Thursday, December 31, 2009

Beef Casserole

After I came back, my mom has asked me to whip up some western dishes as Chinese food can be easily, not to mention cheaply obtained here. She is a hard one to please as she is usually very critical when it comes to food. Talk about pressure. I hope this one managed to suit her taste buds.

Recipe adapted from Super Food Ideas.

  • cooking oil
  • 500g beef shank (suggested by the butcher)
  • 2 red onions, sliced
  • 1 leek, white part only, sliced
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic, sliced
  • 4 sticks celery, sliced (I omitted this)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 3cm chunks (I used 4 instead)
  • 430g can of tomato puree
  • 1/4 cup of red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  1. Pat the beef dry with a kitchen town to ensure that the beef browns. Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Cook beef, in batches until browned. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining oil, onions, leeks, garlic and carrots to pan. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
  3. Return beef to pan with tomatoes, wine and stock. Bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Uncover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until beef is tender.
  5. Serve with crusty bread or with mashed potatoes as a side.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Four Angled Beans with Belacan

Four angled beans is a type of vegetable that is rarely seen in Australia so I took this opportunity to ask my mom to buy a few. While people think that belacan (shrimp paste) stinks up the whole house, I actually adore this smell. Weird, I know.

Recipe adapted from Delicious Asian Food.

Ingredients: (Serves 5)
  • 300g four angled beans, cut into 3cm slices
  • 50g dried prawns
  • 3 bulbs shallots
  • 1 1/2 bulb garlic
  • 4 fresh red chilies, seeds removed
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 20g belacan/shrimp paste
  1. Pound or blend dried prawns, shallots, garlic, chilies and belacan until a fine paste forms.
  2. Heat oil in wok. Add paste above and fry on medium heat till fragrant and slightly brown.
  3. Increase heat to high and add four-angled beans and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Whilst stir frying, sprinkle water to keep moist.
  4. Add sugar to taste. Serve warm.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yong Tau Foo

If I'm not mistaken, Yong Tau Foo is a Hakka dish and being half-Hakka my mom taught me how to make this dish. Feel free to omit or add in any vegetables to your liking.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)
  • 300g fish paste
  • 200g pork mince
  • 50g salted fish, diced finely
  • 6 lady fingers/okra
  • 2 medium sized eggplant/brinjal
  • 3 fresh red chili
  • 1 medium sized bitter gourd
  • 3 tbsp preserved black bean sauce
  • 2 tbsp water + 2 tsp corn flour
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • oil
  • 2 sprigs spring onions, chopped
  1. Mix the fish paste, pork mince and salted fish together. Cut a single slit length ways down the chili and okra and remove the seeds.
  2. Cut the bitter gourd width ways into 1 inch rings and scoop out the middle using a spoon. Cut the eggplant width ways into 2 inches and cut a deep slit in the middle without cutting through.
  3. Stuff the mince mixture into the cavity of the vegetables.
  4. Heat up the oil in the wok. Pan fry the vegetables in batches, mince side down until brown. Plate up and set aside.
  5. To make the sauce, fry the minced garlic and add in the preserved black bean sauce and corn starch mixture. Drizzle sauce over vegetables and top with chopped spring onions. Serve immediately.

After stuffing mince mixture into vegetables.

After pan frying vegetables.

Drizzle sauce, top with spring onions and serve.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cinnamon Twigs

With Christmas just around the corner, this is the perfect recipe for those who are on a tight schedule but needs to whip up something yummy! After all, who doesn't like cinnamon sugar, right? ;)

Recipe adapted from Good Taste.

Ingredients: (Makes about 20)
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, just thawed
  • milk or egg for glazing
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
  2. Brush pastry with milk or egg and sprinkle with the sugar mixture.
  3. Using a knife, cut the pastry sheet in half then cut the pastry into 1 cm thick strips crossways.
  4. Gently twist strips and place on the lined tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and golden. Transfer to a wire rack for 30 minutes to cool.

Use a piece of ribbon to tie 3-4 twigs together to make a small bundle to make a lovely gift.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Asparagus with Sesame Oil

I love my vegetables and I don't know about all of you out there but I absolutely LOVE sesame oil. There's something so fragrant and sweet that makes it so addictive. I add it to congee, salads, blanched vegetables, instant noodles and so much more. Not to mention it's has many health benefits as well! :D

Ingredients: (Serves 2 as a side dish)
  • 2 bunches asparagus, woody ends trimmed
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds, to sprinkle
  1. Steam asparagus for 8-10 depends until green and tender.
  2. Drizzle sesame oil over steamed asparagus and sprinkle on sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Just how simple is that?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tom Yum Cookies

How exotic does these sound?! Everyone shot me a weird look when I introduced them during a gathering but hey, what's cooking or baking without being adventurous eh? ;) Trust me, I was equally skeptical when I stumbled upon the recipe.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Time

Ingredients: (Makes about 20)
  • 325g plain flour, sifted
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 150mL canola oil
  • 3 tbsp Tom Yum paste
  • 8 pieces Kaffir lime leaves, shredded finely
  1. Mix everything in a bowl until well incorporated.
  2. Scoop out portions using a tablespoon and place on a lined or greased baking tray.
  3. Baked in preheated oven at 180°C for 30 minutes.
  4. Leave to cool completely before storing.

When I first bit into the cookie, my mind was utterly confused and some of my friends said the same. The flavours and texture are good but I probably need a while to get used to this exotic cookie. A few fell in love with it at first bite which is encouraging.

Can you stomach this? Guess you've got to try it to know it. ;)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Butter Chicken

Every time when my family patronized a particular restaurant, I would insist that we order the 'Butter Chicken'. It happened so often that it reached a point where they got so sick of it. Fine, looks like I had to satisfy my own taste buds by tackling the kitchen then I can have the whole plate to myself.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)
  • 600g chicken breast, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp corn flour (extra for coating)
  • 125g butter
  • 6 sprigs curry leaves
  • 5 bird's eye chillies
  • 1 375mL can of evaporated milk
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut
  1. Marinade the chicken with garlic, soy sauce, pepper, dark soy sauce and corn flour for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. Coat the chicken with excess corn flour and fry until it turns golden brown. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter and add in the coconut, curry leaves and bird's eye chillies and fry until fragrant.
  4. Add in the chicken and stir for 2-3 minutes. Dish up and serve.

You can also opt to put in salted egg yolk for better flavour.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Low Calorie Garlic Spread

I'm guilty of being a huge fan of everything garlic. I love throwing minced garlic into everything imaginable. Being a garlic lover, it's pretty obvious that I will love garlic bread as well. The strong garlic taste that goes with the butter. Mmmm... Bliss.

Sadly, the butter doesn't agree with the waistline so here's an alternative and healthier solution to garlic spread.

  • 3 slices bread
  • 2 tbsp low fat plain Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 tsp herbs of your choice
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Spread onto bread slice.
  2. Grill bread slices until the top just turns brown.
There's your healthy alternative! Be warned that it will definitely taste different to your regular garlic bread. After all, there is no substitution for butter. ;)
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