Sunday, December 26, 2010

Banana Foster French Toast

I had Christmas this year with my two little cousins and my daughter. I promised them a good breakfast for Christmas morning before we open our presents. I searched for french toast recipes and I found this Paula Deans Recipe. I did some changes cause her recipes usually are a little too sweet for my taste and also to downsize the amount because I didn't want 8 servings. I loved that she used croissants and I was very excited to try that and they turned out delicious. It was very easy and quick as well. I will definitely make it again.

Yield:8 servings

Times:Prep5 min ,Cook 10 min
Total 15 min


* 4 large eggs (I only used 3)
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 8 tablespoons butter, divided
* 8 large croissants, halved (I used 6 )
* 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
* 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I used 1/4 Cup)
* 1 cup maple syrup
* 1 cup chopped pecans
* 6 ripe bananas, halved crosswise and lengthwise (I used 4)
* 1 teaspoon rum extract

In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs, cream, and cinnamon. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Dip 4 croissant halves in egg mixture to coat both sides. Using a fork, remove croissants from egg mixture, letting excess mixture drip off. Place croissant halves in hot skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side or until lightly browned. Repeat procedure with remaining butter and croissant halves. Set aside and keep warm.

In a large skillet, combine corn syrup, brown sugar, maple syrup and pecans. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes. Add banana halves and rum extract. Coat with the syrup mixture, and simmer 1 minute. Spoon over French toast. Serve immediately.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Omelette Roll Slices

Most of us know how to make an omelette. Here is a recipe of an omelette with a cute twist to it! The twist is that it is made into a roll and then sliced, that's all! You can put anything you like just like a regular omelette. Today, I put some onions and mushrooms. I usually put finely diced onion, carrots, and roasted seaweed (Korean or Japanese). Noone taught me how to make this, but I first ate an omelette in a roll and sliced from a Korean grocery store. I liked it and started making them as a side dish because they are easy, pretty, and TASTY!

Basic Recipe: (change it up by all means!)

2-3 eggs, beaten
about 1/2 C finely diced onion, carrots or any veges of your choice

Mix the veges and egg. Pour it in a slighly greased skillet. Cook for a few min till you can roll it in tight roll. Let it cool and slice. They are so pretty!

Click here for a good website that shows step by step pictures if you want to see good pictures and how to fold etc.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

WE ARE ON A ROLL!: The Daring Cooks' October 2010 Challenge

Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. The challenge this month requires Daring cooks to make a filling (meat or meatless, but must include rice) and roll it in grape leaves (or Swiss chard, kale, cabbage or some tough green).
I didn't even attempt to find the grape leaves because I am not a big fan of them. I thought about using collard or mustard greens and using fish or shrimp but time was running out and I just did STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS!I am pleased with how they turned out. I made up the filling with some basic ingredients.
Ingredients for filling:

ground turkey
cooked rice
diced onion
diced celery
salt and pepper
soy sauce
sesame oil

Depending on how much you want to make, just eyeball the ingredients. I used 2:1 ration of meat:rice. Added spices and sauteed a lil onion and celery (add or omit what you like). Blanched the cabbage leaves. Remove the hearts and stuff them with the filling. Roll. Cover with boiling salted water and bake for 20-30 min or boil till the meat is done about 8 min.

The Filling

Blanched Cabbage Leaves

Before Rolling

Cute Cabbage Roll

Enjoy the Stuffed Cabbage Rolls!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yummy Mini Turkey Patties

Today I decided to put this post up for my daughter who loves these little turkey patties. I usually use ground pork to make meat patties since we don't eat a lot of ground beef in our house. One day I decided to use ground turkey instead and we loved it more than the pork so since then I have been using turkey. I think this is going to please your children as well. I usually make a soup and rice to go with these (being an Asian house hold, you know we LOVE RICE!). I have bought meat patties from the Korean gerocery store I go to but they are not my favorite. I think they add mashed up tofu or something and I can barely taste any meat. So, here is how I make mine just the way we like it in our house:


1 lb ground turkey (lean)
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 TBS soysauce
1 tsp sugar
2 TBS Korean pancake flour (use regular flour if you can't get korean pancake flour)
salt and pepper

Combine the above ingredients well and make small patties.

1 egg, beaten
some Korean pancake flour

Dip the patties one by one in egg then flour (shake the excess off) and pan fry with a little bit of oil till they are golden on both sides.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Daring Bakers' September 2010 Challenge: Decorated Sugar Cookies

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking. It was mandatory for us to use t Peggy Porschen's Basic Sugar Cookie recipe provided and decorate the cookies using Royal Icing recipe adapted from The Joy of Baking with the theme of September, whatever that means to us. All recipes and tips follwed are what was given to us in the challange. I am not a cookie baker and I do not have much to add as far as cookie knowledge goes but I will get better as I do more I hope :). I do prefer cakes and other desrts to cookies...even in cookies sugar cookies are not my favorite. I like chocolate chip cookies but sugar cookies and decorating them seems like something I can get into when I have more time. The decorating ideas are endless and thus I am sure I will enjoy doing so....

Basic Sugar Cookies:
Makes Approximately 36x 10cm / 4" Cookies

200g / 7oz / ½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
400g / 14oz / 3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose / Plain Flour
200g / 7oz / 1 cup Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
5ml / 1 tsp Vanilla Extract / Or seeds from 1 vanilla bean

• Cream together the butter, sugar and any flavourings you’re using. Beat until just becoming
creamy in texture.
• Tip: Don’t over mix otherwise you’ll incorporate too much air and the cookies will spread during
baking, losing their shape.
• Beat in the egg until well combined, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the sifted flour and mix on low until a non sticky dough forms.
• Tip: I don’t have a stand mixer so I find it easier to switch to dough hooks at this stage to avoid
flour flying everywhere.
• Knead into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces.
• Roll out each portion between parchment paper to a thickness of about 5mm/1/5 inch (0.2 inch)
• Refrigerate for a minimum of 30mins.
• Tip: Recipes commonly just wrap the whole ball of dough in clingwrap and then refrigerate it for an
hour or overnight, but by rolling the dough between parchment, this shortens the chilling time and
then it’s also been rolled out while still soft making it easier and quicker.
• Once chilled, peel off parchment and place dough on a lightly floured surface.
• Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife.
• Arrange shapes on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for another 30mins to an hour.
• Tip: It’s very important you chill them again otherwise they’ll spread while baking.
• Re-roll scraps and follow the above process until all scraps are used up.
• Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C Fan Assisted) / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
• Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15mins depending on the size of the cookies.
• Tip: Bake same sized cookies together otherwise mixing smaller with larger cookies could result in
some cookies being baked before others are done.
• Tip: Rotate baking sheets half way through baking if your oven bakes unevenly.
• Leave to cool on cooling racks.
• Once completely cooled, decorate as desired.
• Tip: If wrapped in tinfoil/cling wrap or kept in airtight containers in a cool place, un-decorated cookies can last up to a month.

Royal Icing:

315g – 375g / 11oz – 13oz / 2½ - 3 cups Icing / Confectioner’s / Powdered Sugar, unsifted
2 Large Egg Whites
10ml / 2 tsp Lemon Juice
5ml / 1 tsp Almond Extract, optional


• Beat egg whites with lemon juice until combined.
• Tip: It’s important that the bowls/spoons/spatulas and beaters you use are thoroughly cleaned and
grease free.
• Sift the icing sugar to remove lumps and add it to the egg whites.
• Tip: I’ve listed 2 amounts of icing sugar, the lesser amount is good for a flooding consistency, and the larger amount is for outlining, but you can add even more for a much thicker consistency good for writing. If you add too much icing sugar or would like to make a thinner consistency, add very small amounts of water, a few drops at a time, until you reach the consistency you need.
• Beat on low until combined and smooth.
• Use immediately or keep in an airtight container.
• Tip: Royal Icing starts to harden as soon as it’s in contact with air so make sure to cover containers with plastic wrap while not in use.

Decorating Your Cookies: Flooding
“Flooding” a cookie is a technique used when covering a cookie with Royal Icing.
1. You outline the area you want to flood which helps create a dam
2. Then fill or flood inside the area you’ve outlined

Decorating Your Cookies: What You'll Need
- Piping bags / Parchment Cones / Ziplock Bags
- Elastic bands
- Piping tips (between sizes 1 & 5)
- Couplers
- Glasses (handy for standing your piping bags in)
- Clean clothes, dry & damp
- Toothpicks
- Gel or paste food colouring

Decorating Your Cookies: Royal Icing
The most important thing when it comes to decorating with Royal Icing is the consistency.

There are two ways of flooding your cookies. Some like to do the outline with a thicker icing and then flood with a thinner icing. Some like to use the same icing to do both which saves time and you don’t have to have two different piping bags for each colour you’re using.

The Same Consistency Method
• Mix your royal icing according to the recipe/instructions
• Drag a knife through the surface of the Royal Icing and count to 10
• If the surface becomes smooth between 5 & 10 seconds, the icing is at the correct consistency
• Tip: If your icing is too thick, thin it by adding a few drops of water. Mix, do the 10 second test, then if it’s still too thick, add a few more drops of water, repeat, etc.
• Tip: To thicken your icing, add small amounts of icing sugar until thick enough for the 10 second test

Two Different Consistencies Method
• Mix your royal icing according to the recipe/instructions.
• Separate into 2 different bowls, one lot of icing for outlining, the other for flooding.
• For the outlining icing, drag a knife through the surface of the Royal Icing.
• If the surface becomes smooth at around 10 seconds, the icing is at the correct consistency.
• Tip: If your icing is too thick, thin it by adding a few drops of water. Mix, count to 10 seconds, then if it’s still too thick, add a few more drops of water, repeat, etc.
• Tip: To thicken your icing, add small amounts of icing sugar until thick enough for the 10 second test.
• For the flooding/filling icing, drag a knife through the surface of the Royal Icing.
• If the surface becomes smooth at around 3-4 seconds, the icing is at the correct consistency.
• Tip: If your icing is too thick, thin it by adding a few drops of water. Mix, count to 3-4 seconds, then if it’s still too thick, add a few more drops of water, repeat, etc.
• Tip: To thicken your icing, add small amounts of icing sugar until thick enough for the 3-4 second test.
• Separate Royal Icing into separate bowls for each colour you plan on using.
• Tip: Make sure to cover the bowls with cling film or a damp cloth to prevent the top from setting and then making lumps
• Using a toothpick, add gel or paste colouring to each bowl and mix thoroughly until desired colour is reached
• Tip: You can use liquid food colouring but you might not be able to get the desired strength of colour, liquid colouring will also thin out the icing so you’ll need to add more icing sugar to thicken it again.

Prepping and Filling Your Bag
• Attach your icing tips to the piping bags using couplers
• Tip: You don’t need to use a coupler but it makes it easier if you want to change tip sizes
• Tip: A size 1 tip is best for doing intricate details. A size 2 tip is good for some details and outlining. Fill or flood with sizes 2 – 5.
• Tip: You don’t need a piping bag, you can use a parchment cone or ziplock bag with a tiny bit snipped off the corner. I would however recommend getting a piping set if you don’t have one as it will be much easier and more precise.
• Stand the piping bags in glasses with the tops of the bags folded over the top of the glass.
• Fill your icing bags with each coloured icing.
• Tie the ends of the piping bags with elastic bands.

Decorating: Outlining
• Fit the piping bag with a size 2 or 3 tip.
• Tip: Or snip a very small bit of the corner off of a parchment cone or Ziploc bag
• Hold the piping bag at a 45 degree angle above the cookie where you want to start the outline.
• Gently squeeze the piping bag and start moving in the direction you want to outline the cookie.
• Start lifting the piping bag away from the cookie so that the flow of icing falls onto the cookie, making it an even and neater outline.
• As you start to reach the beginning of the outline, bring the piping tip closer to the surface of the cookie to meet the start of the icing outline.
• Tip: If you’re doing an intricate cookie, like a snow flake, you won’t be able to lift the tip as far away from the cookie.
• If you’re doing a different colour border, eg a black border, let the outline dry before flooding. If using the same colour for the outline as you’re flooding with, begin flooding after doing the outline.

Decorating: Flooding
• Fit the piping bag with a size 2-5 tip, the bigger the area being filled, the bigger the tip.
• Tip: Or cut slightly more off the corner of a Ziploc bag to create a slightly larger opening.
• Quickly zigzag back and forth over the area you want to fill.
• Tip: You need to be quick when flooding the cookie so don’t worry too much if it’s not filled in neatly.
• Using a toothpick or clean paintbrush, push the icing around into the gaps that are still remaining.
• Either pick up the cookie and tip it from side to side to even out the filling, or lightly bang the cookie down on your kitchen counter.

Decorating: Melding Colours
• If you would like to add lines or dots to the base colour that you flooded the cookie with so that they meld and dry as a smooth surface, you need to add the lines/dots/patterns as quickly as possible after flooding and smoothing the surface of the cookie.
• Tip: Make sure to have all the colours you’re planning on using ready and close by so that you can switch between colours quickly
• Simply pipe other colours onto the flooded surface in patterns or lines which you can either leave as that or then drag a toothpick through to make marbling patterns.

Decorating: On top of flooding
• If you’d like to do other patterns/outlines or writing on top of the flooded surface so that they are raised above the flooded background, simply allow the icing to dry, preferably over night.
• Fit the piping bag with tip sizes 1-3.
• Pipe patterns or write on top of the dry icing
• Tip: For writing, the consistency of your icing should be thicker rather than thinner, drag a knife through your icing and when the surface smoothes around 12-15 seconds, the consistency is correct.

Packaging and Storing
• Once fully decorated, allow cookies to dry for 24 hours in a cool and dry area.
• Stack cookies in an airtight container, from largest cookies at the bottom, to smallest and more intricate at the top, with parchment or wax free paper in between the layers.
• Store in a cool and dry area with the container’s lid firmly sealed.
• Will last for about a month if stored this way.

General Baking Tips
• When measuring by volume (cup) always shift/aerate your flour/icing sugar in the container/bag before measuring because it settles as it sits and so you end up with more flour/icing sugar in your cup. I do this by moving the ingredient around with a spoon, whisk or fork.
• When measuring flour or icing sugar by volume (cup) never scoop the flour/icing sugar up with the cup otherwise you compress the contents and this can make a big difference in the amount you’re using. Rather, spoon the ingredient into the cup until level with the top.
• When measuring baking powder or baking soda, always level off the top of the measuring spoon with something flat (like the back of a knife) as these ingredients need to be accurately measured.
• When mixing your ingredients, always follow the recipe instructions, especially when it comes to beating in eggs and flour, so if it specifies to mix until just combined or to beat for 4 minutes, follow the instructions to get best results.
• Unless otherwise specified, always have your ingredients at room temperature.
• It’s always best to invest in an oven thermometer so that you know exactly the temperature you’re baking at then you can also find out if you have cold or hot spots in your oven.
• If you need to rotate your trays midst baking, always allow at least half the baking time to lapse before opening your oven to move baking trays around, this allows time for your baked goods to form a good structure so that they won’t flop.

General Royal Icing Tips• Keep a damp cloth handy while decorating your cookies so that if you’re switching between different icing bags, you can keep the tips covered with the damp cloth so that the icing doesn’t dry and clog them.
• If your icing tips do clog, use a toothpick or pin to unclog them.
• Always pipe a little bit of royal icing onto a board/paper towel before you begin to make sure there are no air bubbles.
• Remember to always cover bowls containing royal icing wither cling wrap, a damp cloth or sealable lid so that the surface doesn’t dry.
• Don’t store anything decorated with royal icing in the fridge otherwise the royal icing will become tacky.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Daring Cooks September 2010 Challenge: Food Preservation: Apple Butter

The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation. I had so much fun with this challenge. I made it twice. I gave most of it away to friends and neighbors too!
It's a little time consuming but DELICIOUS!!! I also came up with my own recipe which I was very pleased with. I do want to warn you that this is my own recipe which I am here trying to remember and write down, so forgive me if it is hard to follow and please feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have any questions. Here it is:
9 golden delicious apples
3/4 C apple Juice (and splash lemon juice because I didn't have apple cider)
1 C White sugar
3/4 C Dark corn syrup
1 C Brown sugar
3 Cinnamon sticks
1 TBS cloves
I peeled and cored the apples. Then I chopped them roughly. I placed all the apples, apple juice, lemon juice and the spices in a large pot and let them cook on low till the apples are tender stirring frequently. This took awhile (approximately 2 hours) because I was not only letting the apples cook but also letting all the water evaporate. If you want to strain the liquid out like most recipes calls for, feel free. When all the apples are tender and mashed up to a paste consistency, pick the cinnamon sticks and cloves out and add the sugars and syrup to sweeten and taste. Let it cook to a spread consistency (very thick). Can or freeze. I will not include canning instructions but it is easy to find those online. Good Luck!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Daring Cooks August, 2010 Challenge: The World of Pierogi

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.
Pierogi are just dumplings to explain in a simple term. These are popular all over the world and have different names but basically dough rolled out thinly to make shells and stuffed with your favorite filling. Part of the challenge was to make the shells or the skin from scratch and that was my first time ever doing so. It was so easy and yummy. Also the endless choices for the filling makes this challenge extra fun. I chose to do the first one a savory one and I am sure I will be making some sweet ones soon as well.

Pierogi (makes 4 generous servings, around 20 dumplings)
(Traditional Polish recipe, although each family will have their own version, this is Anula's family recipe)

2 to 2 1/2 cups (300 to 375 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 large egg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
About 1 cup (250 ml) lukewarm water
Place 2 cups flour in a large bowl or on a work surface and make a well in the center. Break the egg into it, add the salt and a little lukewarm at a time (in my situation 1/2 cup was enough). Bring the dough together, kneading well and adding more flour or water as necessary. Cover the dough with a bowl or towel. You’re aiming for soft dough. Let it rest 20 minutes.

On a floured work surface, roll the dough out thinly (1/8” or about 3 millimeters) cut with a 2-inch (5 cm) round or glass (personally I used 4-inch/10 cm cutter as it makes nice size pierogi - this way I got around 30 of them and 1 full, heaped teaspoon of filling is perfect for that size). Spoon a portion (teaspoon will be the best) of the filling into the middle of each circle. Fold dough in half and pinch edges together. Gather scraps, re-roll and fill. Repeat with remaining dough.

This month we were given the choice to pick our own filling and I decided to go with a mushroom and cheese filling. I used regular white button mushrooms and smoked Gouda cheese.

The Filling

8 oz mushrooms, chopped into small pieces(about 2 C)
1 yellow pepper, chopped (about 1 C)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 TBS olive oil
1 1/2 cup smoked Gouda Cheese, shredded

Saute the garlic and peppers in olive oil for a few min till peppers are almost tender.

Add the mushroom and saute till tender.

Look how pretty the sauteed mushroom mixture is !!

Have your cheese ready.

Fill the pirogies.

Pan fry and ENJOY!!!

Friday, July 30, 2010


The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

This is a little time consumming but very good for summer. I love the look of it as well. I enjoy making ice cream cakes and will make this one again. For those who don't have time, you can always use store bought swiss rolls or/and or ice cream and just assemble the cake for a quick party etc.

Swiss roll ice cream cake
(inspired by the recipe of the same name from the Taste of Home website)

The Swiss rolls

Preparation time- 10 minutes
Baking time- 10-12 minutes
Rolling and cooling time- at least 30 minutes
Filling-5-8 minutes
Filling and rolling- 5-10 minutes


6 medium sized eggs
1 C / 225 gms caster sugar /8 oz+ extra for rolling
6 tblsp / 45gms/ a pinch over 1.5 oz of all purpose (plain) flour + 5 tblsp/40gm /a pinch under 1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together
2 tblsp /30ml / 1 fl oz of boiling water
a little oil for brushing the pan

1. Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C /400 deg F approximately. Brush the baking pans ( 11 inches by 9 inches ) with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat till very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.

3. Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water.

4. Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pans.
5. Place a pan in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch.

6. Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it.
7. Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.

8. Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.

Repeat the same for the next cake as well.

For the filling

2C / 500 mls/ 16 fl oz of whipping cream
1 vanilla pod, cut into small pieces of about ½ cm (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
5 tblsp / 70gms/2.5oz of caster sugar

Grind together the vanilla pieces and sugar in a food processer till nicely mixed together. If you are using vanilla extract, just grind the sugar on its own and then add the sugar and extract to the cream.

In a large bowl, add the cream and vanilla-sugar mixture and beat till very thick.
Divide the cream mixture between the completely cooled cakes.
Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).

Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.

The vanilla ice cream

Preparation time-5 minutes+freezing

I have made the ice cream without an ice cream maker.


2 and ½ C / 625 ml / 20 fl oz of whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, minced or 1 tsp/ 5 ml/ .15 fl oz vanilla extract
½ C / 115gms/ 4 oz of granulated sugar

Grind together the sugar and vanilla in a food processor. In a mixing bowl, add the cream and vanilla –sugar mixture and whisk lightly till everything is mixed together. If you are using the vanilla extract, grind the sugar on its own and then and the sugar along with the vanilla extract to the cream.

Pour into a freezer friendly container and freeze till firm around the edges. Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely.

The Hot fudge sauce (I made this just after adding the layer of vanilla ice cream to the cake)

Preparation time-2 minutes
Cooking time-2 minutes


1 C / 230gms/ 8 oz of caster sugar
3 tblsp / 24gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tblsp /15gms/ 1 oz of cornflour/cornstarch
1 and ½ C /355ml /12 fl oz of water
1 tblsp /14gms/ 1 oz butter
1 tsp/5 ml / .15 fl oz vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour and water.

Place the pan over heat, and stir constantly, till it begins to thicken and is smooth (for about 2 minutes).
Remove from heat and mix in the butter and vanilla. Keep aside to cool .

The chocolate ice cream

Preparation time- 5 minutes + freezing


2C/ 500 ml whipping cream
1 C/230gms/8 oz caster sugar
3 tblsp/ 24 gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Grind together the sugar and the cocoa powder in a food processor .
2. In a saucepan, add all the ingredients and whisk lightly.
3. Place the pan over heat and keep stirring till it begins to bubble around the edges.

Remove from heat and cool completely before transferring to a freezer friendly container till firm around the edges. If you are using an ice cream maker, churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instruction, after the mixture has cooled completely.
Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely.


1. Cut the Swiss rolls into 20 equal slices ( approximately 2 cms each ).

2. Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap.

3. Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm (at least 30 minutes).

4. Soften the vanilla ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm ( at least 1 hour)

5. Add the fudge sauce over the vanilla ice cream, cover and freeze till firm. ( at least an hour)

6. Soften the chocolate ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set .

7. Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily.

8. Keep the cake out of the freezer for at least 10 minutes before slicing, depending on how hot your region is. Slice with a sharp knife, dipped in hot water.

Enjoy it at home or impress your friends at a party!!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Daring Cooks July 2010 Challenge: Nut Butters : Asian Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing and Grilled Curry Chicken

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online. We were given a few recipes to pick from and many choices of nuts. I chose the Asian Noodle salad recipe with Peanut Dressing and decided to add grilled curry chicken on top (the original recipe uses shrimp).

Asian Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing

Yield: 4 servings

Recipe notes: Customize the salad by adding or substituting your favorite vegetables. Shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, and slivered carrots would make nice additions. Obviously, you can omit the shrimp, or substitute chicken or tofu or the protein of your choice. The dressing is equally as good with peanut butter rather than cashew butter. We tested the dressing with nut butters made from salted cashews & peanuts with good results.


Peanut Butter:
1 cup dry roasted peanuts (I used unsalted)

Make peanut butter: Grind peanuts in food processor for about 2 minutes until smooth. (*Or start with ½ cup prepared peanut butter.)

Peanut Dressing:
½ inch (1 cm) slice of fresh ginger, chopped
8 cloves garlic, more or less to taste, chopped
½ cup (120 ml) peanut butter
¼ cup (60 ml) soy sauce
3 Tablespoons (45 ml) sugar
3 Tablespoons (45 ml) vinegar
3 Tablespoons (45 ml) toasted sesame oil
¼ cup plus 1 Tablespoon (75 ml) water
Hot sauce to taste (optional)

Prepare peanut dressing: Combine ginger, garlic, peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and water in food processor or blender. Process/blend until smooth. Be sure to process long enough to puree the ginger and garlic. The dressing should be pourable, about the same thickness as cream. Adjust consistency – thinner or thicker -- to your liking by adding more water or peanut butter. Taste and add your favorite hot sauce if desired. (If the cashew butter was unsalted, you may want to add salt to taste.) Makes about 1 ½ cups (360 ml) dressing. Store any leftover dressing in the refrigerator.

My Grilled Curry Chicken

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (butterfiled)
2 TBS peanut butter
1 tsp curry powder
1 TBS fish sauce (optional)
1 TBS lime juice
pinch of salt

Marinate the chicken with rest of the ingridients for about 15 min and grill. Chop the grilled chicken into big cubes.

Noodle Salad:
1/2 pound (225 g) linguine or thin rice noodles
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, cored and seeded, cut into thin strips (I omitted this)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, sliced (I omitted this)
1/4 cup (60 ml) sliced green onions
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped peanuts (optional garnish)
Lime wedges (optional)
Cilantro (optional)
Prepare noodles according to package instructions in salted water. Rinse and drain noodles. Set aside.
Slice basil into thin ribbons. Combine noodles, bell pepper, cucumber, onions, and basil in a large bowl. Add about ½ cup (120 ml) peanut dressing; toss gently to coat. Add more peanut dressing as desired, using as much or as little as you’d like. Scatter grilled chicken on top. Squeeze fresh lime juice over salad or serve with lime wedges. Sprinkle with chopped or cilantro if desired.

Friday, July 2, 2010

JUNE 2010 - Daring Baker's Challenge: Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.
This is something very new to me and was a fun experience to make. It is a light summer desert that would go with many fresh fruits that are in season for the summer too.

Preparation time
: The recipe can be made in one day although there are several steps involved.

* While the pavlovas are baking, the crème anglaise should be made which will take about 15 minutes.
* While it is cooling, the chocolate mascarpone mousse can be made which will take about 15 minutes.
* There will be a bit of a wait time for the mascarpone cream because of the cooling time for the Crème Anglaise.
* If you make the Crème Anglaise the day before, the dessert should take about 2 hours including cooking time for the pavlovas.

Equipment required:
• Baking sheet(s) with parchment or silpat
• Several bowls
• Piping bag with pastry tip
• Hand or stand mixer

Recipe 1: Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate Pavlova):

3 large egg whites
½ cup plus 1 tbsp (110 grams) white granulated sugar
¼ cup (30 grams) confectioner’s (icing)
1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder


1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200º F (95º C) degrees. Line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment and set aside.

2. Put the egg whites in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar about 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form. (The whites should be firm but moist.)

3. Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold the dry ingredients into the white. (This looks like it will not happen. Fold gently and it will eventually come together.)

4. Fill a pastry bag with the meringue. Pipe the meringue into whatever shapes you desire. Alternatively, you could just free form your shapes and level them a bit with the back of a spoon.

5. Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Recipe 2: Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (for the top of the Pavlova base):

1 ½ cups (355 mls) heavy cream (cream with a milk fat content of between 36 and 40 percent)
grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
9 ounces (255 grams) 72% chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups (390 mls) mascarpone
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp (30 mls) Grand Marnier (or orange juice)


1. Put ½ cup (120 mls) of the heavy cream and the lemon zest in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once warm, add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let sit at room temperature until cool.

2. Place the mascarpone, the remaining cup of cream and nutmeg in a bowl. Whip on low for a minute until the mascarpone is loose. Add the Grand Marnier and whip on medium speed until it holds soft peaks. (DO NOT OVERBEAT AS THE MASCARPONE WILL BREAK.)

3. Mix about ¼ of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated. Fill a pastry bag with the mousse. Again, you could just free form mousse on top of the pavlova.

Recipe 3: Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling):

1 recipe crème anglaise
½ cup (120 mls) mascarpone
2 tbsp (30 mls) Sambucca (optional)
½ cup (120 mls) heavy cream


1. Prepare the crème anglaise. Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and the Sambucca and let the mixture cool. Put the cream in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until very soft peaks are formed. Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.

Recipe 4: Crème Anglaise (a component of the Mascarpone Cream above):

1 cup (235 mls) whole milk
1 cup (235 mls) heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
6 tbsp (75 grams) sugar


1. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow.
2. Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat.

3. Pour about ½ cup of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep from making scrambled eggs. Pour the yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining cream mixture and put the heat back on medium. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon. DO NOT OVERCOOK.
4. Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours or overnight.


Pipe the mousse onto the pavlovas and drizzle with the mascarpone cream over the top. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and fresh fruit if desired.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Spicy Octopus

Octopus may not be for everyone but I do love it, especially when cooked this way. It's is a simple a simple spicy seafood dish I like to make. I put all the flavors that I love in this quick and easy stir fry dish and serve it with rice. It is always a hit at my house since we all love seafood...most Asains do! You can make this dish with squid and/or shrimp as well.

Ingredients: ( these are approximate only and adjust to your taste please)
1 to 1 1/2 lb baby octopus
4-6 Thai red peepers, depending on how hot you want
a hanful of cilantro
2 TBS lemon juice or lime juice (more or less depending on how tangy you like)
pinch of salt
2 TBS chili oil (see pic)
1 TBS oil
1 tsp sugar

Clean and blanch the octopus for a few min in boiling water. Drain.
Cilantro, chopped. Peppers halved lengthwise.
Chili oil, can be found in most Asain stores.
Heat up the 1 TBS oil and add the octopus and stir for about 1 min.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir fry for a few min and taste. Adjust to your taste.
Enjoy it with some steamed rice!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Three Spice Liver Pâté -The Daring Cook's June 2010 Challenge

Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice. I chose the Three Spice Livger Pâté and french bread to go with it. The Pâté was easy to make, but I had a hard time getting pork belly to get grinded up in the food processor, so next time I'll chop it up finely first. The house smelled so good when it was baking and my mom couldn't wait to eat. My bread turned out ok but didn't look pretty and I don't have any pictures. Both tasted great, but I made it in a loaf pan I still have a lot left over. Next time I'll halve the recipe. Fun Challenge in deed!

Three Spice Liver Pâté

1 lb / 454 grams pork liver (or beef or combination)
1/2 lb / 227 grams ground pork
1/2 lb / 227 grams pork fat (or pork belly)
2 cloves garlic
2 shallots
1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp / 2 ml cinnamon
1/2 tsp / 2 ml coriander (ground or crushed)
1/2 tsp / 2 ml cumin
3/4 tsp / 3 ml salt
1 tbps / 15 ml coarse freshly cracked peppercorns
2 tbps / 30 ml cognac
2 bay leaves
1 package of bacon
Preheat oven to to 350ºF (180ºC).

Cut liver and pork fat into small pieces and add to food processor. Add ground pork, garlic, shallots, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Grind until smooth.

In mixing bowl, incorporate the meat and liver mixture with the cognac and eggs.

Line bottom of baking or ceramic pan with overlapping pieces of bacon. Place a bay leaf on the bottom and then fill with meat/liver mixture. Cover top with another bay leaf and then overlapping pieces of bacon.

Place in oven in the larger baking pan and add enough water to cover 2/3rds of the pan containing the meat/liver mixture. Bake for about 1-1.5 hrs.

The pâté will contract and the juices will be on the bottom. Allow to cool and soak up the juices. Remove any excess bacon and discard the bay leaves.

French Baguette
yield: Three 16" baguettes

1/2 cup / 120 ml cool water
1/16 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup / 240 ml flour

1 tsp / 5 ml active dry yeast
1 cup to 1 1/4 cups / 240 ml to 300 ml lukewarm water*
all of the starter
3 1/2 cups / 840 ml flour
1 1/2 tsp / 7 ml salt

*Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.

Make the starter by mixing the yeast with the water, then mixing in the flour to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; overnight works well. The starter should have risen and become bubbly.

Mix active dry yeast with the water and then combine with the starter, flour, and salt. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you've made a soft, somewhat smooth dough; it should be cohesive, but the surface may still be a bit rough. Knead for about 5 minutes on speed 2 of a stand mixer.

Place the dough in a lightly greased medium-size bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 3 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over after 1 hour, and then again after 2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface. Divide it into three equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rest for 15 minutes.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand. Flatten it slightly, and fold and seal again. With the seam-side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 15" log. Place the logs seam-side down onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined sheet pan or pans.

Cover them with a cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaves to rise till they've become very puffy, about 1 1/2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450ºF (240ºC).

Using a very sharp knife held at about a 45° angle, make three 8" vertical slashes in each baguette. Spritz the baguettes heavily with warm water; this will help them develop a crackly-crisp crust.

Bake the baguettes until they're a very deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack. Or, for the very crispiest baguettes, turn off the oven, crack it open about 2", and allow the baguettes to cool in the oven.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Manila Clams in Blackbean Sauce

I am a seafood lover...especially when they are live and fresh. I found these live Manila clams from my local Asian market today and bought about a pound and a half. The tip for picking good clams is to pick the ones that are completely closed. Also, they should open when they are cooked and the ones that don't open are bad and should not be eaten. Clams can be cooked many different ways but I like clam soup and stir fried clams in blackbean sauce. Here is my easy recipe:

1.5 lb Manila clams
1 TBS finely sliced ginger
1 TBS blackbean sauce, see pic
1/2 C Cooking wine
1 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS oil
1 tsp sugar
1/4-1/2 C water
pinch of salt
green onions for garnish (optional)

Heat up the oil in a wok and add the ginger. After 30 sec or so add the clams and the rest of the ingredients. Stir fry till the clams open. Can cover and steam to cook quicker as well.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Grilled Scallops with Basil Stuffing

This is one of my newly found favorite seafood recipes. I made this for iheartcookingclubs and I picked this Mark Bittman's recipe for this week's "Herb Garden" theme. We have been cooking with Mark Bittman for sometime now but I havn't had a chance to participate till now. This recipe is so delicious, quick, and easy. I wanted to find larger scallops but these worked out just fine for me. The sweetness of the scallops and the tasty herb stuffing goes so well together and I will be making this again and again. Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds or more large sea scallops

Mince the basil, garlic, salt and pepper together until very fine, almost a puree (you can do this in a food processor, but it really won't save you time or effort). Mix in a small bowl or cup with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

Make a deep horizontal slit in the side of each of the scallops, but don't cut all the way through. Fill each scallop with about ? teaspoon of the basil mixture; close. Pour the remaining oil onto a plate or pan and turn the scallops in it. Let sit while you preheat a gas grill or start a charcoal fire; it should be very hot before grilling, with the rack about 4 inches from the heat source.

Place the scallops on the grill (don't pour the remaining oil over them, as it will catch fire), and grill 2 to 3 minutes per side, no more. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges.

The basil stuffing.

Stuffed scallops.

I did mine in a cast iron skillet on the stove instead of grilling to save time.

Browned and ready to eat scallops.

Delious!!! I was thinking how wonderful this would be if paired with the right wine.....

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Blackened Chicken Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce

I love pasta with cream sauces and this is one of my favorites! I like Alfredo sauce and order it often when I go out to eat but I like making this lemon sauce at home because it's not as rich as Alfredo and also has lots of flavors from all the vegetables I put in. It is pretty easy to make as well. I will try to write the recipe below with as accurate measurements as I can remember so bare with me for it. Afterall, even if I don't remember the exact measurements, you'll get an idea of what goes in this yummy lemon sauce and a general idea of the steps involved. It'll be fun to taste and add more or less of what you like to make it your own too. So here we go;


Pasta (I used linguine) Just boil it with a lil olive oil and garlic.


1 medium Onion (chopped)
8 oz Mushrooms (sliced)
1 small Jar of Marinated Artichoke
2 TBS capers
1 TBS flour
2 TBS butter
1/2 C white wine
3 TBS lemon juice ( adjust to your taste)
1 C heavy cream or half and half

Gather your ingredients and cut the mushrooms and onions.

Cook the onions with butter till the are tender.

Add the sliced mushrooms and cook a few min.

Add the flour and mix well for few min.

Add artichokes and capers.

Add wine and lemon juice.

Let it simmer for about 10-15 min.

Lastly, add cream and simmer for about 10 more min. Taste and add more of what you desire ( lemon juice or cream etc)

Easy Blackened Chicken

4 boneless skinless Chicken Breast
4 TBS melted butter
Blackening seasoning

Use any blackening seasoning powder.

Dip chicken in melted butter and sprinkle generously with blackening seasoning.

Fry the chicken up in an cast iron skillet with some melted butter. Make sure the skillet is very hot and you push down on the chicken with a spatula or spoon. Few min on each side.

Ready! Let the chicken sit and cool a lil before slicing and topping on your pasta.