Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Happy Occasion

Joyous be every such occasion marked with gaiety and full of happy fervour, yes I'm talking about wedding here. Last weekend I have flown over to Dublin, Ireland to attend a wedding of a lovely couple, friends of mine. It was a happy moment to had witness the joining of two hearts into one. Not only that, we were treated to the most sumptious and delicious Chinese banquet at Ming Court restaurant Blanchardstown. The seafood were aplenty and fresh. We had a 12 course dinner banquet. One of my favorite is the huge lobster cooked with scallion and ginger and not forgetting the abalone stewed with oyster sauce with pak choi. And I have the opportunity to dine with I truly enjoy every moment of it.

I also did a 2hrs touring Dublin city on my foot. It was a crisp winter day. Here you are with the photos of Dublin city.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Chinese radish cake/Loh Bak Gou 蘿蔔糕

I have always wanted to attempt making this savory radish cake but never come round to it. It's commonly found in Hong Kong dim sum restaurant. Reason is I'm not sure of the success rate and also it requires quite a lot of effort I would have thought. And I have no excuses not to make it to consume during Chinese New Year. But I had researched online for quite a number of recipes and decided to stick to this one and change some ingredients as I can't find them in my local supermarket and make do with what I have in my pantry. It's not that tedious as I would have thought and the end result is yummy-licious delights. For those would like to follow the step, you can follow this video (it's in Cantonese though)

Loh Bak Gou 蘿蔔糕
  • 200g smoked bacon - finely chopped (you can use Chinese lap yuk and Chinese sausages)
  • 2 tbsp dried shrimps-soaked and finely chopped-I omitted this
  • 3-5 large dried shitake mushroom - soaked, removed stem and finely chopped-keep the soaking water
  • 4 dried scallops- soaked for 1 hour and shredded-keep the soaking water
  • 3 shallots-finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic-finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 750 - 800g shredded radish-drained any excess water
  • 250-300 ml water (from the water used to soak scallops and mushroom)
  • 220g rice flour
  • 30g wheat starch/corn starch/tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tbsp chicken powder
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil
  1. Mix rice flour, starch and water together.
  2. Heat up a non stick wok with 2 tbsp oil and fry shallot and garlic till fragant. Then add smoked bacon , dried shrimps, mushroom and scallop. Fry till fragrant. Add in white pepper and salt to taste. Remove to one side. Check if the wok has any brown sticky bits, if yes wash before proceeding to next step. Browning bits can make the cake looks greyish or brownish.
  3. Next heat the wok with 2 tbsp of oil. Once hot, add in the radish and stir fry for around 6 minutes. You'll notice that the radish will excrete it's own juice during cooking process.
  4. Stir in flour mixture, taste to check if more seasoning is needed and cook at low heat stirring all the time for till the mixture started to thicken like gooey congee . Turn off heat.
  5. Grease a retangular cake tin or aluminium foil container. Scoop the mixture into the container. Prepare the steamer. Place the cake into steamer and steam for about 1 hour 20minutes. Once cooked, it is a bit soft at the moment, don't worry, the cooling process overnight will cause it to set. Remove from steamer and cover the top with aluminium foil and let it to cool overnight.
  6. Once it's set, you can easily removed from the container and you can slice the cake. You can dust it with just a little corn starch/potato starch. You can also omit the corn starch and fry on it's own.
  7. Prepare a non stick pan, heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil. Once hot, put in the cake and let it shallow fry till a golden brown surface is achieved on both side. Served hot with sprinkling of spring onion and XO sauce/sambal sauce/or thick dark soya sauce.

Shredded radish

Steamed and cooled radish cake-ready for slicing

I gave some loh bak gou to my guinea pig friend to try my first attempt and it's thumbs up :-)

Just to let you all know I was given a new kitchen gadget by a friend...... A soy milk making machine. It's a brand made in China (Joyoung) and gosh I'm impressed.....only at a press of a button, and 20minutes later you'll have the freshest hot soy milk. I highly recommend this machine for those who like fresh soy milk. I've been milking it every morning for breakfast :-)

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Gong Xi Fa Cai & Happy Valentine's Day

Welcoming the arrival of Year of the Tiger. Wishing all who are celebrating the festivity a Happy Lunar New Year, 恭喜发财, 新年快乐, 年年有馀.

This year St. Valentine's Day fall on the same day as Lunar New Year, wishing all Happy Valentine's Day too.

Enjoy the weekend too...........

Here's my starter dishes for CNY eve dinner - Giant Prawn Cracker(from Malaysia), homemade Yee Sang and 4 seasons platter, and won't be complete without wine :-)

Monday, 8 February 2010

Chinese stir fry beef and tenderstem brocolli with noodles

Chinese New Year is just around the corner, I believe many of you who are celebrating it must be busy "spring cleaning", baking cookies, decorating houses with auspicious items and etc. For me, "spring cleaning" - tick, baking-intend to, decorating with auspicious item - could be tough, I can't even find ang pow packets here. Indeed, the Chinese New Year has all it do's and don't. I would rather spend my energy to create some nice recipes to whip out on Saturday, the eve, for friends to enjoy. And of course to inspire people who reads my blog to try out the recipes and enjoy them too.

For those who know me well, I'm not a keen beef meat eater. Maybe my mum did not train us to eat beef since we're young as she herself has allergic towards beef, and hence beef is not something common on our palette. However I did try a stir fry beef noodle and it did change my opinion on this rarely eaten meat for me. The red meat taste is not overwhelming and is so gorgeously tender, and yes it's acceptable for my taste department. I started out to like this stir fry beef and now it's a love affair. This is a simple recipes and I believe in no time you'll love it too. It will be a lovely noodle dish for Chinese New Year rather than the traditional longevity noodles. :-)

Chinese stir fry beef and tenderstem brocolli with noodle
Ingredients (serve 4)
  • 200 gm lean pork fillet-thinly sliced perpendicularly to grain
  • 300 gm egg noodles/spaghetti- I used spaghetti here
  • 4 cloves garlic-finely chopped
  • 1 packet of tenderstem brocolli (200 gm) / Chinese Kailan
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
Marinating ingredients for beef
  • 1.5 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp shaoxing wine
  • 1 tsp of ginger juice
  • 2 tsp of corn flour
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp of dark soya sauce/caramel sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce (optional)
Noodle sauce
  • 300-400 ml chicken stock
  • 1/4 tsp of white/black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp of light soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp shaoxing wine
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce (optional)
  1. Marinate the beef with marinating ingredients for 30 minutes.
  2. Boil a pot of water, once boiling, blanched the tenderstem brocolli for 30 seconds and remove. Then add in spaghetti to cook. Follow the spaghetti packet instruction, i.e if 15 minutes require to achieve al-dente, drained after 12-13minutes.
  3. Heat a wok on high heat. Add in a tbsp of vegetable oil. Once it's hot, add in the garlic and lightly brown. Then add in the beef, lay thinly over the wok and let is slightly caramelised, this will take about 1 minute or so. Then flip over and stir fry for another minute. Do not overcook as you want your beef to be just tenderly nice. Remove to a plate.
  4. Add in another tbsp of oil onto the wok, throw in the green and stir fry quickly to nicely coat the vegetable with oil. This will take about a minute. Remove to a plate.
  5. Then pour in the noodle sauce, once it start simmering, turn the heat to medium. Add in the spaghetti and stir, let it absorb the liquid. When the liquid is almost absorbed, turn off heat, add in the beef and brocolli stem and mixed well. Served hot with pickled green chillis.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Steam Chicken with Dong Quai, goji berries and red dates

Bet many of you must be checking my blog and wonder whereabout Apron's Delight is. Been quite busy lately at work, an early spring clean my house during weekend and watching some really good documentaries on TV. And I am still keeping my resolution to keep cycling to work at least 3 times a week during winter (note: cold and dark here in winter), but nevertheless 36 miles per week for the last 6-7 weeks felt like an achievement.
Yes indeed it's also good time in winter to replenish one's body with nutritious meal. Here's a really simple and good remedy for women well being. My mum used to cook this dish for me. So simple and yet really delicious with a bowl of rice.

Steam Chicken with Dong Quai, Goji Berries and Red Dates
Ingredients (for 2 persons)
  • 2 chicken legs portion
  • 6 slices of dong quai (Chinese angelica root)
  • 6 red dates-pitted
  • 1 tbsp of Goji berries
  • Dash of kosher/sea salt
  • 8 tbsp of water
  • 1-2 tbsp hard liquor-Brandy, Cognac, XO
  • aluminiun foil
  1. Wash the chicken and pat dry. You can opt to chop into smaller pieces.
  2. Rub the chicken with sea salt.
  3. Wash the dong quai, red dates, goji berries. Drained. Lay them on the aluminium foil. Top them with the chicken pieces.
  4. Slowly wrap the parcel, before sealing, pour in the water and brandy.
  5. Heat up a steamer and let it steam for 25-30minutes. Ensure when you prick the chicken there is no bloody liquid as it's still not cook, continue to steam on high heat.
  6. Serve hot with rice.
Of course one should read about what is dong quai if in doubt.

The arrival of snowdrop signifies spring is just around the corner, I can see myself smiling