Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Marble Sheet Cake

Marble cake is always a favourite. This simple cake makes a wonderful treat for tea time, breakfast and for snacking anytime of the day. According to the author, "This is the perfect cake to make when you're not sure whether it's gonna be chocolate or vanilla". 



I used the stand mixer with the whisk attachment to make this cake, but it can be made using a bowl with a hand whisk with some elbow grease. The only changes I've made is, as usual, I've reduced the sugar to 180gm (from the original of 300gm). The sweetness turns out just right, without being overly sweet.



Cake is moist, with soft crumbs. Lovely vanilla fragrance and the chocolate batter really shines through with chocolaty taste from the cocoa powder. Yummy cake!


Marble Sheet Cake
(One Bowl Baking, Yvonne Ruperti)
16 tablespoons (8 ounces or 225gm) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan.
1-1/2 cups (10-1/2 ounces or 300gm) granulated sugar (I use 180gm)
3/4 teaspoon salt (omitted salt, as I've used salted butter)
4 large eggs
1-1/4 cups (300ml) plus 1 tbsp (15ml) while milk, room temperature, divided
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2-3/4 cups (11 ounces or 310gm) cake flour
2-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup (1 ounce or 28gm) cocoa powder

Place an oven rack in the  middle position.
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Butter a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, stir the butter, sugar and salt until combined
Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until each is incorporated. Whisk in 1-1/4 cups milk and the vanilla.
Add the cake flour and baking powder to the bowl, then whisk until just combined.
Spoon half of the batter (about 3 cups) into the pan in random blobs.
Whisk the cocoa and the remaining tablespoon milk into the remaining batter.
Spoon the chocolate batter into the empty spots and then swirl the batters together.
Bake until lightly golden, just firm, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Set the pan on a wire rack to let the cake cool completely before frosting.


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #18 hosted by 



Monday, June 19, 2017

Scrambled Eggs, Indian Style

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), it is June Monthly Featured Dish/Ingredient Challenge : Asian Dishes. I wanted to make a curry dish, but did not have much time this week, so I've made this simple Scrambled Eggs, Indian Style, from Madhur Jaffrey



A quick, simple egg dish that is cooked in just minutes. Scrambled eggs are always perfect if you want a quick meal, and this style with chopped tomatoes, onions and fresh cilantro is delicious. Madhur Jaffrey says that the Indians like their scrambled eggs "hard". I don't mind them hard too, as they are great with rice when cooked this way. I've cooked them longer just as Madhur Jaffrey did, and ate these scrambled eggs with leftover rice for lunch, while my son had the eggs with some slices of homemade bread.


Scrambled Eggs, Indian Style
(100 Essential Curries, Madhur Jaffrey)
Serves 2-3
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh green coriander
1/2 - 1 hot green chilli, finely sliced
4 medium or large eggs, well beaten
salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a 25cm (10in) frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for a minute or until they begin to turn translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes, green coriander and sliced green chilli. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the tomatoes soften a bit.
Pour in the beaten eggs. Sprinkle on salt and pepper lightly. Stir and move the eggs around with a fork. Indians like their scrambled eggs rather hard (cooked about 3 minutes), but you can stop whenever the desired consistency has been achieved.


I'm link this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
June Monthly Featured Dish/Ingredient Challenge : Asian Dishes

and

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #18 hosted by 




Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Spicy Buckwheat Noodles

A simple and tasty noodle dish. One important ingredient here is the chilli oil, as it really makes the dish. Fuchsia Dunlop's Chilli Oil is simply fabulous.  It is easy to make and do not take much time at all.



Homemade Chilli Oil, recipe from Fuchsia Dunlop's book, Every Grain Of Rice. According to the author, Chilli Oil is "one of the essential ingredients in Sichuanese cold dishes, this is also used in dips for dumplings and other snacks."  I love this Chilli Oil! Tasty with that toasty fragrant chilli aroma. I've used Korean red chilli flakes, used for kimchi making, which is great, as it is not too spicy, yet with a light spicy heat, and they give a beautiful red hue to the oil.



A simple and easy noodle dish. There's an option to use cooked shredded chicken meat, of which I have omitted, and made it plain instead, as pictured in the book. The Chilli Oil is what makes this noodle tasty. Other ingredients that complement the oil; soy sauce, Chinkiang vinegar, sugar, salt, chopped garlic, spring onion greens and chopped fresh red chillies. Mix them with the cooked noodles, (taste and add more seasonings or chilli oil as needed), garnish with more red chillies and lots of chopped spring onion greens, you have a tasty bowl of noodle.  Delicious eaten either warm or cold. 


Spicy Buckwheat Noodles
(Every Grain Of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop)
160gm dried buckwheat noodles
a little cooking oil
1 tbsp light or tamari soy sauce
2 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar
1/2 tsp caster sugar
salt, to taste
4 tbsp chilli oil (with its sediment, if desired) * refer recipe below
1-2 tsp finely chopped garlic, to taste
3 tbsp finely sliced spring onion greens
a little cold, cooked chicken meat, torn into shreds (optional)
2 tsp finely chopped fresh red chillies, plus a few chilli slices to serve

Bring a pan of water to a boil and cook the noodles to your liking. Rinse in cold water and shake dry. If you want to eat the noodles cold, sprinkle a little plain oil on them and mix well with chopsticks, before spreading the noodles out to cool (the oil will stop them from sticking together).
Place the noodles in a deep bowl and add all the other ingredients, except the chilli slices. Mix well, turn on to a serving dish and top with the chicken shreds (if using) and the sliced chillies.


Chilli Oil
500ml cooking oil
100gm Sichuanese or Korean ground chillies (I use Korean chilli flakes, used for making kimchi)
1 tsp sesame seeds
small piece of ginger, unpeeled, crushed

Heat the oil over a high flame to about 200C, then leave for 10 minutes to cool to around 140C.
Place the ground chillies, sesame seeds and ginger in a heatproof bowl. Have a little cool oil or a cupful of water to hand. When the oil has cooled to the right temperature, pour a little on to the chillies, it should fizz gently but energetically and release a rich, roasty aroma. Pour over the rest of the oil and stir. If you think the oil is too hot and the chillies are likely to burn, simply add a little cool oil to release the excess heat. Do, though, make sure that the oil is hot enough; without the fizzing, it won't generate the rich, roasty fragrance you need. If you pour all the oil on to the chillies, then discover it's not quite hot enough, you can return the whole lot a saucepan and heat gently until it smells fabulous and the colour is a deep ruby red, but take care not to burn the chillies. (The chillies will seethe and fizz like a witch's cauldron as you heat them, releasing the most marvellous aromas, but can easily start to burn and blacken).
When the oil has cooled completely, decant it and the chilli sediment into jars and store in a dark, cool place. Leave it to settle for at least a day before using.


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #18 hosted by 



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Hangzhou Aubergines

This is a delicious aubergine dish, goes really well with white fluffy rice, as part of a Chinese meal with a plate of green veggie stir-fry, a bowl of soup and a meat or egg dish. Though I would be happy with just this one dish alone with hot fluffy rice.

There's quite an amount of oil used in the recipe, to fry the sliced aubergines. I use only about half a cup of oil, enough to fry one side of the aubergines, then I turned the aubergines to fry on the other side. This way there's no need to use so much of oil for deep-frying. Be sure to drain the fried aubergines on kitchen paper to absorb all the excess oil. I have doubled the amount of minced pork, and added a little more of the fermented sauce, and soy sauce. Taste as you cook, to your liking.



This is not a new dish to me, as it is really a dish that can be found quite commonly in Chinese restaurants over here, and one of our favourites. But it is interesting to see how the same dish is being cooked in another part of the world. A delicious dish that I will definitely be cooking again in my kitchen.


Hangzhou Aubergines
(Every Grain Of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop)
400gm aubergines
salt
cooking oil, for deep-frying (350ml) will do
50-75gm minced pork, ideally with a little fat
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp sweet fermented sauce
2 tbsp stock
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1/4 tsp potato flour mixed with 2 tsp cold water
2 tbsp finely chopped spring onion greens

Cut the aubergines lengthways into 2cm slices, then cut the slices into 2cm strips. Cut these into 5-6cm lengths. Sprinkle with a little salt, mix well and leave in a colander to drain for 30 minutes or so.
Heat the oil for deep-frying to 180-200C. Shake the aubergines dry and deep-fry, in  a couple of batches, until slightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on kitchen paper.
Drain off the deep-frying oil, rinse the wok if necessary, then return it to a high flame. When the wok is hot again, add 1-2 tbsp oil, swirl it around, then add the pork and stir-fry over a medium flame until the meat has lost its pinkness and the oil has cleared again. Add the ginger and stir to release its fragrance, Add the fermented sauce and stir until it smells delicious, too. Add the stock, Shaoxing wine, soy sauces and sugar, return the aubergines, and mix well.
Toss the aubergines in the sauce, then give the potato flour mixture a stir and pour it into the centre of the wok, moving briskly to stir it in. Add the spring onions, stir a few times, then serve.


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #18 hosted by 




I have happy news  to share, Kitchen Flavours has been selected by Feedspot as one of the Top 50 Malaysia Food Blogs on the web. You can read all about it, and see the full list at Feedspot.

Malaysia Food Blogs

Thank you Feedspot. I am honoured!



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Blueberry-Buttermilk Pie Bars

This week at Tuesdays With Dorie (TWD), baking from Dorie's Cookies, I've made Blueberry-Buttermilk Pie Bars. These bars are easy to make and yummy to eat.



Bottom layer is a buttery crust with some cornmeal mixed in for that added texture and the top is a layer of custard dotted with juicy blueberries.



I did reduce the sugar for both layers. For the crust, I've used only 50gm sugar, and for the custard layer, I've reduced the sugar to only 1/4 cup, half the amount calls for in the recipe. Which works out really well, as the bars are not too sweet, with just the right amount of sweetness. I've used frozen blueberries.



While I was slicing the baked bars into squares, the juicy blueberries squirted out its' juices when the knife cuts into them, surprising both my son and I!  These bars are quite delicious to eat, the cornmeal crust is tender and buttery. The custard reminds me of custardly Chinese egg tarts! Juicy blueberries bursting in every bite makes it such a delightful bar to enjoy!

If you would like to give this a try, the recipe can be found at Dorie's website, here.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Cornbread

It is potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). I have missed a few weeks of cooking with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, our current featured chef at IHCC, so for this potluck week, I've made one of his recipe, Cornbread. 



I like eating cornbread and have made a few versions from different chefs recipes. In HFW's recipe, he has given a few variations like adding chilli, sweetcorn, spring onions and cheddar. Even diced chrorizo, chopped olives, mushrooms and fresh herbs.

To his original recipe, I have added some fresh chives from my garden pot, two each of jalapenos and red chillies, which are deseeded and chopped.



The Cornbread bakes up moist, soft and very tasty. I like the heat from the red chillies and jalapenos.


Cornbread
(River Cottage Everyday by Hugh Fearnleyt-Whittingstall)
Makes 12 pieces
125gm cornmeal or fine polenta (or use half fine and half coarse polenta for a crunchier texture)
125gm plain white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 medium eggs
1 tablespoon runny honey or soft brown sugar
150gm buttermilk (or plain whole-milk yoghurt)
150ml whole milk
25gm unsalted butter, melted

Grease a 23cm square baking tin, about 4cm deep.
In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Make a well in the middle.
Whisk together the eggs, honey or sugar, buttermilk or yoghurt, milk and melted butter. Pour into the well in the dry ingredients and stir until everything is just combined. Don't overmix; a few lumps in the batter are fine. You need to get it into the oven as quickly as possible once the bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk start reacting.
Pour the batter into the baking tin and place in an oven preheated to 220C/Gas Mark 7. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cornbread is golden and has shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin. Place the tin on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes before cutting the bread into squares. Serve warm.


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

and

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #18 hosted by 


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Stir-Fried Tofu with Black Bean and Chilli

This colourful stir-fry dish tastes as good as it looks (from the photo in the book, that is!). The main flavouring comes from Laoganma black bean sauce, a rich oily black bean relish made from fermented black soy beans, chilli oil and other seasonings. I thought that this sauce is delicious! It is not the same as the regular black bean sauce. It has chilli oil and other seasoning, which makes it really tasty. 


To make this dish, I've used spiced firm tofu, which is sliced to strips. The veggies; celery, red pepper, onion, spring onions are all to be cut to similar size as the tofu. For the Laoganma black bean sauce, I have added an extra tablespoon. Get everything sliced up and all the other ingredients ready before you start with the stir-fry. 

This dish is a delicious way of cooking tofu, a tasty dish with hot fluffy rice, though I could settle down with a pair of chopsticks and enjoy this dish alone!


Laoganma black bean sauce


Stir-Fried Tofu with Black Bean and Chilli
(Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop)
150gm firm tofu (spiced or smoked)
2 garlic cloves
an equivalent amount of ginger
5-10 dried chillies, to taste
1/4 red onion
1/4 red pepper
2/3 celery stick, de-stringed
2 spring onion
3 tbsp cooking oil
3 tbsp Laoganma black bean sauce
1/2 tsp whole Sichuan pepper
1/4 tsp caster sugar
ground white pepper
light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

Cut the tofu into 5cm strips, each 1/2-1cm thick. Peel and slice the garlic and ginger. Snip the chillies in half with a pair of scissors and discard their seeds as far as possible. Peel the onion and cut lengthways into strips of a similar thickness to the tofu. Cut the peppers and celery into strips of similar dimensions. Cut the spring onions into 5cm lengths, keeping the green and white parts separate.
Heat the oil in a seasoned wok over a medium flame. Add the black bean sauce, chillies and Sichuan pepper and stir-fry until wonderfully fragrant. Then add the ginger and garlic and sizzle for a few minutes more. Tip in the onion, peppers, celery and spring onion whites, increase the heat to high and stir-fry until hot and fragrant.
Season with the sugar, a good pinch of pepper and light soy sauce to taste. Add the tofu and continue to stir-fry until it is hot and everything smells delicious, adding the spring onion greens towards the end of the cooking time. Remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil and serve.


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #17 hosted by 




Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pineapple Coconut Cakes

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 ;

Genoise with Raspberries and Cream
Lime and Poppy Seed Syrup Cake
Pineapple Coconut Cakes with Pineapple Syrup
Sacher Torte


Members can choose any of these cakes to bake, and my choice is Pineapple Coconut Cakes. 



In the recipe, the author has used eight small fluted petit-Brioche pans. I do not have any Brioche pans so I've used two small round pans instead, size 5-1/2". I bought those cute little pans from Ikea a couple of months ago and have not used them before. Now is the good time to put those pans to use.



Some changes I've made with the recipe :

  • reduce the sugar to 1/3 cup (original was 3/4 cup)
  • added 1 tbsp dark rum to the batter
  • adjustment to the baking time ; bake at 170C for 40 minutes
  • omitted the pineapple syrup

This cake was brushed with pineapple syrup, but I have omitted it. I was afraid that it might be too sweet.


A slice or two makes a wonderful tea-time treat.



Overall review : Very nice cake. Moist and buttery with soft crumbs. I was glad that I have reduced the sugar, as with the reduction in sugar, the sweetness was just right for us. Not too sweet but with a touch of sweetness. The only thing that I would change is to add more chopped pineapple to the batter. Lovely cake to snack on with a mug of warm green tea.




Thursday, May 18, 2017

Braised Chicken With Chestnut

Chestnuts is one of my favourites, delicious in braised dishes and really good when roasted, eaten as a snack. Here it is used in a braised chicken dish. I have used a claypot to cook this dish. For this dish I have used ready-to-eat vacuum packed chestnuts. You may however use raw chestnuts, refer to the instructions at the bottom of the recipe on how to prepare the raw chestnuts for cooking. 




A homey dish that is perfect with a bowl of rice. Chunks of boneless chicken thigh browned in oil and then braised in a claypot with the chestnuts. Can be cooked in advance and reheat just before serving. 



This dish is great with a green stir-fry, of which I have made Stir-Fried Romaine Lettuce, recipe which can be found in the same book. This veggie stir-fry is very similar to how we cook our stir-fry veggies. I have however, added some chopped garlic, just because we have always used chopped garlic for stir-fry veggies.  

These two dishes with a bowl of soup makes such a lovely meal with a bowl of hot fluffy white rice.


Braised Chicken with Chestnuts
(Every Grain Of Rice, Fuchsia Dunlop)
4 boneless chicken thighs (about 350gm)
20gm ginger, unpeeled
2 spring onions, white and green parts separated
3 tbsp cooking oil
1-1/2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
300ml chicken stock or water
1 tbsp brown or caster sugar
1-1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
200gm cooked, peeled chestnuts (canned or vacuum-packed)
salt

Cut the chicken evenly into bite-sized chunks. Crush the ginger and spring onion whites slightly with the side of a cleaver blade or a rolling pin. Cut the spring onion greens into neat 4cm lengths.
Heat the oil in a seasoned wok over a high flame. When it is hot, add the ginger and spring onion whites and stir-fry until you can smell their fragrance. Then add the chicken pieces and fry over high heat until they are lightly browned: don't move them around too much, but let the, rest against the base of the wok so they have the chance to take on a little colour. Drain off some of the excess fat at this stage if you wish. Splash in the Shaoxing wine and stir well. Then tip in all the stock.
Bring the stock to a boil and add the sugar, sou sauce and chestnuts, with salt to taste (3/4 tsp should do). Then reduce the ehat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the chicken to cook through and the chestnuts to absorb some of the flavours of the sauce, stirring from time to time.
Increase the heat to reduce the liquid if you wish and adjust the seasoning if necessary. At the last minute, add the spring onion greens, cover for just a moment to let them feel the heat, then serve.

To cook and peel your own chestnuts :
Slice off the bases of the raw chestnuts and blanch them in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then drain. When cool enough to handle, remove their shells and inner skins as far as possible.


Stir-Fried Cos Lettuce
(Every Grain Of Rice, Fuchsia Dunlop)
1 heart of romaine or cos lettuce (about 250gm)
3 tbsp cooking oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped (my addition)
salt

Cut the lettuce heart across its width at 2.5cm intervals. Wash the cut leaves, then shake dry or (even better) spin in a salad spinner.
Pour the oil into a hot, seasoned wok over a high flame and swirl it around. (Saute the chopped garlic until aromatic and light brown, if using). Add the lettuce and stir-fry until hot and fragrant, but still very crisp, seasoning with salt to taste towards the end. Serve

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #17 hosted by 


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wholemeal Drop Scones

This week' s at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), we are celebrating all Bready Things! I've made Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls, (our current featured chef at IHCC), Wholemeal Drop Scones.



These are super easy to make. The drop scones are tender, moist and very tasty. Great with a dollop of salted butter and some honey.



We had the drop scones with some sliced bananas which I've cooked for a few minutes until the bananas are softened, with some butter and honey, with a handful of dried cranberries. Yummy!


Wholemeal Drop Scones
(River Cottage Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
Makes 20-30
250gm self-raising wholemeal flour (or plain fine wholemeal flour mix with 2 tsp baking powder)
a pinch of baking powder
a pinch of sea salt
25gm caster sugar
2 medium eggs
about 275ml milk
50gm butter, melted
a little sunflower oil

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir in the sugar. Make a well in the centre and break in the eggs. Pour in about half of the milk. Whisk, gently at first, and then as you start to get a thick paste, add more milk and the melted butter. Beat until you get a creamy batter a little thicker than double cream - you might not need all the milk.
Put a large, heavy-based frying pan or a flat griddle over a medium-high heat. Add a few drops of oil and rub with a thick wad of kitchen paper to oil the pan very lightly. Pour (or drop) a scant tablespoon of batter into the pan - to get a disc about the size of a digestive biscuit; you should be able to fit 4 or 5 in the pan.
After about a minute, little bubbles will start to appear on the surface of the drop scones. As soon as they cover the surface, flip the scones over with a spatula - be warned, the first batch may stick. Cook the other side for 40-60 seconds or so, then transfer the drop scones to a warm plate and cover them with a clean tea towel so that they stay soft - or hand them over to those waiting eagerly to get stuck in.
Cook the remaining drop scones in the same way, adjusting the heat level if they start browning too quickly and re-oiling the pan with kitchen paper as necessary.
To serve, top with a little butter and sprinkle with some sugar, and a fine dusting of cinnamon, if you like. Or serve buttered and spread with jam, honey or macerated fruit. Eat quickly, while still hot.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
Monthly Featured Dish : Bready Things!


and
I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #17 hosted by 



Thursday, April 6, 2017

Baked Chicken with Tomatoes and Rice

I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC),  is cooking from a new selected chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall starting this month, until September. I love watching his shows on TV, River-Cottage, his life on his farm with fresh veggies, herbs and fruits, organic-raised chickens, fresh milk and meat from the cows he raised, and other wonderful fresh produce around his farm like wild mushrooms! All the food and breads he made in his kitchen always look so, so, good! So I am looking forward to cook with Hugh along with my other friends at IHCC. Anyone is welcome to join us, just hop along to IHCC for more details.

To welcome Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall into our kitchen, we can cook any of his recipes. There are many which I am so tempted to make, but I'll start with a one pot meal, Baked Chicken with Tomatoes and Rice. I love one pot meal, especially when it has rice it it! 

The chicken parts are cooked three times. Firstly, they are to be browned in a skillet, then roast for 20 minutes, then roast again, this time together with the rice until both the chicken and the rice are cooked. This may sound like a lot of work, but really there isn't much work at all. Recipe states that 125gm of arborio rice to serve 6, which I thought was way too little rice! It is slightly more than half a cup, how could this amount feed 6 people? I increased the rice to about 450gm to feed 4, since this is a meal all on its own.

The rest of the ingredients I pretty much followed the same amount except that I did not use the white wine. I do have a bottle of white wine, but I was struggling to open the bottle! After almost ten minutes, and getting impatient by then, I put that bottle aside and replace with chicken stock instead. Increase the stock accordingly if more arborio rice is used. The recipe says to prebaked the chicken first, while the rice stir-fried with the other ingredients as per the recipe instructions. The rice is then tipped into the chicken dish, taking care that not a grain of rice is left on the chicken, as it might not be fully cooked. I have however reversed the other way round. I stir-fry the rice briefly in a oven-safe saucepot, add the stock, let it come to a boil, then place the pre-roasted chicken on the rice, scatter the olive and baked uncovered until both the chicken and the rice are cooked, about 30 minutes. Remove pot from the oven, put the lid on and leave to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.



Delicious one pot meal. Love the tender, juicy chicken and the tasty delicious rice. I scattered chopped fresh coriander leaves as I did not have any thyme. Works deliciously with the coriander. I chopped a generous amount of chopped fresh coriander, place the bowl at the table so that everyone can help themselves how much they want, cos in my house, we love fresh coriander, perfect garnish with rice meals like this! 


Baked Chicken with Tomatoes and Rice
(source from guardian.com)
Serves 6
1 tbsp olive oil
1 chicken, jointed into 6 pieces (or 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken portions)
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
125gm risotto rice, such as arborio (I use about  450gm)
150ml dry white rice (omitted)
1 tbsp tomato puree
400gm tinned tomatoes, crushed
500ml chicken stock (add more stock if more rice is used)
about 150gm black or green olives (optional)
a litte fresh thyme, to finish

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Put a large frying pan on a medium-high heat and add the oil. Season the chicken pieces well, and in two batches, brown in the hot pan. Transfer to a large oven dish, skin side up, and when all the chicken is browned, roast it for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, turn the heat right down under the frying pan. If need be, pour off any excess fat (you want only one to two tablespoons of fat left in the pan). Add the onions and sweat gently for 10 minutes, until soft, then add the garlic and oregano, and cook for a few minutes more.
Stir in the rice for a minute or two, then add the wine and increase the heat so it is bubbling. Simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring, until  the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the tomato puree, then add the tinned tomatoes and stock, and bring back to a boil. Season to taste.
All this should fill the chicken's initial 20 minutes' cooking. Tip the rice mix into the chicken dish, making sure no grains are left on top of the meat, where they won't cook. Scatter in the olives, if using, and roast for 30 minutes longer, by which time the rice should be swollen and tender. Leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, check the seasoning, scatter with thyme and serve.


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

Friday, March 31, 2017

Green Beans with Snail Butter

It's Cook the Book Fridays, and this week's selected recipe from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz is Green Beans With Snail Butter (Haricots Verts Au Beurre D'Escargot). As David says in the book, "Don't worry, there are no snails in beurre d'escargot,  the name refers to butter mixed with a copious amount of garlic that is used for baking snails."

This is an easy dish with simple ingredients, yet so delicious. 



The green beans I bought were young, tender and very sweet. I removed the pointed ends of the beans, as we always eat them that way. David has left the green beans whole but I have snapped them in two, easier to eat that way! 

One thing I did not follow was to steam the green beans. Instead of steaming, I microwaved them with some sprinkling of water for 3 minutes on high. To cook the green beans, melt butter in a large skillet, add the garlic and cook until they begin to brown, stir in the parsley (I've used fresh coriander leaves), salt and black pepper. Add the green beans and stir until the beans are completely cooked and coated with the garlicky butter. 

One thing I have forgotten to add is the lemon juice! Only noticed the lemon sitting on my kitchen counter when I was clearing up after dinner! Oops... but even without the lemon juice, this dish is still delicious!


All my favourite ingredients in this stir-fry dish ; sweet green beans, garlic, coriander leaves. I could finish a plate all on its own, no kidding!



Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Rustic Cabbage Soup

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), we are saying goodbye to Heidi Swanson. We have cooked from her recipes for the  past six months, and it is time we move on to another chosen chef. I have not been cooking with Heidi's recipes as much as I wanted to, but I can always cook with her on our Potluck weeks. To say "Bon Voyage Heidi!", I've made her Rustic Cabbage Soup.



This soup is very easy to cook and do not take much time at all. Shredded cabbage, potatoes, white beans, onions and garlic are the ingredients used for this soup. For the stock, I've used Rapunzel vegetable stock bouillon. I've used canned butter beans. Heidi serves the soup with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese as the topping, of which I've omitted, preferring to eat it just as it is.



I made this soup for lunch, and it was a satisfying and lovely lunch. It is not often I had soup for lunch, and I would not mind making this again. 

Rustic Cabbage Soup
(source from 101cookbooks.com)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
a big pinch of salt
1/2 pound potatoes, skin on, cut 1/4-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 cups stock
1-1/2 cup white beans, precooked or canned (drained)
1/2 medium cabbage, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch ribbons

more good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Warm the olive oil in a large thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the salt and potatoes. Cover and cook until they are a bit tender and starting to brown a bit, about 5 minutes - it's o.k to uncover to stir a couple times. Stir in the garlic and onions and cook for another minute or two. Add the stock and the beans and bring the pot to a simmer. Stir in the cabbage and cook for a couple more minutes, until the cabbage softens up a bit. Now adjust the seasoning - getting the seasoning right is important or your soup will taste flat and uninteresting. Taste and add more salt if needed, the amount of salt you will need to add will depend on how salty your stock is.
Serve drizzled with a bit of olive oil and a generous dusting of cheese.


********

Out of the nine Heidi recipes which I've made, the most favourite has got to be this Kale Rice Bowl.

I love everything in this bowl!


To see what the other lovely ladies have made  to say Bon Voyage Heidi! please stop by IHCC. Starting from April, our new featured chef will be Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. You are welcome to join us! 


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Pithiviers

It is Tuesdays With Dorie week for Baking Chez Moi. Two recipes selected for this month, Black-and-White Marbled Madeleines which I have baked and posted here, and for this week it is Pithiviers. I have never made Pithiviers before, and Dorie's version is yummy!

Pithiviers, with puff pastry as the base and the top, sandwiched with the filling of frangipane and a layer of homemade prune jam spread on top of the frangipane. Very easy to make, especially when there's ready-made store-bought puff pastry stashed in the freezer!



My pithiviers is slightly smaller than the recipe states, as the frozen puff pastry I bought comes in 8" squares. Did not roll the pastry as they are already about 1/8 inch thick. You would need two sheets of puff pastry. I made the almond filling and prune jam the day before, keep refrigerated while the frozen puff pastry is left to thaw overnight in the fridge. I opted to use the dark rum over the vanilla extract for the prune jam. Both the almond filling and the prune jam are easy to make and takes only minutes.

Simply assemble the Pithiviers the next day. Place the smaller round of the pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place the almond filling in the centre, and spread the prune jam over it. Brush the pastry with egg wash all around the filling, then top with the bigger piece of pastry. Press the edges together and seal. Brush the top with egg wash, then place in the fridge for at least 30 minute. Meanwhile preheat the oven at 450F. Remove the pithivier from the fridge, brush with egg wash once again, make some slits on top, and sprinkle with some sugar, of which I've used demerara sugar. Place in the oven, and immediately reduce the temperature to 375F. Bake until golden and puffy.

I did not seal the pastry well enough, and the almond filling leaked out, which is not a waste, as it bakes up around the pithiver, crispy and delicious! 







This Pithiviers are quite yummy. The prune jam and the almond filling are really good together. And I like it that it is not too sweet, with the crispy buttery pastry, makes it a delight to eat with a cup of warm tea.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Quick-Pickled Carrots

It's Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). I've made Nigella Lawson's Quick-Pickled Carrots, recipe from her latest cookbook Simply Nigella. 

This is a really quick pickle to make, as it's name implies. The only "extra" work is to cut the carrots into matchsticks. Nigella's very own words "if I can summon the patience to cut carrots into julienne strips, then anyone can". 



The recipe states to use two large carrots equivalent to about 8 ounces total. I grabbed a pack of two large carrots from the organic store and each carrot already weigh 8 ounces each! So I use only one carrot, since the only pickle lover in my house is me! 

Slice the carrot into julienned strips, then place in a bowl. The pickling brine is made by boiling together apple cider vinegar, water, honey, salt, bay leaves, mustard seeds, fennel seeds and lightly crushed cardamom pods. Once the brine has come to a boil, pour it over the carrots, then leave for one hour or so to reach room temperature. Refrigerate for at least an hour before eating.

There is no sugar used at all, but honey is used instead. I added an extra tablespoon of honey as the pickle is quite sour. The carrots are crunchy, a little sour and salty. This would be a lovely accompaniment for roasted meat, I was thinking of Chinese roasted pork! This is a sour pickle, you can add more honey to taste, if you prefer a sweeter pickle.


Quick-Pickled Carrots
(adapted from "Simply Nigella", by Nigella Lawson)
makes approx 2 cups
2 large carrots (approx 8 ounces total), peeled
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
3/4 cup cold water
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes or kosher salt
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 cardamom pods
1 x 2-cup preserving jar or any resealable jar with vinegar-proof lid

Peel the carrots and cut them into matchsticks, and put them into a non-metallic bowl or large measuring cup while you get on with the pickling liquid.
Put the vinegar, water, honey, salt, bay leaves, mustard, and fennel seeds into a saucepan. Crush or crack the cardamom pods and put them in, too. Bring to a boil, then take the pan off the heat, and stir to make sure that the salt is dissolved. Pour this liquid over the carrots and leave for about 1 hour to reach room temperature, then stash in the refrigerator for about 1 hour before eating.



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



and 

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #15 hosted by 




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cheese Swirl Bread

A lovely soft white bread, swirled with Cheddar cheese. This fabulous bread comes from George Greenstein's book, Secrets Of A Jewish Baker. In the recipe, the cheese is mixed into the dough, but the author had also included the swirled version. Instead of mixing the cheese into the dough, the dough is rolled out, then scatter with the Cheddar cheese, and roll up, jelly-roll style. So that was what I made, his cheese swirl version.



Straightforward and easy bread to make. There's three methods given to make this bread ; by hand, using the food processor and the stand mixer. I opted for the stand mixer method. The recipe given for mixing in the stand mixer makes 3 loaves. I have scaled down to make only one loaf with further reduction of the salt. In the recipe, to make 3 loaves, a full tablespoon of salt is required, so to make one loaf, that would be 1/3 tablespoon which equals to 1 teaspoon, which I think would be too salty for such  a small loaf. So I have used only scant half teaspoon, which turns out perfect. 



This bread has lovely golden crust with soft crumbs. Makes a delicious sandwich bread, which we had with ham, eggs on a bed of lettuce green as the sandwich filling, spread with some of our favourite sauce ; mustard, cheesy mayo and chilli sauce. This is one fabulous bread!


Recipe has been scaled down to make only 1 loaf, with my changes listed in blue.
Cheese Swirl Bread
(adapted from Secrets Of A Jewish Baker, by George Greenstein)
makes 1 loaf (8-1/2" x 4-1/2" loaf pan)
Sponge :
1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast (I use 2 teaspoons instant yeast)
1-1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I use bread flour)

Dough :
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or shortening (I use salted butter)
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1/3 cup skim milk powder
1-1/2 to 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I use bread flour)
1/3 tablespoon salt (I use scant half teaspoon)
vegetable oil or melted butter for brushing loaves
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for topping (omitted)

Sponge : In the mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and allow to soften. Add the flour and mix at first speed until smooth. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size (30 to 45 minutes). (Use the beater hook)

Dough : Stir down the sponge with one or two rotations of the beater, then add the sugar, butter, milk powder, 1-1/2 cups of the flour, and the salt. Mix until the ingredients are incorporated. Run the machine at first speed until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too soft, add more flour 1/4 cup at a time.
Remove and scrape down the beater and insert the dough hook. Run at first speed until the dough forms up on the hook and comes away from the sides of the bowl (8 to 10 minutes). You can use second speed for the last few minutes to strengthen the gluten.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover and allow to rise until puffy (15 to 20 minutes). (at this point, I allow the dough to rise until doubled in size)

Shaping : Flatten the dough, sprinkle with the Cheddar cheese, and form up jelly-roll style. Place into a 8 or 9-inch loaf pan, seam down. Cover with a flour-dusted cloth (I use oiled cling wrap) and proof in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, or the loaves rise 1 inch above the tops of the pans (45 to 60 minutes). Brush the tops with oil or melted butter and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese (if using). Punch 3 holes in the top of each loaf with an ice pick or a skewer. 

Baking : Preheat the oven to 375F. Bake with steam* until the bread is golden brown and emits a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom with your fingertips (25 to 35 minutes).

*Bake with steam : Place an empty roasting pan or other heavy pan on the floor of the oven 5 to 10 minutes before baking, so it gets hot. When ready to bake, place the bread in the oven and carefully toss 6 to 8 ice cubes into the hot pan, and immediately close the oven door.


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #15 hosted by 




Monday, March 20, 2017

Banana Loaf

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 ;

Thierry Busset's Ten Layer Coffee Chocolate Cake
Greek Coconut Cake
Banana Loaf
Mandarin, Polenta, and Macadamia Cake


Members can choose any of those cakes to bake, and my choice is Banana Loaf.


I did make a few changes to the recipe. The changes are :
  1. I used 2 medium ripe bananas for the batter, and one more for the topping. Recipe indicated two bananas, one each, for the batter and topping.
  2. I reduced the sugar to half cup, original recipe uses 1 cup. By reducing the sugar, the sweetness was just right, without being overly sweet.
  3. I've used only 1/3 cup of ground hazelnuts instead of 2/3 cup, replacing the other 1/3 cup with all-purpose flour (an addition to the 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour indicated in the recipe).
  4. Instead of sour cream, I've used yoghurt.
  5. I've added 2 tablespoons of rum to the batter.
Recipe indicated to use a small baking tin, size 7in x 3-1/4in x 3-1/4in, lined with parchment paper. However, when the batter was ready, it was just too much and from the looks of it, could not fit into the small pan. I then used a 8-1/2in x 4-1/2in loaf pan, and filled it with the batter. Even with this bigger sized pan, the batter fills up almost to the top level of the pan. I was keeping my fingers crossed that the batter would not spill over during baking! 

I baked the loaf at 350F for 57 minutes (the books says to bake at 325F for 45 to 50 minutes). It smells wonderful during baking, with the lovely aroma of the bananas and the rum. What a relief that the batter did not spill over. It rises a little, then it stopped rising, and continue on to bake to a lovely golden colour.



A delicious banana loaf. Moist, soft tender crumbs, not as dense as some banana loaves are, and the sweetness was just right. I am so glad to have reduced the sugar.



A slice (or two!) is wonderful with a cup of tea or coffee. We like this Banana Loaf and I will be making this again when I have some extra bananas.


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