Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Agar Agar Jelly Cake with Coconut and Pandan


Chinese New Year is coming up on 19 February. This year my in-laws from Malaysia is coming to spend CNY with us making it extra special. As usual for any Chinese celebration, there will be lots of cooking and eating. Agar Agar jelly is a popular sweet you would see in any Malaysian party. It is made from sea vegetable which is a good substitute for gelatine for vegetarian.  It also helps to create many colourful and healthy dessert. It is a great last minute dessert that is very simple to prepare.

I finally find the frozen pandan leaves from Yuen's Market at Sunnybank in Brisbane. I usually use the pandan essence which is very bright green in colour and taste not as good as the real one. I normally make this dessert using coconut milk, evaporated milk and mung bean.  As I don't want to over power the taste of the pandan, I have omitted the evaporate milk here. After discovering this Asian vanilla essence, surely there will be more pandan recipes to come. If mung bean is not your thing, you can omit it as well.

Have a great Chinese New Year!

Agar Agar Jelly Cake with Coconut and Panda

Ingredients:

A:
1/4 cup split mung beans or yellow split peas
1 cup water

B:
3 pandan leaves
1 cup boiled water at room temperature

C:
20g agar agar leaves
2 litres water
1 3/4 cup sugar or more to taste
1 1/2 cup coconut cream

Method:

  1. A: Cook mung beans with water till boil, turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the beans are cooked. Strain and put the bean aside.
  2. B: Cut the pandan leaves into pieces. Add into the blender with water and blend till the juice is green. Strain and preserve the water and discard the leaves.
  3. Place agar agar into boiling water and let it dissolves. Add sugar and stir till sugar dissolves.
  4. Pour about 1/3 of the agar agar sugar mixture into a large baking tray (25cmx30cm). Keep in fridge for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add coconut cream and pandan juice to the remaining agar agar sugar mixture. ( If not using pandan juice, you can add 1/4 cup evaporated milk here) Spread mung bean over the 1st layer of the cake. Then use a ladle to pour the coconut mixture into the tray.  Keep in fridge for at least 1 hour before cutting into slices. It is best to consume the jelly slices within one or two days.



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Nutella Strawberry Shortcake


This is another great idea to celebrate Valentine's Day. As my family doesn't like cake decorated with whipped cream a lot. I choose to ice the cake with nutella and serve it with ice-cream. It could be one of the last minute dessert that looks like a lot of work has been done!

Nutella Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients:
60g butter
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup Lighthouse low-protein self-raising flour
1/3 cup milk
1 punnet strawberry
nutella
icing sugar for dusting

Method:

  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add egg yolks and beat well.  Add in sifted raising flour and milk until well mixed.
  2. Press dough into a lightly greased 20cm sandwich tin, bake in 180c for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Remove cake from tin and cool slightly. Spread with nutella and decorate with strawberries. Serve with cream or ice-cream.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Oreo Cream Cheese Slices for Valentine's Day


There was a plan before making these yummy slices as Oreo usually doesn't last long in my pantry.  I bought two packets and hid them in a special corner until they were really to be used.  As you may know, none of my family like cheesecake and I am taking the risk of eating them all by myself.  But I have found my lovely son to be my Valentine to share them with me. What a joy!

Happy Valentine's Day! XO

Oreo Cream Cheese Slices

Ingredients:

For the base:
200g oreo cream biscuits
50g-60g butter, melted

For the filling:
150g oreo cream biscuits
250g cream cheese
65g sugar
300ml thickened cream, whipped
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 teaspoons gelatine
2 tablespoons of boiling water

For the decoration:
12 mini oreo cream biscuits
Method:

  1. Prepare a slice pan and lined with baking paper.
  2. Put the biscuits into the blender and blend till crumble. Add in butter and mix till moist. Press and spread the biscuits crumb into the pan and put into the fridge for at least half an hour.
  3. Dissolve gelatine with boiling water. Beat cream cheese with sugar, then add the vanilla essence, gelatine solution and whipped cream. Fold till all ingredients mixed well. Finally add the coarsely blended biscuits.
  4. Spread the filling over the base and chill for 3 hours before cutting into slices and decorated with mini oreo.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Homemade Fruity Ice Blocks


Although summer is not my favourite season, I do love summer fruit the most. We had lots of cherries, berries and mango during Christmas. Followed by lychees and stone fruit over the rest of the  summer holidays. Not to mention the watermelon and the all year rounded banana and strawberries making you living in the paradise of fruit. My Malaysian hubby would probably say it's not good enough without Durian, the King of the Fruit. LOL!

The best way to keep seasoned fruit is to freeze them for later use. These homemade ice blocks are  truly healthy for a summer treat. The summer holiday is finishing soon and I hope everyone has a good break and ready for the fresh start of the school.

Have a great Australian Day!

Homemade Fruity Ice Blockes

Ingredients:

Apricot Nectars
Strawberries, sliced
Peaches or mango, cubed

Place the cut up fruit at the bottom of the ice block moulds. Fill with the apricot nectars then keep into the freezer till ready to eat.

Place the ready to eat ice blocks within the mould under running warm water will make it easier to remove the ice blocks from the mould.



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas - Tomato & Sweet Chilli Relish


Merry Christmas, my friend!

We have just come back from a holiday in Melbourne.  It was only a four days trip but we had a good look around of the CBD and tried many Melbourne specialities food including Malaysian, Vietnamese, Japanese, American, French, chocolates and the most highlight was visiting the Queen Victoria Markets twice for the fresh fruit and gourmet food. We also did a lot of shopping from European department store to discounted outlet centres and I would have to say we hadn't done such a good shopping for a long time. It really is a gastronomic trip and we just love everywhere we go in Melbourne!

Gourmet burger has been a big hit in Melbourne, there are many burger eateries in the cities. As BBQ is one of the tradition way to celebrate Christmas and New Year in Australia, this recipe of tomato relish could give your burger another level of satisfaction than the good old tomato sauce.

Enjoy a great time with your family and friends and will see you next year!

Tomato & Sweet Chilli Relish

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
400g ripe tomato, chopped
1/4 cup Thai sweet chilli sauce
1/4 cup raw sugar
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

Method:
Put oil into pan and saute onion till brown, add remaining ingredients. Boil, turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Quiche Lorraine with French Salad Dressing


Life is always busy towards the end of the year! 

This week we celebrate my daughter's graduation from high school and my son's 14 years old birthday.  There is a lack of sleep trying to be the best mum I can from picking up my daughter from graduation party at 1am in the morning and baking a cake for my son at 10pm at night. The following month would be even busier with a family holiday and visit from families for Christmas. 

This is another inspiration from my daughter of the French salad dressing after her French trip. I have several attempts to try to make it to her liking.  The dressing is light and full of flavour, great for quiche and salad for the coming "hot summer".

Enjoy!

Quiche Lorraine 

Ingredients:


For the butter shortcrust pastry:

250g plain flour
125g salted butter, cold and diced
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

200g diced ham
4 eggs
200ml thickened cream
50g grated cheese
salt and pepper
nutmeg

For the French dressing:

juice of half a lemon
1 gloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
olive oil
salt to taste


Method:


  1. For the pastry: Blend the butter and flour in a blender in pulse motion till crumble, then add the eggs one by one and finally add the cold water.  Keep blending till it forms into dough.  Wrap the dough with glad wrap and fridge for at least 30 minutes or till it is harden. If you have a small blender, you may need to do it in two lots.
  2. Roll the pastry between two sheets of non-stick baking paper to 24cm wide circle and about 5mm thick. You can put the left over pastry into the freezer for later use.
  3. Place the pastry over the quiche pan and place a piece of baking paper over the top, then topped with baking beans. Blind bake for 10 minutes at 200c. Take off the baking beans and baking paper and brush the pastry with some egg white. 
  4. Reduce the heat to 180c. Bake for a further 5-8 minutes or just before it starts to turn golden.
  5. For the filling: Whisk the eggs with cream and cheese. Add in ham and flavour with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  6. Pour the filling mixture into the pastry case and bake for 25 minutes until is is golden. Serve with salad.
  7. For the French salad dressing: Mix all ingredients together and add enough olive oil to make it a cloudy look rather than a creamy look.  If you want a creamy look, you can add some mayo into the dressing.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Leek and Potato Soup with Prosciutto


It must be crazy to dream of soup when it is 37c in the last month of spring.

I made this soup a few months ago when the weather was a lot cooler. My daughter and I both sharing the love of smoothies, juicing and soup. I got inspired by her after her trip back from France where she first tried prosciutto at her France family. She told me the "raw meat" was very nice so we went to the supermarket and got some "raw meat" under her description. Apparently you don't need to cook prosciutto but I prefer my meat cooked so I lightly pan-fried it to have a bit of a crisp.

Enjoy!

Leek and Potato Soup with Prosciutto
(serve 4)

Ingredients:

4 Carisma Low GI potatoes from Coles, about 700g
1 leek, white part only
water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup evaporated milk or cream
1/2 teaspoon vegetable stock powder
2 thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into pieces
Salt & pepper
Method:

  1. Peel and cut potatoes into chucks. Cover the saucepan with enough water and boil the potatoes till cooked.  Leave cool a little.
  2. Finely cut the leek into small pieces.  Heat a little oil in a frypan and saute the leek till soft.
  3. Reserve some of the water from the potatoes. Blend the potatoes with water and leek into a blender till smooth.  I did that in 2 batches.
  4. Return the soup into the pan, heat gently and add the milk, evaporated milk, stock powder. Add the reserved water bit by bit until you get a nice smooth consistency. Seasoned with salt and pepper.
  5. Topped the soup with panfried prosciutto or serve with croutons.