Sunday, 31 May 2015

Seared Bacon Onigiri

I love onigiri (Japanese rice balls). Wrapped with different types of ingredients like tuna, salmon, chicken or any meat of your choice, it is a delicious, quick and easy meal to eat. 

Today, I've made bacon onigiri which is so tasty and flavourful. The toasted rice also gives it an extra beautiful fragrant.

Oishii Desu!!






Seared Bacon Onigiri
(makes 4)

Ingredients

3 cups hot cooked sushi rice
2 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced into strips
1 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp sake
1 Tbsp mirin
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp vegetable oil
extra soy sauce for basting

Method

1) In a small saucepan, add in a little oil and fry the chopped onion for about 30 seconds. Add in the bacon and fry till fragrant.

2) Add in the soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar and reduce over low heat, stirring constantly until the liquid is almost gone.

3) Remove from heat and add in toasted sesame seeds.

4) Spread a handful of rice on a 20cm sheet of plastic wrap and place some of the bacon mixture (drain off any liquid) in the centre of the rice. Use the plastic wrap to help shape the rice into a ball around the bacon. Flatten slightly to form a thick patty and shape into a triangle. Repeat with the remaining portions.




5) In a non-stick frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over a medium heat. Unwrap the rice balls and place on the pan. Brush with extra soy sauce and sear until well browned on both sides.




6) Serve!


Thursday, 28 May 2015

Kampar Lor Mai Fan

This dish definitely brings me back to my childhood where we used to buy this popular glutinous rice packed in plastic wrap and newspaper from the wet market in my hometown of Kampar. Served with fried peanuts and roasted char siew, it is one of the favourite breakfast treats among the locals. 

Some would prefer the rice drenched in curry sauce, but I like mine plain as I find the rice alone is flavourful enough. The fried crunchy peanuts are definitely a must to go with it and paired with char siew, they make this dish a real treat for breakfast!





Kampar Lor Mai Fan 
Recipe source from Through the Kitchen Door

Ingredients  
300g glutinous rice (sticky rice)
1 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked and chopped finely
2 shallots, minced
1 garlic, minced
1 tbsp premium oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp dark caramel sauce (I use ABC sweet sauce)
Salt, if needed
Some boiling water

Garnishing
½ cup fried peanuts
Red roasted char siew
Chopped spring onions

Method

1) Soak the sticky rice for at least 1 hour.  Drain.  Prepare your steaming vessel.

2) Heat wok/frying pan with 1-2 tbsp oil.  Add in the minced shallots and garlic.  Lightly sauté till light brown, then add in the chopped dried shrimp.  Fry till the shallots are golden brown and the dried shrimps are fragrant.  

3) Add in the rice and the seasonings.  Stir to thoroughly coat.  Keep tossing till the rice is a little sticky.  (Taste the rice and add salt if you require).

4) Dish up to a steaming plate and level it.  Pour in sufficient boiling water to slightly above the surface of the rice.

5) Steam on high heat for about 20-30 minutes till the rice is cooked.

6) Let the rice cool and fluff with your chopsticks.

7) Serve the rice with fried peanuts, sliced char siew and spring onions.







Blueberry Panna Cotta





Blueberry Panna Cotta
(serves 4)

Ingredients
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp gelatin
1 1/2 cup heavy or thickened cream
2 Tbsp castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Blueberry syrup
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup water

Method

1) Pour the milk in a small bowl and sprinkle over with the gelatin. Set aside.

2) Combine the heavy cream and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a low simmer over low heat. 

3) Pour in the prepared gelatin and milk, stirring well until completely dissolved. Stirring constantly, continue to cook for another minute.

4) Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

4) Fill the moulds with the mixture and leave to cool to room temperature. Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

5) To prepare blueberry syrup, place blueberries, sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes. Leave to cool.

6) To serve, scoop the cooled blueberry sauce onto the firmed panna cotta.





Monday, 25 May 2015

Blueberry Cheese Tarts

Once in a while, I like to surprise my daughter with some delightful snacks when she comes home from school and today is one of those days.  A lover of blueberries, I'm sure these pretty and dainty tarts will light up her day. Just can't wait to see the glee on her face!





Blueberry Cheese Tarts

Ingredients

1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
113g cream cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp icing sugar
125g blueberries

Method

1) Preheat oven to 200C. 

2) Using a round fluted cutter, cut out rounds from the pastry sheet. Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. With a smaller round cutter, score an inner circle on each of them, pressing 3/4 of the way through the pastry, taking care not to press all the way through.




3) Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and bake until golden and puffed, about 15-20 mins.

4) Remove from the oven and using a small, sharp knife, gently cut around the inner circles without cutting all the way through. Remove the first top layer and gently press down on the fluffed centre of the pastry to flatten it. Set aside.

5) Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the heavy cream and icing sugar and beat until creamy and smooth.

6) Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the pastry shells evenly within the border.

7) Arrange the blueberries over the filling and sprinkle some sifted icing sugar over the tarts.





Curry Chicken Pot Pies

On a cold winter's day, this curry chicken pot pie is definitely comfort food for the soul. Hot and spicy, it is most appetizing and I just love the warmth it brings to my hungry little tummy!






CURRY CHICKEN POT PIES
(makes 5)

Ingredients
500g chicken breast or boneless chicken thigh
1 medium size carrot, cut into small cubes
2 small to medium size potato, cut into small cubes
1 small onion, chopped small
2 cloves garlic,  chopped small
2 Tbsp oil
50g plain flour
2 heaps Tbsp curry powder
300ml milk (or you may use thin coconut milk)
300ml chicken stock  or water
salt and pepper to taste
2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry
1 small egg, beaten

Method

1)   In a medium pot, bring water to a boil on high.  Add in the chicken breast or chicken thigh making sure that the chicken is covered with the water by 1/2”.  Once the chicken is cooked, remove and cut into small cubes and set aside.  Retain 300ml of the chicken stock.

2)  In another medium pot, bring some water to a boil.  Add in the cubes carrots and potatoes.  Cook till the vegetables are soft.  Strain and set aside.

3) Preheat oven to 200C. 

4) Mix the flour with a little of the milk in a small bowl until you get a smooth paste. Leave aside.


5) Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add in the onion and garlic, and fry over a low heat about 1 minute. Turn up the heat and add the paste to the pan with the remaining milk and stock. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time, until the sauce is thickened and smooth.
(Note: If you are using coconut milk, use low to medium simmering heat).

6) Add in the curry powder and stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper. 

7) Add in the cooked chicken, carrot and potato and mix together.


8) Remove the pan from the heat. 


9) Divide the curry chicken into individual ramekins (allowing at least 1” between the filling and the top of the ramekin; this is to ensure that the dishes do not overflow when baking) and leave aside to cool. 


10) To prepare the pastry top, cut out pastry to a size slightly larger than your pie dish or ramekin. Brush the lip of your dish or ramekins with a bit of water, and lay the pastry over them. Press gently to seal the edges.


11) Brush the pastry with beaten egg. Cut any leftover pastry trimmings to your desired shapes, arrange them on top of the pie, then brush with more egg. Using the tip of a sharp knife or a skewer, create a small steam hole in the centre of the pie.


12) Bake in the oven for about 20-25 mins or until the pastry is crisp and golden.








Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie

My family has always loved pies whether it's savoury or sweet. There's just something about them that's so warm and comforting.  We especially love this chicken, leek and mushroom pie as it's rich with flavour and the creaminess of the gravy is just perfect for dipping the pastry into!

Enjoy!




Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie
(serves 5-6)
(adapted with modifications from Mary Berry's cookbook)

Ingredients
50g butter
2 large leeks, trimmed and sliced
50g plain flour
300ml milk
300ml chicken stock or water
1 tsp Dijon mustard
250g button mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper
500g cooked chicken, cut into small cubes
50g Cheddar cheese, grated
2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten

Method

1) Preheat oven to 200C. 

2) Mix the flour with a little of the milk in a small bowl until you get a smooth paste. Leave aside.

3) Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the leeks and fry over a low heat for about 10 mins until soft. 

4) Turn up the heat and add the paste to the pan with the remaining milk and stock. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time, until the sauce is thickened and smooth.

5) Add the mustard. Stir in the mushrooms and simmer for about 2 mins. 

6) Season with salt and pepper. 

7) Add in the cooked chicken and mix together.

8) Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheese. 

9) Pour the mixture into a large pie dish or a few individual ramekins and leave aside to cool.

10) To prepare the pastry top, cut out pastry to a size slightly larger than your pie dish or ramekin. Brush the lip of your dish or ramekins with a bit of water, and lay the pastry over them. Press gently to seal the edges.

11) Brush the pastry with beaten egg. Cut any leftover pastry trimmings into leaf shapes, arrange them on top of the pie, then brush with more egg. Using the tip of a sharp knife or a skewer, create a small steam hole in the centre of the pie.

12) Bake in the oven for about 25-30 mins or until the pastry is crisp and golden.




Can't wait to tuck in!








Monday, 18 May 2015

Coffee Walnut Cake

I must admit that this coffee walnut cake is one of my most favourite cakes of all. I just love the wonderful aroma of coffee coming out of the oven while the cake is baking. In fact, my family and friends enjoy it so much, I have made this cake over and over in the past. It's a definite winner for any special occasion.

Combined with walnuts and topped with coffee cream icing, it's a match made in heaven!






Coffee Walnut Cake

Ingredients
115g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
115g spreadable butter
2 large eggs
85g castor sugar
1 Tbsp instant coffee powder, diluted in a little boiling water
50g walnuts, very finely chopped

Coffee Cream Icing
350ml heavy cream/double cream
3 1/2 Tbsp icing sugar
1 Tbsp instant coffee powder, diluted in a little boiling water

For Decorations
8 whole walnuts
grated dark chocolate


Method

1) Preheat the oven to 170C. Lightly grease and line the bottom of two 18cm baking tins with baking paper.

2) Sift the self-raising flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl.

3) Add in the butter, eggs, castor sugar and diluted coffee powder. With an electric hand whisk, mix all the ingredients until smooth and creamy.

4) Fold in the chopped walnuts into the mixture with a spatula.

5) Divide the mixture between the two prepared tins.  Smooth the top evenly and bake in the oven for 25 mins. 

6) Remove from the oven and after 30 seconds, loosen the sides of the cakes with a spatula and turn them out onto a cooling wire rack. Slowly peel off the baking paper and then carefully flip the cakes back over so that the bottoms are sitting on the wire rack and the tops are facing upwards (to prevent the top layer from sticking to the cooling rack).

7) To prepare the coffee cream, place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until stiff.

8) Once the cakes are cool, spread some of the icing over one of them and place the other over it. Spread the rest over the top and sides of the cakes. Decorate with whole walnuts and grated chocolate on top.


A slice to go with your coffee, anyone?



Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Bunny Red Bean Mochi

Mochi is a popular Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice. Soft and chewy, I just love this sweet delicacy. Nowadays, it comes in different varieties of flavour to tease your sweet palate.

Today I'm making a simple mochi with red bean paste filling. With the help of a microwave oven, this is a simple, quick and easy way to make mochi. 

I'm happy to say the result is just as good as the bought ones (or even better as they don't have the taste of artificial flavouring!) 





Red Bean Mochi 
(makes 15)

Ingredients

115g glutinous rice flour
180ml water
40g castor sugar
150g red bean paste, (rolled into 15 small balls)
corn flour, for dusting

For bunny mochi:
pink mini marshmallows
black sesame seeds


Methods

1) Place the glutinous rice flour and sugar in a microwable bowl.  Mix together till well combine.

2) Add in the water slowly and mix well with a whisk until there are no lumps .

3) Cover the bowl with cling wrap and heat it in a microwave for 2  mins. Remove  and stir with a wet spoon. Cover again and microwave for another 1 min.  Remove and stir again. The colour of the mochi should be almost translucent now. If not, return to microwave for another 30 seconds. (Length of cooking depends on the wattage of your microwave)

4) Dust your work surface generously with cornflour. Put the hot mochi on top and dust a little more cornflour on the mochi to make it easier to work.

5) Flatten the dough with a dusted roller and divide into 15 portions with a knife. (Or you may like to use a round cookie cutter to cut out as this will be easier to make into round balls later)

6) Place a red bean paste ball into each flatten portion and wrap it around. Close the gap by pinching the ends together. Roll it around with your palms to make it round.

7) To make bunny mochi, I flatten some pink mini marshmallows and cut out shapes of bunny ears. Wet the edge of the ears a little and stick them on to the mochi. Stick on the black sesame seeds for bunny eyes. (This can be a little tricky if you don't have nimble fingers!)


* Steaming Method

If you wish to use steaming method, place the bowl in a steamer and steam for about 15 mins. Half way through steaming, stir with a wet spoon and cover to continue cooking until mochi is almost translucent in colour. 



Sunday, 10 May 2015

Carrot Walnut Cake

I remember when I first heard of carrot cake, I must admit I wasn't too thrilled to try it out. A vegetable in my cake? Err ... no, thanks, I think.

And then one day, at work, a colleague from another department invited us to help ourselves to some leftover morning tea treats from their monthly department meeting (which was something I always looked forward to!).  Eyeing the selections of teacakes and pastries, my attention fell upon some carrot cake slices and suddenly I thought, why not? There's certainly no harm giving it a go. 

And the verdict? ...... It certainly was not love at first sight but it sure was love at first bite! It was unlike any cake I've tasted before. It was moist and I just love the rich crumbly mix of walnuts and raisins in it. It also has a light cinnamony taste of spices which gives it such a unique flavour. All in all, it was a good first experience for me. Thumbs up!

2 years ago, I baked a carrot cake  for my mom's birthday and to my delight, she loved it too! So today, for Mother's Day, I decided to bake her this special cake packed with the goodness of grated carrots, walnuts, sultanas and orange juice. 

Happy Mother's Day!




Happy Mother's Day!




Carrot Walnut Cake

Ingredients
85g sultanas
juice of 1 orange
85g wholemeal flour
85g self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
145g soft light brown sugar
2 large eggs
125ml sunflower oil
170g carrots, peeled and grated
55g walnuts, chopped

Cream Cheese Frosting
120g cream cheese
45g butter, softened
180g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

For Decoration (optional)
fondant icing
orange and green food colouring
finely chopped pistachios or walnuts

Method

1) Place the sultanas and orange juice in a small bowl and leave to soak overnight. Alternatively, if you don't have time for this, put the sultanas and juice into a small pan and place over a low heat for 2-3 minutes to encourage the sultanas to soak up the juice.

2) Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line the bottom of a 18cm round cake tin.

3) Sift the flours, spices, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl.

4) Add the sugar and mix well.

5) Whisk the eggs and combine them with the oil, then add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in the carrot, walnuts and soaked sultanas until evenly distributed.

6) Spoon the mixture into the tin and spread it out evenly. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

7) Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting. Whisk the cheese until soft and fluffy, then beat in the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract until very smooth. Spread lashings of the frosting over the top and side of the cooled cake and decorate with carrot-shaped fondant and chopped pistachios. 

8) Serve and enjoy!






Topped with cute carrot fondants made by my daughter





Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Breakfast Tart

This is a little twist to your usual breakfast bacon and eggs on toast. So instead of having them on bread, why not serve them on pastry for a change! Yum!

You can even call it Breakfast Pizza! Sunny side UP!





Breakfast Tart
(Serves 4)

Ingredients

4 bacon rashers, cut into 3 pieces
2 sheets frozen puff pastry
2 Tbsp pizza sauce or tomato paste
1 small egg, lightly whisked (to use as egg wash to brush)
8 small eggs
1 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped

Method

1) Preheat oven to 200C and line two oven trays with baking paper.

2) Cook bacon, in batches, in a non-stick frying pan over moderately high heat for 3 mins or until lightly browned. Drain on paper towel.

3) Place pastry on prepared trays. For each tart, score a 2cm border around edge of pastry. Brush border with a little egg wash. Prick a few places in the centre with a fork. Spread half the pizza sauce over pastry within the marked border. Top with half the bacon.







4) Bake for 10 mins. One by one, crack the eggs into a cup, then gently pour onto tarts. Bake for a further 5-8 mins or until yolks are cooked to your liking. 

5) Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve!









Individual breakfast tart






Monday, 4 May 2015

Chicken Sliders

This is one of my favourite burger patty recipes as it is so simple to put together and the addition of grated apple into the ingredients gives the meat a juicy and tender texture.  

Definitely something my family enjoys having for a relaxed weekend lunch!





Chicken Sliders
(makes 4)

Ingredients
1 Tbsp light olive oil
40g onion, diced
1 small clove garlic, chopped
225g minced chicken
15g fresh breadcrumbs
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)
40g grated apple
salt and pepper, to taste

Method

1) Heat the olive oil in a pan and saute the onion and garlic for about 2 minutes. Allow to cool. 

2) Mix the chicken, breadcrumbs, apple, salt and pepper with the cooled onion and garlic. Shape into 4 burger patties.

3) Heat a little oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat and fry the patties until golden and cooked through, about 5 minutes each side.

4) Serve on burger buns with lettuce, tomato and cheese slices with mayonnaise. 





Sunday, 3 May 2015

Japanese Souffle Cheesecake

Unlike the usually heavy and rich western baked cheesecake, this Japanese version is much softer, with a smooth and moist texture.  It is best served chilled as overnight refrigeration helps to bring out its creaminess and flavour.

So light and fluffy, you just can't help reaching for a second helping!

Enjoy!




Japanese Souffle Cheesecake

Ingredients

1 cup milk
250g cream cheese
6 egg yolks
25g castor sugar
60g plain flour
15g cornflour
2 Tbsp lemon juice

6 egg whites
100g castor sugar

Method

1) Preheat the oven at 180C. Line a 22cm square baking tin with baking paper. (Do not use a removable bottom tin)

2) Heat the milk and cream cheese in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking occasionally until the mixture is smooth. 

3) In a heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and castor sugar together until the sugar is dissolved.  Add in the cream cheese mixture by pouring slowly in a thin stream and whisking continuously to combine.  (Do not pour in the hot cream cheese mixture all at once as this will cook the egg yolks!)

4) Sift in the flour and cornflour and mix into a smooth custard. Stir in the lemon juice and set aside.

5) Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until soft peak. Add in the castor sugar gradually while continuing to whisk till the meringue is stiff and glossy.

6) Using a handwhisk, mix in one third of the meringue into the cream cheese mixture. Continue to fold in gently the rest of the meringue with a spatula until the mixture is combined.

7) Pour the batter into the square baking tin and smooth the top. Place the tin in another larger size baking tray and pour hot water in the tray until it reaches about 2cm up the side of the cake tin. This is known as bain marie or steam bake.

8) Place them in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 160C. Bake for 1 hour, checking it after 50 mins and if the top has not browned, increase the oven temperature to 180C and continue to bake for another 10 mins.

9) Turn off the oven and leave the oven door slightly open. Allow the cake to cool inside the oven for about 45 mins before removing.  

10) This cheesecake is best served after chilling overnight in the fridge in an airtight container.