Saturday, June 12, 2010

Shanghai style Spinach Salad

Category: Appetizer
Style: Chinese
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

1 磅 菠菜,洗淨晾乾
半罐 雪菜
1塊 五香豆腐干
3 tbsp 生抽
3 tsp 糖
3 tsp 麻油


Friday, June 11, 2010

Strawberry Mousse

Category: Dessert
Style: Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

1 cup milk
4 tsp gelatin powder
1/2 cup sugar
12 oz strawberry, frozen (defrost) or fresh
1.5 cups whipping cream

Put milk in a saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin powder on milk and let sit for a few minutes, until the gelatin are all wet. Heat milk until gelatin are all melted. Add sugar and stir until melted. Let cool to room temperature.
Put strawberry and milk mixture in a blender and process until smooth.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip cream to stiff peaks. Gently whisk in strawberry mixture.
Pour mousse into individual bowls or in a plastic wrap lined mould. Chill for at least 3 hours or until set.
Serve. Garnish with fresh strawberries.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Strawberry Napoleon

Category: Dessert
Style: Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
4 tbsp sugar
16 thawed frozen strawberries, or use fresh
icing sugar for garnish
Cream cheese mousse
1 brick cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup icing sugar

Making cream cheese mousse: Beat whipping cream and sugar with mixer until soft peak formed. In another bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese. Refrigerate until used.
Making puff pastry: Preheat oven to 400F
Separate puff pastry into 2 halves. Roll each pastry out on a floured surface into a 12" x 9" sheet. Place on a cookie sheet, and press down with another cookie sheet. Add some weight on top to keep puff pastry pressed down. Bake in oven for 15 minutes.
Remove top cookie sheet. Sprinkle pastry with sugar. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes or until golden. Let cool to room temperature. Trim uneven edges and cut into 12 3" x 3" squares. Makes 24 in total.
Cut strawberries into halves.
To assemble, put one piece of puff pastry square on bottom on plate. Spoon a little bit of cream cheese mousse on top, and then 4 strawberry halves. Repeat for another layer. Top with a third piece of puff pastry square. Dust with icing sugar. Serve immediately.

For a more luxurious taste, use mascarpone cheese instead of cream cheese. The taste will be more mellow but full bodied.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Strawberry Ricotta Blintzes

Category: Dessert
Style: Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

Blintz Crepes
3/4 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
3 oz water
5 oz milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 oz sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of grounded nutmeg
8 strawberries, frozen (defrost) or fresh
melted butter, for brushing

To make crepes:
Mix all ingredients and let batter rest for 20 minutes. Strain batter to remove any lumps.
Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of batter into centre of pan and lift pan off heat, swirling batter around to coat the pan evenly. Return pan to heat and cook crepe for 2-3 minutes, until edges turn brown. Gently loosen edges of crepe with a spatula and flip over in pan. Cook for another minute and slide crepe onto a plate to cool. Repeat with remaining batter. Makes 8 crepes. Let cool.
To make filling:
Stir together ricotta, sour cream, sugar, egg, vanilla and nutmeg.
To assemble:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Place one crepe of a working surface, paler side facing up. Place 1 strawberry in the centre of the crepe. Spoon ricotta filling on top of strawberry. Fold edges of crepe over on all four sides to create a square parcel. Turn parcel over and place on prepared cookie sheet.
Repeat with remaining ingredients, placing them very close to each other on cookie sheet. Brush top of blintzes with melted butter, and sprinkle with a little sugar.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Serve immediately, dust generously with icing sugar and with a little strawberry sauce or fresh strawberries.

You can prepare the crepes ahead of time. But after the crepes have cooled, be sure to wrap well until ready to fill. Crepes will dry out if not wrapped.
You can substitute ricotta with mascarpone cheese for a more delicate and refined flavour.
You can also serve the blintzes with ice cream!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Tuxedo Chocolate Strawberry

Category: Dessert
Style: Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

16 fresh strawberries, washed and wipe dried
3 oz white chocolate, chopped
3 oz dark chocolate, chopped

Wash and wipe dry fresh strawberries. Insert a wooden skewer to each of the strawberry at where the stem should be.
Line a cookie sheet with non-stick parchment paper.
Put white chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Microwave on high until melted at 20 seconds interval. Stir chocolate in between intervals.
Dip strawberry in white chocolate on an angle so that the chocolate covers about 1/2 of the surface. Place on the lined cookie sheet. Repeat with all strawberry. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens, about 30 minutes.
Put dark chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Microwave on high until melted at 20 seconds interval. Stir chocolate in between intervals.
Dip the side of the strawberry which is not covered by the white chocolate in the dark chocolate on an angle so that the chocolate covers about another 1/2 of the surface. Place on the lined cookie sheet. Repeat with all strawberry. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens, about 30 minutes.
Can be keep in the refrigerator covered for 3 days.

Choose strawberries that are firm in texture and more regular in shape.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Dessert Cake

Category: Dessert
Style: Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

6 oz butter
6 oz dark chocolate, chopped
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup almond meal (grounded almond)
1 cup raspberries

Place butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat and stir until melted, then cool slightly.
Place eggs, vanilla extract and sugar in a bowl and beat until mixture is light and thick. Fold through sifted flours, almond meal, chocolate mixture and half the raspberries.
Pour mixture into a 8 inch round cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Sprinkle over remaining raspberries and bake in a preheated 375F oven until top of cake is firm to touch, about 75 minutes.
Cool cake in room temperature before cutting, and serve with strong espresso, extra raspberries and thick cream.

The original recipe calls for more sugar (1.5 cups), and Chinese will tend to consider it too sweet. Therefore, I use less sugar for this adapted recipe.
In Australian English, the word "meal" is used for any grounded dry ingredient, as in the cornmeal. Therefore, almond meal means grounded almond, as most American will call it.
You can buy grounded almond in larger supermarkets in the baking needs section, or you can buy baking almonds and ground them in a food processor.

Adapted from Donna Hay, Entertaining. Ultimo, New South Wales: Murdock Books, 1998.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Self-saucing Puddings

Category: Dessert
Style: Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 6

1/2 cup milk
2 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup grounded hazelnut
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten lightly
3/4 cup water
3 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
Vanilla ice-cream to serve
Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup Nutella
1 tbsp Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease six ovenproof teacups.
Stir milk, chocolate, butter and 3 tbsp cocoa powder in a small saucepan over low heat until smooth.
Combine flour, grounded hazelnut, sugar and 1/3 cup brown sugar in a medium bowl. Add chocolate mixture and egg; stir until combined. Divide mixture among prepared cups.
Stir water, butter, 1/3 cup brown sugar and 3 tbsp cocoa powder in a small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Pour hot mixture gently and evenly over pudding; bake uncovered, 25 minutes. Stand 5 minutes; top with ice-cream then chocolate hazelnut sauce.

To make chocolate hazelnut sauce: Combine cream and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from heat. Add chocolate; stir until smooth. Add Nutella and liqueur, stir until smooth.

To make grounded hazelnut: roast hazelnut in 350F oven for about 10 minutes. Put hazelnut between 2 towels and rub vigorously to remove skins. When cooled, chop hazelnut with a food processor until resemble coarse sand.

This recipe is best served hot because the sauce is quickly absorbed by the puddings

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Chocolate Orange Cream Pie

Category: Dessert
Style: Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Makes one 8-inch pie

Chocolate Cookie Crust
1.5 cups chocolate cookie crumbs, about 200g
2 tbsp flour
2 tsp sugar
dash of salt
3/8 cup unsalted butter, melted
Pie Filling
3 oz milk chocolate, chopped
2 cups milk
zest from 1 orange
1/2 cup sugar
8 egg yolk
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp orange liqueur, like Grand Marnier
Orange Spiked Chantilly
1 cup whipping cream
4 tsp sugar
2 tbsp orange liqueur

Making Cookie Crust: preheat oven to 350F.
Combine cookie crumbs, flour, sugar and salt. Stir in melted butter and blend until crumbly. Spoon crumbs into an 8-inch springform pan and press firmly to form a crust. Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool.
Making Pie Filling: Melt chocolate in microwave, stirring every 20 seconds. Set aside.
Heat milk with orange zest over medium heat until it just comes to a simmer.
Whisk together sugar, egg yolks, corn starch and cocoa powder. While whisking all the time, slowly pour milk into egg mixture. Pour liquid back into the pot and cook over low heat, whisking constantly until it thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and scrape into bowl to prevent pudding from continuing to cook.
Stir in chocolate, butter and liqueur until fully incorporated.
Pour pudding into cooled cookie crust. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until set, about 2 hours.
Making Chantilly: Whip cream with mixer until soft peak formed. Add sugar and liqueur and whisk until combined.
To assemble: Spread chantilly over pie filling. Garnish by sifting cocoa powder on top, if desired. Serve.

You can also prepare the just pie filling and serve as an orange chocolate pudding.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Dark Chocolate Mousse

Category: Dessert
Style: Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Makes 12 individual servings

12 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp gelatin powder
1 cup milk
2.5 cups whipping cream

Put chocolate in a large bowl. Microwave until melted, stirring every 20 seconds.
Put milk in a saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin powder on milk and let sit for a few minutes.
Heat milk to just below a simmer and whisk into chocolate. Let cool to room temperature.
Whip cream with a mixer to soft peaks, place in room temperature for a while to increase temperature a bit, and fold into cooled chocolate mixture.
Pour mousse into individual bowls. Chill for at least 1 hour or until set.
Garnish with chocolate shavings, if desired.

This is a simple mousse technique. The resulting mousse is silky and smooth. If you want to make a stiffer mousse (like in a mousse cake), increase the amount of gelatin to 2 tsp.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Mini Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

Category: Dessert
Style: Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 4

2 eggs
1 package cream cheese, 250g, room temperature
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup half and half or whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp raspberry jelly

Put jelly in a small bowl and microwave on high for 20 seconds to melt. Set aside.
Soften cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients except jelly and whisk until smooth. Pour evenly into 4 small custard cups. Drizzle jelly over each and swirl with a toothpick.
Microwave on high for 1.5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, cover with plastic and refrigerate til cold and set. Can also be eaten warm.

Time for microwave may vary depending on power of each microwave. Do some test and you will be able to find out the optimum cooking time with your microwave.
The jelly we use here is not the jello that we eat for snack. It is a kind of fruit preserve, similar to jam. You can find them at the jam section of the supermarket.

Herbed Ricotta Spread with Rye Dippers

Category: Appetizer
Style: Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Makes 1 servings

400g ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped black olives
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
rye melba toast

Combine all ingredients except toast. Serve cold with rye melba toast

Do not spoon spread onto toast until right before serving. Otherwise the toast will become soggy

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Lemon Bombes Alaska

Category: Dessert
Style: Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Makes 6

1 litre vanilla ice-cream
1 pack sponge cake
Lemon Curd
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup limoncello (lemon liqueur)
2 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar

Line six small bowls with plastic wrap. Press ice-cream firmly up and around inside of each mold to form cavity. Cover with foil, freeze 2 hours. Return remaining ice-crwam to freezer.
Combine butter, zest, juice, egg yolk and sugar in small heatproof bowl; stir over small saucepan of simmering water until mixture thickens slightly. Stir in liqueur. Cover surface of lemon curd with plastic wrap; refrigerate until cold.
Divide lemon curd into each mold, cover; freeze until firm.
Remove molds from freezer, spread enough remaining ince-cream over lemon curd to fill molds; cover, freeze bombes until firm.
Cut six rounds from sponge cake, large enough to cover top of each mold.
Beat egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form; add sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, beating until sugar dissolves between additions. Beat until stiff and glossy.
Turn one bombes onto one round of sponge cake on a serving plate; peel away plastic wrap. Spreading meringue mixture over to enclose bombe completely; repeat with remaining bombes, sponge and meringue mixture. Using a torch, burn meringue until browned lightly. Serve immediately.

Bombes can be prepared ahead to the stage at which they are ready to be torched; store in freezer.

Grilled Prawns on Lemon and Chive Risotto

Category: Pasta
Style: Italian, Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

1 lb tiger prawns
2 oz butter, melted
1 tbsp small sage leaves
black pepper
lemon and chive risotto
2 litre vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
4 tbsp olive oil
grated lemon rind of 2 lemons
2 cups Arborio rice
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup snipped chives
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

To make lemon and chive risotto, place stock and wine in a saucepan over medium heat, and allow to slowly simmer.
Place oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add lemon rind and rice to pan, and cook for 1 minute.
Add hot stock mixture to rice, a ladle at a time, stirring frequently so the rice doesn't stick and the risotto has a creamy texture. Continue adding stock ladle by ladle until all liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender. If the rice is not tender, add a little boiling water.
Remove from heat. Stir lemon juice, chives and parmesan through rice.
While risotto is cooking, prepare the prawns. Butterfly prawns and remove intestine. Place prawns on a baking tray, cut side up, and sprinkle with butter, sage and generous amount of pepper.
Place tray under a hot preheated grill and cook for 2-3 minutes or until prawns are cooked.
To serve, place risotto on plates and top with grilled prawns. Serve immediately.

If you do not have white wine, or do not want to open a bottle just for making this risotto, you can always substitute white wine with apple juice or white grape juice.
Always use good quality fresh parmesan cheese for making risotto. Do not use already grated cheese, or worse, cheese powder. The quality of the cheese will greatly affect the taste of this dish. A decent wedge of parmesan cheese (200g) will cost about $9-$12. Anything cheaper is not accepted.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Mocha Bites

Category: Cookie, Dessert
Style: Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Makes 2 to 3 dozens

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
1/4 cup espresso, cooled
4 tsp vanilla
2.25 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
sugar for coating

Preheat oven to 350F.
Cream together butter and icing sugar until smooth. Stir in espresso and vanilla. Sift in all purpose flour, cocoa and salt and mix until dough comes together.
Turn dough onto a surface slightly dusted with icing sugar. Divide dough in half and shape into logs. Slice dough into 1/2 inch slices. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes until done.
While warm, toss cookies in sugar and allow to cool on a rack.