Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cherrimisu in a Glass and blogiversary

Today is my blogiversary and I'm celebrating it with cherrimisu in a glass.  Over the past year, it has been wonderful meeting new friends and inspired by you guys.  If I have not started blogging, I may not be able to step out of my comfort zone and cook all the dishes I have made and I may still serving my family with the same things over and over again (there's nothing wrong with that but I think cooking new dish is more interesting)  This is my 86th post and when I reach my 100th post, I will pass on the two rewards given by Elisabeth from Food and Thrift Finds to other well deserved people.  Thanks for your friendship and kindness for supporting this blog!  XOX

Cherrimisu in a Glass
(make 4)

250g mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
150ml strong coffee made from 1 heap teaspoon of coffee power and hot water
150ml thicken cream
3 tablespoons Kahlua
4 tablespoons of icing sugar
3 tablespoons extra icing sugar
16 sponge fingers
12 fresh cherries
grated dark chocolate


  1. Whisk the mascarpone cheese with vanilla and Kahula with 50ml of the strong coffee.  Whisk the cream with icing sugar in a separate bowl until thicken, then fold in with the mascarpone mix.
  2. Sweeten the remaining coffee with extra icing sugar if you wish, then pour the mixture into a bowl.
  3. Break one of the sponge into three equal pieces.  Soak it with the coffee mixture than put it into the centre of the glass.  Then break three more sponges into half this time and line them around the side of the glass after soaking with the coffee mixture.  Repeat the process for the rest of the three glasses.
  4. Pitted 8 of the cherries and cut into quarters.  
  5. Spoon a little of the mascarpone mix into the centre then top with the cherry pieces.  Spoon more mascarpone mix to cover the cherry and fill up the glass.  Top with grated chocolate and garnish with a cherry on top.  Fridge for 2 hours before serving.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Strawberry Vanilla Tart

Instead of staying in bed with a bad cold, I think I should get up to work on the computer.  Couldn't remember the last time I logged into blogger but there are so many new posts of yummy dishes from my blogging friends.  I guess if I don't change, the world still changing so I got to keep up...

I have been collecting tart tins and baking equipments at the moment so I can try to make some of the pies and tarts I always want to make.  I got very excited with my first oblong tart tin.  After I made this french dessert, I realise I don't have a plate long enough to fit it in.  I'm using my bread board until I find a plate to fit it properly.

Strawberry Vanilla Tart

For the pastry:
200g plain flour
75g caster sugar
75g butter
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
pinch of salt
2-3 teaspoon s of iced water

For the custard:
4 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
25g plain flour
300ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons kirsch

For the topping and glaze:
450g equal sized strawberries, sliced
75g fresh strawberry, chopped
1 tablespoon caster sugar
5 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon gelatine mixed with 2 tablespoon hot water

Or replace the glaze with 1/3 cup strawberry jam stirs with 1 1/2 tablespoon water under low heat


  1. For the pastry: Put the sugar, butter, egg yolks and vanilla into a food processor and blend until smooth.  Add the cold water and blend again then add in sift flour and salt.  Use "pulse" action and blend until the dough is just combined.
  2. Transfer the dough to the working space lined with baking paper and dusted with a little flour.  Knead gently until the dough is smooth and not sticky.  Cover it with wrap and put into fridge for half and hour.
  3. Dust the rolling pin with a little flour, then roll the dough into thin long shape to fit into the oblong tart tin.  Wrap up a little of the extra dough with plastic wrap and press along the side of the edges.  Use a fork to prick some holds at the base and chill for further 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven at 180c, line the base with baking paper with pie weight.  Bake blind for 15 minutes.  Remove the paper and pie weight and bake a further 10-15 minutes.
  5. For the custard: beat egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick, add in flour and vanilla.
  6. Bring the milk to boil in a saucepan then pour in the egg mixture and stir constantly.  Cook gently in low heat until a few minutes until the custard is thicken.  Add in kirsch and let it cool completely.
  7. Pour the custard over to the tart tin and spread evenly.  Lay the top with sliced strawberries and glaze.
  8. For the glaze: Combine the strawberries, sugar and water in a small saucepan, let it simmer for a few minutes or until the strawberries become tender.  Blend the mixture into a puree and add in the gelatine mixture.  Return the puree into the pan and stir until it thickens. 
  9. Keep the tart into the fridge for 4-5 hours until the custard is set and the flavour develops. 
Source: adopted and modified from "Tarts Sweet and Savoury" by Maxine Clark

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Custard Tart

Many people may have heard or have had Hong Kong's egg tart already.  Some may have already master  how to make this delicious food.  There are a few different types of egg tarts, one of it has a shortcrust pastry that usually sell in bakery.  The other one has puff pastry that is sold at Yum Cha in Chinese restaurant.  When I first come to Australia, we find custard tart selling in the bakery that look and taste so close to Hong Kong's egg tart except the one in Australia is larger.   As Hong Kong and Australia are both Commonwealth countries, I believe that British has the influence in the creation of Hong Kong egg tart.

Talking about Britain, I have just got an emil saying I have won 1 million pounds from the British Lottery but I need to give some of my personal details to this yahoo email.  I have not purchased any lottery ticket so how could I win this...... wouldn't it be nice to win a million!

This recipe is taken from the book "a passion for pastry" again and it is the recipe given by Grace Henderson.  I am not going to put this post up because ready roll shortcrust pastry really not as tasty as homemade pastry.  However, it is so easy to make if you are craving for a quick dessert.  On the other hand, it's also difficult to get the floral shape right if you are making your own shortcrust pastry.  My son takes one for school and he gives a piece to his friend.  His friend asks where does he gets it and the answer is homemade by his Mummy.  So, if my kids and his friends like it, it should be OK!  My kids eat around the crust, then take a deep bite into the middle, that's not bad as they say. 

Custard Tart
(make 8)

2 sheets of shortcrust pastry
2 large eggs
25g caster sugar
a few drops of vanilla essence
150ml milk

  1. Preheat oven to 200c.  Cut a piece of pastry into 4 equal size squares.  The recipe asked to be 10cmx10cm and I have mine 12cmx12cm.  Repeat for the other pastry.
  2. Grease 8 muffin holes if needed.  Push the pastry into the hole with four corners poking upward like petals.  Bake for 10 minutes then remove it from the oven.
  3. While the pastry is cooking, beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence.  Heat the milk until almost boiling, then stir briskly into the eggs.  Strain into a bowl then pour into the pastry cases.  Sprinkle some nutmeg over the top.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the custard is set.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Steam Boat

Having steam boat in winter is the best thing to keep you warm and entertain with family and friends.  You need a portable gas stove, a pot with your choice of soup base, different kinds of seafood, fish balls, meat, tofu, vegetables and noodles.  Then every thing is cooked at the table, nice and hot straight from the pot to your mouth with every one crowding at the table, standing or sitting.  In Hong Kong, there are restaurants specially cater for steam boat.  When I was a kid, we only had this in winter.  Nowadays people are having it all year round with the air conditioning on during summer.  You can see how much Chinese love steam boat.

My kids love this as they can cook whatever they want for themselves.  I have used two soup bases, laksa and miso this time to suit my family's taste.  For me, it's the best food to have in winter.  What's your winter favourite?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Juicing with Purple Carrot

It's great to have my daring girl back from her school camp, the house is so quiet without her.  She slept 5 hours straight after she came home.  Her gift to me from the trip was loads and loads of washing!  Hahaha...

I would make some fresh juice at least once a week during winter to help boosting our immunity.  My favourite choice includes apple, orange, pear, lettuce, carrot, celery, cucumber, tomato and capsicum.  I  usually put in 4-5 varieties with half and half portions of fruit and vegetable.  I also throw in some parsley or wheatgrass if they come in handy.  I find this Dutch carrot at the supermarket and it makes a really nice colour and taste good in juicing.  In an actual fact, carrot is originally purple and it is changed to orange colour by Dutch about 300 years old.  Whether it's purple or orange, carrot is a good for our health.

I am joining the Guardian Angel Knitting Program for the first time.  Over the past 12 years, more than 2 million knitted garments have been donated to families in needs.  This year the program is supported by Variety, the children's charity to give warmth to the children in need not only in Australia but Christchurch in New Zealand where children are affected by the earthquake.  I am planning to make 2-3 garments by 31 August, that's about 6 weeks left.  My sister joins the program every year and she is so good at knitting.  For more information, visit their website Guardian Angel Knitting Program 

 My marble cake topped with profiteroles is listed in Petitchef's daily menu.  Yay!

Purple Carrot Juice
(make 2 glasses)

2 small purple carrots
2 small carrots
2 stalks of celery
2 apples
2 pears
1/2 green capsicum
handful of baby spinach leaves

Cut the fruit and vegetables into small pieces and put into the juicer.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nutella Chocolate Brownies

I would say brownies is easy to make but I have not come across a recipe that I really like.  The last time when I bake one, my lover boy told me please not add nuts into brownie again and I knew he wouldn't like dried fruit as well.  I alway believe that when baking chocolate cake or slices, using cocoa powder is not as good as using real chocolate.  And I want to proof that I'm wrong so I'm trying to make one using cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate but I must put in chocolate bits just in case it doesn't work.  When it is all ready to go into the oven, I couldn't stop myself putting some Nutella on top.  I know I have got the idea from somewhere.  Then I find that it is from kitchenbelleicious's Nutella Coconut & Caramel Brownies Although this brownie is made for my son, my husband loves it the most and I've made the boys happy.

Nutella Chocolate Brownies

1 1/2 cup plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
130g butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
4-5 tablespoons Nutella
60g milk chocolate, chopped coarsely
60g white chocolate, chopped coarsely


  1. Preheat oven to 180c/160c fan-forced. Grease 19cm x 29cm slice pan; line base with baking paper.
  2. Melt butter in pan, leave cool a little.
  3. Sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and salt into the mixture until well mixed.
  4. Add melted butter and beaten eggs into the dry ingredients. Stir in chopped chocolate. Spread mixture into pan. 
  5. Spread Nutella diagonally or vertically along the pan and then use a knife to swirl up and down the mixture to form a pattern.  
  6. Bake brownies 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan before cutting into slices.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chicken, Leek and Pearl Barley Soup

As the seafood chowder is my daughter's new favourite, this chicken and pearl barley soup is my son's new favourite.  I like to throw in pearl barley when I make veggie soup, my son tells me that he likes pearl barley in the soup.  Well, I am surprised as he does not tell me he likes chocolate or chips! (maybe he doesn't like chocolate and chips but he LOVEs them)  So I make up this soup with the hope to use leek and pearl barley to create a new family favourite and I'm pleased that I have done that.  This recipe can easily change to a vegetarian soup by omitting the chicken and add in some celery or zucchini.  It's hearty and rich in fibre.  

My post of Egg, Spinach & Tomato tart has been chosen as the daily menu at Petitchef.  It's great!

I am submitting this post to participate ANU's Healthy Kitchen special theme for July "Healthy Fibre & Protein Rich".  Join the fun cooking some wholesome food if you wish.

Chicken, Leek and Pearl Barley Soup

2 chicken fillets, cut into small pieces
2 tomato, cut into chucks
2 carrots, cut into chunks
2 button mushroom, sliced
1 leek, cut into small pieces
1 cup pearl barley
2 heap tablespoons tomato paste
3 litres stock made from chicken bone


  1. Make the stock with bone.  
  2. Pan fried the leek with a little oil.  Then add the rest of the vegetable into the soup pot and let it simmer for 40 minutes or until the barley is soft.  The soup should thicken by then, seasoned with salt and pepper.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Seafood Chowder

My cousin-in-law just come back from their 3 weeks US tour.  Besides taking the photos of the magnificent view of America, they had also capture some photos of the unique American food.  One of it is the photo of calm chowder from the wharf in San Francisco.  Coming from a family that enjoy seafood, I would love to have a taste of that one day if I have the chance to travel to the US.  (hope I don't have to wait too long)

I have had  seafood chowder in restaurants but I'm not a big fan of fish (I like sashimi though)  so I have never try cooking it at home just in case it turns out too fishy and nobody would eat it.  Then this recipe of seafood chowder comes to my door from the free weekly magazine featuring our local chef's recipe.  The recipe only call for few ingredients and the technique is quite simple.  I would expect it to have cream or cheese to enrich the soup.  But the use of butter and flour making the roux already create a lovely bowl of creamy soup which is not too heavy.  Or is it rather the white wine doing the magic to bring everything together?  My daughter says this is her new favourite soup and I'm so please to find a good recipe right at my door.

I didn't have a good sleep last night as my daughter kept message me about her bus trip to Sydney.  Telling me how bumpy the road was, where she was and how far to to go Sydney.... This is her first time going away for so long but I'm sure she'll have fun visiting Sydney, playing at the snow field at minus degree and learning more about the country at Canberra with her school camp.

Have you have a look my hand made craft page yet?    

Seafood Chowder

120g fresh seafood marinara
(white fish, salmon, squid, prawns and mussels)
1 tablespoon carrot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon peas
1/4 teaspoon chopped parsley (the seafood marinara I have already marinate with some parsley)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup stock

1 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons plain flour


  1. For the roux, melt the butter in a pan, add flour and stir then gradually add milk to create a bechamel sauce.  Set aside.
  2. Combine the wine and stock in another pan, add in carrot and onion and let it boils until the stock reduced by 1/3.  Add into the bechamel sauce and stir.
  3. Add seafood and peas to the mix, let it simmer for about 3 minutes or the seafood is just cooked.  Seasoned with salt and pepper.  Squeeze in some lemon juice just before serving if needed and serve with croutons. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Garden Show

We go to the Garden Show nearly every year as it is held during school holiday and July is good time to buy plants to plant for spring.  There are plants for tropical and native garden, sweet cottage garden, fruit trees, vegetables seedlings, fertilisers and other garden and outdoor entertainment related products such as pots, BBQ, pets and gourmet name it.  We went at midday and the carpark at the showground was already full so we had a long walk to get to the show.  I didn't want to buy anything too heavy even the gooseberry tree was only $15.  I had some Christmas ornaments, two small pot plants and a bottle of jelly.  My kids also bought something special for themselves and they just love the handmade ice-cream.  They thought the kids rides were too kiddy for them so we head home early for an afternoon tea and finished the video of Eat, Pray & Love played by Julie Roberts.  Haven't seen a good movie for a long time, truly enjoy it!