Friday, June 24, 2016

Cleansing Cranberry, Orange and Peppermint Tea

It's "Fresh & Fruity" at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) this week. We are currently cooking with Curtis Stone, and he has tons of recipes using fruits, so selecting a fruity recipe is not much of a problem. I have a stack of Curtis Stone's recipes which I've printed from coles.com a few months ago, before their recipes became unavailable online. This is one of them, Cleansing Cranberry, Orange and Jasmine Tea.


The ingredients to make the cleansing tea ; oranges, dried cranberries and peppermint tea bag. Originally, recipe uses jasmine tea bag, but I did not have any. However, I do have a few other flavours and chose Peppermint Herb, which I thought would be nice with the orange juice.

I made half a recipe as I'm making it for myself. I used two oranges which are squeezed for the juice, which yield almost 3/4 cup, as they are quite big and very juicy. Put everything in a small pot, along with a cup of water, bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and let cool. Strain before serving.



This is quite delightful! Even though there is no sugar at all, it has a hint of sweetness from the dried cranberries and the sweet orange juice. Very nice. I rewarm the tea as I prefer drinking it warm. I was thinking of adding a cinnamon stick or maybe sub the orange juice with apple juice the next time. 


Cleansing Cranberry, Orange and Jasmine Tea
(adapted from coles, Curtis Stone)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1-1/2 cups orange juice
2 jasmine tea bags
2 cups water

  1. Place a pot on medium heat and add the dried cranberries, orange juice, tea bags and water, and bring to a simmer.
  2. Take the tea off the heat, allow to cool and then strain and pour into a jug.
  3. When serving, add some orange rind.


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


Monday, June 20, 2016

Chocolate-Bourbon Bundt Cake : Cookbook Countdown #6

Cookbook Countdown is a monthly cooking/baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  Everyone is welcome to join us. How does it work? To summarize, you may select a cookbook from your own cookbook collection, to cook or bake from each month. That selected book shall be your cookbook of the month. You may cook any recipes and as many recipes as you want from your selected book of the month. This is a fabulous way of using your cookbooks at least once! For more information on how to join Cookbook Countdown, please click here. 


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I made this boozy moist chocolaty cake, Chocolate-Bourbon Bundt Cake, for Father's Day. Another fabulous recipe from my selected cookbook for this month, at Cookbook Countdown #6Williams-Sonoma : Home Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw.



Made only half a recipe and used my half-sized bundt pan with a 6-cup capacity. I've reduced the sugar slightly, using scant 3/4 cup and for the bourbon, 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon. For half a recipe, I've baked the cake for 35 minutes.

As for the glaze, I find that when left to room temperature (as instructed in the recipe), it has thickened considerably and quite impossible to pour over the cake. I have therefore stirred in more cream, a little cream at a time, until I get the consistency I want.



This cake is delicious. It is moist, chocolaty bitter, though in a delicious way. And I can definitely taste the bourbon in it, very, very nice! Top with the chocolate glaze, this makes a wonderful cake for any celebration, though, with the amount of bourbon used, definitely not for young kids! Served with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream, this is a divine dessert treat! As with cakes like this, the taste gets even better the next day.  


Chocolate-Bourbon Bundt Cake
(adapted from "Williams-Sonoma : Home Baked Comfort", by Kim Laidlaw)
1 cup (8oz/250gm) unsalted butter
4 oz (125gm) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup (1-1/2oz/45gm) natural cocoa powder
2 cups (10oz/315gm) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 large eggs
2 cups (1lb/500gm) granulated sugar
1 cup (8oz/250gm) sour cream
3/4 cup (6floz/180ml) bourbon
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the dark chocolate glaze :
1/4 cup (2fl oz/60ml) heavy cream
4 oz (125gm) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for serving

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F (180C). Butter and flour a 10-cup (2-1/2qt/2.5-l) Bundt pan.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring with a whisk. Add the cocoa powder and stir until smooth. Let cool.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs and sugar on medium speed until lightened. Stir in the sour cream, bourbon, vanilla, and cooled chocolate mixture on low speed. Stir in the dry ingredients just until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then unmould the cake onto the rack and let cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a small saucepan, warm the cream over low heat. Add the chocolate and corn syrup and stir with a whisk until the chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. Let cool to room temperature, then stir in the vanilla. Place the wire rack over a sheet of parchment paper or foil and pour the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it run down the sides. Slide the cake onto a serving platter. Serve thick slices with ice cream or whipped cream.



I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by 




Friday, June 17, 2016

Chicken Lady Chicken

This week at Cook the Book Fridays (CtBF), the recipe that was selected from the book which we are currently cooking from, My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz, is this delicious dish called Chicken Lady Chicken. I like the name of this dish! I was giggling to myself when I was thinking, what if it was called "Chicken Man Chicken" or even "Chicken Guy Chicken". Nope, both do not sound right, Chicken Lady Chicken sounds perfect to me!

This recipe calls for a chicken which is to be prepared in a spatchcocked (butterflied) style, where the backbone of the chicken is removed, then the chicken is pushed down, crack the bone between the breast so that it lies as flat as possible. I have however used 4 whole chicken legs. (yup, i can be pretty lazy at times!). One other thing that I did not follow was to marinate the chicken for about  3 to 4 hours instead of 1 or 2 days in advance as indicated in the recipe. The only thing that I did really follow was the ingredients for the marinade ; garlic, salt, olive oil, lemon juice, white wine, soy sauce, harissa, Dijon mustard, and honey. Mix everything together, spoon some of the marinade under the skin, and rub the balance all over the chicken, in a bag. Keep refrigerated, flipping the bag over a few times. 



After marinating for a few hours (or overnight), the chicken is browned on the stove top in a skillet or a large pan, with a foil covering the top, and a heavy object (I used a stock pot filled with water), placed over the foil. Cook until the skin is golden brown, flip chicken over and brown the other side, Remove the foil and weight off the chicken and finish baking in the oven. There was some marinade left in the bag, instead of discarding it, I poured the marinade over the pieces of chicken before baking.



The chicken is so delicious! Even though I've only marinated the chicken pieces for a few hours, the flavours really did come through in the meat, which is moist, tender, and very tasty from the lovely marinade. There's some delicious juices from the baking, which is yummy spoon over the chicken pieces. The family love this new dish. One that I would make again.  I served this chicken dish with the Fattoush salad which we made for our previous assignment at CtBF. Perfect match!


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