find pork casings . 

Note the addition of more sugar and vinegar in the recipe ?! When I pan-fried a small portion of the pork mixture and found out that 'twas a bit salty and thought maybe the salt that I used is too salty ?! ^___^ '' So if you want to try this recipe , use 1 teaspoon of salt first and just add more according to taste .

To test whether the seasoning is okay , pan-fry a small portion , adjust seasoning , if necessary . Chill pork mixture in the fridge for an hour before wrapping but you can cook it right away since the  pork mixture is very flavorful .Wrap each portion in a plastic wrap or parchment paper . Uncooked sausages can be frozen , de-frost in the fridge several hours before using .

Recipe adapted from Lemongrass and Sweet Basil by Khamtane Signavong

My slight modification in green

4 lemongrass stalks , finely chopped
1 tablespoon chilli powder cayenne pepper
8 garlic cloves , peeled and finely chopped
4 shallots , peeled and finely chopped
4 coriander roots 
500 grams pork mince with some fat
4 teaspoons sea salt 3 teaspoons
4 teaspoons caster sugar
3 teaspoons raw sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
8 tablespoons chopped coriander 6 tablespoons
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons finely chopped galangal 
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 kaffir lime leaves , finely sliced
12 sausage casings don't have these

* Using a pestle and mortar , pound the lemongrass , chilli powder , garlic , shallots and coriander roots to a fine paste . 

* In a bowl , combine the pork with all the remaining ingredients , except the casings , and mix well . Add in the paste and mix thoroughly . Stuff casings , if using , with pork mixture to make 12 sausages . Or shape pork mixture into a small logs / portions .

* Prick sausages with the fork and barbecue , grill or pan-fry . Pan-fry sausages over low heat until golden brown .

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Chicken satay noodles

There's this shop few streets away that sells grilled chicken satay and around the corner , a hole in the wall , where you can buy fish balls dipped in satay sauce . Seeing people scarfing these tasty treats , the wonderful aroma that you can't help but to inhale as you pass by , no wonder I've been craving for something spicy and peanuty these past few days . 

I love noodles as much as rice , okay , more rice than noodles , and you can eat only so much gon chow ngau ho , so I'm always on the lookout for any stir fried noodle recipe . Actually , I've seen this recipe last year while I was browsing some food magazines at the library and only until now that I got to try it .

As with most stir fried noodles , making this is fuss-free . Just pan-fry everything , add in the cooked noodles and you're done !  The satay sauce though seems a bit thick so I added water before adding in the veggies . If you want it saucier , add more water , say , another a cup of hot water and no need to add any seasoning since the sauce is flavorful enough . Want a meatless version ? Try tofu , pan-fried it first , instead of chicken , or use veggies like cauliflower for a healthier alternative  .

Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping Magazine , British edition , October 2013 ( My modification in green )

Serves 4 

500 grams chicken thigh fillet , cut into bite-sized pieces 230 grams chicken thigh , with skin on
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
3 tablespoons medium curry paste 2 tablespoons massaman curry paste
3 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons light brown soft sugar 1 tablespoon raw sugar
165 ml full-fat coconut milk 
150 grams sugar snap peas 100 grams green beans
200 grams baby sweetcorn , chopped 1 red bell pepper
juice of one lemon juice of 2 limes
100 ml hot water 
300 grams fresh straight to wok egg noodles 175 grams fresh egg noodles , boil for 1 minute 
large handfuls of fresh coriander , roughly chopped 

* Heat oil in a large pan and fry the chicken , over medium heat , until golden and cooked through , about 8 minutes ( 5 minutes ) . Add ground coriander and curry paste and fry for 1 minute .

* Stir in the peanut butter , sugar , coconut milk and water until combined , then add vegetables and simmer for 3-4 minutes until veggies are just tender . 

* Stir in the lemon juice , then add in the noodles and most of the coriander . Heat until piping hot . Take pan off heat , divide into bowls , sprinkle over the remaining cilantro and serve immediately . 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Strawberry-cream cheese brownies

I know , I know it's cream cheese again ! At least it's not another cheesecake , right ?! 

 I saw Zoe's cream cheese brownies and sigh . 

It has my name on it lol 

I added some dried strawberries to ease my conscience er it adds another layer of texture and cuts the richness of the cream cheese . 

Okay , you can't really see the chopped strawberries but it's there , somewhere .

The recipe is quiet straightforward and the added cream cheese makes for an indulgent and moreish brownies .

I've baked these brownies for the Bake-Along , a bi-monthly bloghop event hosted by Zoe , Joyce and Lena . If you want to join , you still have enough time to bake these delicious brownies and link it to the girls' site .      

Recipe adapted from How to be a Domestic Goddess ( I copied the recipe from Joyce and made some slight modification ) 

120 grams Guittard dark chocolate chips  
113 grams / 1/2 cup unsalted butter 
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs , at room temperature
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
50 grams dried whole strawberries , coarsely chopped 
140 grams cream cheese , about 1/2 cm thick 

* Butter and line with parchment paper an 8-inch loose-bottom square pan , set aside .

* Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C .

* Melt chocolate and butter over a pan of simmering water . Meanwhile , combine flour and salt in a small bowl . When the chocolate has almost melted , take off bowl from heat , the unmelted chocolate bits will continue to dissolve in the residual heat . Let cool slightly and add in sugar and vanilla , whisk until well combined . Add in the eggs , whisk until  just combined then add in the flour and whisk until batter is smooth . 

* Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan , top with cream cheese slices and scatter in the chopped strawberries . Pour over the remaining batter and spread evenly , make sure the filling is covered . 

* Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted has few moist crumbs clinging to it . Let cool completely before slicing .


This post is linked to the bloghop event Bake-Along , hosted by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids , Joyce of Kitchen Flavours and Lena of Frozen Wings .


This post is also linked to Cook like a Star , All-Star Anniversary hosted by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids , Joyce of Kitchen Flavours and Mich of Eat a Piece of Cake .


Monday, March 10, 2014

Yoshinoya-style gyudon / Japanese beef and rice bowl

I've spent most of my time yesterday googling Japanese beef rice bowl recipe . There are so many variations online that I was getting cross-eyed of what recipe to try . I never really thought that this dish is so easy to make and can't help but said out loud ,  why didn't I make it before ? 

I think some of you have already eaten at Yoshinoya . It's a popular Japanese fast food chain with branches all over the world . Beef bowl is their bestseller . I love eating there , the food is filling and cheap to boot ! Hey , I'm always on a budget lol 

Making this dish straightforward . Depending on what cut of beef you're using , cooking time varies . I used the cut of beef that I usually use for stir fries , the cut that is also use when doing hot pot . It's thin and has a good marbling and really good for this kind of dish .

This dish calls for dashi granules ( some recipe use dashi stock ) but since I don't have it , I used chicken powder instead .

If you wonder if it tastes like the beef rice bowl of Yoshinoya .....

Definitely ! 

Please check original recipe @ Cookpad 

Serves 2 to 4 

300 ml water
1/2 teaspoon chicken powder
1  onion , cut into 1 cm slices
300 grams thinly-sliced beef  
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons cooking sake 
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon raw sugar
generous teaspoon finely grated ginger 

To serve :

pickled ginger 
roasted seasoned seaweed
onsen egg

cooked Japanese rice 

* In a  saucepan , pour in the water then add in chicken powder and onion , let boil and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes .  Add in the 2 soy sauce , cooking sake , mirin and  sugar , let boil again and add in the beef . Stir well to combine and cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes . Add in the grated ginger and cook for another minute . 

* Take off heat and spoon over rice ( or noodles ) . Sprinkle with shichimi and top with pickled ginger . Or make a beef rice bowl with seaweed slices and onsen egg .

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Pistachio-lime cheesecake with pistachio brittle

I've seen some shelled pistachios in the darkest corner of the freezer and I thought pistachio ice cream sounds wonderful . No double cream lurking inside the fridge but cream cheese is always there when I need it heh ! So why not make  a batch of unhealthy dessert instead ?! I've been meaning to make cheesecake since last month but never get around to it . Er , just disregard the Japanese cheesecake lol 

Too many goodies to bake , so little time . 

Initially , I was planning to make a simple candied pistachio , just like the one I had last time with my lemon pistachio cake , for the topping .  Thinking of that pistachio lemon cake and thought why not add some ground pistachio in the filling  ? Really glad that I did ! Of course , a bit more ground pistachio , say , about 100 grams , heck , make it 150 , will make this cheesecake exceptional . 

Exceptional ?! Exag  ^____^

This cheesecake is so easy to make . No need to use a water bath and it takes only 25 minutes to bake . The pistachio brittle can be made the day before .

The hardest thing about making this is to wait for several hours before you can stuff yourself silly .

Please check original recipe @ Taste.com

Makes one 5 1/2-inch x 1-inch cheesecake and six ( about ) 2 x 1-inch minis

For the crust :

130 grams ( light ) digestive biscuits
40 grams butter , softened 
1 tablespoon raw sugar 

For the filling : 

375 grams cream cheese , at room temperature 
125 grams sour cream , at room temperature
100 grams caster sugar
2 eggs , at room temperature
80 grams ( roasted and salted ) pistachio , finely ground 
generous teaspoon lime zest 
2 tablespoons lime juice

* Lightly butter a 6-inch square loose-bottom pan and six 2 x 1 1/3-inch loose-bottom mini tins , set aside . Or use a 7 or 8-inch springform / loose-bottom pan or an 8-inch square loose-bottom pan and adjust the baking time . 

* In a ( mini ) food processor , combine the biscuits , butter and sugar ; process until finely crushed . Spoon crust into the prepared tins , one generous tablespoon in each mini tin and the rest to the 6-inch pan . For the mini tins , use one end of a small straight-sided rolling pin or a teaspoon ( cutlery) to press the mixture firmly onto the base of the pan . Put in the freezer or fridge to chill for 30 minutes . 

* Preheat oven to 160°C . 

*  In a large mixing bowl , combine the cream cheese and sour cream and beat , over medium speed , until smooth . Add  in the sugar and beat until well combined , add in the ground pistachio , mix well . On low speed , add the eggs , one at a time , scraping sides after each additions . Do not overmix . Add in the lime zest and juice , beat for few seconds . Transfer batter to the prepared pan and tins . 

* Bake for 25 minutes . Turn oven off and leave the oven door slightly ajar , let cheesecakes cool in the oven for 2 to 3 hours then place in the fridge to cool completely before serving .   

* For the pistachio brittle recipe , please check here . I used 1/3 cup of pistachio instead of 1/4 cup .  


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Spicy chicken wings adobo , Filipino-style

I've been blabbing for nearly 3 years and it would be remiss of me not to include our unofficial national dish , the adobo , in this site .

There are several variations out there on how to make Filipino-style adobo and it all comes down to your own personal preference . The traditional way of cooking this dish is really easy , dump everything in a pot or wok and simmer until chicken is cooked through . Most Filipinos prefer eating it with rice . 

The recipe that I want to try is the one that I've seen at Serious Eats last year . It's the recipe of Marvin Gapultos of Burnt Lumpia from his book The Adobo Road Cookbook . That is , until I stumbled upon another recipe at Martha Stewart's. The recipe of April Bloomfield . 

I love the recipe of Miss Bloomfield , it may not be the traditional way to cook adobo , browning the chicken first and also adding ginger and onion but I like it much more better than the original adobo recipe . Though looking at her recipe , the amount of the vinegar is just too much , but hey , it's the way she likes it ! 

My own concoction though needs more garlic , maybe 10 instead 6 cloves . I've also added calamansi juice just because I like it and of course , chilli flakes for that extra kick  ^___^ '' 

750 grams chicken wings
5 shallots , cut in half
6 cloves garlic , peeled or unpeeled , smashed with the side of the knife
10 grams ginger , with skin-on , thinly sliced
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 cup / 8 tablespoons vinegar 
6 tablespoons light soy sauce
generous tablespoon of calamansi juice  
1 1/2 teaspoons raw sugar or granulated sugar
generous teaspoon of chilli flakes

*  Heat wok or a large pan , add some oil and when it is hot , fry chicken wings in batches until both sides are golden brown . Transfer to a plate . 

* In the same pan , over medium heat , add in the shallots , garlic , ginger , peppercorns and bay leaves  , cook  for 5 minutes , stirring from time to time . Add in the wings , vinegar , soy sauce , calamansi juice , sugar and chilli flakes . Let boil , adjust taste , then turn heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes . 

* Serve hot with rice .