Monday, October 20, 2014

Seriously Zesty Bread Salad

"October Potluck", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). For this week, I've made a salad recipe of Yotam Ottolenghi (YO), which I have been wanting to make ever since our time with Ottolenghi more than a year ago!

YO has indicated in the recipe to use either sourdough or ciabatta bread, which is toasted with some olive oil and salt, until crispy and brown. I have however used my leftover homemade bread which I stored in the freezer and really needed to clear.

The veggies ; It was noted in the recipe that this salad is only worth making when tomatoes are in season and full of flavour. I have used cherry tomatoes instead, as cherry tomatoes are sweet and I love them in salads. Other veggies; cucumber and coriander from my garden, red onion, red pepper, crushed garlic. Toss the veggies with red wine vinegar, olive oil, grated zest and juice of half a lemon, with some salt and black pepper to taste. Just before serving, mix in the toasted bread, mix gently with a spoon, though I do not understand why YO advised using your hands for this step! Using a spoon works rather well, and hygienic too! 

Sprinkle with some sumac and dig in! Ooh, this is so good! The toasted bread is so crunchy and delicious. I cannot remember the name of the bread that I've made, but it has a light sweetness to it, and extremely delicious when used in this salad! All the veggies and the red onion are wonderfully crisp. This salad is zesty and tangy alright, from the lemon zest and juice, and with the red wine vinegar. And the sumac, I would not skip it! Simply wonderful with the sprinkling of sumac. I can see how this salad is great alongside a piece of slightly charred meat from the barbecue as mentioned by Ottolenghi. I had this with some chicken dish. I will definitely make this salad again.

Seriously Zesty Bread Salad
(adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi)
150gm rustic bread (stale or fresh) - sourdough or ciabatta, for example
salt and pepper
2 small cucumbers (15cm long), cut into 2cm pieces
3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, cored and cut into large pieces
1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
2 tsp sumac (optional)
grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
1-1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil

This salad is only worth making when tomatoes are in season and full of flavour. It should be acidic and tangy, and will taste amazing alongside a piece of slightly charred meat from the barbecue. Serves four.

Method :
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3. Spread out the bread on a roasting tray, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with some flaky salt. Bake for 20 minutes until crispy and golden, then leave to cool. Mix all the other salad ingredients and adjust the seasoning to taste. Just before serving, mix in the toasted bread, using your hands.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), for this week's theme, "October Potluck".

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and "Souper Sundays" @ Kahakai Kitchen"

Friday, October 17, 2014

Kimchi-guk (Kimchi Soup)

I have made this kimchi soup many times using my homemade kimchi. I love kimchi soup and could finish a whole bowl of this soup, and slurp on every last drop!

Really easy to make, and it is simply delicious!

In a pot, mix 2 cups of chopped kimchi, it's juices and some from the jar, pork pieces, hot pepper paste and sugar, mixing all to combine. Pour in 5 cups of water,  bring to a boil, lower heat and bring soup to a simmer for about 30-40 minutes until pork is tender. Add salt to taste if necessary. Add in tofu pieces, simmer gently for about 10 minutes, add in spring onions which have been cut to 2" sections. Serve hot.  I have added in more hot pepper paste (gochujang), as I like the soup a little more spicy. Use less hot pepper paste for a milder soup, but if you love heat, you would probably add on more, just like I did! 

I found this recipe at this wonderful website, all on Korean food,  There are so many mouth-watering recipes that I would love to try! 

Delicious! With just this one dish, you would eat two bowls of rice!

Kimchi Soup
(source from : Maangchi)
2 cups chopped kimchi, (plus its juices, and a tablespoon or two, from the jar)
1/2 pound pork shoulder (or pork belly), cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp hot pepper paste (gochujang)
1 tsp sugar
5 cups water
2 stalks green onion, chopped
1 pc tofu

  1. Combine the kimchi, hot pepper paste, kimchi juice, pork, and sugar in a heavy bottomed pot.
  2. Add water and bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 30 minutes. (Add salt to taste if necessary).
  3. Add tofu and lower the heat to medium low. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  4. Add green onion and remove from the heat.
  5. Serve hot with rice and a few more side dishes if desired.

I'm linking this post with Souper Sundays @ Kahakai Kitchen

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Maple Pecan Pie : Bake-Along #69

It's time for our Bake-Along #69, Maple Pecan Pie, selected by Zoe to bake together with Lena, myself and anyone who wishes to bake-along with us.

Pure maple syrup is really expensive over here, so I have substituted with Lyle's Golden Syrup Maple Flavour. If you are a maple syrup purist, you would probably be shaking your head, but if I make a full recipe, I would probably need to spend about RM60 just for the maple syrup alone, and that is the price for the cheapest brand.  Pecans are very expensive as well.

To make the crust, I've used the food processor to mix the dough, and use only about 3/4 tbsp of water. The dough is soft and a little sticky, I should have omitted the water! The sticky dough was a little difficult to manage but I managed to line the pie pan with the dough, after lots of patching up! Can you see from the photo above, one part of the crust has dropped off, yes, it was so flaky and tender that I broke a little of the crust after baking.

The filling is made by cooking the maple syrup (Lyle's golden syrup) until it is reduced to 1-1/2 cups, and let cool to room temperature before proceeding. It is then stirred together with eggs, brown sugar, salt, melted butter and vanilla until evenly mixed. The pecans are added in, stir well to combine and this filling is poured onto the partially baked pie crust, making sure the pecan is evenly distributed. The pie is baked for about 30-35 minutes. (I baked mine for about 38 minutes).

Lyle's Golden Syrup - Maple Flavour, the closest that I can sub for pure maple syrup.

A slice of "Maple" Pecan Pie. I really love the buttery flaky crust. It was so flaky and buttery. The filling is a little sweet. I should have omitted the brown sugar which I wanted to omit in the beginning, but decided to follow the recipe instead. The pecans are so yummy, baked to a crispy crunch and delicious with the sticky syrup, which is a little soft and gooey.

The recipe recommends to serve this pie with whipped cream, but I think ice cream is the best!

Maple Pecan Pie
(adapted from "The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book")
makes one 9-inch (23cm) pie, or 8 servings
Flaky Pastry Dough (refer below*)
For the filling :
2 cups (22oz/690g) maple syrup
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup (2oz/60gm) firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla butter
1-1/2 cups (6oz/185gm) pecans, coarsely chopped

Roll out the dough disk into a 12-inch (30-cm) round. Transfer the dough round to a 9-inch (23-cm) pie pan or dish. Trim the edge of the dough round, leaving 3/4 inch (2cm) of overhang. Fold the overhang under itself and pinch it together to create a high edge on the pan's rim. Flute the edge decoratively. Refrigerate or freeze the pie shell until firm, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375F (190C). Partially bake the pie shell ; Remove the pastry shell from the refrigerator or freezer. Line with a sheet of aluminium foil or parchment (baking) paper large enough to overhang the sides, patting the foil into the bottom and up over the sides. Cover the bottom of the shell with a generous layer of pie weights or raw short-grain rice on top of the foil. The weights help prevent the pastry from shrinking during baking. Bake for 20 minutes, then lift an edge of the foil to check the dough. If it looks wet, continue to bake, checking it every 5 minutes, until it is pale gold. The total baking time will be 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F (180C).

In a saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring the maple syrup to a boil and boil for 8-10 minutes to reduce by about one-fourth. Remove from the heat and pour into a heatproof measuring pitcher. The syrup should be reduced to 1-1/2 cups (12 oz/375gm). If necessary, return the syrup to the saucepan and continue to boil until sufficiently reduced. Let cool to room temperature before proceeding.

In a bowl, stir together the eggs, brown sugar, reduced maple syrup, salt, melted butter, and vanilla until well mixed. Add the pecans and stir well. Pour into partially baked pie shell, making sure the pecans are evenly distributed.

Bake the pie until the center is slightly puffed and firm to the touch, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool until just slightly warm, about 45 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve with the whipped cream.

* Flaky Pastry Dough
Makes dough for one 9-inch (23-cm) single crust pie or one 10-inch (25-cm galette
1-1/4 cup (200gm) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (125gm) cold unsalted butter
3 tbsp ice water, plus more if needed

In a bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse to blend. Add the butter and pulse 5 or 6 times, until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the 3 tbsp water through the feed tube, pulsing once after each addition and adding just enough to make a crumbly dough; it will not hold together on its own but will when gathered into a ball with your hands. If the dough is dry, mix in more water 1 tbsp at a time.


Do stop by Lena of Frozen Wings and Zoe of Bake For Happy Kids, and all our friends who has baked along with us in the linky below :

For our next Bake-Along, we will be baking based on a theme which is "Theme : French Macaron". Please do join us by baking any of your favourite French Macaron, and link your post to our linky which will start on 6th till 15th November. Everyone is welcome to join us! Only current post please.


A friendly reminder when linking to our blog hop :
1. Please mention Bake-Along event in your own post linking direct to any of the hosts' post (JoyceLena or Zoe)
2. Please link only new and current post, PLEASE FOLLOW THE BAKE OR THEME provided by us. Unrelated post will be deleted.
3. Feel free to display our Bake-Along badge in your post.


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Monday, October 13, 2014

Apple and Blueberry Jellies

"Icy Cold", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), our second week of cooking with Diana Henry recipes. This week is all about "frozen treats, cold beverages and other icy cold treats". Icy treats are always welcome anytime in my house, as the weather is always hot over here!  I've selected a cold jelly dessert, perfect to serve the family as an after dinner treat, cooling and refreshing.

This recipe, from her cookbook, "Plenty", was originally called "Blood Orange and Cardamom Jellies", and Apple and Blackberry Jellies is another variation which she has provided in the book. I do not have any blackberries, but I do have frozen blueberries in my freezer, so I've used that instead. And I've used unsweetened Apple Juice which is heated over medium-low heat, with a cinnamon stick and some sugar, stir until the sugar is dissolved. The cinnamon stick is then discarded and the pre-soaked softened gelatine* (which I've soaked with half cup of the apple juice for about 10-15 minutes) is added. Stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Pour into glasses, the ones I've used has a capacity of 6oz (about 180ml), drop in some of the frozen blueberries, keep aside to cool and refrigerate for 24 hours until the jellies has set. The jelly would be wobbly when the glass is lightly shaken.

* Note : The recipe uses gelatin sheet, but I've used gelatin granules. Thanks to David Lebovitz, after conversion, I've used about 3-1/2 teaspoon of gelatin granules to set 1 litre of apple juice (or any liquid) for a soft set, which is meant to be eaten using a spoon, not suitable to unmould.

At first I thought that the frozen blueberries would bleed when dropped into the hot liquid, and I tried with one glass first, waited for a few minutes and surprisingly the hot liquid are not tinge with blue from the berries! So, I dropped the rest of the blueberries into the remaining 5 glasses. Allow the jellies to cool, then refrigerate.

Best refrigerate the jellies for 24 hours. They will still be wobbly when the glass is lightly shaken. The texture is soft and mushy, just perfect for a soft set. We had this cooling yummy dessert after our dinner meal and it was good! The next time, I will make this again, using other flavour variations mentioned in the book.  

Apple and Blueberry Jellies
(adapted from : "Plenty", Diana Henry or here)
1 litre apple juice, unsweetened
juice of half a lemon
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
3-1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
1 cup blueberries

Pour  half cup of apple juice into a medium bowl. Sprinkle powdered gelatin over and set aside for 10-15 minutes. 
Meanwhile place the balance apple juice in a medium pot over a medium heat, add the cinnamon stick and sugar to taste, stirring until the sugar has completely disssolved.
Discard the cinnamon stick, remove from heat, add the gelatin mixture, stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved. 
Pour into glasses, drop in some blueberries into the apple juice, keep aside to cool, then refrigerate overnight until jelly has set. This is a soft-set jelly, meant to be eaten with a spoon (not suitable to unmould).

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week, "Icy Cold".

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Chicken Baked with Red Onions, Potatoes and Rosemary And Spring Couscous to Welcome Diana Henry

I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) is welcoming Diana Henry as our new featured chef for the next six months with the theme for this week "Welcome Diana Henry!". I am not familiar with Diana Henry and have never tried any of her recipes before. Did a search on the internet, and really like her recipes, especially her chicken recipes! In fact, I have already tried three of her chicken recipes, and like them all. Her new cookbook on chicken "A Bird In The Hand" will out in March 2015, definitely on my list!

To welcome Diana Henry into my kitchen for the next six months, I've made her simple and delicious Chicken Baked With Red Onions, Potatoes and Rosemary. That's not all, I've also made her Spring Couscous which is fresh and lovely.

Chicken thighs are rubbed with sea salt to crisp the skin (brilliant!). Onions, potatoes and garlic are placed in a single layer in a large roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper, pour over the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, leaving some sprigs whole and strip off leaves of the rest. Toss everything to combine, and tuck in the chicken thigh pieces. I sprinkled some black pepper over the chicken pieces. Bake at 200C for 45 minutes until the veggies are cooked and the chicken thighs are brown and crispy. Wonderful aroma in the kitchen while this is baking!

Simplicity at its best! The chicken thigh is so delicious, tender and moist with really crispy skin. The potatoes and onions are soft and tender, and the garlic are creamy and delicious. To serve with this delicious chicken, I've made Spring Couscous. When the chicken is almost done, I start on preparing the Couscous.

This Spring Couscous is definitely spring! It is fresh and lovely. Recipe uses pistachio nuts, which I have omitted cos someone in the house do not like nuts. Using herbs from my garden pot, fresh mint, coriander leaves and scallion, season with salt and lemon juice, I served the couscous on "lettuce cups". An easy, simple and delicious meal that does not take up much time at all. 

I am waiting (rather impatiently!) for my books to arrive, meanwhile, both these recipes can be found at the links provided in the recipes.

Chicken Baked with Red Onion, Potatoes and Rosemary
(adapted from "Pure Simple Cooking", Diana Henry or here)
2 red onions, each cut into 10 wedges
2 bulbs garlic, unpeeled and separated into cloves
500gm waxy baby potatoes, leave the skin on
salt and pepper
8 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
5 sprigs rosemary
8 chicken thighs, rubbed with sea salt to crisp the skin
  1. Spread the vegetables and garlic in a single layer over the base of a huge roasting tin so that they will crisp and brown beautifully. Season, pour over the oil and balsamic vinegar and add the rosemary, leaving some sprigs whole and strip off the leaves of the rest.
  2. Toss the vegetables with your hands and tuck the chicken pieces in among them. Bake for 45 minutes at 200C/400F/GM6 until cooked through.
  3. Transfer everything to a big platter or take to the table in the roasting tin. Serve a green salad on the side.

Spring Couscous
(adapted from "Food From Plenty", Diana Henry, or here)
1 cup couscous
3/4 cup boiling water or chicken stock
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I use 3 tbsps)
salt and pepper
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 tbsp each fresh parsley, mint and cilantro
3 tbsp shelled, unsalted pistachio, chopped

Sprinkle the couscous into a bowl and add the stock or water, seasoning and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let the couscous plump up for about 15 minutes, then fork it through to separate the grains and aerate it. It will still be hot.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients and taste for seasoning.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC),  for this week's theme, "Welcome Diana Henry!"
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I will be taking a short blogging break. Cook-Your-Books will be on as usual, please do keep your posts coming.  I will try to visit your blogs if I can. Until then, have a delicious week, everyone!


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