Friday, December 31, 2010

Oreo Cheese Tartlet



I did not plan to bake Oreo cheese tart, perhaps some fruit tartlets instead as I have a nice box of Korea strawberry sitting in my fridge.  But while doing my shopping at the nearby supermarket, I picked up a box of Oreo biscuits and so hours later, I have twenty mini Oreo cheese tarts!  I brought them to my girl's preschool for their afternoon "special add-on snack". 


At first glance, it may seem that this recipe requires many steps and hours in the kitchen.  Fret not!  What I usually do is to "break it down".  Preparing the dough for the crust is fast - less than 15 mins by hand and even faster by food-processor.  When watching your favorite TV show, this is best time to fit the dough into each little tartlet mold.  Prepare your butter cream in advance and keep in fridge.  On the day you want to bake your tart, just make the cheese fillings, pour into tartlet and bake!




Ingredients:

Sweet Pastry Crust
(24 - 28 mini tartlets)
200g plain flour (can add 1 tbsp cocoa powder for a chocolate-colour crust)
100g butter
50g icing sugar
35g beaten egg

Oreo cheese fillings:
125 cream cheese
50 castor sugar
1/2 egg
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp plain flour
5 to 6 Oreo biscuits (separate Oreo cream from biscuits, crush the biscuits finely, add Oreo cream to the cream cheese)
50ml milk

Oreo butter cream toppings:
4 heaped tbsp butter cream*
6 Oreo biscuits (separate Oreo cream from biscuits, crush 4 biscuits finely, 2 biscuits as toppings)

Method:
1) Pastry: Mix plain flour and icing sugar.  Rub in butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
2) Pour beaten eggs and work quickly to form a dough.  Do not knead it or the pastry will be tough.  Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
3) Take a teaspoon of dough, flatten it and fit into each tartlet mold.  Use a knife to trim away excess dough.  Chill in fridge for another 10 minutes.

4) Fillings:  Beat cream cheese, Oreo cream and sugar till creamy.
5) Add egg, lemon juice and beat well.
6) Add plain flour, crushed oreo biscuits and milk into the cheese mixture.  Mix well.
7) Spoon 1 tsp of cheese mixture into each tartlet.
8) Bake at preheated oven 175C for 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove and set aside to cool.

9) Toppings: Mix the butter cream with Oreo cream and finely crushed biscuits.  Put cream into piping bag.
10) Pipe Oreo butter cream on each tartlet and topped with a small piece of Oreo biscuit.


* Butter cream recipe (based on Aunty Yochana recipe)
100g sugar + 60ml water
70g egg white (approximately 2 whites from medium-sized eggs)
150g butter + 150g chilled margarine (or 150g shortening)



Method:
1) Boil sugar and water till thick but still flowy.
2) While sugar syrup is boiling, whisk egg white till fluffy.  Pour in hot sugar syrup (WARNING: SUGAR SYRUP IS VERY HOT, HANDLE CAREFULLY).
3) Continue to whisk the egg white till cool.
4) Add butter/shortening/margarine, a little at a time.  Beat till thick and fluffy.

# Keep unused butter cream in fridge if you intend to use it within a few days.  Otherwise, keep in freezer.  To use, thaw and stir well.

## If you find thick sugar coating on your pot, no worries.  Just add some water into pot, boil and the sugar coating will dissolve.  



Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What to do with leftover turkey (Part 3)?

Other than turkey meat, I have two big bags of turkey bones from the leftover turkey for Christmas lunch party.  Last year, I had two huge bones from the bone-in ham, which I used to cook dried vegetables porridge (菜干粥)and pasta sauce.  Last night, I made three big bowls of turkey stock from one bag of turkey bones. With some turkey soup-base, I cook this Chinese-style Cream of Corn & Turkey Soup for dinner:

Chinese-style cream of corn & turkey soup

Ingredients:


1 tbsp butter (or cooking oil)
1 tbsp plain flour
400ml of turkey stock
50ml milk

3/4 cup finely chopped turkey and ham
1/2 can cream corn
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp chopped spring onion
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
1) Heat butter in pot over low heat.  Add plain flour to the melted butter and cook the flour for a minute.  Keep stirring to prevent the flour from burning.
2) Add half a ladle of stock to the flour mixture and stir quickly to prevent lumps.  Add another ladle of stock, stir and add the remaining stock to pot.  Turn the heat up to high.
3) When the soup boils, add cream corn and cook for 2 minutes.
4) Add chopped turkey, ham and milk.  Add salt to taste.
5) When soup bubbles again, add beaten egg and off heat.  Stir in chopped spring onion (reserved some for garnish).
6) Serve hot.

What to do with leftover turkey (Part 2)?

Turn your leftover turkey and ham into gourmet sandwiches!  Have it as breakfast, packed lunch or even picnic in the park.  It is healthy, delicious and easy to prepare.  Here's a simple recipe:

Turkey, ham & avocado sandwiches

These are all leftovers from my Christmas Party - turkey breast meat, sliced ham, avocado (bought 4 in a pack, but only used 2 for making guacamole dip) and a small chunk of Japanese cucumber.  This recipe can also be served as a salad (make coarser fillings and add some salad greens) or as toppings for baked potato.

Ingredients for sandwich fillings
1 cup of chopped turkey meat & ham
1 hard-boiled egg (roughly mashed with fork)
1 thumb-sized piece of Japanese cucumber (de-seed and cut into small cubes)
1/2 tbsp chopped spring onion
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp plain yogurt
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
Pepper

Method:
1) Mix all ingredients together and chill in fridge.
2) Slice the tomato and avocado (squeeze a few drops of lemon juice on the sliced avocado to prevent it from turning brown).
3) Toast the bread, add sliced tomato, fillings and topped with sliced avocado.

Monday, December 27, 2010

What to do with leftover turkey (Part 1)?

Now that Christmas is over, what do you do with the leftover turkey?  I will be posting some dishes that I made from leftover turkey and this is the first:

Leek & Turkey Porridge
Right after a heavy Christmas lunch party, I wanted something light & easy for dinner and preferably something fast and simple to cook.  With the leftover turkey meat and bones, and some cooked rice, porridge is the best one-dish meal to prepare.  I used the meat and bone from just one turkey wing to make two big bowls of porridge.  Here are what you need:

Ingredients:
Cooked rice (or uncooked rice)
Leek (sliced)
Carrot (chopped)
Turkey bone
Turkey meat (shredded, marinate with some turkey sauce or light soya sauce, pepper and sesame oil)
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste


Method:
1) Put water in pot to boil and add turkey bone, cooked rice, leek and carrot (the amount of water depends on how thick you want your porridge to be).  Cook for 15 mins over medium-low heat.
2) Once the porridge is cooked to the thickness that you want, add the marinated turkey meat and stir well.
3) Add salt and pepper to taste.
4) Stir in one beaten egg and serve hot.

Chicken Finger with Garlic Mayo Dip

These chicken fingers are the perfect food for a party!  Prepare the chicken and the mayo dip a day before, place in fridge (chill) and fry the chicken just before the party starts.  


Ingredients

Chicken strips (the two tender pieces of meat hidden in the chicken breast.  I used 2 packets of chicken strips from supermarket)
1 cup milk
Plain flour (for dusting)
2 eggs, beaten
Japanese breadcrumbs (for coating)
Oil for deep-frying
Seasoning: Oyster sauce (1.5 tbsp), soya sauce (1 tbsp), sesame oil (1 tsp), mirin (1 tbsp), pepper

Steps: Dust in flour, dip in eggs and coat with breadcrumbs.  5 mins rest and deep-fry to golden brown


Method:
1) Remove the white vein and cut each chicken strip into two pieces.
2) Soak the chicken in the milk for about 30 mins and discard milk.
3) Add all seasoning into chicken and marinate for 3 hours or overnight in fridge.
4) Dust chicken lightly with plain flour.  Shake off excess.
5) Dip in beaten eggs and coat with Japanese breadcrumbs (wait for 5 mins before frying or you can chill in fridge overnight).
6) Heat oil to moderate-high and deep-fry the chicken fingers till golden brown.
7) Drain on kitchen paper.

Garlic mayo dip: Grate 1 clove of raw garlic + 3 tbsp mayonnaise + 1/2 tbsp lemon juice + 1/2 tsp curry powder

Lemon Curd Cheese Tart

Bake this lemon curd cheese tart for Christmas Party.  This is a relatively easy cheese tart recipe with high success rate - no worries over cracked surface of a cheesecake. Plus this tart needs only a few basic cheesecake ingredients and total baking + cooking time is only 30 mins!  Chill it overnight and the next day, you have a cheerful-looking dessert waiting for you!


Ingredients:

Tart Base
220g finely crushed digestive biscuits (put biscuits in clear plastic bag & roll over with rolling pin)
100g melted butter

Fillings
250g cream cheese
100g sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
1 egg
1 lemon zest (grated)
1 tbsp lemon juice
80g plain yogurt

Lemon curd toppings
2 egg yolks
120g sugar
80g lemon juice (I find this amount a little too sour, can reduce to 50g lemon juice)
1 lemon zest (grated)
1 tbsp butter


Method:
1) Mix tart base ingredient and press into loose bottom tart mould.  Place in fridge to harden base.
2) Beat cream cheese and sugar till creamy.
3) Add flour, egg and beat to well-combined.
4) Add in lemon juice, zest, yogurt and mix well.
5) Pour cheese mixture into prepared tart mould.
6) Bake in preheated oven of 175C for about 20 mins.  Set aside to cool.
7) Mix all lemon curd ingredients and cook over double-boiler (ie over a pot of simmering water) until it thickens (about 5 mins, stir throughout cooking).  Cool it slightly.
8) Pour lemon curd on top of cheese tart and place in fridge to chill.
9) Decorate tart with raspberry or whipped cream with lemon rind.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Homemade Christmas cookies for neighbours and family gathering:



Cookies out from the oven:


























Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to all!


Recipe taken from http://www.joyofbaking.com/ChristmasSugarCookies.html

Tip:
This dough is very soft and tends to stick onto baking paper and cookies cutter.  To ensure you have a nice cookie shape, this is what you can do:

1) After making the dough, chill briefly in fridge for 15 mins.  Divide the dough into smaller portions and roll each portion into thin sheets between baking paper or clingwrap.

2) Freeze each sheet for 5 to 10 mins in the freezer section.  Take out, cut cookies using cookie cutter and transfer to baking tray (lined with baking paper).

3) Combine leftover dough and roll into sheets, freeze and use again.  Repeat steps for leftover dough.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Double-Chocolate Kisses

Sinfully rich chewy chocolate cookies with melted marshmallows and topped with Hershey's Kisses.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Japanese Hotpot

What is the most simple, quick and easy Japanese meal that you can prepare at home, yet it is healthy, comforting and satisfying for your family while it can also be an impressive dish to serve if you have guests at home?  

My Nabemono with meat, seafood and vegetables cooked in dashi

Nabemono (锅物) or Japanese Hotpot, is very much similar to our Chinese Steamboat, except in our Chinese steamboat, we cook the steamboat ingredients in batches or up to individual preferences.  For Japanese hotpot, all the ingredients (meat, seafood, vegetables, tofu etc) are arranged beautifully and cooked together in a pot with some broth.  It can be a simple meal of tofu, vegetables in broth or an extravagant hotpot with Japanese crab legs.  At meal-time, the hotpot is placed in the centre of the table and diners simply pick the cooked ingredients from the pot and eat it with a dip or together with some broth.

Japanese hotpot also hold a memorable dining experience for me during my recent Japan trip ......

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stir-fry Cabbage with Sakura Ebi

I bought some dried Sakura Ebi  (樱花虾) from my recent vacation trip to Japan.  This is how it looks like, very much like our local dried shrimps, except it is very much lighter in weight:


The first time I saw Sakura Ebi was during my trip to Taiwan a few years back.  I remembered the Sakura Ebi was packaged as a snack, rather than some dried goods.  This time, I saw big packets of dried Sakura Ebi sold in the market.  The stall-assistant (a undergraduate student working as a part-timer) told me that this is a common ingredient used in Japanese cooking, such as for tempura (Kaki-age) and Japanese pancake (Okonomiyaki).  Over the internet, I found that you can also prepare sakura ebi steamed rice or simply sprinkle fried sakura ebi over fried rice or pasta.

Today's experimentation is a simple stir-fry cabbage sprinkled with fried Sakura Ebi.  Basically, I just replaced our usual dried shrimp (hei bee) with Sakura Ebi.  But take note that the texture is different, so cooking method has to vary (Sakura ebi is crispy while our dried shrimp is hard and dry, which requires pre-soaking and longer cooking time).  

Stir-fry Cabbage with Sakura Ebi



Monday, December 13, 2010

Japanese Sweet Treat

Had a wonderful holiday at Japan recently and bought back some Japanese sweets:

(1)Black sugar coated black beans (2)Sugar coated Japanese red beans (3)Green tea mochi
(4)Tofu mochi with savory fillings (5)Chestnut pastry (6)Dark sesame seeds crisps
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