Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Mango-coconut no bake cheesecake

What is better than #Duterteland mango cheesecake?! 

Love mango and coconut? Then this no-bake cheesecake is for you! 

Smooth, creamy and refreshing, this cheesecake is a perfect summer dessert. Sweet mangoes are in season right now, okay, maybe not as abundant as last year but you still can find lots of it here in smoggy Hong Kong....


You'll need six 3x2 inch mousse or any silicone moulds or one 7 inch mousse ring/pan with removable bottom

60 grams Speculoos or any biscuits
60 grams toasted pecans
30 grams salted butter, melted

* You can either bash the biscuits and pecans until fine with a rolling pin or process both in a food processor. Add in the melted butter and stir until well combined.

* Place (about) 25 grams of crumbs in each mould, use a straight-sided rolling pin to flatten the crumbs or use a spoon. Freeze until needed.

Filling: recipe slightly-tweaked from Sutekina Okashi 

10 grams gelatine sheets
100 grams whipping cream
150 grams cream cheese, at room temperature
75 grams condensed milk
60 grams coconut milk or cream
200 grams mango purée

* Soak gelatine in cold water until softens, 5-10 minutes. Once softens, squeeze off excess water and set aside. Start boiling water in a small saucepan.

* Whip cream until stiff peaks form, chill in the fridge until needed.

* Melt softened gelatine, keep warm.

* Beat cream cheese and condensed milk until smooth, add in the coconut milk and mango purée. Add in melted gelatine and whisk until well incorporated. Fold in the whipped cream. 

* Divide filling into the prepared mould. If using a mousse ring, chill in the fridge or if using a silicone mould, freeze. Chill or freeze cheesecake overnight.

Mango compote topping:

5 grams pectin 
15 grams caster sugar
100 grams mango puree
100 grams cubed mangoes

* Mix together pectin and sugar, set aside.

* In a small saucepan, combine the purée and the cubed mangoes, bring to a boil. Add the sugar and pectin mixture, cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Transfer to a small heat-proof container, let cool completely then chill in the fridge until needed.

To un-mould the cheesecake:

* Un-mould cheesecake by blowing the hairdryer around the sides of the mould for few seconds. Place cheesecake in baking sheet and chill for 1 hour before adding in the toppings. 

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Chicken arroz caldo and ube puto

Keep calm and don't hoard rice and tissue 

Arroz caldo is a Filipino-style rice porridge almost similar to congee. The name is derived from Spanish word arroz (rice) and caldo (broth). It is typically made using glutinous rice (but any rice will do), it is fried with ginger and garlic, chicken is added and lots of water then simmer until mixture thickens. It is served with fried garlic, spring onion and boiled egg. Sometimes for economic reason, chicken is not added when making the porridge but egg is a must.

I used boneless whole chicken leg but any chicken parts is fine. If using tenders or breast, which tend to tun a bit tough if cooked longer, to avoid this, after frying, take them out and add in the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Making porridge is also one way to make sure your rice stash will last a bit longer just in case there's a Zombie Apocalypse...

Arroz caldo is usually served during breakfast but it is also a popular meryenda/ tea time snack. It is a  hearty one-pot meal and perfect during rainy days or wintry days.

Puto is a Filipino-style steamed rice cake, it is traditionally made from ground soaked rice then steamed. It is typically served with savoury Fiipino dishes such as dinuguan, a pork blood stew. The easiest way to make it is to use rice flour though plain flour is also another alternative. Toppings like cheese or salted egg are popular and you can fill it as well.

It is filling breakfast or tea time snack, perfect with coffee...

I used rice flour and added a bit of my homemade ube powder. Not much, only 10 grams as the my diy only yield a measly 36 grams out of 350 grams of thinly-sliced fresh ube tubers baked for 5 hours 🤪

Chicken arroz caldo, recipe adapted from The Food of the Philippines, with some tweaks

1 tbsp oil
15 grams peeled garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
10 grams peeled ginger, thinly sliced
150 grams (Jasmine) rice
2000 ml water
300 grams, boneless (skin on) whole chicken legs, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tsp fish sauce

* Heat oil in a pot, add onion and stir-fry over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add in the garlic and ginger and fry for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add in the rice and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.

* Pour in the water, cover the pot and bring to the boil; when it boils, take off the lid and boil over high heat for 10 minutes. Turn down heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.

* Stir in the fish sauce and cook for another 2 minutes or salt. Adjust seasoning. Serve hot.

Fried garlic

15 grams peeled garlic, minced
2 tbsp oil

* Fry garlic over medium heat for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.


Calamansi or limes
Chopped spring onions
Black or white pepper
Boiled eggs

Ube puto, recipe adapted from Oggi, with some tweaks

Makes 24 mini puto

130 grams rice flour
10 grams (diy) ube powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
70 grams sugar
2 grams fine sea salt
125 grams coconut milk
115 grams water
5 grams ube paste
1 gram violet gel colour

some cheese slices

* Lightly grease 2 mini muffin tins. Start boiling water in a wok or a pot.

* Combine dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Pour in liquid ingredients gradually over dry, using a wire whisk to  stir mixture until smooth.

* Pour mixture into the prepared pan, about 3/4 full. You can either add cheese on top before steaming or add it halfway. Steam over high heat for 20-25 minutes.

* Let cool slightly before removing from the tin.

* Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Thai-style fried chicken part 2

Because there is no such thing as too many fried chicken post 🤪

Clearing some of the frozen meat that populated our small freezer. Since I always stock up on some Thai ingredients, it's easier to whip up a Thai-inspired dish anytime.

No food shortage here yet  only surgical masks, hand sanitizers and alcohol shortage 🙄

As with most fried chicken recipes, this one is very easy to make. The hardest part is marinating the chicken pieces for several hours, I always marinate mine for 8-12 hours to get the maximum flavour. You can also add more chillis so as lime juice to your marinade if desired.

I used the smallest saucepan so that I don't have to use too much oil, the downside though was frying several times. No double frying this time as I was quiet hungry, if you want a much darker colour or crispier skin then you really need to double-fry.

Recipe adapted from A Celebration of Food

1 kg chicken (combination of wings and boneless whole chicken legs)
15 grams peeled garlic cloves
2 red bird's eye chillis
15 grams fresh coriander roots (including some of coriander stems)
70 grams Thai fish sauce
25 grams raw sugar
70 grams lime juice
zest of 2 limes
1 gram white ground pepper

(sunflower oil) for deep-frying

* Rub coarse sea salt to the chicken pieces and rinse well. Drain and pat dry with kitchen towel, set aside.

* Place garlic, chillies and coriander roots in a mortar and pestle or use a mini food processor and grind into a paste. Mix the paste with fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, zest and white pepper.

* Combine the chicken and the marinade together, mix well to combine. Cover with plastic wrap  and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours. Take out from the fridge 30 minutes (more time if it is winter) before cooking.


95 grams rice flour
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp chicken powder (optional)
1/2 cup drinking water mix with 1 tsp baking soda

Dry coating:

125 grams rice flour

* Whisk batter ingredients together, the batter will be thin. Drop several pieces of chicken into the batter and coat the battered chicken with rice flour, shaking off excess flour. Lay each piece in a wire rack or baking sheet for 15-20 minutes to dry out before frying.

* Meanwhile, heat oil when oil is hot, drop each pieces gently to avoid splatter. Cook in batches (but not too many at the same time as this will lower the oil's temperature and will result in soggy coating) for 12 minutes or until chicken pieces are cooked through. You can double fry by turning up the heat and fry the pieces again.

*Serve hot on its own or with steamed rice and veggies or make a chicken burger.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Salted caramel and pecan tartlets

Keep calm and wear a surgical mask.

How's the situation in your side of the world lately? Hope everything is fine...

Nope, still no butter shortage in smoggy Hong Kong...


Got a new set of tart mould and a bag of pecan halves courtesy of my 2 enablers, Yanyan and Fufu, I heart you, guys 😁

Since I got time on my hands, which is almost all the time, I decided to make another layered dessert.

Yup, one of those time-consuming dessert that I like to make. You can make everything in just a day or two but you can stretch it into 3 days like I did 🤣

This tartlet is made of 3 components (4 if you count the pecans), the pâte sucrée, coffee joconde and salted caramel.

This may look a bit time-consuming to make because it really was but the combination of different flavour and texture will surely please even the most finicky French pastry enthusiast! 

Tartlets assembly

* Place (4 x about 1-inch) joconde sponge at the base of the tart shell/case, pressing down gently. Sprinkle some chopped pecans on top of the sponge and pipe in some caramel, 30-35 grams (guesstimate). Use an offset spatula to smoothen the top and top with pecan halves and heart-shaped cookies.

Depending on the ambient temperature, you can serve it right away or chill in the fridge until the caramel firms up a bit.

Salted caramel sauce

280 grams (vanilla) sugar or add 1 tsp vanilla extract
60 grams drinking water
230 grams whipping cream
50 grams salted butter, softened
2 grams fine sea salt

* In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until colour turns into amber.

* In another saucepan, heat cream, keep it hot.

* Take pan off heat, gradually add in the hot cream while stirring the mixture vigorously. If there are some lumps, return pan on the stove, turn heat to low and stir until caramel is smooth. Once mixture is smooth, add in the butter and salt, stir until well combined.

* Let caramel cool slightly in the pan for 10-15 minutes before pouring  into the prepared sterilized jar. Cool completely before using.

Caramel sauce texture is perfect for spreading on toast/bread or drizzling over ice cream. Because of the current temperature in this of the world, 11ºC when I used it, it looks thicker that the usual caramel sauce.

Toasted pecans

150 grams (or more) pecan halves

* Preheat oven to 180ºC.

* Put pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 6-10, stirring halfway through. Check pecans as they are easily scorched. Transfer toasted pecans in a heat-proof plate, let cool.

If you want a shiny pecans, while nuts are still warm, brush the top with apricot or in my case, strawberry jam. You'll need 30 pieces for topping and 12 grams/6 pieces coarsely chopped pecans for the filling.

Coffee joconde sponge, recipe adapted from Pâtisserie

63 grams icing sugar, sifted
63 grams ground almonds
19 grams plain flour, sifted
2 grams instant coffee
81 grams whole eggs
14 grams unsalted butter
50 grams egg whites
15 grams caster sugar

* Preheat oven 200ºC. Line a 12 inch baking pan wit parchment paper.

* Combine the icing sugar, ground almonds, flour and coffee; add in the whole eggs and beat for 10-12 minutes or until mixture is light and fluffy.

* Melt butter, making sure it's not too warm. Slowly add it to the mixture, beating well until it is fully incorporated. Set aside.

* Beat egg whites until foamy, add in the sugar and beat until firm peaks form.

* Fold meringue into the egg mixture then spread onto the prepare pan. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until golden brown and the sponge springs back when pressed gently.

You'll only use about 1/3 of the sponge

Pâte Sucrée, recipe adapted from Baking at Republique, with some tweaks

200 grams cake flour
50 grams plain flour
45 grams almond flour/meal
120 grams icing sugar
120 grams cold butter, cubed (88 grams salted, 32 grams unsalted)
50 grams (whole) eggs, lightly beaten

* In a large mixing bowl or clean work surface, sift the flours and sugar, make a well in the centre and add in the cubed butter.

* Use your fingers to rub flours and butter together until mixture resembles a fine breadcrumbs. Add in the beaten eggs and mix to form a smooth, homogenous dough.

* Divide dough into 2 portion, form into a 6-inch square and wrap it in a cling film. Chill in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours before using.

* You'll only need one portion (300 grams) to make 6 tartlets plus heart-shaped cookies for topping/decoration.

Always remember that it's easier to roll the dough in a cool room

* Lightly grease six 12 cm x 3.5 cm rectangular tart ring (or any size you have on hand) 

* Place dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper, dusted with a bit of flour. Roll dough into 3 mm thick, better if you can do it at 2.5 mm. If the dough is a bit stiff to roll, let it stand for 5 minutes.

* Line the prepared tart cases with dough, pressing it snugly along the bottom and along the sides. Trim excess along the edges with a knife. Prick the bottom with a fork. Freeze for 1 hour.

* Take out  from the freezer and line the tart shells with parchment paper then place in the baking weight/stones. Place back in the freezer for 20 minutes/

* Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180ºC.

* Blind bake tart shells for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly golden. Take out from the oven and
carefully remove the weights from the shells.

* Lower down the temperature to 160ºC and bake shells for 6-8 minutes or until the base is also lightly golden or almost. Let cool completely before using.