Monday, October 23, 2017

Slow-Cooked Garlic Courgettes

It's Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). I've not made any of Diana Henry's recipes for quite a while, and it's time I revisit her book, Food From Plenty. I bought two zucchinis a few days before and was looking for recipes to use them up, found this delicious sounding dish, Slow-Cooked Garlic Courgettes. There's garlic, so it must be delicious!

The only ingredients required for this dish are just courgettes and garlic. Can never get simpler than this! Diana Henry uses 6 garlic cloves, but I have used 10 fat garlic cloves, might as well since it is all about the garlicky flavour! Peel and slice the garlic thinly, and the courgettes are sliced into thin rounds, the thickness of a coin. Heat some butter and olive oil, then saute the garlic slices until soft and fragrant, tip in the sliced courgettes, increase the heat so that the courgettes get a bit of colour, then reduce heat and continue to cook until the courgettes are soft and almost collapsing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The courgettes will release some its own water, so this dish is fairly moist.

Yum yum! The courgettes is very soft, tender and smells so nice from the garlic. I can understand why Diana Henry says she could eat a plateful on its own! I serverd this as a side dish with some stew and pilaf rice, sharing that in next post.

Slow-Cooked Garlic Courgettes
(adapted from Food From Plenty, Diana Henry)
"Heat 15gm (1/2oz) unsalted butter and 3 tbsp olive oil in a very large frying pan and gently cook 6 garlic cloves, very finely sliced, until soft but not coloured. Now add 500gm (1lb 2oz) courgettes sliced to the thickness of a pound coin, and turn over to coat. Increase the heat a bit so the courgettes get a little bit of colour, then reduce the heat, season and cook slowly (you almost "stew" them in the butter and oil) until completely soft, almost collapsing. This tastes purely of courgetts and doesn't need anything else. I can eat a plateful on their own."

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs IHCC), theme for this week
October 2017 Potluck


 I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #22 hosted by 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Chocolate Kugelhopf

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 ;

Ginger Cake
Scandinavian Cardamom Coffee Cake
Chocolate Kugelhopf
Tarte aux Pommes

Members can choose any of these cakes to bake, and my choice is Chocolate Kugelhopf, since I am drawn to yeasty bakes!

This Chocolate Kugelhopf has a chocolate ganache swirls in it. It bakes into a soft and nice kugelhopf, but the process of making it is rather frustrating (to me!).

The recipe uses 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks, but the instructions says to mix in the egg yolks without any mention of the whole egg, and I was wondering whether should I use the whole egg as well or was it a typo error in the instructions. I went ahead and add the whole egg, assuming that it has been left out in the instructions.  The dough is like very thick batter, and I have to add almost half a cup of extra flour so that it is a little doughy, and even then, the "dough" is still very soft and so, so, sticky. I thought of adding more flour but am afraid that the bread will be dry, as I've added about 30% extra to the original amount. Honestly I almost gave up and thought of dumping the dough. But I went ahead anyway and hope for the best! I left the dough to proof for the first rising, punch it down, and it was supposed to be rolled on a floured counter. No way I could roll the very soft, very sticky dough without it sticking onto the counter, and it would definitely stick to the rolling pin from the looks of it, even if I flour the top, I would need quite an amount of flour, and I am not confident that I could transfer the very soft dough onto a baking sheet, which is to be refrigerated for 30 minutes. I placed the dough on a large sheet of plastic, which I placed on an upturned baking sheet, then place another large sheet of plastic over the dough, and use a rolling pin to roll it into a large rectangle. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, keeping fingers crossed that it will be easier to work with later on. 

Remove from the refrigerator and immediately spread the ganache all over. Roll the dough, swiss roll style. Still too soft to roll, and with the help of a wide pastry cutter, I tried rolling it but it was difficult to roll as the dough was sticky. In the end, it looks like a misshapen lump of log, rather than a nice rolled up smooth log of a dough. I know definitely that there will not be any pretty swirls in there! Bring the two ends together into a ring, adjust the dough, by shaping it gently, with floured hands, so that it is more or less the same thickness all around. Gather the dough and place in the greased bundt pan, with a whole almond placed in each ridge at the bottom of the bundt pan. Cover with greased cling wrap and left to rise until doubled in size. It certainly rises well! Bake in a preheated oven for 35 minutes, though I baked mine for an additional 5 minutes to get that really brown colour on the crust. It looks really huge after baking and I do hope that the kugelhopf will turn out good!

Let the kugelhopf rest for 10 minutes in the pan, then unmold onto a wire rack, glaze while still warm with some glaze, with a recipe provided for it. Since I have a container of apricot glaze, I used that instead. Allow the kugelhopf to cool. I could not wait to slice, to see the inside and taste it. But I was rather pleased with how it looks like from the outside!

Once it has cooled down, the glaze disappeared, no longer glossy! But I'm not concerned with that. I am eager to see the inside!

No pretty swirls! But the taste makes up for it! This Chocolate Kugelhopf is soft and fluffy. Tasted really good with the addition of chocolate ganache.  The kugelhopf was still soft the next day when we had it for breakfast, and we enjoyed slices of it with our morning coffee. That being said, I will not be making this again, but I was glad that I have given it a try.

Note : I've used 1 teaspoon instant yeast instead of the fresh yeast calls for in the recipe. For the ganache, I've used dark chocolate instead of semisweet chocolate. I baked in a 6-cup Nordic Ware bundt pan. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), the theme is How Easy Is That? We are cooking with Ina Garten@Barefoot Contessa. She has a book titled as such, How Easy Is That?. But we can cook any of her recipes which we deem easy, not necessarily from this book. And I've made her Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread, as I love cornbread! I got this recipe from her website but it can also be  found in another of her cookbook, Barefoot Contessa At Home. I have made quite a number of cornbread with different recipes over the years, and after making Ina's recipe, it is one of my top favourite, preferring her cornbread to Hugh-Fearnley Whittingstall's recipe which I've made here

Ina's recipe made quite a large tray, since there are only three of us, I have made only half, and baked in a 8"square baking pan. A very easy and quick cornbread to make. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, the wet ingredients in another bowl, then mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stir to combine but do not overmix. The batter is then left for 20 minutes at room temperature before it is poured into the prepared baking pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until done. How easy is that?

I've used salted butter, so I have omitted the salt. I've used two whole jalapenos and added more scallions than the recipe calls for. For half a recipe, I've used only one extra-large egg. I did not scatter any Cheddar over the batter, I've sprinkled only with the chopped scallions. 

This cornbread is really, really, yummy! And I would add more jalapenos the next time. So moist, with soft crumbs and delicious, especially when eaten while still warm. A few slices is great for a simple lunch, and it is also really good for afternoon tea-time, with a mug of warm tea, which is how I enjoyed it!

* my measurements listed in blue for half a recipe, baked in a 8"square baking pan
Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread
3 cups all-purpose flour (1-1/2 cups)
1 cup yellow cornmeal (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup sugar (2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons baking powder (1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons kosher salt (omitted)
2 cups milk (1 cup)
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten (1 extra-large)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan (125gm, salted)
8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided (1 cup)
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish (3 scallions) (1/2 cup, total)
3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers (2 to 3 peppers) (2 jalapenos)

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don't overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13x2-inch baking pan.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
How Easy Is That?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pork Vindaloo

It has been sometime since I've tried any new meat curry recipes from Madhur Jafrrey because I keep going back to the few favourite recipes that I've made before. Among my top MJ's favourite meat curry dishes are Meatball Curry, Kerala-Style Bhuna Pork, Pork In A Mustard Spice Mix, Goan Pork Vindaloo with Potatoes, and our top favourite in my house, Red Pork Curry. I have cooked this many times since then.

Last week I've made Ina Garten's Scallion Basmati Rice, Madhur Jaffrey's Cabbage with Garlic and Shallots, and to complete the menu, this Pork Vindaloo, another one of MJ delicious curry.

This recipe has very few ingredients, and if you love cooking curries at home, like I do, you would probably have the spices needed, ground cumin, ground turmeric and chilli powder. Yup only three spices! The surprise ingredient here is grainy French mustard. In Madhur Jaffrey own words, "Most recipes for vindaloo involve grinding mustard seeds in vinegar. To save this step, I have used grainy French Pommery mustard (Moutarde de Meaux) which already contains vinegar. It works beautifully." And I totally agree with her, it works deliciously!

And in a vindaloo recipe, garlic is one of the essential ingredient. Along with the onions used, this is my third post for this week's IHCC theme, October Monthly Featured Ingredient Challenge : Alliums !

I've doubled the recipe, as always, for curries like this, as a single recipe is never enough. I would suggest you do the same if you are cooking for 4-6 people. Leftovers is always a good thing for curries like this. The only changes I've made is to use 2-1/2 times more of the spices. For the chilli powder, MJ says that more can be added if you prefer a spicy dish. Of course we do! I have used 2 tablespoons, as the one I used is medium-hot. Use less if the chilli powder is extra hot.  I have however reduced the amount of coconut milk, as I have always prefer to use less coconut milk for curries like this. I want the flavour and taste of the spices to stand out boldly, and not to be tone down by the creaminess of the coconut milk. So for double recipe, I have used only about 150ml of coconut milk, with 350 ml water. 

Using French grainy mustard is indeed a great idea of MJ! The grainy mustard is mixed with the three spices, salt and vinegar in a small bowl. Slice the onions into half rings and crash the garlic into a pulp. Fry the onions in some oil until medium brown, then add the garlic, stir for 30 seconds, then add the mustard mixture. Stir and fry for about 1 minute, then add in the meat, stir fry for 3 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and water. Cook for about an hour, stirring now and then, until the meat is tender. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water if the curry appear dry during cooking. 

Delicious Pork Vindaloo! Tender meat, infused with the flavours of the spices and vinegar. And we love the gravy. This delicious dish is so good with the Scallion Basmati Rice and the Cabbage. Looks like this is one more curry that will be repeated in my kitchen! 

Pork or Lamb Vindaloo
(adapted from 100 Essential Curries, Madhur Jaffrey)
serves 3-4
1-1/2 tablespoons grainy French mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 - 1 tsp chilli powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
100gm (4oz) onions, peeled
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
550gm (1-1/4 lb) boned hand of pork or shoulder of lamb, cut into 2.5cm (1 in) cubes
150ml (5 fl oz) tinned coconut milk, well stirred

Step One
Combine the mustard, cumin powder, turmeric, chilli powder, salt and vinegar in a cup. Mix well.

Step Two
Slice the onions into fine half-rings and crush the garlic to a pulp. Put the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions. Stir and fry until they are medium brown. Add the garlic. Stir and fry for 30 seconds. Add the paste from the cup. Stir and fry for a minute, then add the meat. Stir and fro for about 3 minutes.

Step Three
Now add in the coconut milk and 150ml (5fl oz) water if you are going to cook in a pressure cooker and 250ml (8fl oz) water if you are going to continue to cook in the frying pan. (Transfer to a pressure cooker at this state if that is your intention). Cover and either bring up to pressure, or to a boil if you are using the frying pan. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes in a pressure cooker and 60-70 minutes in the frying pan.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
October Monthly Featured Ingredient Challenge : Alliums


 I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #22 hosted by 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Cabbage With Garlic And Shallots

My second post for I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) theme for this week, October Monthly Featured Ingredient Challenge : Alliums !

I've made a simple, vegetable side dish, Cabbage with Garlic and Shallots, one of Madhur Jaffrey's recipes from her cookbook World Vegetarian, a thick book with 650 vegetarian recipes!

Ingredients used are cabbage, garlic, shallots, green chile, scallions and Chinese celery of which I have replaced with fresh cilantro. Recipe calls for 1/4 cup of water, the next time I will use only a tablespoon or two just to moisten the dish, since I've skipped the part where it says to cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. The cabbage is young and tender, so it takes just a few minutes of stir-frying to wilt it down and soften it a little. Instead of stock, I've used water, since the cabbage is sweet, the veggie stock is not really necessary. A simple lovely side dish, which I've served with Ina Garten's Scallion Basmati Rice and a curry dish, which I will be sharing in my next post.

Cabbage with Garlic and Shallots
(adapted from World Vegetarian, Madhur Jaffrey)
3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
4 to 5 medium shallots, peeled and cut into long, fine slivers
2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into long, thin slivers
1 fresh  hot green chile, cut into long, fine slivers
4 scallions, first cut into 2-inch lengths and then into long, fine strips
1-3/4 pounds fresh green cabbage (about 1/2 large head), with its hard core removed and then cut lengthwise into very fine strips
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped Chinese celery or plain celery leaves (fresh cilantro)
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Put the oil in a large, wide pan or large wok and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the shallots and garlic. Stir and fry for a minute. Put in the green chile and stir for another 30 seconds. Now put in the scallions, cabbage, and celery. Cover, turn the heat to medium, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the cabbage has wilted completely. Uncover, turn the heat up a bit, and stir for another minute or two. Taste for salt and pepper.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
October Monthly Featured Ingredient Challenge : Alliums


 I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #22 hosted by 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Scallion Basmati Rice

Week two with Ina Garten at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), and this week's theme is Monthly Featured Ingredient/Dish - Alliums! Garlic, onions, leeks, chives, scallions, shallots...and we get to select any recipe that uses one or more of these ingredients from any of the featured chefs at IHCC's chefs list. Recipes are endless! 

Decided to make Ina Garten's Scallion Basmati Rice. 

Instead of cooking the rice over the stove, I use the rice cooker, so that I could use my time to get on with other dishes. Start by sauteing chopped yellow onion in some oil until translucent, then add the basmati rice, stir well. At this point, I transfer the rice into the rice cooker, then add some water and salt. Let the rice cooker do the cooking, with the keep warm function when the rice is done. When it is time to serve, simply fluff rice with a fork (I use a pair of chopsticks), add the chopped scallions and parsley (I use cilantro). Serve immediately.

Very nice rice! We had this with two other dishes, coming up in next post.
Will definitely make this rice again! 

Scallion Basmati Rice
(source from, recipe by Ina Garten)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup long grain basmati rice
1-3/4 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Cook the butter and onions over medium beat until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and toss until all of the grains are coated with the butter. Add the water and salt, cover and cook until
the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to sit covered for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the scallions and parsley, fluff with a fork, and serve.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
October Monthly Featured Ingredient Challenge : Alliums

Friday, October 6, 2017

Lemon Pound Cake

Sometimes what we crave is just a simple buttery cake, no fuss with any frostings or creamy topping. In fact, I have always prefer plain cakes like this Lemon Pound Cake.

This is one of the best lemon pound cakes I've baked. The cake is moist with dense but delicious soft crumb texture. Very buttery and lemony, with the addition of the lemon glaze poured over the cake, you would not miss the lemony flavour, it's there, in every bite.

I've made half a recipe, using half the amount of the ingredients, but I have further reduced the amount of sugar and lemon juice. (refer to the notes in the recipe below). 

The lemony glaze is brushed over the cake while still warm.

This cake is moist, dense with soft velvety crumbs. If you love lemons then you will love this cake. Goes perfectly with a cup of warm tea.

Lemon Pound Cake
(adapted from Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook, by Kathleen King)
makes 1 ten-inch Bundt cake
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 4 lemons

Lemon Glaze :
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 4 lemons
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 10-inch Bundt pan with lots of pan spray and sprinkle it with granulated sugar. (Flour will leave an unattractive residue on the cake).

To make the cake :
In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar until  they are light and fluffy, Add the vanilla and lemon zest. Mix them together. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Mix the sour cream and lemon juice together. Add the flour and sour cream mixture alternately, finishing with the flour. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake it for 1 hour or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the centre.

To make the glaze :
Mix all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir. Cook them over low heat without stirring till the sugar disssolves. Turn the heat up to medium and cook the mixture until it becomes syrupy. Don't overcook it or the syrup will start to brown.
When the cake is baked, cool it for 10 minutes in the baking pan and invert it onto a plate. (Place the plate against the bottom of the pan and turn it over).
Slowly pour the glaze over the cake and let it cool.

kitchen flavour's notes :
I've made half a recipe with the following changes :
- reduced the sugar to scant 1 cup
- use only 2 tablespoons of lemon juice for the batter as the lemon was really sour.
(even with the reduction of the sugar and lemon juice, the cake bakes up really moist with full lemony flavour, delicious!)
- did not sprinkle granulated sugar in the bundt pan, I sprayed lightly with a baking spray already contained flour, and it works out fine

 I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #22 hosted by 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Herbed-Baked Eggs

I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) is cooking with a new chef, starting this week, Ina Garten, popularly known as Barefoot Contessa. We will be cooking from her recipes for the next six months, and it is going to be a six delicious months.

To welcome Ina Garten into our kitchen, the theme for this week is Hi, Ina ! 
I've made her Herbed-Baked Eggs, for our brunch, and it was egg-cellent! 😋

A small knob of  butter and some cream is poured at the bottom of the gratin dish, and put under the broiler until butter melts. When both the butter and cream are bubbling, remove from oven and carefully pour two or three eggs into the dish. (Ina says to get the eggs ready by breaking them into a bowl first without breaking the yolks, and gently pour into the hot gratin dish). Sprinkle some chopped herbs which are mixed with some grated Parmesan, on top of the eggs, with salt and pepper to taste. For the herbs, I've used  rosemary leaves, Chinese chives, and some fresh coriander. Back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes until the egg whites are almost cooked. Serve hot with toasted bread.

I've toasted some homemade Onion Caraway Rye Bread which I made the day before. I sliced the bread, butter on both sides, cut into batons, then toast until brown and crispy.

This is so yummy. Fragrant from the herbs and so good to eat with the toasted Onion Caraway Rye bread. Yum!

Herbed-Baked Eggs
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
12 extra-large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
taosted French bread or brioche, for serving

Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.
Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and Parmesan cheese and set aside. Carefully crack 3 3ggs into each of 4 small bowls or teacups (you won't be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. (It's very important to have all the eggs ready to go before you start cooking).
Place four individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of cream and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each dish and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Quickly, but carefully, pour 3 eggs into each gratin dish and sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. (Rotate the baking sheet once if they aren't cooking evenly). The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to set for 60 seconds and serve hot with toasted bread.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
Hi, Ina!

Come and join us as we cook with Ina. Full details here.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Oven-Baked Shallot and Mushroom Risotto

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), we are saying goodbye and thank you to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. His time as our featured chef is up after a delicious 6 months of cooking from his recipes. It's time we move on to another selected chef, Ina Garten. To say Goodbye Hugh!, I've made his Oven-Baked Shallot and Mushroom Risotto

This is really quick and easy, no cooking on the stove at all, it is all cooked in the oven. I've used fresh shiitake mushroom instead of chestnut mushrooms, and did not have any fresh thyme, so I've used what I had, fresh coriander stalks. 

Shallots are peeled and quartered, then toss with some oil, thyme, salt and pepper in a large roasting tray. Bake for 30 minutes, then add the garlic, mushrooms and balsamic vinegar. Into the oven for another 15 minutes. Then add the risotto rice, stir to coat the rice, then add the stock. Return to the oven for another 30 minutes, stir once halfway through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

I must say that this is quite a tasty rice meal. The rice is drizzled with some chilli oil before serving. Even though the risotto is good as it is, but it is even better with the chilli oil. I've used my homemade chilli oil. This is such a simple, tasty and filling meal.

The next featured chef at IHCC is Ina Garten. We will be cooking from her recipes for the next six months starting from Oct 2nd. Everyone is welcome to join us, you can get the full details here.

Oven-Baked Shallot and Mushroom Risotto
(adapted from River Cottage Light & Easy, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
serves 4
2 tablespoon extra virgin rapeseed or olive oil
300gm shallots, peeled and quartered lengthways
a few good sprigs of thyme
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
300gm chestnut mushrooms, destalked and cut into large chunks
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (ideally apple balsamic)
250gm risotto rice
1 litre hot chicken or vegetable stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
chilli oil (bought or home-made), to fnish

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Put the oil, shallots, thyme and some salt and pepper in a large roasting in and toss together well. Roast for 30 minutes, then add the garlic, mushrooms and balsamic vinegar. Stir well and return to the oven for 15 minutes.
Tip the risotto rice into the tin and stir to coat lightly with the oils and flavourings, then add the hot stock and stir again. Return to the oven for 30 minutes, giving it a good stir halfway through.
Let the risotto settle for 5 minutes, then taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Spoon into warm dishes, removing the thyme stalks as you go. Serve, trickled with the chilli oil.


This is not really goodbye Hugh, rather goodbye for now, till we meet again in Potluck Weeks! Here's the top three of my favourite dishes which I've cooked from HFW's recipes ;

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
Goodbye, Hugh!

 I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #21 hosted by 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Crustless Pizza

This week is Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs. I've made a simple and lovely crustless pizza from Nigella Lawson, recipe from her book Nigella Kitchen. I made it for our lunch with some green salad. 

The bottom layer is a mixture of egg, flour, milk and grated Cheddar cheese, which is baked for 30 minutes, then topped with the topping. The topping are slices of pepperoni and sprinkling of more Cheddar cheese. Back into the oven for about 2 or 3 minutes until the cheese melts.

This is easy, simple and delicious. It is one of those meals that would be perfect for sharing with friends. 

This week's Potluck is dedicated to Kim, one of our co-host at IHCC, who has recently lost her mom last week. Her mom was a great supporter of Kim's cooking and blog. Kim, I hope that your pain and grieve will lessen over time, and the memories of your mom will bring joy and smiles as she is being fondly remembered. Sending a big hug to you, my friend.

Crustless Pizza
(adapted from Nigella Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson)
serves 2-4
1 egg
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
salt, to taste
1 cup whole milk
butter for greasing
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
2 ounces small chorizo or pepperoni slices, approx. 3/4 inch diameter (optional)

1 x round ovenproof pie dish, 8 or 9 inches diameter

Preheat the oven to 400F. Beat the egg with the flour, salt, and milk to make a smooth batter.
Grease a round ovenproof pie dish, then stir half the grated cheese into the batter, before pouring it into the dish.
Bake for 30 minutes. Take the dish out of the oven, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and add the chorizo or pepperoni (is using) - or anything else, now, too. Return to the oven and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes to make sure it's heated through.
Once the cheese on top is melted and looks burnished with gold on the crustless pizza, take it out of the oven and serve, cut into slices. A green or tomato salad on the side would not be a bad idea.

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


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #21 hosted by 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Cold Chicken with Ginger and Spring Onion

I'm currently obsessed with cooking from Every Grain Of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop. Each recipe I've tried is delicious. Almost all of the recipes are simple and doable, with easy to find ingredients. She has provided some alternative ingredients for some of the recipes, which is really helpful. This dish, Cold Chicken with Ginger and Spring Onion is such a simple dish but very tasty. We love this dish!

Best used deboned chicken thigh, but I have used a mixture of  chicken breast  and thigh meat. This is made with cold cooked chicken. If you do not have any, you can poach the chicken in water with a piece of smacked ginger and a few spring onion whites, simmered for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. I added some salt to the poaching liquid. Remove the chicken and rinse in cold running water. Then allow to cool. I used the poaching liquid (which is very tasty!), to make a simple tofu soup.

Cut the chicken meat into small bite-sized pieces and arrange on a serving plate. Scatter with chopped ginger and chopped spring onion. Heat some cooking oil until sizzling hot and spoon it over the ginger and onion. The sizzling sound is essential! If it doesn't sizzle, then the oil is not hot enough. Have some soy sauce diluted with some water and pour this over the chicken. Serve.
This method is similar to the one she used to cook steamed fish, which I've made here.

We had this with rice and there's no leftovers. Delicious!

The recipe can be found here.
Or get the book, Every Grain Of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop, on page 50.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #21 hosted by 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Green Bean and Potato Curry

This month's featured ingredient/dish at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) is Potatoes! I'm visiting the recipes from Madhur Jaffrey this week, and made her Green Bean and Potato Curry. Madhur Jaffrey describes this dish as "This is a simple curry to be served with rice, pickles and chutneys"

There's some Sri Lankan Raw Curry Powder used in the recipe, but not to worry, she has included how to make this curry powder at home. It is really simple and does not take up much time at all.

The toasted spices

The spices used : coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, fresh curry leaves, desiccated coconut, raw rice and brown mustard seeds. I have all the ingredients in my pantry and the curry leaves from my garden pot. These spices are supposed to be put into the oven at low temperature for one hour. But I have toasted them in a saucepan over the stove until fragrant and the curry leaves are dry and crispy, which takes about five minutes. Let the spices cool, and grind as finely as possible in a dry mill. 

Grind as finely as possible. It smells really good.

To cook the curry, the cubed potatoes are first boiled in some water which is added a pinch of turmeric, for a few minutes until the potatoes are almost done. I have skipped this part, and added the potatoes along with the green beans during cooking. Also I have added some hard-boiled eggs, peel and add to the curry along with the veggies. Other ingredients used ; chopped onions, garlic, ginger, fresh green chillies, cinnamon stick, lime juice and coconut milk.

This is a simple and mild curry. Both the hubby and son thought that this curry is tasty. We ate this with rice, and I'm glad I've added the hard-boiled eggs. 

Green Bean and Potato Curry
(adapted from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey)
2 medium potatoes (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
15 fresh curry leaves (substitute fresh holy basil or basil leaves for a different but equally interesting flavour)
1 cup very finely chopped shallots or red onion
3 garlic cloves, peeled and very finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon very finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 small fresh hot green chillies, cut crosswise into fine rings
3/4 pound green beans, cut to 1" lengths
4 teaspoons Sri Lankan Raw Curry Powder **
1 cup canned coconut milk (shake the can before using)
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1-1/4 to 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (I use 1 teaspoon)
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled (my addition)

In a medium pot, combine the potatoes, enough water to cover them well, and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric. Bring to a boil. Cover partially, turn the heat down a bit, and cook until the potatoes are almost done but still hold their shape well. Drain. (I have skipped this step, adding the potatoes along with the green beans).
Put the oil in a large saute pan or frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the curry leaves. Ten seconds later, put in the shallots, garlic, ginger, and green chillies. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Put in the green beans (and potatoes) and saute for another minute. Put in the curry powder and stir once. Now put in the coconut, 1 cup of water, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, cinnamon stick, salt and potatoes (and eggs). Stir and bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat down to low, and cook about 15 minutes, or until the beans are just tender. Add the lime juice and stir it in.
Remove the cinnamon stick and serve.

Sri Lankan Raw Curry Powder
(This curry powder is perfect for all vegetable curries)
2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds
1-1/2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
1 tablespoon whole fenugreek seeds
3 whole sprigs fresh curry leaves (about 60), if available (or a small handful of dried ones)
1 tablespoon desiccated coconut
1-1/2 teaspoons raw rice
1/2 teaspoon whole brown mustard seeds

Preheat the oven to 150F, or the lowest temperature setting.
Spread the seasonings out on a tray and put them into the oven for 1 hour. Cool. Transfer to a clean coffee grinder or other spice grinder and grind as finely as possible. Store in a tightly lidded jar away from heat and sunlight.
(I toasted the spices in a dry saucepan over the stove on a low heat until the spices are fragrant and the curry leaves are dry and crispy).

I'm linking this post to I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
Potatoes !


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #21 hosted by 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Pork With Cumin

Originally, this recipe is Beef with Cumin, but I have replaced the beef with pork fillet. This is a simple and quick stir-fry. 

The meat are sliced into thin bite-sized pieces and then marinated with Shaoxing wine, salt, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and potato flour. The pork slices are then stir-fry briskly in some hot oil in a  wok over a high flame until the pieces separated, then remove to a plate and set aside. I stir-fry until the meat are cooked.

Heat some oil in a wok, add the chopped garlic and ginger, stir until they are fragrant, then add the sliced red and green peppers, continue to stir-fry until hot and fragrant. Return the meat slices to the wok, give a good stir, then add the cumin and dried chillies, When all is sizzling and smells delicious, toss in the chopped spring onions. Remove from heat and stir in some sesame oil. 

This is a delicious dish! So fragrant from the cumin and so very tasty! We really like this dish, delicious as part of a meal with white fluffy rice. 

The recipe can be found here
(or get it from Every Grain Of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop, pg106)

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #21 hosted by 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Double Cheese and Chive Loaf

This is another fabulous bread from master baker, Dan Lepard, taken from his wonderful book, Short & Sweet. A fantastic book with bread, cakes, cookies, desserts recipes. I have made several recipes from this book and have great results. 

Double Cheese and Chive Loaf recipe is one of the variations from his basic White Farmhouse Tin Loaf recipe, where he has added Parmesan and Cheddar cheese, with some chives, to make an entirely new bread, resulting in this fabulous tasty loaf. He has other variations which you can find from .

Instead of kneading the dough like you usually would, Dan Lepard uses his easy method of fold, push and turn, which is repeated at 15 minutes interval, thrice. A good idea  to get this book to learn about his simple method and other tips, plus tons of fabulous recipes!

I reduce the salt to half teaspoon, taking into account of the salty cheeses used. For the chives, I have used Chinese garlic chives from my garden pot. 

The bread bakes to a lovely golden brown and rises beautifully.

With moist, soft crumbs and tastes just fabulous, good to eat on its own. We had this loaf as a sandwich bread with slices of ham.

The holes where the diced Cheddar has partially melted. Nice!

The recipe can be found at, with some other variations as suggested by the author.

Double Cheese and Chive Loaf
(Short & Sweet, by Dan Lepard)
For the sponge :
225ml warm water
1 teaspoon fast action yeast
175gm strong white flour

For the dough :
175gm strong white flour, plus extra for shaping and dusting
1 teaspoon fine salt
25gm unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the tin
50gm grated Parmesan
200-250gm Cheddar, cut into 1cm dice
a small bunch of fresh chives, snipped into 1cm lengths
oil for kneading

Get the sponge ready by pouring the warm water into a mixing bowl, stirring in the yeast and adding 175gm flour. Stir it together, cover the bowl and leave for 2-4 hours, or even overnight. When you're ready to make the dough, put the second batch of flour into a bowl, add the salt and rub the butter through until it vanishes, so there are no little lumps floating around. Add the grated Parmesan, diced Cheddar and chives. Pour in the yeast batter, mix the whole lot up into a big sticky clump of dough, then scrape the bits off your fingers, cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave for 10 minutes. Knead the dough (fold, push and turn method), repeating after 15 and 30 minutes, then cover and leave for a further 30 minutes.
Butter and flour a large deep loaf tin, about 19cm long. Lightly flour the work surface, roll the dough into a rectangle 2cm thick that measures (from left to right) slightly less than the length of the tin; roll it up tightly and place seam-side down in the tin. Cover with a tea towel and leave until increased in size by half.
Heat the oven to at least 220C/200C fab/425F/Gas 7, thouogh if you can get it 20C hotter even better. Steam the oven if you like , dust flour over the dough with a small fine sieve or tea-strainer, slash the loaf down the centre about 1cm deep with a sharp blade or sharp serrated knife, and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 200C/fan 180C/390F/Gas 6, and bake for a further 20-25 minutes until the crust is the colour you like.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #21 hosted by 


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