Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Mixed Greens With Candied Ginger Vinaigrette

My sister says I ought to eat more healthily. So here it is... a fresh wholesome salad with a lovely candied ginger dressing for me today, served in the green tea bowl that my dear friend Kyo gave me before she left France. I feel so zen eating such a beautifully coloured salad out of this bowl... great for physical AND mental health :) Way to go, Ange!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Vibrant Orange

My blender just died on me, which means I won't be able to blend my "staple" sambal chili for a while, boohoo. On a lighter note, I share this cheerful orange to brighten up your day.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Mange-Tout Au Sambal Crevette

Dried shrimp sambal a.k.a. "Hae Bee Hiam" is another versatile food/condiment to have around and it keeps really well in the refrigerator. Fry almost any vegetable with a generous amount of the sambal and it'll turn out awesome. Serve with piping hot plain rice. I have fried it with Mange-Tout this time and gobbled it all up within minutes!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Simplified But Good Chicken N Leek Pie

I remembered to take a photo only after pigging halfway through the pie. I guess I am not a hardcore food blogger yet ;) The chicken paired really well with the leek in this recipe and I got rave reviews for the end product. Here's the rough recipe:

Simplified Chicken Leek Pie

For 2:

Chick meat for 2, cubed and boiled
Leek for 2, thinly sliced and blanched
Mixed veges for colour (optional), diced and blanched
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
Chicken stock

Salt, black pepper, herbes de provence

Make a roux with butter and flour.

Add stock and cream (I used a ratio of 1:1) to roux till the desired consistency (I prefer it thick than liquidy). Season with salt, pepper and herbs.

Mix veges and chicken in a pie dish. Add the prepared white sauce and combine well.

Top with puff pastry, brush with eggwash and bake till golden brown at 200deg.

Serve fresh from the oven.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Versatile Lemon Curd

Lemon curd is really convenient to have around... I use it in tarts, choux puffs, as a confiture, etc etc. So easy to prepare yet delicious. Here's the recipe:

Lemon Curd

Finely grated lemon zest from 2 large lemons
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
3 large whole eggs, lightly beaten
125g unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Mix everything together and whisk constantly over low heat till thick.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Vibrant Yellow!

I am so into brightly coloured flowers these days. I'd like to share this gorgeous yellow of nature with you...

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Balacan Fried Rice

I brought back with me a huge chunk of balacan when I was back in Asia earlier this year. I have never dealt with balacan before and was so looking forward to "playing" with it. So finally after all these months, I got down to cut a small cube of it and roasted it over... a cigarette lighter flame, haha! Had no idea how much roasting it needed but thought it should be OK once I started smelling the balacan. Is that right?

I guess it worked 'coz I used it to fry rice with much success... the fried rice was yummy! I crumbled the balacan and fried it with some oil and lots of onions, garlic, ginger, chili, dried shrimps, plus a tad of curry powder for extra flavour. Once fragrant, I added the rice, green beans and eggs and seasoned it with soya sauce, pepper and a little sugar. The result: tasty balacan fried rice that reminds me of Indonesian nasi goreng. I served it just like the latter - topped with a sunny-side-up with runny yolk. My kind of comfort food.

Oh, I have to add that I'd heard so many stories about the lingering stinky smell of cooking with balacan. I opened the windows when frying and the apartment did not smell bad at all afterwards... which means I will be cooking this often, yoohoo ;)

Monday, 6 April 2009

My First Encounter With Choux Pastry

Choux pastry - When I read how everyone advises using a machine instead of hand-beating the dough, I was seriously doubtful if I would succeed the primitive way. I gave it a shot anyway as I was dying to try something new this morning, half expecting the dough to not puff up at all during baking due to potential under-beating.

Guess what? I thought wrongly, the dough was a lot more forgiving. Really, I didn't do much work at all - I gave it the minimum beating required with a wooden spoon till all the ingredients come together, it took less than 5 minutes and my arm was far from tired! I was thrilled to see them puffing up beautifully in the oven.

I divided the dough into 2 batches after combining the eggs: 1 batch I left plain to be used for dessert and the other mixed with grated comte and parmesan and pepper to be served as gougeres.

The gougeres turned out beautifully! Yes, the more and the stronger the cheese, the better they taste.

For dessert, I filled some of the plain ones with a simple coffee cream and some with leftover lemon curd, topped with a shower of icing sugar. That worked just as wonderfully.

PS. I used Pierre Herme's recipe for choux pastry but baked at 200 degree Celsius for 20 minutes.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Easy No-Fail Chocolate Tarts

Makes 4 10-cm tarts

1 ready-to-use pate sablee (cut to fit 4 individual-sized tart moulds)


100g bittersweet chocolate, broken into small chunks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Bake tart shells till golden brown (about 12 minutes at 180 degree Celcius) and let cool to room temperature. Heat cream and butter till just before boiling point. Add chocolate and stir till melted and well combined. Mix in the sugar. Pour into tart shells and chill till set. Enjoy!