Monday, September 23, 2013

Vinegar braised chicken and onion recipe

What do you do when you have a bottle of italian red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar? Not much options, really. I searched high and low on the internet for several days and after what felt like a fruitless effort, I managed to stumble on a recipe which utilizes both of these ingredients.

Overall, the recipe did use up a good portion of vinegar but at the same time, it was a tad too acidic for my liking and hence, I could only use a bit of the roasted chicken juices to season my gravy with. The chicken tasted fine with about 30% acidic taste but this may be a bit too overwhelming for some. You have been warned!

4 pieces of small onions, quartered
3 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
6 chicken legs
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup tomatoes
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Marinade the chicken for about 2 hours before roasting it in the oven at 160C for 1 hour and a few minutes or until done. You may adjust the proportion of vinegar and chicken broth to your liking.

Serve with steamed vegetables and oven roasted potatoes, with a side of gravy. Feel free to use mashed potatoes too!

Pizza dough recipe

Of lately, I find myself browsing the internet for bread recipes as that is still one baking category that I have yet to master despite practising on numerous events. Whether it is due to poor handling of the dough, poor quality of the ingredients or just pure bad luck is still a mystery to me. And I hate to waste food if things did not turn out well so....I'll stuff myself with it for the next few days.

As the mum is here for a few weeks, I have decided to reattempt making bread, in hope that I will succeed and if all turns out sour, at least I won't be suffering alone haha! I have been toying with the idea of making pizza for the longest time and decided that this is the perfect opportunity to use up the leftover pasta sauce in my fridge as well as the remaining bits of meat.

Ingredients (recipe from David Lebovitz):
2 tsp dry yeast
125ml tepid water
pinch of sugar
470g flour
1 tsp salt
60ml olive oil
180ml cold water

Mix the dry yeast, tepid water and 70g of flour together, allow to stand for 30 minutes. Add salt, remaining flour, olive oil and water, knead for 5 minutes until it is slightly sticky and smooth.

Place dough in a bowl and rest for 2 hours, punch it down afterwards. Refridgerate overnight and allow to come to room temperature before continuing.

Add your desired topping (pineapple, bacon, ham, cheese, capsicum, chorizo etc etc), brush with some garlic oil around the stretched pizza dough. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 260C.

I had beetroot, tomatoes, mushroom and bacon pieces in mine!

Would be lovely with a bit of grated cheese but maybe some other time:)

Was delicious and although the dough was not as fluffy as I had hoped it to be, at least I am one step closer to mastering this volatile baked good. I have used tomato sauce for my pizza but feel free to use barbeque sauce or bechamel, whatever you feel like having really!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

French apple cake recipe

I am obsessed with using fruits in my desserts as makes me feel healthy whilst being sinful at the same time. But of course, I still do fell the guilt pinch after downing a few slices, much to my dismay. On the bright side, I think this recipe from DavidLebovitz (a very reliable recipe source, I reckon!) is a winner but I do recommend cutting down from 4 large apples to 3 medium sized ones. Mine was overflowing with apples and was not well coated with the cake batter.

110 flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 medium sized apples
2 eggs,
150g sugar
3 tbsp vanilla extract
115g butter, melted

Beat eggs until foamy then whisk in sugar, followed by the vanilla extract. David recommends using rum, which I did not have, but found the vanilla essence just as good:)

Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the egg mixture then slowly incorporate in the melted butter. Fold in the remaining flour mixture and add in the already diced apple pieces.

Bake at 150C until done (inserted skewer comes out clean).

I like sweet treats with apples in them:)

Tempting golden brown cake colour achieved. Yessssss!!

As you can see, there is more apple pieces compared to cake bits in the cake (which I did not mind of course) but it made the cake a tad fiddly to slice and serve. Not very pretty but it is quite yummy:)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Nasi goreng kampung recipe

I have a spare bag of dried anchovies in the pantry and decided to whip up some fried rice with it, perfect for those lazy days where all I want to do is have a quick meal.

1 medium sized onion
1 shallot
2 garlic cloves
2 chillies
1 tbsp anchovies
1 tbsp cooking oil

Blend all the above ingredients in a food processor and fry for about 5 minutes. Add your chicken bits, a handful of green beans or bok choy and allow it to cook for at least 3 minutes before adding in about 100ml of chicken stock. Toss in about 2 cups of overnight rice and continue to cook.

Season with dark soy sauce, salt and sugar. Crack in an egg and continue stirring for another minute before serving.

Serve with your favourite type of chilli sauce be it sambal, sriracha or sweet chilli:)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


The climax (and possibly sole reason for this Sydney excursion) was dining at the Quay Restaurant. Yes, the sister had booked us in months in advance and she made sure we arrived well ahead of time, in our best appearance, of course. Thankfully for us, the weather had been kind and we managed to venture the surrounding area prior to our booked dinner time.

The restaurant staff were very professional and attentive towards our needs, which is always a positive gesture, especially when good ambience = happy visitors. We studied the menu a week before we landed in Sydney and hence, were just stuck on the task of deciding what to drink!

A fancy looking spoon which deserves a picture! Please excuse my behaviour; I am easily intrigued by new discoveries heh.

I had an apple martini whilst basking under the Sydney bridge lights.

Housebread is essential and a good indicator of how well the kitchen operates. Cold or stale bread is a big no no and am happy to clarify that the ones in this restaurant was warm, fluffy and fresh!

Complementary consomme to start the meal. The consomme was full of flavour and the addition of the mousse layer (from what I think I remember it was) works harmoniously together.

Fragrant poached chicken, white radish, sea scallops, pea blossoms, smoked white eggplant cream and virgin black sesame oil ~ As seen from Masterchef, this is a very technical dish but well-worth the effort. The chicken was moist, the eggplant cream was subtle but yet flavourful and the scallops were cooked perfectly.

Raw smoked Blackmore wagyu, fresh dory roe, horseradish juice, soured cream, milk skin ~ I have never had raw beef before and am surprised at how moist it was. I can hardly taste any undesirable beef-y aroma as I took a small mouthful of it. The milk skin was feather thin, which added a lovely contrasting texture to the overall dish.

Smoked and confit pig cheek, shiitake, shaved scallop, Jerusalem artichoke leaves bay and juniper ~ another subtle but yet aromatic dish produced by Peter Gilmore and have successful convinced me to appreciate other animal parts which are often underrated.

Roasted goose, forbidden rice, black miso and hatsuke radish ~ once again, I have not had goose before and wondered if this was a piece of salmon! I often associate meat with more robust flavours and am intrigued by the fusion of Asian flavours with the meat. Not a heavy/ filling dish and it got me excited for the next plate.

Pasture raised veal, bitter chocolate black pudding, slow cooked wallaby tail, salsify, smoked bone marrow, chestnut mushrooms ~ from memory, this was one of my favourites for the night. It was a hearty meal, packed full of flavour and crunch, albeit it's simplicity. Just goes to show that using good quality ingredients should be a priority in every kitchen:)

Slow cooked partridge with truffle, milk skin and congee~ please forgive me for forgetting what I had that night (this is a very delayed post, indeed!) and hence, the not-so-fancy-dish-name that I have conjured. The congee was no ordinary congee as it had various flavours already infused to it and the partridge melted in my mouth. Another favourite for the night.

Snow egg ~ now...did you think I had exited the restaurant without sinking my teeth into this notorious dessert? The sister and I both agreed that it was a beautifully crafted dessert that had the wow factor attached to it. The snow egg (which I reckon was constructed using meringue) had a soft interior and a paperthin crunch exterior which worked perfectly well. I can eat this everyday:)

Quay's eight texture chocolate cake ~ I have watched the production of this cake on Masterchef and had thought of recreating it at home. Scratch that idea. The amount of work that goes into making it was overwhelming for my simple mind and hence, I shall eat my cake here! Very chocolate-y (not like a mudslide cake) and the usage of warmed chocolate against the chilled cake was delicious!

Overall, the sister and I had enjoyed our little escape to Sydney and despite it being a busy/fast-moving city, I am glad to know that it's historical and scenic beauty is preserved well. Definitely an exciting foodie adventure and am looking forward to my next trip here:)

Quay on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Shanghai red bean mooncake

Mooncake festival is just around the corner and probably the best time for me to use up my leftover red bean paste from attempting to make dorayaki some time ago. I do not own any traditional mooncake moulds nor do I have any idea how to construct the perfect mooncake with egg yoke so this was pretty much all I could experiment with for now:)

Pretty happy that the recipe did not disappoint and would gladly reattempt this on other events. Not too difficult to make, especially if ready made red bean paste is available.

250g butter
150g icing
1 egg
380g plain flour
60g cornflour

700g red bean paste

Black and white sesame seeds
Egg wash

I put all these ingredients into the food processor to blend together. Once it is uniform in texture, I wrapped it in cling wrap and refrigerate it overnight. The very next day, I weighed out approximately 40g red bean and 50g dough portions. Place the red bean "balls" into the flattened dough and make sure its well rounded. Egg wash your red bean pastries before sprinkling some sesame seeds. Bake at 180C until well done and a nice golden brown colour is achieved.

Some of mine broke due to poor handling :S

Delicious on a chilly, spring day:)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sambal tumis

Having a bag of dried chillies in the pantry can be useful, especially when there's a block of belacan (shrimp paste) sitting next to it for a long time! Initially, I wanted to prepare a simple malaysian sambal belacan but this does not seem possible without a good squeeze of lime juice in it. So, I resorted to preparing another alternative.

This particular sambal tumis reminded me of the chilli sauce that we get with nasi lemak although mine may take more practice to achieve the same level!

Ingredients (adapted from here )

100g dried chillies, soaked in 1/4 cup water
100g fresh chillies
10g bird's eye chillies
250g shallots
1 big onion
10g ginger
15g galangal
30g garlic
15g belacan
1 cup cooking oil
40g tamarind pulp
50g palm sugar
1 tsp salt

I have used less bird's eye chillies for fear that my poor tummy could not handle the heat and did not have any galangal so I've replaced that with ginger.

Toast the belacan until it is achieves a crumb like texture (takes about 10 minutes on low heat?). Place chillies, shallots, onion and ginger in a food processor and blend away. Slowly incorporate sufficient amounts of the chilli water (water used to soak the dried chillies) until the mixture appears paste like. Add the belacan crumbs to it.

Pour chilli paste into a big wok and stirfry for 10 minutes until the paste becomes drier before pouring in the oil. Continue stirring on a low heat for 40 minutes or until the chilli paste turns darker and the oil separates.

Incorporate the tamarind pulp, salt and sugar into the chilli paste and continue stirring for an extra 10 minutes.

Thankfully I do not have to mince these myself.

Lasts pretty long in the fridge and can be used to prepare sambal sotong, mee goreng or nasi goreng. I have added fried anchovies to the sambal tumis for added crunch:) Try it out and let me know how you go!