Saturday, 23 January 2010

Comforting Mushroom Soup

At times, I'm busy with other stuff that I will try to make simple dish in a jiffy. Here is one good example, this mushroom soup is fulfilling and comforting for a cold winter day and it's so easily made. I don't buy Campbell Mushroom Soup any longer since I discover the fuss free homemade mushroom soup making . Homemade fresh mushroom soup is so flavorful and fresh. Moreover, mushrooms are brimming with protein, Vit B and minerals. They're low in calories and may have antibacterial substances to help the body. This soup can be incorporated as a starter as well.

Mushroom Soup
Ingredients (serve 4-5 persons)
  • 500 gm closed cup mushroom- chopped
  • 800-1000 ml of vegetable/chicken stock (if you want thicker soup use less stock)
  • 1 big onion-chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic-finely chopped
  • 90 gm butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/2 cup single cream
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Heat a pan, once hot, melt the butter, add in chopped onion and garlic. Turn to medium heat to sweat the onion and garlic till soft. It takes approximately five minutes.
  2. Add in the chopped mushroom and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Add in the flour to coat well the mushroom, continue to stir. Then add in the stock and throw in the bay leaf.
  3. Bring it to small boil and let it simmer for further 10minutes. Remove the bay leaf thereafter. Use a hand blender to blend to your require consistency.
  4. Off the heat. Add in the cream and stir. Serve hot with some bread. Drizzle some cream over the soup to garnish. Add your salt and pepper to your taste.
This soup can be kept in container in the fridge and kept well over one week. You can heat up when required. Warming winter soup......

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Pork Ball Cellophane/Glass Noodle Soup

As from the title of my recipes, my main aim here is to share with you how to make bouncy meatballs [pork, beef or chicken] that one could easily make.
I always thought making those bouncy meatballs required a lot of skill. Fear not, it's as easy as I promised you. Infact this is my first try in making these bouncy meatballs and it turned out really well.

Pork ball
Ingredients (make 20-24 balls)
  • 250 gm mince pork
  • 60 ml icy cold water
  • 1/2 tsp nam pla- Thai fish sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of white pepper
  1. Put the mince pork into a food processor and blend until a paste is form. During blending, add 3 tbsp of icy water slowly(one tbsp at a time) until a smooth paste is form. Remove the blended meat paste into a big bowl
  2. Then mix the remaining icy water with fish sauce, salt, sugar, oil, cornflour, white pepper and baking powder in a bowl.
  3. Pour this mixture into the meat paste and use a big spoon to stir slowly until all the liquid is absorbed.
  4. To do the taste test, boil a little of the paste. Taste it and season according to your taste by adding salt or sugar.
  5. Cover the meat paste with cling wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.
  6. When you wanted to shape the pork ball, boil a kettle of water. Pour the boiling water into a deep pot.
  7. Using a wet hand, scoop the meat paste onto your palm, close your hand, push the paste through the index finger and thumb, use a wet spoon to scoop the ball and drop it onto the hot water in the pot. Continue to do so until complete. Here a video clip on how to shape the ball with your hand.
  8. At this time, you should notice the outer layer of the meatball is slightly cook. Bring the pot onto your cooker, on the heat to lowest, slowly bring it to simmering point but not boiling. This will ensure your pork ball will be bouncy. This roughly takes about 15minutes or so. Once cooked the pork ball will float to the surface. You can half one of the ball to ensure it's cook, no sign of pinkish meat.
  9. While it's cooking, prepare a big bowl and fill in with icy water. Drop the cooked pork balls into it. Once cooled, you can remove the pork ball and store in the fridge until it is required.

Cellophane/Glass Noodle Soup
Ingredients (serve 4 persons)
  • 200 gm dried cellophane noodle
  • 1.5 litres of chicken+anchovy stock- add salt and 1/2 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 stalks of spring onion-finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp shallot oil
  • 1 tbsp of pickled radish/turnip (chai po)
  • 2 cups of bean sprouts or some greens
  • pinch of pepper
  • sliced red chillis (optional)
  1. Boil the cellophane noodle for 5 minutes or so till cook. It should be transparent.
  2. Bring to boil the prepared stock. You can add in the pork ball to boil as well. Off the heat
  3. Separate the noodle into 4 bowls.
  4. Garnish the noodle with bring sprout, spring onion, pickled turnip, shallot oil, pork ball and red chillis.
  5. Served piping hot, nice to dip the meat ball with garlic chilli sauce or just soya sauce with bird eye chillis.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Un croissant sil vous plait

This brings back memory while I was in Grenoble, France some time ago. In any French town, one could only be drawn to boulangerie that dotted every corner of the street. I picked up a few useful sentences while in France in order to get along with everyday life, i.e bon jour, merci beaucoup, la dison sil vous plait, ca va? , tres bien and of course my favorite phrase while I visit any boulangerie: un croissant sil vous plait.
The freshly baked aroma of croissant is drawing me to the boulangerie every morning. Oooh, ooh so heavenly. I could easily get ready made croissants from Tesco but I'm so lazy to go out this morning as weather is damp and windy. Yes I know making croissant is quite tedious but aye, who can resist the freshly home baked croissant?

I followed this recipes from bbc good food:

Ingredients (make 24 croissants)

  • 1kg/2.2lb strong white flour
  • 450g/1lb unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 570ml/1 pint water and milk mixed
  • 2 sachets easy bake yeast (14 grammes)
  • 1 egg for egg wash

1.Sift flour into a bowl, cut butter into small pieces, add a pinch of salt, yeast and with a pallet knife cut in water and milk. This makes a horrible sticky mess but turn onto a lightly floured table and carefully knead to make a cohesive dough.

2. Shape mixture into a rectangle and roll out to approximately 30cmx20cm/12inx8in. Fold over the top third, fold up the bottom third, seal each side with the side of your hand, then put into a plastic bag and chill for 30 minutes. Turn 90 degrees and roll again to another rectangle. Fold up bottom third and seal with the side of your hand. Chill as before for 30 minutes. Repeat two more times, chilling 30 minutes between each rolling. Return to plastic bag and refrigerate for an hour.

3. Remove from fridge and roll carefully into a big rectangle 50cm/30cm/24inx12in cut in half lengthways, divide each half into 12 triangles. Then from the widest edge of the triangle, roll up tightly and place in a crescent shape on a tray. Beat egg for egg wash and with care, egg wash croissant. Make sure you do not go over a cut edge with egg wash. This will stop them from rising properly if desired.

4. When frozen take off the tray and put into a plastic bag.

5. For use, remove from freezer the number required for breakfast, put onto baking tray and leave overnight. Put into a hot oven at 200C and bake for about 15 minutes until browned and risen.

You can also watch this video on step by step how it's make.
And one of my favorite baking websites - Joe Pastry who gives a lot of good tips on how to bake.

Serve with strawbery jam or marmalade. It's so crispy and flaky on the outside and soft on the inside. Hmnnnn............heavenly.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Kari Ayam (Malaysian Curry Chicken)

I still vividly remember the time when I first attempted at making the authentic Malaysian kari ayam in my home science cooking lesson at school with Mrs. D. All of us girls were quite terrified back then when we've cooking lesson with Mrs. D. She proves to be the best home science teacher in my school, I reckon for at least 2 decades. Yes, back then we've strict rules to follow when we make our kari ayam, all ingredients measured to the scale even the curry powder. Even though I had eaten kari ayam over and over, I didn't realise that there is an ingredient use to give the curry it's ''lemak'' (creamy) texture-candlenut or better known as buah keras in Malaysia. It was in the lesson I learnt and have a first look of candlenut. Of course back then all the key ingredients like coconut milk is freshly squeezed from the grated coconut and the sambal paste freshly pounded with some manual hand power. They tasted real good. Of course over here now, I try, I try to replicate as much to the original recipes except for the can of coconut milk and dry kaffir lime leave that I subject myself to. Some you know I'm a fresh ingredients freak, even no lazy garlic is allow in my cooking. :-)
And to have kari ayam with rice is consider a majestic treat for a cold winter's day.

Kari Ayam (Malaysian Curry Chicken)
  • 1 free range chicken (roughly about 1.5 to 2 kgs)-chopped into 16 pieces-marinate with 2 tbsp of curry powder and 2 tbsp of coconut milk for an hour
  • 4 big potatoes-cut into cubes-parboiled for about 5-7 minutes
  • 2 tbsp curry powder-mix with 3 tbsp of coconut milk to form paste
  • 1 can of coconut milk-roughly 400ml
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves or better still use curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste+5 tbsp of water-make into tamarind juice
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp of vegetable oil

Paste ingredients
  • 10 shallots-chopped
  • 10 dried chillis - soaked in warm water for 10minutes-chopped (warning this is spicy)
  • 3 red chillis-chopped
  • 1 garlic bulb-chopped
  • thumb size ginger-chopped
  • 3 lemon grass stalks-chopped
  • 3 candlenut-broken into pieces
  • 1 small piece of sambal belacan

  1. Use a mortar and pestle to pound the paste ingredients. I find this very therapeutic. You can use a food processor to blend them as well.
  2. Heat a wok and pour in the oil, once it's hot add in the paste (1) and curry paste and let it sautéed till fragant. This takes about a minute. Add in the kaffir lime leaves/curry leaves, sautéed .
  3. Add in the chicken and continue to stir fry for 2-3minutes until meat is lightly cook. Add in the parboiled potatoes and mix thoroughly. Turn the heat to low. This will ensure the coconut milk will not curdle
  4. Add the coconut milk, tamarind juice, salt and sugar to taste. Stir. Close with a lid, and let it simmer on low heat for 20-25minutes.
  5. Turn off heat. Served hot with rice.


Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Pad Thai

The start of the year has been so cold with so many snowy days. This winter has been the coldest in Britain for the last 3 decades. My snow excitement might have fizzled away as it's quite common to snow lately. How I wish it could be slightly warmer.
If I can't change the weather I can make my food spicier to ward off the Big Chill. So I decided to make Pad Thai tonite.

Pad Thai
Ingredients (for 3-4 persons)
  • 300 gm dry pad thai rice noodles- soak in water for about 15minutes, drained.
  • 500 gm bean sprouts
  • 3 duck/chicken eggs-duck egg is tastier
  • 50 gm chopped pickled turnip/radish
  • 250 gm king prawns-de-shelled & de-veined
  • 1/2 cup ground roasted peanut
  • 5 cloves garlic-minced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable cooking oil
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce-nam pla
  • 1 tbsp of tamarind paste+ 5 tbsp of water-make into tamarind juice
  • 50 gm Chinese chives
  • 2 shallots-chopped
  • 2 green chillis- sliced (medium hot)
  • 1 cake tofu bean curd-cut into smaller cubes
  1. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and sautee garlic and shallots. When it is fragant, add the noodle and stir fry. Add just enough water to soften the noodle, continue to stir fry them to prevent noodle sticking to the pan. If you've a big pan, you can remove the noodle to aside, else remove them from pan.
  2. Heat another 3 tbsp oil in the pan, when it is slightly smoky, add in the prawn, pickled turnip, tofu cubes and chillis. Stir fry for a minute or so. Return the noodle into the pan. Add in tamarind juice. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Make some space on the pan to make the scramble eggs. Heat 2 tbsp of oil, when it is hot, break the 3 eggs and scramble them.When set, mix thoroughly with noodle. Add the bean sprouts and chives and off the heat immediately, this will prevent the sprouts and chives for being overcook. This will give you the crunchy bites of the bean sprouts.
  4. Serve on a plate, garnish with ground peanut and chilli flakes.
Looking outside my window, it's quite pretty things cover in white........the tune of let it snow, let it snow, let it snow comes naturally.