Monthly Archives: December 2012

Going Korea…

No. we did not go on a holiday. but we did receive many many loves (presents!) from the dous family (a.k.a. my sis, bro-in-law & niece) who recently went holidaying in Korea. I guess the present most apt for a cooking fanatic is a home grown ingredient. Kimchi would have been THE food from Korea, but its also too cumbersome to lug back, so we got us a packet of equally exciting dangmyeon (glass noodles made of sweet potato flour)!

And how we loved it! I had always loved sweet potato glass noodles, especially the chewiness of the noodles. It’s definitely more satisfying than the Chinese glass noodles dongfen and I always get annoyed when the foodcourt Korean stall uses Chinese glass noodles instead. I mean, don’t you watch Korean dramas?! ;p

Bliss is when you have a bowl of slurp-worthy dangmyeon with spicy kimchi, pork belly and tofu and a bowl of steaming hot rice. Always good enough to warm the tummy.

Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Dangmyeon; Ingredients for Japchae; Ingredients for Kimchi Jjigae; Salmon fillets; a flavourful poaching liquid; Japchae; Kimchi Jjigae; Poached salmon

Kimchi Jjigae
There is really no fixed recipe that one should follow for kimchi jjigae, just make it to suit your personal preference of ingredients and taste. We made ours inspired from http://www.shinshine.com/my-blog/2011/08/simple-kimchi-jjigae.html

Japchae
As with kimchi jjigae, the choice and amount of ingredients is very flexible. For a start, see http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/japchae

Poached Salmon

Kombu, 1 postcard size
Ginger, 3 slices
Spring onions, 6 2″ rods
Onion, halve a small one, sliced into four wedges
Carrot, halve a medium one, julienned
Shitake mushrooms, 3
Peppercorns, 5 or to taste
Rice wine, 2 tablespoons
Soy sauce, 1 tablespoon or to taste
Salmon, about 300g, sliced

diced spring onions and coriander for garnish

First make the poaching liquid by putting all ingredients except the salmon into a frying pan or saucepan large enough to contain the ingredient in a single layer. Add enough water to cover the ingredients. Slowing bring the poaching liquid to a boil and simmer for at least 15 minutes. Add more water if necessary. Taste. When the poaching liquid is flavourful enough, add salmon slices, in two batches if necessary. Spoon the barely simmering stock over the slices of fish as they poach. Poach for about 3 minutes.Gently transfer the fish slices to a serving dish with a slotted ladle. Spoon as much poaching liquid as the dish will hold without spilling and garnish with diced spring onions and coriander leaves.

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Plat du Jour 5.0

Bacon and cheddar bread, roast chicken thigh, avocado and tomato salad

Bacon and cheddar bread, roasted chicken thigh, avocado and tomato salad

Bacon and cheddar bread

Recipe adapted from Bake by Rachel Allen, retrieved from http://eatlittlebird.com/2012/05/01/rustic-bacon-cheddar-bread/

Roasted chicken thigh

Season chicken thigh(s) with salt, pepper and your desired herbs (optional). Arrange onto a baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Bake chicken in a 200 deg C oven for 30-45 mins or until skin is nicely brown and crisp (time depends on how much chicken is loaded into the oven). Remove from oven and let it cool a little. Arrange on a bed of coriander/parsley on the serving plate.

Avocado and tomato salad

Prepare ingredients in the following ratio — 1 large tomato : 1 ripe avocado : a small handful coriander/parsley leaves : a smaller handful of mint leaves : juice from half a lemon : 1 tablespoon olive oil : 2 people

Peel and de-seed tomatoes and cut into 2 cm chunks. Cut flesh of avocadoes into similar sized chunks. In a mixing bowl, toss all ingredients (excluding humans) and season with salt and pepper. Place a ring mould on the serving plate and spoon salad into it. Pack down slightly and remove mould.

Christmassy Fruit Cake

You know Christmas is near (at our house anyway, since we don’t celebrate Christmas in a religious way) when you smell the aroma of rum soaked fruit.

Zzz has been making this for some years now and it always brings a smile and widened eyes to those who tried it. Moist cake sweetened with molasses and filled with rum soaked dried fruits. It has even turned the fruit cake avoider aka me into a one who looks forward to this treat every Christmas. I love the sweet smell of molasses drifting through the kitchen too. It’s like a kitchen perfume. Heheh.

He did bake and blogged on this before https://eightsixtwo.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/hohoho-yums/

Didn’t include the recipe the last time though. Here’s the recipe:

English fruit cake

English fruit cake

Ingredients

950g raisins and mixed dried fruits soaked in 120ml of dark rum for 3 days.
240g butter
200g sugar
300g all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
6 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
50g molasses

Directions
Preheat the oven 160 deg C and line a 9 by 9 inch square cake tin with parchment.
Cream butter, molasses and sugar for 3 minutes. Add 1 egg per minute while beating continuously. Add vanilla.
Sift flour and baking powder together and mixed into the batter. Do not over mix.
Finally fold in the raisins and bake for 80 mins or until the kitchen smells unbelievably christmassy and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Almost non-fat fresh ginger cookies

Zzz is going on a David Lebovitz dessert spree.
Ever since we bought his “Ready for Desserts” book.
And I love everything inside!
Especially these. Almost non-fat, what a dream!

These cookies remind me of days in China, where I’ll lug packets of M&S cookies back whenever I was home for the holidays.
Ahhh. Those were the days where I indulged in sweets (and other foods).

These days, with metabolism rate (and exercise) drastically slowing down, I can only afford one.at.a.day.

Ok. Maybe 2?

fresh ginger cookies

fresh ginger cookies

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Recipe
(adapted from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Desserts)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 five spice powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup raw sugar
75 g homemade applesauce
50 g grated fresh young ginger
50 g finely chopped fresh young ginger
1/4 cup molasses (unsulphured)
1 egg
1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger (optional)
1/2 cup white sugar plus 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder for coating cookies before baking

;
Beat applesauce, molasses, raw sugar and all the ginger in a stand mixer for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and dry spices.
Add egg to the batter and beat for another minute.
Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and add the flour mixture. Mix till totally incorporated.
Cover and chill for an hour.
Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Prepare the cinnamon sugar for coating cookies in a large plate. Using a small spring loaded ice cream scoop, form small balls of dough and drop them into the cinnamon sugar for coating. Bake for 13 minutes, rotating halfway.E

Chorizo Iberico, Chicken leg burger, Lemon Posset

Check out what zzz had for lunch, without me!

Chorizo Iberico with fruits and nuts

Chorizo Iberico with fruits and nuts

Chicken leg burger

Chicken leg burger

Lemon posset

Lemon posset

Chorizo Iberico

Chorizo Iberico can be eaten without cooking as it is cured. Portion about 4 cm of chorizo per person. Remove the papery/plasticky skin by lightly scoring the skin and peeling it off. Slice thinly, about 4 mm per slice. Let it sit for at least 10 minute to bring to room temperature before eating. Pair with a full bodied wine, almonds and sweet fruits.

Baked Chicken Leg Burger

1 chicken leg quarter (leg plus thigh) per person
parsley/coriander
your favourite bread

Season chicken legs with salt, pepper and your desired herbs (optional). Arrange onto a baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Bake chicken in a 200 deg C oven for 30-45 mins or until skin is nicely brown and crisp (time depends on how much chicken is loaded into the oven). Remove from oven and let it cool a little.

Lightly toast your favourite bread (a brioche with apricots and almonds was used in the picture above). Remove the bones from the chicken and assemble the burger with lots of parsley.

Lemon Posset

1 cup double/whipping cream (>30% fat)
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Bring cream and sugar to a boil in saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for a minute and remove from heat. Let it cool for a minute before stirring in lemon juice. Leave to cool for 10 minutes and pour into ramekins or glasses. Chill in fridge until set, about 3 hours.

David Lebovitz’s Fresh Ginger Cake

I am not a great fan of ginger. For savory dishes, I only like the taste IF its subtlety incorporated. Think steamed fish,Chinese cabbage soup and stir fried pork liver with thin slices of ginger fried to unrecognizable form. You get the idea. I certainly don’t like biting into a piece of ginger (especially since it cam be mistakenly picked up as a small piece of potato in soups). Isn’t the taste a little too weird? Anyway, i think my reaction is quite unusual for an Asian (and i guess even more so for a Singaporean) considering its quite commonly used in alot of the Chinese dishes.

Desserts are different. I love the zing that ginger adds. A sweet potato soup is “unpassable” if there isn’t enough ginger added. Same for gingersnap cookies, the Chinese dessert “jiang chuang nai”-basically ginger juice and milk custard. Love love the taste of ginger in these sweet things. zzz found another. Guess its timely for the Christmas season too! 🙂

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Recipe
(adapted from Davitz Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert)

150 g fresh young ginger, finely chopped or grated
3/4 cup molasses
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup water
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, beaten with a fork

Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Prepare and line 2 6-inch cake tins and 6 cupcake tins with parchment paper and cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, combine oil, molasses and sugar and whisk to combine.
In another bowl, sift in flour and spices.
In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and add the baking soda. Whisk the hot water/soda mixture into the molasses mixture. Add the finely chopped ginger. Gently whisk in the flour mixture and finally the eggs.
Divide the batter into the cake tins and bake 21 mins for the cupcakes and 35-40 minutes for the 2 6-inch cakes.
Serve with a frosting of cream cream icing garnished with pomegranate (idea from http://joythebaker.com/2012/11/orange-gingerbread-with-cream-cheese-frosting/) or with your favourite ice-cream