Friday, 30 September 2011

Assam Prawns (Tamarind Prawns)

This is another nostalgic Mum’s dish, although she never gave me the recipe, me thinks she’s reluctant to spill the secret. My version is close but not the same. Alas, until she spills, I'll just have to keep trying.

1 dozen large green prawns, unshelled
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ onion, finely sliced
2 tbsp tamarind paste
½ cup hot water
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp thick dark soy sauce (substitute GF as required)
1 tbsp sugar
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp cooking oil


1.          Soak the tamarind paste in the hot water, pass through a sieve to get rid of the seeds and pulp. Add all the other seasonings. Marinate the prawns for an hour.
2.          Heat wok and oil. Make sure it is very hot.
3.          Add in the prawns (without the marinade but reserve it for later), cook until the shells are crisp.
4.          Add the onion and garlic to sauté.
5.          Then add the reserved marinate.
6.          Cook for another 5 minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Healthy Apple Loaf

This is a healthy version, good for your conscience. Unlike a lot of health food, this doesn’t taste like bird food, it is actually nice.

1 cup wholemeal self raising flour
¾ cup self raising flour
¼ vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup buttermilk
2 large apples, grated
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
¾ cup brown sugar
Optional ½ cup frozen raspberry (I forgot to put them in today)

1.          Preheat oven to 170°C.
2.          Mix all dry ingredients together.
3.          Add eggs, oil, grated apples and buttermilk.
4.          Mix till even.
5.          Spread into a loaf pan and bake for 35 minutes.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Cold Tofu with Sauce and Herbs

This is an extremely simple dish, it is my favourite tofu dish, but I’m a big tofu fan, I can eat a whole tub of this in one go. It is low fat and vegetarian, and so refreshing on a hot day. The sauce came from my Dad’s repertoire.

1 box of silken tofu (alternatively use those round Japanese tofu)
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp ginger oil
1 tsp sesame oil
Drizzle of chilli oil
Handful of fried shallots
1 chilli, chopped (optional)
3 sprigs of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
2 stalks of spring onion, roughly chopped

1.          Tip the tofu onto a serving plate, drain off the water.
2.          Make 2 cuts along the long side of the rectangle, and 4 cuts along the short side, but keep tofu in its rectangular shape for presentation.
3.          Mix all the sauces together and pour it over the tofu.
4.          If you prefer to eat this warm, you can steam it for 5 mins or microwave it for 1.5 minutes on high.
5.          Top with the chopped herbs and fried shallots.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Mui Choy Braised Pork Belly 梅菜扣肉

I’ve been craving this dish from home for a while. After sampling the ones in the eateries around here I was still not satisfied as they all tasted different from mum’s. Hence I went on a mission to cook my own. I have to say this dish needs an acquired taste if you're not familiar with Chinese preserved vegetables. Mui Choy is preserved mustard leaves, they can be found in Chinese grocery shops, there are two versions, a sweet type and a salty type. I used both in mine as I’ve previously used only the salty version only and found it too salty. I cooked this in the pressure cooker, you can cook it on the stove or in a slow cooker.

100g sweet Mui Choy, finely chopped
150g salty Mui Choy, finely chopped
3 cm piece of ginger, smashed
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
500g of pork belly, cut into 3 cm wide strips
2 tbs cooking oil
1 cup water
50g rock sugar

1.          Wash and rinse the Mui Choy carefully to make sure you get rid of the excess salt and grits.
2.          Heat the oil in the pan and sear the pork belly strips well.
3.          Then sauté the ginger and garlic.
4.          Get rid of any excess oil.
5.          Put the Mui Choy in and place the pork on top.
6.          Cover with water and break the rock sugar up and sprinkle on top.
7.          There is no need to add salt as the Mui Choy is salty.
8.          Cook for 30 minutes in the pressure cooker on high pressure. You will need at least 1 hour of slow braising on the stove (make sure it doesn’t dry up and burn the bottom). Slice the pork into bite sizes for serving.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Banana Walnut Cake

This is a quick mix cake. Good for using up leftover bananas that had been sitting there for a few days. You can make it in a loaf pan and call it a banana bread, although it is rather cakey.

1 ½ cups self raising flour
½ cup wholemeal flour
2 eggs
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup chopped walnuts
3 bananas, mashed

1.          Preheat oven to 170°C.
2.          Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3.          Add eggs, bananas, oil and buttermilk.
4.          Stir till evenly mixed.
5.          Pour into a loaf pan or Bundt tin.
6.          Bake in 170°C oven for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Assam Fish Curry

I wanted to cook fish tonight, but was not too keen to have fried or grilled fish. I thought of this appetizing dish, the tamarind (assam) gave it the sour taste and a lift, best served over fluffy white rice.

Spice blend
2 large onions
2 cloves garlic
2 stalks of lemon grass
3 chillies, deseeded
3 cm piece of ginger (or galangal if you can find some)
3 cm piece of tumeric
1 tsp of belacan (Malaysian dried shrimp paste)

2 tomatoes
2 skinny eggplants
6 okras
Other vegetables are all optional eg. Cabbage, pumpkin, carrots
3 pieces of white fish fillets
2 tbsp cooking oil
½ water
2 tbsp tamarind paste
Salt to taste

1.          Blend all the spices and onions in a blender, add 1 tbsp of water to aid the blending process. Add or subtract chillies as per your preference.
2.          Heat oil in pan.
3.          Sauté the spice blend until the onion is soft.
4.          Mix the tamarind paste in the water and add it to the pan.
5.          Then add the vegetables in order of the time they need cooking. (Hardest vegies go in first eg. Carrots).
6.          Add the fish and okra last as you don’t want to overcook these.
7.          Add some water if it gets too dry.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Tea Poached Pears, Ginger and Banana Cake

The pears have been calling out at me for the past 2 weeks, they’re too old for munching but are perfect for a cake. There is also an over-ripe banana sitting in the fruit bowl waiting to turn black. Well, frugality aside, the cake is nice and spicy with the addition of ginger and treacle.

2 cups water
2 medium Packham pears, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
2 Earl Grey teabags
4 tbsp raw sugar
1 vanilla pod, halved and scraped

70g butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cup self raising flour, sifted
½ cup almond meal
2 tbsp treacle
1 tbsp ground ginger
¾ cup brown sugar
1 mashed ripe banana

1.          Boil 2 cups of water. Add the teabags, sugar and vanilla seeds and pod. Reduce heat to a simmer; poach the pears in tea for about 10 minutes, until just soft.
2.          Preheat oven to 170°C.
3.          In a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients together.
4.          Add eggs, treacle, mashed bananas and melted butter to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
5.          Add a bit of the cooled pear poaching liquid if it is too dry.
6.          Pour into a round pan and insert the drained poached pears in a circle.
7.          Bake for 35minutes in 170°C oven.

Can you spot the cat?

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Coming Up in September

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting much in the last few weeks, I’m a bit overwhelmed with various stuff happening, and not having the energy to play much in the kitchen, or post for that matter. I still owe you faithful followers some recipes that I promised.

My brother did some SEO’s on my site recently, which has improved my Google ranking. Thanks bro! Sadly I haven’t produced a good enough photo this month to be published on foodgawker.

This month there will be more baking, probably with seasonal produce like pears, strawberries, apples, mangoes are trickling in, and banana prices slowly dropping. I still have those cream cheese in the fridge waiting to be turned into something delicious.

So stay tuned folks! I’d love to hear from you if you’ve tried my recipes, or like something that you might try one day, or are in possession of a recipe that you want me to try.  Please leave me a comment!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Real Men Do Eat Quiche

Who says real men don’t eat quiche? I like them, and the male species of the family eat them. It’s fast and it’s tasty. If you are out of time, use bought pastry shell, or make crust less ones. I made these mini quiches with toasted bread as the shells. They’re perfect as finger food. The boys had them in their lunchbox.

Ingredients (makes 8 in large muffin pans)
8 pieces of sandwich bread
2 eggs
2 pieces of bacon, diced
½ onion, diced
4 pieces sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 stalk spring onion, chopped
½ red capsicum, diced
½ grated cheddar cheese
Margarine or butter to spread on bread
Salt and pepper to taste

1.          Preheat oven to 180°C.
2.          Use a rolling pin to flatten the bread, then cut off the crust into a nice square.
3.          Butter one side liberally.
4.          Place buttered side down in the muffin pan, press the centre down.
5.          Bake in the oven for 10 mins until the bread are lightly toasted.
6.          Mix all the other ingredients in a large bowl.
7.          Scoop into the bread cups and bake for another 15minutes.

Bread cups.

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