Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Parmesan Chicken and Mustard Roasted Potatoes

I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) is cooking The Way To Jeffrey's Heart this week. Jeffrey is the husband of Ina Garten, and in IHCC words "Ina Garten knows the way to a man's heart is through his stomach and she has known The Way To Jeffrey's Heart for nearly 50 years! 

If you've watched Ina Garten on Food Network then you know that Jeffrey is really the star of the show. Ina is constantly spoiling Jeffrey with her cooking, whether she is making his Friday night chicken, packing them a picnic, or cooking French in their Parisian home. In fact, as proof, she has an entire cookbook dedicated to Cooking For Jeffrey!"


Well, I do not have Ina's latest cookbook Cooking For Jeffrey, but I would like to think that this Parmesan Chicken recipe of Ina's from one of her other cookbooks and Mustard-Roasted Potatoes are some of Jeffrey's favourite, as obviously he loves everything that Ina cooks! Lucky Jeffrey!



First, the Mustard-Roasted Potatoes, which takes an hour to bake. I've used Russet Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks. Toss the potatoes with sliced onions, then mix with olive oil, whole grain mustard, salt and pepper in a baking tray. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour until the potatoes are tender and brown in some spots. Turn the potatoes every 15 minutes or so, so that they cook evenly. Serve with some chopped parsley, of which I have used fresh coriander.



For the Parmesan Chicken, Ina uses chicken breast but I have used boneless thigh instead, as that was what I had in my freezer. Pretty easy to make, the chicken is coated with seasoned flour (a mixture of flour, salt and pepper), then dipped in beaten egg, and drenched with a mixture of dry breadcrumbs and grated parmesan cheese. Heat two tablespoons of oil (Ina uses a mixture of butter and oil), fry on both sides until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with salad greens with some simple dressing. Ina's salad dressing is similar to the one I always make at home, the only difference is I've added some honey to taste. We love this simple dressing, and one that was often requested by my son and daughter when we have salad like this served alongside roasted meat or chicken. With the added honey, this dressing is especially good with bitter salad greens. I usually served a bowl of this dressing on the table, and let everyone help themselves to drizzle on their own greens, they prefer it that way too! And on the plus side, any leftover greens can be stored in the fridge clean and dry.


Both recipes can be found at these links :
Parmesan Chicken at barefootcontessa.com
Mustard-Roasted Potatoes at foodnetwork. com


I am linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
The Way To Jeffrey's Heart


Monday, November 13, 2017

Pear Pandowdy

This week's theme at I Heart Cooking Club (IHCC) is, Monthly Featured Ingredient Challenge : Apples and Pears ! There's definitely no shortage in recipes when it comes to these two ingredients, especially apples! Could not decide which one to make as there are tons of recipes using apples or pears.  I've decided to use them both in Nigella Lawson's Pear Pandowdy, recipe from her cookbook Nigella Kitchen.

This is super easy to make, chunks of pears and apples are cooked in butter with some sugar and lemon zest for about ten minutes of so. I have used brown sugar instead of white. Then the pan is removed from the heat, keep aside while you make the pastry. Heat the oven to 200C.

The pastry is easy and quick to put together. There's butter and some vegetable shortening used, but I omitted the vegetable shortening and use all butter. Mix the flour and butter briefly, add some cold milk a little at a time until the dough binds. I did not use all of the milk, the dough needed only a quarter cup to bind together. Transfer the dough to a floured counter and roll out the dough until it is big enough to cover the top of the skillet over the cooked pears and apples. Make three slits on top, sprinkle some sugar and bake for 25 minutes. Nigella says it will turn to a pale golden crust. I prefer it to be darker, so I have baked an extra 5-7 minutes longer but the colour still remains pale. I then took it out of the oven, afraid that I'll end up over baking the crust.



We had this with ice cream, and both the son and daughter like it very much. I thought this was Ok, but if I do make this again, I would make a couple of changes. For the filling, I thought that it needed something to bring out the flavours of  the pear and apples. I would add some spice, cinnamon or nutmeg maybe a touch of ginger too, and just a teaspoon or so of lemon juice, just to bring the flavours together. I might throw in some dried cranberries or raisins to be cooked together with the apples and pears, would add some delicious flavours that sometimes dried fruits are good at!  As for the crust, to get the lovely golden brown on the crust, I would brush the pastry with some egg wash before baking. But overall, this is quite lovely with a generous scoop of ice cream!

Pear Pandowdy
(Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson)
serves 6
4 Bartlett pears
2 Golden Delicious apples
3 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/2 teaspoon for sprinkling
finely grated zest of 1 lemon

for the pastry :
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch salt
5 tablespoons very cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening (I've replaced with butter)
1/2 cup cold whole milk (I only need 1/4 cup)
heavy cream, to serve (optional)

1 x cast iron skillet or ovenproof frying pan, 9 or 10 inches diameter

Preheat the oven to 400F.
Peel the pears and apples, then quarter them, slice out the cores, and cut the pears into 3/4 inch pieces and the apples into 1/2 inch pieces, dropping them into a bowl as you go.
Using a skillet or frying pan that can go into the oven later, melt the 3 tablespoons soft butter over a medium heat, then add the diced fruit, sugar, and lemon zest, and cook over a lowish heat, stirring occasionally,  for 10 minutes, by which time some of the fruit will have begun to caramelize gently. Take off the heat while you get on with the pastry.
Put the flour and salt into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the flat paddle, add the very cold cubed butter and, using a teaspoon, drop in little lumps of cold shortening, then slowly mix to cut the fat into the flour, or just do this by hand.
Still with the motor running, and the paddle turning slowly, add the milk a little at a time, just so that the dough binds, then remove from the bowl, squish it together with your hands, and drop it onto a lightly floured surface ready to roll out.
Bring the pan of cooked fruit nearby (but not so near as to warm the dough), and roll out the dough until you have a rough circle about the diameter of the skillet. Drop the dough circle on top of the fruit, tucking in the edges a bit, and remember that the ramshackle look of this is the whole point. Make 3 slashes with the tip of a sharp knife, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and put in the oven for 25 minutes, by which time the white dough will have turned into a pale golden brown.
Remember that the handle will be searingly hot, so transfer carefully to the table, and preferably cover the handle. Serve with heavy cream.

****************

Other apples and pears recipes which I've made before from IHCC past featured chefs :

very refreshing and fun to eat!


yummy! 


We really enjoyed this!


Chocolate and pear, this is delicious! 


It's an Ottolenghi recipe, so it must be good!


Different textures and flavours, lovely combination!



I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
Monthly Featured Ingredient Challenge : Apples and Pears !


and

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #23 hosted by 



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Silken Tofu with Pickled Mustard Greens

This is really a simple soup, with two ingredients, silken tofu and pickled mustard greens. Make sure to use good quality chicken stock, that is what makes this soup. I've used my own homemade chicken stock which I kept a few containers in the freezer, very handy for recipes such as this.



For the pickled mustard greens, I have used pickled mustard tubers, sold in packs, sliced and ready to eat. It is one of my favourite pickles to use in cooking and especially good as a condiment to a bowl of plain congee, as it can be eaten as it is. To make this soup, heat some oil, and stir-fry the mustard greens/tubers till fragrant, add the stock and bring to a boil. Add some salt and pepper to taste, the mustard tubers will be salty, so go easy on the salt, you might not need the salt if the stock is already salty. Once the soup is boiling, scoop the tofu in large pieces using a spoon, into the soup. Let the tofu warm gently and absorb the flavours. Dissolve a teaspoon or so of potato flour into cold water, stir to combine and add to the soup to thicken it slightly. Stir gently so as not to break up the tofu pieces, ladle into serving bowl and garnish with chopped spring onion, serve immediately.

I have made this soup twice, once with the added potato flour and this time without. I like both versions. If you love a luscious smooth soup then go ahead with the potato flour. For a more soupy soup, omit the potato flour. We really like this soup, yum!


The recipe can be found here.
Or from this fabulous book Every Grain Of Rice, by Fuchsia Dunlop


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #23 hosted by 



Monday, November 6, 2017

Marinara Sauce

It's Autumn Hues! at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). The colours of autumn ; orange, yellow, red and brown. We are cooking with Ina Garten, and I've made her Marinara Sauce. 




This is sooooo easy to make, and taste great!  I've used canned plum tomatoes in puree, and did the chopping in the saucepan itself, breaking up the tomatoes with the wooden spatula, as the tomatoes are soft and breaks up easily. No need to mess the cutting board! And used dried parsley instead of fresh. Go easy on the salt, I use less than half a teaspoon kosher salt, and Ina uses 1-1/2 teaspoons. The canned tomatoes already contain some salt, adjust to taste accordingly.
I love marinara sauce, very handy to keep a jar or two in the freezer. Will definitely make this again.


Marinara Sauce
(source from foodnetwork.com)
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 15 minutes.


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



Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Everyday Stir-Fry Chicken

Everyday Stir-Fry Chicken, is just what it is, a simple homey dish that can be cooked in just minutes,. Get the veggies all sliced up and ready, with all the other ingredients close by the wok. Just like most stir-fries, this dish comes together pretty quickly as soon as your wok is hot.




You can use either chicken thigh meat or breast meat, whichever you prefer. Any veggies can be used for this stir-fry dish. According to the author, sliced mushrooms, peppers, or even a small handful of soaked cloud ear mushrooms would work very well too. Here, I have used what I had in my fridge ; carrots, celery, spring onion and cucumber. 

A nice dish to serve with rice along with some stir-fried green veggies, perhaps a plate of omelette and some soup. 


Everyday Stir-Fried Chicken  (This recipe can also be found here)
(Every Grain Of Rice, Fuchsia Dunlop)
2 boneless chicken thighs, with our without skin (225gm)
small section of cucumber (4-5cm will do)
2/3 celery stick
1 garlic clove
an equivalent amount of ginger
1 spring onion, white part only
1 fresh red chilli, or Sichuan pickled red chilli
3 tbsp cooking oil

For the marinade :
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp potato flour
1 tsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp light soy sauce

For the sauce :
1/4 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp potato flour
1 tsp Shaoxing wine
2 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp Chinkiang vinegar
1 tbsp stock or water

Lay the chicken thighs out on a chopping board. Whack them up and down with the back of your knife to tenderiz them, then cut into 1/2cm slices along the grain of the meat. Place in a small bowl. Add the marinade ingredients along with 2 tsp water and mix well.
Cut the piece of cucumber in half lengthways and discard the seeds. Then cut lengthways into 1/2 cm strips. De-string the celery and cut into strips to match the cucumber. Peel and thinly slice the garlic and ginger. Cut the spring onion white and chilli on the diagonal into thin 'horse-ear' slices. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
Heat the oil in a seasoned wok over a high flame. Add the chicken and stir-fry briskly. When the pieces have separated, add the garlic, ginger, spring onion and chilli and stir-fry until you can smell their fragrance and the chicken is almost cooked but still a little pink. Add the cucumber and celery and stir-fry until they are piping hot.
Give the sauce a stir, pour it into the centre of the wok and stir quickly as it thickens and clothes the pieces of chicken. Serve.

 I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #23 hosted by 




Friday, October 27, 2017

Red Bean and Lotus Seed Dessert

Red Bean and Lotus Seed Dessert, is usually served in Chinese homes during the weekends when everyone is around to enjoy a bowl. It can be served as an afternoon "snack" for tea-time, or as a light warm dessert, after dinner. Or have a bowl anytime of the day!


Very easy to prepare. Rinse the ingredients, bring a pot of water to a boil, add the ingredients, let it come to a boil again, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours until the red beans, lotus seeds and lily bulbs are tender. Add some rock sugar, either white or brown, your preference, to taste. May be served warm or at room temperature. I like it best when it is still very warm, almost still hot!



The ingredients ; dried lily bulb, dried red beans, dried lotus seed, dried tangerine peel and rock sugar. Each of these ingredients has its own health benefits according to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). Click on the ingredients for the link to TCM to read more on the medicinal properties of these ingredients. This dessert is not only delicious, but good for you!


Red Bean and Lotus Seed Dessert
(makes about 6 servings)
1 cup dried red beans (adzuki beans)
1/3 cup dried lotus seeds
1/3 cup dried lily bulb
1 small piece dried tangerine peel
3 liters water
rock sugar (brown or white), to taste

Rinse dried red beans a couple of times with clean tap water and drain. Rinse the rest of the ingredients once and drain. 
Bring water to a boil in a medium sized stockpot, add all the ingredients. Bring to boil once again, reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours until the beans, lotus seeds and lily bulb are soft and tender. Add rock sugar to taste.
This dessert may be served at room temperature, but it is especially good when served still very warm.
* remove the tangerine peel before serving

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Chicken Stew and Baked Rice

I've made two more recipes for Potluck Week at I Heart Cooking Clubs, with recipes from two of IHCC's past featured chefs, Jamie Oliver and Mark Bittman.

Jamie Oliver's Chicken Stew is delicious. Taken from his book Jamie's Food Revolution, he has given  the basic stew ingredients with four options to select from, with different meat and booze, to make four different stews. I've made Chicken Stew, using chicken thigh meat and white wine. I've followed everything in the recipe but I have used a fresh sprig of rosemary from the garden pot instead of fresh thyme and added an extra stalk of celery. This stew can either be cooked on the stove or in the oven. I cooked mine on the stove, for about 1 hour 15 minutes. It was easy and very flavourful.

Wanted to serve the stew with rice, I've made Mark Bittman's Simpler-Than-Pilaf Baked Rice, basmati rice cooked with cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamom pods. The spices are sauteed with a little butter and oil, then the rice is stirred in with some salt and pepper. Add the water, let it come to a boil, cover the pot and place it in the preheated oven to bake for 10 minutes. I actually baked the rice for 30 minutes, as I have always cooked my rice in the oven this way. Once the rice is done, leave it for 15 minutes, fluff with a pair of chopsticks. Since I've cooked the rice much earlier, I simply transferred the cooked fluffy rice to the rice cooker, switched on with the "Keep Warm" function. Rice will be kept fluffy and hot until serving time.


Jamie Oliver's Chicken Stew and Mark Bittman's Baked Rice.


We had the Chicken Stew and Baked Rice with Diana Henry's Slow-Cooked Garlic Courgettes for dinner. Delicious!


Chicken Stew
(adapted from Jamie's Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver)
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 pound diced, boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cups white wine
2 stalks celery
2 medium onions
2 carrots
olive oil 1 heaped tablespoon all-purpose flour
1x14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

If using the oven to cook your stew, preheat it to 350F. Trim the ends of your celery and roughly chop the stalks. Peel the carrots, slice lengthways, and roughly chop.
Put a Dutch oven on a medium heat. Put all the vegetables and your chosen herb into the pan with 2 lugs of olive oil and fry for 10 minutes.
Add your meat and flour. Pour in the booze and canned tomatoes. Give it a good stir, then season with a teaspoon of sea salt (less if using table salt) and a few grinds of pepper.
Bring to a a  boil put the lid on, and either simmer slowly on your cooktop or cook in an oven for 1-1/2 hours. Remove the lid for the final half hour of simmering or cooking and add a splash of water if it looks a bit dry. When done, your meat should be tender and delicious. Remove any herb stalks before serving, and taste it to see if it needs a bit more salt and pepper.


Baked Rice
(adapted from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman)
2 tablespoons butter or 1 tablespoon neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
One 3-inch cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds or 5 white cardamom pods (optional)
1-1/2 cups long grain rice, preferable basmati
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 350F. Put half the butter or all of the oil in an ovenproof pot with a lid over medium heat. When the butter is melted or the oil is hot, add the spices and cook for about a minute. Add the rice and some salt and pepper and cook, stirring for about a minute.
Add 2-1/2 cups water, bring to a boil, cover, put in the oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the rice from the oven, but do not uncover; let it rest in a warm place for another 10 minutes. Remove the cinnamon and cloves (the cardamom pods are good to eat); taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, stir in the remaining butter if you are using it, and serve immediately.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs IHCC), theme for this week
October 2017 Potluck


and

 I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #22 hosted by 


Monday, October 23, 2017

Slow-Cooked Garlic Courgettes

It's Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). I've not made any of Diana Henry's recipes for quite a while, and it's time I revisit her book, Food From Plenty. I bought two zucchinis a few days before and was looking for recipes to use them up, found this delicious sounding dish, Slow-Cooked Garlic Courgettes. There's garlic, so it must be delicious!

The only ingredients required for this dish are just courgettes and garlic. Can never get simpler than this! Diana Henry uses 6 garlic cloves, but I have used 10 fat garlic cloves, might as well since it is all about the garlicky flavour! Peel and slice the garlic thinly, and the courgettes are sliced into thin rounds, the thickness of a coin. Heat some butter and olive oil, then saute the garlic slices until soft and fragrant, tip in the sliced courgettes, increase the heat so that the courgettes get a bit of colour, then reduce heat and continue to cook until the courgettes are soft and almost collapsing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.



The courgettes will release some its own water, so this dish is fairly moist.



Yum yum! The courgettes is very soft, tender and smells so nice from the garlic. I can understand why Diana Henry says she could eat a plateful on its own! I serverd this as a side dish with some stew and pilaf rice, sharing that in next post.


Slow-Cooked Garlic Courgettes
(adapted from Food From Plenty, Diana Henry)
"Heat 15gm (1/2oz) unsalted butter and 3 tbsp olive oil in a very large frying pan and gently cook 6 garlic cloves, very finely sliced, until soft but not coloured. Now add 500gm (1lb 2oz) courgettes sliced to the thickness of a pound coin, and turn over to coat. Increase the heat a bit so the courgettes get a little bit of colour, then reduce the heat, season and cook slowly (you almost "stew" them in the butter and oil) until completely soft, almost collapsing. This tastes purely of courgetts and doesn't need anything else. I can eat a plateful on their own."

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs IHCC), theme for this week
October 2017 Potluck


and

 I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #22 hosted by 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Chocolate Kugelhopf

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 ;

Ginger Cake
Scandinavian Cardamom Coffee Cake
Chocolate Kugelhopf
Tarte aux Pommes

Members can choose any of these cakes to bake, and my choice is Chocolate Kugelhopf, since I am drawn to yeasty bakes!

This Chocolate Kugelhopf has a chocolate ganache swirls in it. It bakes into a soft and nice kugelhopf, but the process of making it is rather frustrating (to me!).

The recipe uses 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks, but the instructions says to mix in the egg yolks without any mention of the whole egg, and I was wondering whether should I use the whole egg as well or was it a typo error in the instructions. I went ahead and add the whole egg, assuming that it has been left out in the instructions.  The dough is like very thick batter, and I have to add almost half a cup of extra flour so that it is a little doughy, and even then, the "dough" is still very soft and so, so, sticky. I thought of adding more flour but am afraid that the bread will be dry, as I've added about 30% extra to the original amount. Honestly I almost gave up and thought of dumping the dough. But I went ahead anyway and hope for the best! I left the dough to proof for the first rising, punch it down, and it was supposed to be rolled on a floured counter. No way I could roll the very soft, very sticky dough without it sticking onto the counter, and it would definitely stick to the rolling pin from the looks of it, even if I flour the top, I would need quite an amount of flour, and I am not confident that I could transfer the very soft dough onto a baking sheet, which is to be refrigerated for 30 minutes. I placed the dough on a large sheet of plastic, which I placed on an upturned baking sheet, then place another large sheet of plastic over the dough, and use a rolling pin to roll it into a large rectangle. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, keeping fingers crossed that it will be easier to work with later on. 

Remove from the refrigerator and immediately spread the ganache all over. Roll the dough, swiss roll style. Still too soft to roll, and with the help of a wide pastry cutter, I tried rolling it but it was difficult to roll as the dough was sticky. In the end, it looks like a misshapen lump of log, rather than a nice rolled up smooth log of a dough. I know definitely that there will not be any pretty swirls in there! Bring the two ends together into a ring, adjust the dough, by shaping it gently, with floured hands, so that it is more or less the same thickness all around. Gather the dough and place in the greased bundt pan, with a whole almond placed in each ridge at the bottom of the bundt pan. Cover with greased cling wrap and left to rise until doubled in size. It certainly rises well! Bake in a preheated oven for 35 minutes, though I baked mine for an additional 5 minutes to get that really brown colour on the crust. It looks really huge after baking and I do hope that the kugelhopf will turn out good!



Let the kugelhopf rest for 10 minutes in the pan, then unmold onto a wire rack, glaze while still warm with some glaze, with a recipe provided for it. Since I have a container of apricot glaze, I used that instead. Allow the kugelhopf to cool. I could not wait to slice, to see the inside and taste it. But I was rather pleased with how it looks like from the outside!



Once it has cooled down, the glaze disappeared, no longer glossy! But I'm not concerned with that. I am eager to see the inside!



No pretty swirls! But the taste makes up for it! This Chocolate Kugelhopf is soft and fluffy. Tasted really good with the addition of chocolate ganache.  The kugelhopf was still soft the next day when we had it for breakfast, and we enjoyed slices of it with our morning coffee. That being said, I will not be making this again, but I was glad that I have given it a try.

Note : I've used 1 teaspoon instant yeast instead of the fresh yeast calls for in the recipe. For the ganache, I've used dark chocolate instead of semisweet chocolate. I baked in a 6-cup Nordic Ware bundt pan. 



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), the theme is How Easy Is That? We are cooking with Ina Garten@Barefoot Contessa. She has a book titled as such, How Easy Is That?. But we can cook any of her recipes which we deem easy, not necessarily from this book. And I've made her Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread, as I love cornbread! I got this recipe from her website but it can also be  found in another of her cookbook, Barefoot Contessa At Home. I have made quite a number of cornbread with different recipes over the years, and after making Ina's recipe, it is one of my top favourite, preferring her cornbread to Hugh-Fearnley Whittingstall's recipe which I've made here



Ina's recipe made quite a large tray, since there are only three of us, I have made only half, and baked in a 8"square baking pan. A very easy and quick cornbread to make. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, the wet ingredients in another bowl, then mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stir to combine but do not overmix. The batter is then left for 20 minutes at room temperature before it is poured into the prepared baking pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until done. How easy is that?

I've used salted butter, so I have omitted the salt. I've used two whole jalapenos and added more scallions than the recipe calls for. For half a recipe, I've used only one extra-large egg. I did not scatter any Cheddar over the batter, I've sprinkled only with the chopped scallions. 




This cornbread is really, really, yummy! And I would add more jalapenos the next time. So moist, with soft crumbs and delicious, especially when eaten while still warm. A few slices is great for a simple lunch, and it is also really good for afternoon tea-time, with a mug of warm tea, which is how I enjoyed it!


* my measurements listed in blue for half a recipe, baked in a 8"square baking pan
Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread
(barefootcontessa.com)
3 cups all-purpose flour (1-1/2 cups)
1 cup yellow cornmeal (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup sugar (2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons baking powder (1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons kosher salt (omitted)
2 cups milk (1 cup)
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten (1 extra-large)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan (125gm, salted)
8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided (1 cup)
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish (3 scallions) (1/2 cup, total)
3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers (2 to 3 peppers) (2 jalapenos)

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don't overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13x2-inch baking pan.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
How Easy Is That?


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pork Vindaloo

It has been sometime since I've tried any new meat curry recipes from Madhur Jafrrey because I keep going back to the few favourite recipes that I've made before. Among my top MJ's favourite meat curry dishes are Meatball Curry, Kerala-Style Bhuna Pork, Pork In A Mustard Spice Mix, Goan Pork Vindaloo with Potatoes, and our top favourite in my house, Red Pork Curry. I have cooked this many times since then.

Last week I've made Ina Garten's Scallion Basmati Rice, Madhur Jaffrey's Cabbage with Garlic and Shallots, and to complete the menu, this Pork Vindaloo, another one of MJ delicious curry.

This recipe has very few ingredients, and if you love cooking curries at home, like I do, you would probably have the spices needed, ground cumin, ground turmeric and chilli powder. Yup only three spices! The surprise ingredient here is grainy French mustard. In Madhur Jaffrey own words, "Most recipes for vindaloo involve grinding mustard seeds in vinegar. To save this step, I have used grainy French Pommery mustard (Moutarde de Meaux) which already contains vinegar. It works beautifully." And I totally agree with her, it works deliciously!

And in a vindaloo recipe, garlic is one of the essential ingredient. Along with the onions used, this is my third post for this week's IHCC theme, October Monthly Featured Ingredient Challenge : Alliums !



I've doubled the recipe, as always, for curries like this, as a single recipe is never enough. I would suggest you do the same if you are cooking for 4-6 people. Leftovers is always a good thing for curries like this. The only changes I've made is to use 2-1/2 times more of the spices. For the chilli powder, MJ says that more can be added if you prefer a spicy dish. Of course we do! I have used 2 tablespoons, as the one I used is medium-hot. Use less if the chilli powder is extra hot.  I have however reduced the amount of coconut milk, as I have always prefer to use less coconut milk for curries like this. I want the flavour and taste of the spices to stand out boldly, and not to be tone down by the creaminess of the coconut milk. So for double recipe, I have used only about 150ml of coconut milk, with 350 ml water. 

Using French grainy mustard is indeed a great idea of MJ! The grainy mustard is mixed with the three spices, salt and vinegar in a small bowl. Slice the onions into half rings and crash the garlic into a pulp. Fry the onions in some oil until medium brown, then add the garlic, stir for 30 seconds, then add the mustard mixture. Stir and fry for about 1 minute, then add in the meat, stir fry for 3 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and water. Cook for about an hour, stirring now and then, until the meat is tender. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water if the curry appear dry during cooking. 



Delicious Pork Vindaloo! Tender meat, infused with the flavours of the spices and vinegar. And we love the gravy. This delicious dish is so good with the Scallion Basmati Rice and the Cabbage. Looks like this is one more curry that will be repeated in my kitchen! 


Pork or Lamb Vindaloo
(adapted from 100 Essential Curries, Madhur Jaffrey)
serves 3-4
1-1/2 tablespoons grainy French mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 - 1 tsp chilli powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
100gm (4oz) onions, peeled
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
550gm (1-1/4 lb) boned hand of pork or shoulder of lamb, cut into 2.5cm (1 in) cubes
150ml (5 fl oz) tinned coconut milk, well stirred

Step One
Combine the mustard, cumin powder, turmeric, chilli powder, salt and vinegar in a cup. Mix well.

Step Two
Slice the onions into fine half-rings and crush the garlic to a pulp. Put the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions. Stir and fry until they are medium brown. Add the garlic. Stir and fry for 30 seconds. Add the paste from the cup. Stir and fry for a minute, then add the meat. Stir and fro for about 3 minutes.

Step Three
Now add in the coconut milk and 150ml (5fl oz) water if you are going to cook in a pressure cooker and 250ml (8fl oz) water if you are going to continue to cook in the frying pan. (Transfer to a pressure cooker at this state if that is your intention). Cover and either bring up to pressure, or to a boil if you are using the frying pan. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes in a pressure cooker and 60-70 minutes in the frying pan.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
October Monthly Featured Ingredient Challenge : Alliums


and 

 I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #22 hosted by 


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Cabbage With Garlic And Shallots

My second post for I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) theme for this week, October Monthly Featured Ingredient Challenge : Alliums !

I've made a simple, vegetable side dish, Cabbage with Garlic and Shallots, one of Madhur Jaffrey's recipes from her cookbook World Vegetarian, a thick book with 650 vegetarian recipes!



Ingredients used are cabbage, garlic, shallots, green chile, scallions and Chinese celery of which I have replaced with fresh cilantro. Recipe calls for 1/4 cup of water, the next time I will use only a tablespoon or two just to moisten the dish, since I've skipped the part where it says to cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. The cabbage is young and tender, so it takes just a few minutes of stir-frying to wilt it down and soften it a little. Instead of stock, I've used water, since the cabbage is sweet, the veggie stock is not really necessary. A simple lovely side dish, which I've served with Ina Garten's Scallion Basmati Rice and a curry dish, which I will be sharing in my next post.


Cabbage with Garlic and Shallots
(adapted from World Vegetarian, Madhur Jaffrey)
3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
4 to 5 medium shallots, peeled and cut into long, fine slivers
2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into long, thin slivers
1 fresh  hot green chile, cut into long, fine slivers
4 scallions, first cut into 2-inch lengths and then into long, fine strips
1-3/4 pounds fresh green cabbage (about 1/2 large head), with its hard core removed and then cut lengthwise into very fine strips
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped Chinese celery or plain celery leaves (fresh cilantro)
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Put the oil in a large, wide pan or large wok and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the shallots and garlic. Stir and fry for a minute. Put in the green chile and stir for another 30 seconds. Now put in the scallions, cabbage, and celery. Cover, turn the heat to medium, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the cabbage has wilted completely. Uncover, turn the heat up a bit, and stir for another minute or two. Taste for salt and pepper.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
October Monthly Featured Ingredient Challenge : Alliums


and 

 I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #22 hosted by 



Monday, October 9, 2017

Scallion Basmati Rice

Week two with Ina Garten at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), and this week's theme is Monthly Featured Ingredient/Dish - Alliums! Garlic, onions, leeks, chives, scallions, shallots...and we get to select any recipe that uses one or more of these ingredients from any of the featured chefs at IHCC's chefs list. Recipes are endless! 

Decided to make Ina Garten's Scallion Basmati Rice. 



Instead of cooking the rice over the stove, I use the rice cooker, so that I could use my time to get on with other dishes. Start by sauteing chopped yellow onion in some oil until translucent, then add the basmati rice, stir well. At this point, I transfer the rice into the rice cooker, then add some water and salt. Let the rice cooker do the cooking, with the keep warm function when the rice is done. When it is time to serve, simply fluff rice with a fork (I use a pair of chopsticks), add the chopped scallions and parsley (I use cilantro). Serve immediately.

Very nice rice! We had this with two other dishes, coming up in next post.
Will definitely make this rice again! 


Scallion Basmati Rice
(source from foodnetwork.com, recipe by Ina Garten)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup long grain basmati rice
1-3/4 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Cook the butter and onions over medium beat until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and toss until all of the grains are coated with the butter. Add the water and salt, cover and cook until
the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to sit covered for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the scallions and parsley, fluff with a fork, and serve.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
October Monthly Featured Ingredient Challenge : Alliums




Friday, October 6, 2017

Lemon Pound Cake

Sometimes what we crave is just a simple buttery cake, no fuss with any frostings or creamy topping. In fact, I have always prefer plain cakes like this Lemon Pound Cake.

This is one of the best lemon pound cakes I've baked. The cake is moist with dense but delicious soft crumb texture. Very buttery and lemony, with the addition of the lemon glaze poured over the cake, you would not miss the lemony flavour, it's there, in every bite.



I've made half a recipe, using half the amount of the ingredients, but I have further reduced the amount of sugar and lemon juice. (refer to the notes in the recipe below). 



The lemony glaze is brushed over the cake while still warm.



This cake is moist, dense with soft velvety crumbs. If you love lemons then you will love this cake. Goes perfectly with a cup of warm tea.

Lemon Pound Cake
(adapted from Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook, by Kathleen King)
makes 1 ten-inch Bundt cake
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 4 lemons

Lemon Glaze :
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 4 lemons
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 10-inch Bundt pan with lots of pan spray and sprinkle it with granulated sugar. (Flour will leave an unattractive residue on the cake).

To make the cake :
In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar until  they are light and fluffy, Add the vanilla and lemon zest. Mix them together. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Mix the sour cream and lemon juice together. Add the flour and sour cream mixture alternately, finishing with the flour. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake it for 1 hour or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the centre.

To make the glaze :
Mix all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir. Cook them over low heat without stirring till the sugar disssolves. Turn the heat up to medium and cook the mixture until it becomes syrupy. Don't overcook it or the syrup will start to brown.
When the cake is baked, cool it for 10 minutes in the baking pan and invert it onto a plate. (Place the plate against the bottom of the pan and turn it over).
Slowly pour the glaze over the cake and let it cool.

kitchen flavour's notes :
I've made half a recipe with the following changes :
- reduced the sugar to scant 1 cup
- use only 2 tablespoons of lemon juice for the batter as the lemon was really sour.
(even with the reduction of the sugar and lemon juice, the cake bakes up really moist with full lemony flavour, delicious!)
- did not sprinkle granulated sugar in the bundt pan, I sprayed lightly with a baking spray already contained flour, and it works out fine


 I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #22 hosted by 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Herbed-Baked Eggs

I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) is cooking with a new chef, starting this week, Ina Garten, popularly known as Barefoot Contessa. We will be cooking from her recipes for the next six months, and it is going to be a six delicious months.

To welcome Ina Garten into our kitchen, the theme for this week is Hi, Ina ! 
I've made her Herbed-Baked Eggs, for our brunch, and it was egg-cellent! 😋



A small knob of  butter and some cream is poured at the bottom of the gratin dish, and put under the broiler until butter melts. When both the butter and cream are bubbling, remove from oven and carefully pour two or three eggs into the dish. (Ina says to get the eggs ready by breaking them into a bowl first without breaking the yolks, and gently pour into the hot gratin dish). Sprinkle some chopped herbs which are mixed with some grated Parmesan, on top of the eggs, with salt and pepper to taste. For the herbs, I've used  rosemary leaves, Chinese chives, and some fresh coriander. Back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes until the egg whites are almost cooked. Serve hot with toasted bread.

I've toasted some homemade Onion Caraway Rye Bread which I made the day before. I sliced the bread, butter on both sides, cut into batons, then toast until brown and crispy.



This is so yummy. Fragrant from the herbs and so good to eat with the toasted Onion Caraway Rye bread. Yum!


Herbed-Baked Eggs
(barefoot contessa.com)
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
12 extra-large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
taosted French bread or brioche, for serving

Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.
Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and Parmesan cheese and set aside. Carefully crack 3 3ggs into each of 4 small bowls or teacups (you won't be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. (It's very important to have all the eggs ready to go before you start cooking).
Place four individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of cream and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each dish and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Quickly, but carefully, pour 3 eggs into each gratin dish and sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. (Rotate the baking sheet once if they aren't cooking evenly). The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to set for 60 seconds and serve hot with toasted bread.


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


Come and join us as we cook with Ina. Full details here.


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