Monday, August 21, 2017

Olive Oil Cake With Fresh Apricots

This month, at The Cake Slice Bakers, the four recipes selected from the book World Class Cakes by Roger Pizey, which we are currently baking from are ;

Olive Oil Cake with Fresh Peaches
Hummingbird Cake
M'hanncha
Oliver Peyton's Strawberry and Majoram Cream Tart

Members can choose any of these cakes to bake, and my choice is Olive Oil Cake with Fresh Peaches. But instead of peaches, I've used fresh apricots.



I made half a recipe and bake in a 5" cake pan, and it bakes up like a giant cupcake! Maybe I should have used a 6" cake pan instead. This is a simple cake with all the basic ingredients, instead of butter, it uses olive oil.



The cake has moist, close crumbs and I thought that this is just an ordinary cake, nothing special that would make me want to bake it again. I prefer the Danish Apple Cake which I baked months ago from the same book, maybe I have always prefer using butter in my cakes instead of oil.





Saturday, August 19, 2017

Tempura Spring Veg With Sesame Dipping Sauce

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), the theme is Dippity Do Dah!, such a catchy theme! We are to make any dip or spread using any recipe from our current featured chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

I've made Tempura Spring Veg With Sesame Dipping Sauce, from HFW's fabulous book, River Cottage Light & Easy, a gift from a lovely friend.

HFW made the tempura using spring veg, I have however used our local veggies which are available the whole year round. 



The veggies I've used are pumpkin, sweet potatoes, French beans and brinjals. I have made some changes to the batter. In the recipe, Hugh has used only two ingredients ; white rice flour and chilled sparkling water. I do not have any sparkling water, so I have used ice cold water. And I have added one teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt to taste. (thus, I have omitted the sprinkling of salt on the fried tempura at serving time). The batter was quite thin and did not really coat the veggie when I dipped some veggies into the batter for test-frying. So I have added another 2-3 tablespoons of rice flour. 

For the dipping sauce, mix the ingredients together ; toasted sesame seeds, grated ginger, grated garlic, tamari (or soy sauce), lime juice, and honey. I've used soy sauce, so I have added 1-2 tablespoons of water to dilute the taste of soy sauce a little, as the dipping sauce I've tasted at Japanese restaurants are always so light yet so tasty.



The batter coats the veggies beautifully without being too thick or too thin and fried to a light crispiness. The tempura veggies are delicious, crispy and tasty!

And we love the dipping sauce. So good with the crispy fried veggies! Yum!



I will definitely be making this again!


Tempura Spring Veg With Sesame Dipping Sauce
(River Cottage Light & Easy, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
Serves 2-4
a selection of vegetables, such as asparagus, small radishes, baby carrots
and spring onions (I've used pumpkin, sweet potato, French beans and brinjals)
sprigs of flat-leaf parsley
sunflower or groundnut oil, for frying
fine sea salt

For the batter :
100gm white rice flour
160ml chilled sparkling water (I've used chilled plain water)
1 teaspoon baking powder
added a large pinch of salt to taste

For the dipping sauce :
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon runny honey
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

For the sauce, mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
To prepare the vegetables :
Slice and cut the veggies to the same uniform thickness, making sure that they are not too thick so that they can cook quickly.
To prepare the batter :
Mix the ingredients together and used immediately.

Pour a 5cm depth of oil into a deep, heavy-based saucepan and heat to about 180C.
Use a cook's thermometer to check the temperature of the oil, or drop in 1/2 teaspoonful of batter - it should fizzle enthusiastically and just start to colour in about 1 minute.
Dip the vegetables, a few at a time, into the batter, dunking them down to the bottom of the bowl so they get a good coating. Then lift them out, briefly letting the excess batter drip back into the bowl, and swiftly drop them into the hot oil. Fry for about 2 minutes until crisp and very lightly golden. Don't let the vegetables clump together in the oil or the batter won't cook properly - it helps to drop them in one at a time.
Tansfer the cooked veg to a plate lined with kitchen paper, and, while still sizzling hot, sprinkle with a little salt. Serve as soon as they are all cooked, with the dipping sauce.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
Dippity Do Dah!


and 

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #20 hosted by 




Thursday, August 17, 2017

Crash-O-Cookies

This week at Tuesdays With Dorie, selected recipe from Dorie's Cookies, is Crash-O-Cookies. It has been awhile since I last baked with the group.

These cookies has my favourite ingredients, raisins and oats. And there's chopped milk chocolate. They are chewy and soft and lovely with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.



I reduced the sugar to 80gm for both the caster sugar and brown sugar, and thought that these cookies were sweet enough. I mixed the dough in the morning, keep covered in the fridge, and baked the cookies at night. So I have baked them a little longer as the dough is cold from the fridge, about 20 minutes. They are a little crispy around the edges when still warm but turned soft and chewy when they have cooled down completely. 

I baked only half the batch of the dough and store the other half in the freezer. That will be for another day.



Though I am partial to crispy cookies, I do enjoy these chewy soft cookies.

The recipe for these cookies can be found at Dorie's website.

To see the other bakers review on these cookies, drop by Tuesdays With Dorie (TWD) blog roll.


Friday, August 11, 2017

French Beans With Tomatoes

I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) is cooking with tomatoes this week, as the featured ingredient/dish for this month of August is Tomatoes! I've decided to cook with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, our current featured chef at IHCC. Made his French Beans with Tomatoes.

A simple and easy dish to cook, with just minimal ingredients ; chopped onions, chopped garlic, canned chopped tomatoes and French beans. For the tomatoes, either canned or fresh tomatoes can be used. I have one last can of chopped tomatoes in my pantry which I wanted to clear, and seems perfect for this dish. 



Does not takes much effort at all to cook this dish, the only thing is to stir every now and then, to avoid the bottom from sticking to the pan. I did add a little water just to keep the sauce moist and nice. 

This is a delicious dish. There's the usual slight sourness from the canned tomatoes, but at the same time, you can taste the sweetness from both the onions and the French beans. Very tasty. My son seems to be taken with this dish, he loves it. At first, he thought that I have added some sugar to this dish. Well I did not, the sweetness are naturally from the onions and French beans! We had this dish with rice and a few other dishes. No leftovers!


French Beans With Tomatoes
(River Cottage Every Day, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
serves 4
1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400gm tin of chopped tomatoes, or 1 kg fresh tomatoes, blanched, skinned,
deseeded and roughly chopped
500gm French beans, topped, tailed and cut into 4-5cm lengths
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or frying pan, add the onion and sweat for at least 10 minutes, until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook gently for another minute or two, then add the tomatoes and stir well. Stir in the beans, bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and season well. Turn down the heat, partly cover the pan and cook very gently, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes, until the beans are fully tender. If the mixture seems to be in danger of sticking, add a splash of water or stock. Serve warm or cold.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
August Monthly Featured Ingredient/Dish Challenge : Tomatoes !


and 

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #20 hosted by 


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Braised Pork with Potatoes

Another delicious recipe from Every Grain Of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop. The author describes this as a heart-warming stew, one of those you find on display outside Sichuanese restaurants specialising in braised dishes. This stew uses just a few ingredients, the main ingredient that gives the lovely red colour and delicious flavour, is the Sichuan chilli bean paste.



I have used wavy potatoes instead of floury. As suggested by the author, carrots or other root veggies can be used instead, whichever we prefer, or a mixture of root veggies. The next time I would use daikons, one of my favourite root veggies in stews.



The Sichuan chilli bean paste makes a delicious flavourful stew with the pork braised to a soft tender texture. With a bowl of hot fluffy rice, makes a satisfying meal.

The recipe can be found here
(or from Every Grain Of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop, pg 100)


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #20 hosted by 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Marinated Cucumber with Mint

I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) is going raw this week, with the theme, In The Raw! There's certainly not short on recipes for this theme. There's tons of recipes using fresh raw veggies in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage series of cookbooks.  I've made Marinated Cucumber with Mint from HFW's lovely book, River Cottage Veg every day! I love cucumbers, especially when eaten raw.

A very simple, easy and quick salad to put together. Sliced cucumber are tossed with cider vinegar, sugar, salt, olive oil, black pepper and leave to marinate for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving. 



A refreshing salad indeed! Especially with the chopped fresh mint.


Marinated Cucumber with Mint
(River Cottage Veg Everyday, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
serves 3-4
1 medium-large cucumber
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil or rapeseed oil
a good handful of mint, finely chopped
a pinch of sugar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel the cucumber, halve it lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Slice into thick half-moons. Place in a dish with the cider vinegar, oil, mint and a pinch each of salt, sugar and pepper. Toss together thoroughly.  Leave for 15-30 minutes, toss again and then serve.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
In The Raw!

and

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #20 hosted by 




Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Spinach In Ginger Sauce

I have made some delicious meals from Fuchsia Dunlop's cookbook, Every Grain Of Rice. Spinach In Ginger Sauce is another winner. There are more dishes that I will be sharing as I cannot seem to stop cooking from this book!



This is listed under the Cold Dishes section in the book.  A bunch of spinach are first blanched briefly in hot boiling water, then refresh in cold water, drain and very gently squeeze out any excess water from the spinach. They are then arranged on a cutting board, cut into sections, and arrange neatly on a serving plate. The sauce is then poured over.

To make the simple sauce, you would need to finely chop some ginger, place into a small bowl and mix with some Chinkiang vinegar, soy sauce, water, salt and sesame oil. You may need to adjust the soy sauce, salt and vinegar to your liking. I did use double the amount of ginger as we love ginger!



This spinach dish goes well together when served with a rich dish such as braised pork, as part of a meal with rice, as it is slightly sour, salty and gingery nice. So it helps to cut down on the richness of the rich braised meat. We love this spinach dish, a definite repeat. 

The recipe can be found here.
(or from Every Grain Of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop, pg 64)


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #20 hosted by 



Friday, July 28, 2017

Pork And Root Vegetable Stew

It's Potluck Week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). I've made our current featured chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's delicious stew.



In the recipe, either good quality sausages or pork chops can be used, or a mixture of both. I have used pork shoulder, as I love it for braising and slow cooking dishes. I have omitted the celeriac as it is not an ingredient which is easily available over here. For the parsnip, I have replaced with carrots. I did not tie the bouquet garni together, I merely drop into the pot, the bay leaves, parsley stems, and some dried thymes. Firstly the meat has to be browned first in some hot oil, which are then removed and keep aside. White wine is then poured into the casserole to deglaze all the caramelized bits that got stuck in the pot, smells really nice, and pour onto the pork. The vegetables are then sauteed in some oil for 10 minutes until they are softened, then return the pork along with their juices, to the casserole along with all the other ingredients. Simmer over a low heat until everything is tender, about 1 hour to 1-1/4 hours. I've added the potatoes during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.



This is a delicious stew. The meat and vegetables are tender and the soup is so tasty and full of flavour. We enjoyed this stew with slices of homemade bread, Rustic Country Bread for dinner. There's no leftovers! Yum!



Sausage and Root Vegetable Stew
(River Cottage Everyday, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
serves 4
2-3 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
6 good sausages, cut into large chunks, or 4 pork chops (or 4 of each) (I use pork shoulder)
1 glass of dry cider or white wine (use white wine)
2 onions, chopped
1 leek, sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/4-1/2 celeriac, cut into chunky cubes (omitted)
2 medium floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunky cubes
1 large parsnip, cut into chunky cubes (replace with carrots)
1 bouquet garni (a bay leaf, 2 sprigs of thyme and some parsley stalks, tied together with string)
1 tbsp chopped parsley (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a casserole or large saucepan. Add the sausages (and/or chops) and brown them well over a medium heat - if you're using chops, you might need to do this in 2 batches. Transfer them to a dish.
Pour the cider or wine into the casserole and stir to deglaze, scraping to release any bits of caramelised meat from the base of the pan. Pour the pan juices into the dish with the sausages (and/or chops).
Heat another 1-2 tablespoons of oil in the casserole, add the onions, leek and celery and cook gently for 10 minutes or so, until softened. Then return the sausages (and/or chops) to the casserole with their juices and add the celeriac, potatoes and parsnip. Tuck in the bouquet garni, season with salt and pepper and add enough water to almost cover everything. Bring to a very gentle simmer.
Cook uncovered, or partially covered very gently over a low heat (or with the lid on in the oven preheated to 140C/Gas Mark 1) for about 1 hour, until everything is tender.
Take out the bouquet garni and check the seasoning. The potatoes should have started to break down and thicken the liquor a little. If not, just mash some of the vegetables against the side of the dish with a fork. Scatter over some chopped parsley, if you like, and serve.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
July IHCC Potluck


and

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #19 hosted by 


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Rustic Country Bread

A simple and easy loaf to make. Just as the author describes, not only it is a straightforward recipe, it is satisfying and delicious. I started to prepare the dough in the morning, and by evening I have a lovely loaf for dinner.



The recipe uses a mixture of bread flour and all purpose flour, but I have used all bread flour, and reduced the salt to just 3/4 teaspoon. I did not have a pizza stone, so I've used an upturned baking sheet instead.  I baked the bread five minutes longer to get that darker crust.



The bread has chewy crust and soft tasty crumbs. I was glad that I have reduced the salt, as using the full amount would have been too salty for us. We enjoyed slices of this rustic bread for dinner, with some stew, lovely.


Rustic Country Bread
(The Everyday Baker, Abigail Johnson Dodge)
makes 1 loaf (1-1/4 lb/567 gm)
2 cups (9oz/255gm) bread flour
1 cup (4-1/2 oz/128gm) unbleached all purpose flour + more for dusting
1-1/2 tsp quick-rise (instant) yeast
1 tsp granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp table salt (I use 3/4 tsp salt)
1 cup to 2 tbsp (270ml) water, warmed to between 115° and 125°F (45° and 52°C)
Nonstick cooking spray or neutral oil (safflower, canola, vegetable, or corn), for greasing the bowl
Fine or coarse cornmeal, for dusting

Make the dough
  1. Put the flours, yeast, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk until well blended, and fit the mixer with a dough hook. Mix on medium speed while pouring the warm water into the flour mixture. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the dough is smooth and elastic, 4 to 6 minutes. If the dough climbs up the hook, stop the mixer and scrape the dough into the bowl. The dough will be soft and sticky to the touch.
  2. Remove the dough hook, scrape the dough onto the counter, knead once or twice until it no longer sticks to the counter and passes the "window-pane" test, and shape into a ball. Lightly grease the sides of the bowl and put the dough, rounded side up, back in. Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours.
Shape the dough
Generously dust a pizza peel or cookie sheet with cornmeal. Scrape the dough onto an unfloured work surface and press down on the dough to deflate it. Shape the dough into a round ball about 6 inches (15cm) wide, making sure the top is smooth and there is no seam on the bottom. Arrange on the peel and cover with a large overturned bowl or cake cover. Let the dough rise until puffed and almost doubled in size, 2 to 2-1/2 hours.

Bake the bread
  1. Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and set a pizza stone on the rack. Heat the oven to 450°F (230°C/gas 8) for at least 20 minutes. Fill a spray bottle with water.
  2. Dust the top of the loaf with 2 or 3 tbsp flour and, using a razor or long, very sharp knife, cut 4 slits across the top of the dough, about 1/2 inch (12mm) deep, in a tic-tac-toe design. Slide the bread from the peel onto the stone, and using the spray bottle, spritz the inside the of the oven several times.
  3. Bake until the loaf is deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the centre reads 190° to 200°F (88° to 95°C), 32 to 35 minutes. Slide the bread onto the peel or cookie sheet and move to a rack. Let cool for at least 1 hour before slicing with a serrated knife.


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #19 hosted by 



Sunday, July 23, 2017

Salt-Fried Pork with Garlic Stems

Another delicious quick stir-fry dish from Every Grain Of Rice cookbook by Fuchsia Dunlop. I love garlic stems, they are sweet, crunchy and delicious. In this recipe, very thinly sliced pork belly are fried in a little oil until they are curved and browned in places. They are then removed and keep aside.

To prepare the garlic stems, chilli bean paste and fermented black beans are stir-fried until the oil is red and fragrant, then the fried pork slices are added in, season with some sugar to taste. Add the garlic stems and continue to stir fry until the garlic stems are cooked through.




This is a delicious stir-fry. With minimal ingredients, but very tasty. Delicious with fluffy rice. We love it.

The recipe can be found here.
(from Every Grain Of Rice, Fuchsia Dunlop, pg 98)


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #19 hosted by 




Thursday, July 20, 2017

Golden Raisins Financiers

This month, at The Cake Slice Bakers, the four recipes selected from the book World Class Cakes by Roger Pizey, which we are currently baking from are ;

Raspberry Angel Cake 
Hazelnut Dacquoise 
Blueberry Financiers
Plum Madeira

Members can choose any of these cakes to bake, and my choice is Blueberry Financiers. 



The only thing is I did not use blueberries, which I was planning to use, but at the last minute, I've used golden raisins as I have been thinking about making a tea cake with golden raisins for weeks! I've made half a recipe, which yields 6 financiers, and the only change I've made to the recipe was to reduce the sugar to 1/4 cup and I've added 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the batter. The mould I had was slightly longer than the one used in the recipe, and the shape is oblong instead of rectangular. Baking time remains the same at 20 minutes.

I have also omitted the apricot glaze for the baked financiers. 



These financiers are delightful to eat, very moist and yummy. The only downside is, the raisins sank to the bottom, but that is OK with me, as these little tea cakes are really nice. Perfect with a cup of warm tea.



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Flax Seed Oat Bread

This is a lovely bread full of oats, both in the bread and on the crust. Even healthier with the addition of flax seeds and sesame seeds.






I like the mini look of this bread, as it does not bake up that tall. I suppose a smaller loaf pan can be used for a higher loaf, with some adjustments to the baking time. It has very nice soft crumbs. We enjoyed slices of this bread with some butter and jam, and hot mugs of coffee for breakfast. 


Flax Seed Oat Bread
(The Art Of Making Bread, by Alex Goh)
50gm instant oat
15gm flax seeds
100gm boiling water

200gm high protein flour
25gm plain flour
25gm atta flour
3gm instant yeast
20gm sugar
6gm salt
120gm cold water

20gm butter

oat flakes, flax seeds and sesame seeds, extra for coating

  1. Mix instant oat, flax seeds and boiling water in a bowl and set aside to cool. Cover with cling wrap, keep in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  2. Remove oat mixture from refrigerator and scrape into mixing bowl, with the dough hook attachment. Add the rest of the ingredients, except butter, and knead to form a rough dough.
  3. Add butter and continue to knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. 
  4. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover loosely with oiled cling wrap, and leave to proof for about 60 minutes until doubled in size.
  5. Punch down dough to deflate and place on lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into two equal pieces and mould them into a ball. Let rest, covered for 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, mix the extra oat flakes, flax seed and sesame seed together and place on a baking tray.
  7. Working with one dough half at a time, flatten the dough and roll it up, pressing the seams to seal. Spray the dough with some water and roll dough on the oats, flax seeds and sesame seeds mixture to coat the top and sides, leaving the seam side uncoated. Place dough, seam side down on a greased loaf pan, 9"x 4-1/2" pan. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Cover loosely with greased cling wrap and leave in a warm spot for 60 minutes or until doubled in size.
  8. Remove cling wrap and bake dough in a preheated oven at 220C for 20-25 minutes.


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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Hot Punjabi King Prawn Curry

This month's, July Monthly Featured Dish/Ingredient Challenge theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) is Just For Kicks! : Spicy Dishes. I turned to Madhur Jaffrey's books for her curry recipes. It has been awhile since I last cook from her books. 



This is a fairly easy curry to cook. Recipe calls an overnight marination of  the prawns, but I've marinated them for about 4 to 5 hours. I've used 3 tablespoons of yoghurt instead of 6 tablespoons, as that was what I had left. 

The sauce is first cooked to a fragrant thick sauce, then the marinated prawns are added in, stir and simmer until they are opaque and cooked through. Stir in the remaining garam masala and chopped coriander. 



Delicious prawn curry. Very fragrant from the cumin seeds and tasted so delicious from all the other ingredients. So good with white fluffy rice. This is one dish that I will be cooking again.


Hot Punjabi King Prawn Curry
(Curry Nation by Madhur Jaffrey)
for the marinade :
600gm (1lb 4oz) raw king prawns, peeled and de-veined
6 tablespoons yoghurt
2 hot green chillies, finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt

for the curry :
4 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped or crushed garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric
2-3 hot green chillies, finely sliced
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
4 teaspoons finely chopped coriander leaves

Rinse and drain the prawns. Pat them dry and put into a non-reactive bowl. Add the yoghurt, chillies and salt. Mix well, cover and marinate overnight in the fridge.
When ready to cook the curry, pour the oil into a karhai, wok or heavy-based pan, about 23 centimetres (9 inches) in diameter, and set it over a medium heat. Spoon in the cumin seeds, swirl and brown for 10 seconds. Add the onions. Saute for about 10 minutes or until brown all over. Add the garlic, reduce the heat to low and stir and fry for two minutes. Mix in the turmeric and stir for one minute.
Now add the green chillies, increase the heat to medium and stir for one minute. Mix in 1-1/2 teaspoons of the garam masala and stir for one minute. Add half the salt, and all of the tomatoes and chilli flakes. Cook for two minutes, then add 120ml (4fl oz) of boiling water. Combine to make a thick sauce.
Simmer for three minutes, then add the remaining salt. Stir in the prawns and their marinade and cook over a medium heat until they are just opaque and cooked through. 
Sprinkle the remaining garam masala over the top and stir.
Fold in the chopped coriander and serve.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
Just For Kicks : Spicy Dishes

and 

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #19 hosted by 


Friday, July 14, 2017

Runner Beans With Black Beans And Chilli

A quick stir-fry dish, simple yet so tasty. I don't cook runner beans very often, simply because they are not always available. And when I do see them in the market, I would not hesitate to grab some, as we love runner beans. 



Recipe calls for the garlic and ginger to be thinly sliced, but I have chopped them instead, and have used more than the recipe calls for. Instead of boiling the runner beans for two or three minutes, I have simply microwaved them for two minutes, then proceed with the recipe.

The stir-frying part is pretty quick, takes only a few minutes. One of my usual way of stir-frying runner beans is to cook with chopped dried prawns. This recipe uses black beans, another delicious way of cooking these runner beans. We love this dish, makes a great side dish to eat with rice and other main dishes. It is now on my list of "everyday-dish" rotation!


The recipe can be found here.
(from Every Grain Of Rice, Fuchsia Dunlop, pg 154)

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Honey-Lemon Whole-Wheat Bread

Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads is one of my favourite bread books, but I have been neglecting it for quite a while, and it's time to revisit this book and bake something from it again. From the many label stickers that are sticking out from the pages of the book, I chose this recipe, Honey-Lemon Whole-Wheat Bread, one that I have been wanting to make for ages.

Originally, the dough is left to rise in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 2 hours, until the dough has risen to double its size. But I have made the usual way, and left the dough to rise at room temperature for the final rising, and bake it on the same day.



I've made only one loaf. In the recipe below, listed in blue, I have given the measurements for one loaf of bread. Please note that the amount of flour and water that I've used may not work for you, as it depends on the moistness of the dough. Feel free to adjust accordingly.

The changes I've made is to substitute the shortening with butter. I have reduced the salt slightly, using only 3/4 teaspoon. The dough was rather sticky at the initial stage, so I've added a quarter cup of bread flour at a time until the dough no longer sticks at the side of the bowl. The amount of additional bread flour that I've used was 3/4 cup, making it a  total of 2-1/4 cups in all. For the whole-wheat flour, I've used 1 cup in total.

The dough rises beautifully and bakes into a lovely brown loaf. I tent the loaf with foil at 30 minutes baking time, as the dough is getting really brown. I baked the loaf for 40 minutes.



This is one lovely, fabulous bread. Very soft, light and tasty with fabulous crumbs. I love it spread with cold salted butter. Definitely one bread that is worth making again.


Measurements listed in blue in the recipe below, is my own measurements, to make one loaf of bread, with adjustments of my own. Feel free to add more or use less flour as needed. 

Honey-Lemon Whole-Wheat Bread
(Bernard Claytons's New Complete Book of Breads)
makes 2 loaves
3 cups bread or all-purpose flour (1-1/2 cups + 3/4 cups bread flour)
2 packages dry yeast (2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons salt (3/4 teaspoon)
2-1/2 cups hot water (120° - 130°) (1 cup)
1/4 cup honey (2 tbsp)
3 tablespoons shortening, room temperature (1-1/2 tbsp, about 30gm, butter)
1 tablespoon grated or diced lemon peel (1/2 tbsp lemon zest)
2 to 3 cups whole-wheat flour, approximately  (1 cup)
vegetable oil

Baking pans : 2 large (9"x5") baking pans, greased or Teflon

In a large mixer bowl, combine the white flour, yeast, and salt. Pour in the hot water. Add the honey, shortening, and lemon peel. Stir briskly with a wooden spoon to blend, or for 2 minutes at medium speed with the mixer flat beater. Scrape the bowl occasionally. (I use the dough hook).
Add one cup (half cup if making one loaf) whole-wheat flour.  Beat at high speed for 1 minute. The batter will be thick and rubberlike, and pull away from the bowl in strands.
Stop beating. Stir in an additional 1 to 2 cups (half cup if making one loaf) whole-wheat flour, depending on the moistness of the developing dough. The dough should be elastic, soft, and, at this stage, not overly sticky. If the dough continues to be slack and moist, add sprinkles of white flour. Knead for 10 minutes, adding sprinkles of flour is the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl.
(The dough was really sticky, I've added a quarter cup of bread flour at a time, using a total of 3/4 cup. Dough will leave the sides of the bowl, but is still just slightly sticky).
Cover the dough with a towel or a length of wax paper and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. (I transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, shape into a ball, and place in an oiled mixing bowl. Turn dough over so the oiled side is up. Cover bowl loosely with greased cling wrap, and allow dough to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes).
Knead the dough for 30 seconds to press out the bubbles, and divide into 2 pieces (no need to divide if making only one loaf). Shape into balls and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes.
Form each loaf by pressing a ball under your palms or with a rolling pin into a flat oval, roughly the length of the baking pan. Fold the oval in half, pinch the seam tightly to seal, tuck under the ends, and place in the pan, seam down.
Brush the surface of the dough with vegetable oil. Cover the pans loosely with wax paper. and then with plastic wrap. The loose covering allows the dough to rise above the level of the pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours to double the volume. (I did not place the dough in the refrigerator. I left the dough to rise on my kitchen counter, cover loosely with oiled cling wrap, until doubled in size and bake as directed below).
Remove the pan from the refrigerator and let stand while the oven heat to 400°, about 20 minutes.
Uncover the loaves. Prick any surface bubbles with a toothpick just before slipping the loaves into the oven. (My risen dough has no surface bubbles). Bake on the lower rack of the hot oven for 30 to 40 minutes. When the loaves are brown and tapping the bottom crust yields a hard, hollow sound, they are done. If not, return them in their pans to the oven for up to an additional 10 minutes.  (If the bread gets too brown before they are done, cover the top with foil).
(If using a convection oven, reduce heat 50° and bake for 40 minutes, or until the loaves test done, as above).
Remove the bread from the oven, turn from the pan immediately, and place on a metal rack to cool.
Note : for a soft crust, brush with melted butter or margarine as soon as bread comes out of the oven.


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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Two-Root Slaw

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), the theme is Salads & Sides. I made some slaw to serve alongside some roasted chicken. Recipe uses two types of root veggies ; carrots and celeriac. Since it is almost impossible to find celeriac over here, I've used what I had in my fridge ; stalks of celery instead, since we love celery in  salads. So I should really call this slaw as "Root-Stem Slaw"! 

Very easy and quick to put together. I sliced the veggies into matchsticks instead of grating. As for the lemon juice, I've only added a squeeze or two, instead of from 1/2 a lemon, as we do not like sour slaw.



A very nice slaw indeed. Great side dish for roasted chicken.


Two-root Slaw
(River Cottage Everyday, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
serves 6
2-3 large carrots
1/2 celeriac (about 400gm) (I've replaced with 2 stalks of celery)

for the dressing :
4 tablespoons good mayonnaise
2 teaspoons English mustard
juice of 1/2 lemon, or a dash of cider vinegar
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, lightly toasted in a dry frying pan (optional) (omitted)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel the carrots and celeriac and coarsely grate them into a bowl (or use a mandolin on the matchstick setting, if you have one).
Beat together all the ingredients for the dressing, pour them over the grated vegetables and stir to coat thoroughly.
Pack in you lunchbox or serve at home, allowing the flavours to develop for an hour or so beforehand. It's good with cold meats, especially ham and tongue, or after a stew or shepherd's pie.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
Salads & Sides


and
I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #19 hosted by 


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Soup With Vegetable and Meatballs

This is a simple soup of winter melon and pork meatballs. The author mentioned that she came across this simple meal at the tranquil old lanes of central Chengdu, where a woman was eating her supper of this lovely soup of meatballs and winter melon, with a bowl of rice.

You can use any vegetable you like, such as bean sprouts, choy sum, cabbage or tomatoes. But take note that if the vegetable you choose takes a few minutes to become tender, cook it before you add the meatballs. If it cooks almost instantly, then add them in when the meatballs are just about ready. 



According to the author "If you want to make this into a one-dish meal, like the lady in the old lanes, use your chopsticks to pluck out the meatballs and vegetables and them with your rice, then drink the soup from your empty rice bowl."




We had this soup as  part of a meal with rice, along with some other main dish and a stir-fry veggie.

The recipe can be found here.
(or from Every Grain Of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop, pg 248)




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