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Archive for April, 2008

Last week, Ryan showed me this online cooking demonstration video teaching how to make roasted chicken drumlets. The recipe looked really interesting and he said he wanted to make it if he had a chance to. Hhhmm…since I had chicken wings in the freezer (which I was still trying to figure out what to do with), I decided I’d make it instead. Mine here has been modified to fit whatever ingredients I have at home. Finger lickin’ good are the only words to describe them! Easy to make, time efficient and so very tasty! :)

Ingredients:

  • Chicken wings
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • Fresh tarragon
  • Roasted sesame seeds
Method:
  • Mix balsamic vinegar, honey, soy sauce and a couple of sprigs of tarragon leaves together in a large bowl.
  • Put chicken wings into a large freezer bag then pour the marinade into the bag with the chicken. Massage the chicken well and leave it to season for 2 hours. 
  • Preheat the grill. Line a tray with foil and arrange chicken wings. Grill till brown and cook.
  • In the meantime, place marinade into a saucepan and simmer over medium heat till it thickens. Roast sesame seeds for garnishing.
  • Remove chicken wings from grill and brush with thickened sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and tarragon leaves. Plate and serve. 

 

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This is what I had to complete for April’s DB Challenge – Cheesecake Pops. My first reaction when I read April’s challenge was “Are you serious? Cheesecake can actually be presented this way?”. I could feel adrenaline pumping through me as it was exciting to try something different for a change – something I’ve never heard of. Then began my “brain overworking” journey…night after night I would lie in bed thinking how best to present it, how to decorate it, what flavours to use and so on and so forth. 

Alan loves cheesecake but I knew he wouldn’t like this cos he’s such a traditional eater. When it comes to sweets, he will only eat the classic of the most classics – eg: milk chocolate – absolutely hates any flavoured chocs, classic tim tams, vanilla ice cream – you get the picture. I knew he wouldn’t like this because it looked nothing like the traditional cheesecakes. Since my only fan wouldn’t like this, I had to have a reason to make it. The original recipe uses 5 blocks of cream cheese (but I halved my recipe here) – and that’s not exactly cheap. It’d be a waste of money if I were to make it for no reason cos it would just end up in the bin. Aarrgghh!! What am I going to do? Procrastinate…procrastinate….delay…delay….finally – Jess, one of my closest friend in Tassie sent me a text inviting me to her birthday party – and no less a dessert party! :) Coincidentally, it was today – perfect timing! So, you probably can deduce by now, my creation was completed today – challenge posting date. Hehe! :)

        
I had heaps of fun making these cheesecake pops. It was a real sticky, messy affair. I initially wanted to make a flower basket but sadly was unable to get any small, cute baskets from the discount shop. Lucky for me, I found this cute little metal flower pot. I had this splendid idea of using my flower mould to stamp out flower shapes. But…as we all know…things don’t often go as plan. The cheesecake was not “stampable” as it was too soft even after refrigerating it. In the end, I could only opt to mould it into various odd looking shapes with my hands. I actually made 3 different looking shapes but after coating them they all look like they are of the same shape! Haha! :) At the end of it all, I felt as if I’s eaten a whole cheesecake by myself – thanks to the constant licking of the leftovers on my palm and fingers from the moulding of these little darlings. *Big grin* I was meant to use lollipop sticks for them but I couldn’t find them from the shops here hence decided on skewers. Plus, skewers were easier as they’d be long enough to be stuck through the floral foam and the height could be adjusted easily. I knew all along that I was not gifted in floral arrangement, and this pot here proved me right! Haha! :)
Ingredients:
  • 5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Boiling water as needed
  • Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
  • 1 pound chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • Assorted decorations
Method:
  • Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.
  • Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
  • When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.
  • When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.
  • Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.
  • Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.
  • Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

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I went cookie crazy this week! I’ve been craving chocolate cookies for a couple of nights and was dreaming of them night after night. I am one of those who would crave and crave and then when I can’t take it anymore, I’ll lookup recipes and make some to fix my craving. Seeing that Anzac Day was coming, I decided to try bake a batch of Anzac cookies. Since I was gonna bake cookies, I might as well bake chocolate ones to fix my craving. 

Anzac Day is like the most important public holiday in Australia. Many Australians consider Anzac Day the National Day of the country. It is celebrated to commemorate members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Cops (ANZAC) during World War I. On this day, marching parades attended by veterans from past wars, current serving members of the defence force, cadets, scouts, guides and other uniform bodies are organised in capital cities and towns nationwide. There will then be social gatherings whereby everyone gets together for a drink or two. 

There are many variations to the origin of Anzac biscuits. I like the version about Australian and New Zealand women who made these cookies for the ANZAC soldiers during World War I. I think it is really patriotic and shows how war can bring people closer together. You don’t have to be a frontliner to serve your country, what matters most is your heart. I’ve never truly embraced the Anzac Day culture maybe because patriotism is something I learnt, while growing up, that it is not even worth my time. I’ve come close to holding my Australian permanent residency status for 2 years and think it’s about time I learn something about the Australian heritage and start considering how that is going to shape my future. I don’t particularly favour Anzac biscuits as I’ve often found it a bit too crunchy. This recipe however was perfect for me as the biscuits were chewy and just nice. Ryan being bored and having loads of free time took photos for me and compiled them into a short video. :)
Anzac Biscuits:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 125gm butter
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Method:
  • Preheat oven to 160C. Line baking trays with non-stick baking sheet.
  • Sift flour into a large bowl. Stir in oats, coconut and brown sugar. 
  • Put butter, syrup and 2 tbsp water in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat until melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda. 
  • Pour butter mixture into flour mixture and mix well to combine. 
  • Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and flatten slightly with your palm. Place 5 cm apart on tray.
  • Bake till golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool.
Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies:
Ingredients:
  • 125gm butter, chopped
  • 200gm milk chocolate
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 tbsp self-raising flour
  • 1 cup roasted hazelnuts
Method:
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Line baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  • Melt butter and chocolate together in a bowl. Cool slightly.
  • Stir in cocoa powder, eggs and sugar. Sift flour over mixture and mix well. 
  • Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and flatten slightly with your palm. Place 5 cm apart on tray.
  • Bake till tops are slightly cracked (10-12 minutes). Remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool.

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I’ve always wanted to make a stack of some sort and decided one morning when I got up that this was exactly what I’d do. Since I had leftover strawberries and mixed berry compote from a cake I’d made, I decided to make something for breakfast. I didn’t dare to stack it too high as I was afraid it would collapse when I served it. Next time, I’m gonna attempt to stack 8 pieces together! Haha! :)

Ingredients:

  • Self-raising flour
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Butter
  • Strawberries
  • Mixed berry, either canned or frozen ones
  • Caster sugar
  • Vanilla ice cream
Method:
  • Place mixed berries and caster sugar in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat till it softens and thickens. Leave it to cool and refrigerate to be used later.
  • Whisk self raising flour, milk, sugar and egg together into a smooth batter.
  • Heat a non-stick pan with butter over medium heat. Ladle the batter into pan and allow it to brown on both sides.
  • Set aside to be used later. In the meantime, slice half the strawberries into thin slices and the remaining into halves. 
  • On a plate, layer pancakes topped with strawberry slices and berry compote. Top with ice cream and enjoy!

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Wouldn’t it be great if you could wake up each morning to the smell of fragrant brewed coffee, crispy bacon, sausages, eggs, toast etc? Hhmmm…PERFECT!! :) Sadly for Alan, it’s not everyday he gets to wake up to these! Haha :p ! Every once in a blue moon, when I feel like it, I’d get up and whip us up something good for brunch – just like this one here. Two slices of sourdough bread – one topped with a poached egg, the other with scrambled eggs and slices of smoked salmon, couple of grilled sausages and bacon and TADA..you’ve got your man’s heart! Here is when you fully comprehend the saying “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!”
Ingredients:
  • Sourdough bread
  • Eggs
  • Smoked salmon
  • Sausages
  • Bacon
  • Butter
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Lemon wedges
Method:
  • Preheat the grill and line a pan with aluminium foil. Arrange sausages and bacon and place it under the grill.
  • Heat the butter in a pan until foaming. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add into pan. Stir the eggs continuously with a spatula. Make sure you get the edges and cook till little pieces of cooked eggs are surrounded by soft, smooth and still quite runny eggs. Do not overcook them as the eggs will cook in the pan even after you’ve turned off the heat. Add in a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper according to taste.
  • Toast the bread and butter it if you want. Arrange on plate, top toast with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. Crack some pepper and serve with lemon wedges. Dish up the sausages and bacon and serve immediately.  

 

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Before Alan made this dish for me, I always thought there were only a couple of things I could make with savoy cabbage – stir fried with garlic and mince or boiled in soup. Once again, this was originally from Jamie Oliver :) (yes, yes, I know…we are starting to look like Jamie freaks!). Jamie’s original recipe had chillies and lime with it as he made it when his wife was pregnant and it was her favourite dish. When Alan first made this, I joked and said I might not like it since I wasn’t pregnant :) ! Since that first time, this has become one of our favourites and whenever I buy savoy cabbage and mince, I’d definitely make it. Even CY who hates vegies has nothing to complain about. 

Ingredients:

  • Savoy cabbage
  • Chicken and/or pork mince
  • Garlic
  • Soy sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Salt, sugar and pepper
  • Shaoxing wine
  • Corn flour
Method:
  • Season the mince with the above seasonings for at least 1 hour.
  • Peel the cabbage piece by piece and wash it. Bring a pot of water to boil and add the cabbage so it softens. 
  • Run the cabbage under cold water and drain it. Put a spoonful of mince at the end of the cabbage stem and wrap it up. Repeat with remaining cabbage and mince.
  • In the meantime, bring a wok filled with water to boil. Place stuffed cabbages onto a bamboo steamer and place in the wok to steam.
  • Remove steamer from wok when a fork inserted into cabbage comes up clean (approximately 20-25 minutes). 
  • Serve with a mixture of soy sauce and black vinegar or chilli sauce. 

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Once again, my apologies for being MIA for awhile. You know how people always say “Don’t wish too hard…you never know it might just happen to you..!” For many years, I’ve been complaining about how none of my friends from M’sia ever come tassie to visit me. Well, my wish came true! In just a short span of 2.5 weeks, I’ve had 2 of my close friends come visit me and I have had everything but free time for myself! 

This here is one of my all time favourites (and I believe it applies for a lot of people out there!). It’s commonly served at yum cha (dim sum) places and is great eaten on its own, dipped with some sauce (chilli especially) or stir fried. If you were to go to the asian countries, it’s more commonly called carrot cake because the literal translation of radish from chinese is white carrot. I made it once for a Taste of Asia event at church and told everyone it was carrot cake. The aussies gave me a funny look and were really apprehensive as this definitely wasn’t their kind of carrot cake! :) However, everyone who had it wanted more of it and the praises just kept coming in! 

Ingredients:
  • 550g shredded white radish
  • 125ml water
  • 25g dried shrimps, soaked, roasted and chopped finely
Mix together to make a watery batter:
  • 300g rice flour
  • 50g ‘tung mien’ or tapioca flour
  • 650ml water
Seasoning:
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Chicken stock granules
  • Pepper
  • Ground black pepper

Method:

  • Combine radish and water in a saucepan and simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until radish is soft and the liquid has evaporated.
  • Add in dried shrimps, and watery rice batter. Mix in seasoning stir the mixture well. 
  • Cook mixture for two to three minutes over medium low heat, stirring all the time, until the mixture turns to a thick paste.
  • Pour the paste into a greased 20cm to 21cm square cake tin. Smoothen the surface with a spatula. Place it in the steamer and steam over high heat till set. 
  • Remove the cake and allow it to cool thoroughly before cutting into slices.
  • Shallow fry the radish cake slices and serve with chilli sauce.
I think watching Oliver Twist has had some sorta impact on me cos I can’t stop thinking of how I can modify a dish or what sorta new flavours or twists can be added to something etc etc. There is no such thing as “too much radish cake we can’t finish it” syndrome in this house whenever I make this. This time however, I set aside a small batch for one of my experimental dishes. I decided I was gonna do try a Thai inspired stir fried radish cake. Sounds cool, huh?! I’m not sure if this has been done by others before but who cares, I came up with the flavours myself. I basically conjured up an image of how I wanted the dish to be, and mentally listed common ingredients used in Thai dishes, and voila, my creation was born! :)

 

Ingredients:

 

  • Red chillies
  • Shallots
  • Spring onion
  • Lime zest and lime juice
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and sugar
Method:
  • Slice radish cake into thin, 1.5 finger size slices and shallow pan fry them in oil. Drain and set aside.
  • Slice the red chillies and shallots into thin slices. Thinly slice the bottom, white part of the spring onion, as for the top, green part, cut them into bigger chunks. 
  • Mix the lime zest, lemon juice, salt and sugar together. 
  • Heat oil in a pan and fry the shallots till golden brown. Toss in the chillies and spring onions. When fragrant, toss in the radish cake and lemon juice mixture. Stir fry it well. 
  • Dish it up and squeeze lime juice over it just before serving.

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