Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sea Coconut Pear Soup (水梨海底椰汤)

These are fresh sea coconuts that I bought from my neighbourhood wet market.  This could be a seasonal fruit since I do not see them all year round at the market and never in the supermarket before.  Sea coconut is believed to relieve heatiness, cough & phlegm (remember the cough syrup brand "非洲海底椰止咳露”?  though I think most of the sea coconuts sold locally are imported from Thailand).  

  
You can cook them as a sweet dessert with snow fungus (雪耳), candied dates (蜜枣) and Osmanthus flowers (桂花), or as a savory soup, as what I have done here.  Pear and candied date are usually paired with apricot seeds (南北杏)to relieve cough.  For this soup, the use of pear and candied date add sweetness to the soup while the sea coconut gives this soup a light coconut fragrance.



Friday, October 29, 2010

Braised Pork Belly & Yam Buns (香芋扣肉包)

Unlike most of the "Kong Bak Pau" (扣肉包), where a slice of braised/steamed pork belly in dark soya sauce is wrapped between hot steamed buns, my version is cooked with yam in fermented red bean curd sauce (南乳)and soya bean paste (豆酱). 

These are the ingredients and preparation work:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blueberry Pancakes


This is by far, the best pancake recipe that I have tried, which yields a very soft & fluffy texture.  The best thing is, you will also learn how to make "buttermilk" at home, simply by adding vinegar to milk (I used Chinese white rice vinegar).  Buttermilk, together with the baking powder and soda, help to give the pancake its fluffy texture.  In case you are wondering whether the vinegar will give your pancakes a sour after-taste.  NO, ABSOLUTELY NO SOUR TASTE AT ALL!  

The recipe is taken from allrecipes, which I reproduced below for my easy reference.  I added some fresh blueberries into the pancake mixture.  For toppings, simply heat a teaspoon of butter in the pan and add 1/2 cup of blueberries and toss them around for a minute.  The butter will give the blueberries a lovely shiny coat.  For a healthier option, you may want to use 1/3 cup oat bran + 2/3 cup flour.

(Source: allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • cooking spray

Directions

  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into "soured" milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Scrambled Eggs with Toast

This is all done in a frying pan within minutes:


Hearty breakfast menu:
* Toasted wholemeal bread with roasted garlic spread^ and olive oil
* Roasted bell pepper^ & onions scrambled eggs with mozzarella cheese
* Pan-grilled tomato with herbs
* Yogurt
* Coffee (not in picture)
[^ oven roasted in advanced and store in refrigerator for convenient use]


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Braised Beancurd Skin with Mushrooms

Cooking tips:
Save a portion of your stew gravy or braised sauce for another dish later or simply toss it with noodles for a quick & yummy lunch.  Not only that you stretch your dollar in this way, you also speed up the cooking process for the subsequent dish.  Do remember to reserve the gravy/sauce first.  Do not keep the leftover gravy in the dish after meals.

Ingredients:
1.5 cup stew gravy or braised sauce (I use the gravy from my beef stew for this dish)
10 square pieces of beancurd skin (百页豆腐)each measured approx. 8cm x 8cm
8 Shitake mushrooms (sliced)
1/2 packet Shimeji mushrooms
1/2 red chilli, remove seeds
1 tbsp black vinegar

Method:
1) Cut the beancurd skin into 1cm slices.
2) Boil gravy and 100ml water in a pot.
3) Add beancurd skin, mushrooms, chilli and simmer for 25 minutes over low heat or until beancurd skin is soft.
4) Add black vinegar, soya sauce or salt, to taste.

Beef Short-ribs Stew

I was attracted to a pack of fresh beef short-ribs (approx. 650g) in Giant IMM.  The immediate dish that came to my mind:  BEEF STEW!  


I added the basic vegetables and many spices/sauce - ginger, 1 cinnamon bark, 1 star anise, 2 tsp mashed roasted garlic (or 1 heaped tbsp minced garlic), 2 roots portion of coriander leaf (chopped the leaves for garnish), 1 stalk lemongrass, 3 stew tomatoes (canned), 1 tsp curry powder, 1/3 cup cooking wine (you can replace with a cup of beer or stout), 3 tbsp soya sauce paste, 2 tbsp mirin and salt/pepper to taste.

After cooking for 5 hours in a slow-cooker, the meat slip off the bone with ease.  I carefully removed the ribs & carrots and transferred the gravy to a pot for cooking over low heat for another 1/2 hour or until the gravy has reduced.  Combine the ribs/carrot to the thickened gravy.


I keep a small portion of the gravy for another dish.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vegetable stew in fermented red bean curd sauce (南乳焖斋)

Here are the ingredients that I used to cook this dish:




Method:

1) Heat wok at medium-high heat.  Add oil and blanch the pea lightly for half a minute (过油).  Remove and set aside.
2) Add ginger slices, mushrooms and stir fry for a while to release aroma.
3) Add Chinese cabbage, carrot, baby corn and stir fry lightly.  Cover for about 2 minutes.
4) Push the vegetables to the side and add 3 pieces of mashed fermented red bean curds into wok and mix well with vegetables.
5) Add bean curd puffs, cloud ears, layered bean curd sheets, braised gluten (plus liquid in can) and stir well.
6) Add water (slightly below the mixed vegetables) to wok.  Cover wok and simmer for 20 minutes over medium-low heat.
7) Add enoki mushrooms and sweet bean curd sticks (soak & trim into 4 pieces each).  Cover and cook for another 5 minutes (note: If not enough gravy, add a little more water).
8) Add glass noodles, cover and cook till glass noodles soften and absorb the gravy.
9) Turn off heat, add oil-blanched pea and mix well.
10) Let the mixed vegetables sit for an hour for the flavour to be fully absorbed before serving.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lingzhi Black Chicken Soup - 灵芝淮山竹丝鸡汤



Ingredients:

1 black chicken (竹丝鸡 /乌鸡)
Few slices of Lingzhi Mushroom(灵芝) 
Few slices of fresh or dried Chinese yam (淮山)
1 heaped tbsp wolfberries (枸杞子)
1200ml hot water


Method:

1) Wash, de-skin the black chicken and remove all visible fats.  
2) Blanch black chicken in a pot of hot water for 2 mins.  Remove chicken and discard the water (see tips at end of post).
3) Peel, wash and slice Chinese yam (if using fresh) - see tips at end of post.
4) Rinse herbs.
5) Place 1200ml hot water, black chicken, Chinese yam and Lingzhi in a deep cookware.  Slow-cook or double-boil over low heat for 1.5 to 2 hours.
6) Add wolfberries and cook for another 5 mins.
7) Add salt to taste.



Cooking tips:
1) Blanching the chicken in hot water helps to remove impurities and the soup is clearer.
2) Wear a glove before handling the Chinese yam if you are allergic to the slippery gel secreted from it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mini Quiche

Quiche is basically an open pie baked in the oven with creamy custard made from eggs and milk/cream.  You can also add your favorite cooked meat, seafood, vegetables and cheese into the egg mixture before baking  in the oven.  

While most quiches are baked in a shallow loose-based flan tin, what I have here are mini quiches.  I love mini quiches as they are:
  • Versatile: They are more versatile than baking it whole in a flan tin.  You can choose to bake just a few mini quiches, instead of one big round quiche and worried about leftovers.  After all, quiches are best eaten warm and fresh from the oven.  
  • Size and cost-savings: You do not have to worry whether the pastry will fit the size of your flan tin.  A flan tin is quite expensive, especially if you just use it once in a blue moon.  I baked my mini quiches in disposable aluminium muffin cases.  They can be washed and reused after baking!
  • Easy to handle:  Depending on the size of your flan tin, you need a pair of steady hands to roll & fit the pastry sheet over it.  Very often, you will need to patch up holes here and there.  In contrast, a palm-sized pastry sheet is easy to fit in the muffin cases and slip out easily after baking.
  • Varieties:  Instead of making just one big Quiche Lorraine, you can have a variety of flavours - think: smoked salmon & dill, mushroom with ham & cheese, roasted bell peppers & zucchini, and how about some kimchi quiches to spice up your day?  They look so cute in their mini pastry crust and are perfect finger food for parties and gatherings!
Here's what you need to make these mini quiches:

What do you do with a can of Campbell's Soup?

Most of us would have tried Campbell's soup, a condensed canned soup where you pour the contents into a pot, add a can of water (or more) and cook till it boils.  In fact, I had my first taste of "ang-moh" soup, or western creamy soup through Campbell's.  When we need to get dinner quickly, my mum will cook a can of Cream of Mushrooms (our favorite),  a quick stir-fry vegetables, steamed fish and dinner is ready within 30 minutes!

Other than using it as a quick & easy soup, you can use it in a wide variety of baked dishes, casseroles, pasta recipes to add flavour or a touch of creamy consistency.

Which is your favorite Campbell's soup and what dishes did you cook with your Campbell's soup?

Here is a recipe  and baked pasta that you can add Campbell's for its taste and creamy texture.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chocolate Banana & Oat Bran Muffins

Riped banana + leftover Oreo cookies in the jar + small bag of leftover chocolate ganache in the fridge = ???


I always try to clear the existing groceries and food in the fridge/pantry before buying fresh ones to prevent unnecessary food wastage.  Hence, with several leftover items, making banana muffins seems to be the easiest way to clear my pantry.

The special thing about this muffin is the chocolate ganache that I piped into the centre of each muffin before baking.  So a little chocolatey surprise awaits you when you sink your teeth into these soft and moist muffins.

Here's what you need to bake this yummy muffins:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Steamed Buns

I have been experimenting with breads and buns recently, all thanks to my new kitchen gadget- a Kenwood Chef that I bought from Tangs on Teachers' Day!  Bread-making is very much like a scientific experiment, you need to measure every ingredients accurately and follow the given dough recipe to a T.  Still, no success guaranteed as there are other factors, such as your oven type and temperature, the kneading and proofing time etc. I prefer the Chinese Steamed Bun, which is much easier to handle compared to making bread, the success rate is higher, plus it is steamed!

Here are two varieties of steamed buns that I made yesterday - red bean & sesame seed steamed buns, and spring onion pork floss steamed buns.





Launch of My Food Blog on 20-10-2010

I am so delighted to announce the launch of my food blog -  Fong's Kitchen Journal on 20102010!  After several months of posting pictures of my home-cooked food on Facebook, I finally decided to create my own food blog.

I like to thank my friends & family for the encouraging comments that you have given on "Fong Kitchen" in my Facebook.  I am specially grateful to my dear hubby, who has been constantly nudging me to set up this blog and of course,  he is also my guinea pig for all my cooking experiments - success or failure.

Meanwhile, I am still working on this blog and figuring out how the settings work.

Fong's Kitchen Journal begins ......
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