Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Coral trout steamed Teochew-style with silken tofu

If you know me, you know I love a good fish.

The best part of eating steamed fish, Cantonese style with shiitake mushrooms and soy sauce, is being able to mush the tofu into your rice.

Recipe courtesy of the bridge room restaurant, but spotted in The Sydney Magazine first. I suppose chef Ross Lusted did come up with it first. Changes I have indicated with an asterix(*), which I’ll then explain in the comments.

Coral trout steamed Teochew-style with silken tofu

Ingredients (Serves 4)
1 whole coral trout, cleaned and scaled, or 4 coral trout fillets
8 slices silken tofu (300g)
1 large pickled mustard green (gai choy)*
8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, finely sliced*
2 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
2cm piece fresh ginger, cut into julienne
2 long red chillies, finely sliced*
3 salted plums, rinsed, seeded and sliced*
10g rock sugar
1 tbsp rice wine*
50ml light soy sauce*
Chinese parsley leaves, to garnish*
picked bean sprouts, to garnish*
finely sliced green (spring) onions, to garnish*

Method
Place fish in a steamer with tofu.
Soak mustard green in cold water to remove some of the salt, then drain and slice finely.
Place mustard green in a bowl with mushrooms, tomatoes, ginger, chillies and plums.
Pound rock sugar in a mortar and pestle and add to vegetables. Stir to combine, then place on top of fish and tofu.
Drizzle rice wine over fish and vegetables, then rest in fridge for 30 minutes for flavours to develop.
Steam for about 4-5 minutes or until fish is just cooked. Remove from steamer and sprinkle with soy sauce and top with parsley, sprouts and onion.

I soaked the mustard greens for several hours, but only used three leaves worth. I didn’t want the pickle flavour to overwhelm the dish. The rest I stuffed into a jar and topped with water.

I had forgotten to buy fresh shiitake mushrooms, so I used two dried ones and half a pine mushroom.

Rice wine I didn’t have so I used a mix of 1 tablespoon each of verjuice, apple cider vinegar, black vinegar and water.

My pantry is already chockablock with unused ‘hey that’s cool’ type ingredients, so I didn’t buy salted plums. I used a teaspoon of salted capers, soaked in hot water.

Steaming this from scratch with cold water in the steamer took 15 minutes. Even for my baby one person sized fish.

Teochew style Fish

Verdict?
Yum! I was happy with the balance of sweet, sour and salty. The pickle seemed to bring out the creaminess of the tofu more. I wouldn’t want to have added more mustard greens pickle, not could I fit it on the plate.

Next time I might even remember to put the garnishes on!

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Bagel Failure

My head was so inflated with my initial success for the HCBs, I decided to branch out further and go for the bagels.

I got the recipe from allrecipes.

Additions or adjustments apart from halving the recipe, I have indicated with an asterix (*).


Ingredients
Makes 6.

250g plain flour
7 g dry yeast (1 packet)
125mL warm water
52.5mL warm water
20 g white sugar
10 g salt
1 tablespoon molasses or sugar*
Mix of sesame, chia, nigella seeds*

Directions
1. Mix 1 teaspoon of yeast, flour, and sugar together. Add in 125mL warm water. Leave to combine until it becomes foamy, or a nice crust forms. 15-30 minutes*.
2. In large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, 3 tablespoons sugar and salt together. Add yeast mixture and remaining water. You need a moderately stiff dough.
3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (8-10
minutes). Cover, let rest for 15 minutes.
4. Cut into 6 portions, shape into smooth balls. Poke a hole in the centre with your
finger, and gently enlarge the hole while working the bagel into a uniform shape. Sprinkle with your choice of seeds, and push the seeds into the dough so they are ‘caught’.
Cover, let rise 20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, start 3-4 litres of water boiling. Put 1 tablespoon of molasses or sugar in it, mix it
around a bit. Reduce to simmering.
6. When the bagels are ready, put 2 or 3 bagels into the water, depending on the size. You don’t want to crowd the water. Cook for 7 minutes, turning once. Drain them.
7. Place on a greased baking sheet, and bake at 190 degrees C for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven, cool on a wire rack if required.
8. Option: For a glossier surface, place raised bagels on an ungreased baking
sheet prior to boiling them. Bake them on the top shelf of the oven for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes on
each side at 220 degree C. Then put them into the hot water to be boiled as above.

Note: do not bake pre-baked bagels as long as the other ones, 25 minutes should be long enough.

Since I didn’t want to make a full 12 bagels, or a full 12 HCB’s, I thought that I would be super innovative, split the yeast mixture, and make 6 of each. It’s no longer Easter, so these would be “spiced fruit buns”, without the cross on top.

I of course, chose a sudden cold snap in the weather (also known as winter) to try and make a yeast mixture rise.

I mixed up 1 teaspoon of sugar, flour, yeast packet in accordance with the HCB recipe; but used 125mL water in accordance with the bagel recipe.

Once the yeast had become bubbly and foamy, I divided it by weight into two bowls trying give each one some of the bubble stuff and some of the liquid underneath. The yeast bubbles immediately disappeared.

I made each mixture to half sized spec, let them rise, punched them down and covered them with oiled plastic film and a tea towel. This I left next to the stove (which I had had on low whilst I was around), and left overnight in the kitchen. The door was shut to try and keep the heat in.

The next morning, I found an egg on the bench. Not a sudden attack of the chickens, but this was the egg that I was supposed to have put in the HCB mixture. The mixture was already so wet (I had soaked all of the fruit), I didn’t want to make it worse by adding egg. So I put in more flour, some psyllium as a binding substitute and kept going

I kneaded the dough and formed the ‘buns’. These were placed in my oiled roasting tray.

With the bagels, I tried to create a smooth ‘ball’, and then created a hole in the middle using my knuckle.

I left both trays in the kitchen covered with the tea towel for the rest of the day.

This step took me 30 minutes.

When I got home, the HCBs had oozed in a puddle and joined each other.

The bagels had also oozed and were big and floppy.

For the bagels, I pressed in a bunch of sesame, chia and nigella seeds. Half of the bagels were boiled first; the other half were baked for 2 minutes, then boiled, then baked.

The bagels stuck to the baking paper after I had boiled them and then stuck them in the oven. They were big, floppy and ungainly. I gave Mr L a bit of the best one, and he said it tasted like a bagel but was too hard. The second half batch I tried to partially bake first before boiling them, but greased the tray too much, so they ended up deep frying in the oven.

Bagel Failure

Out of my six “bagels” I got one decent looking one that was about the size of a beer coaster.

16% success!

Was it because it was too cold? Was it because I split the yeast mixture? Was it because the dough needed more kneading?

Grandma’s spicy tofu with pork (Ma Po Tofu)

This is one of my favourite comfort food dishes. I have tried making this with the instant ‘Ma Po tofu sauce’ that comes in a jar but it just tasted terrible. And gave me a MSG thirst to boot.

So I bit the bullet, and made it from scratch according to Charmaine Solomon’s Encyclopedia of Asian Food.

AsiaSociety took the trouble of providing an electronic copy of the recipe.

Grandma’s Spicy Tofu with Pork (serves 4)
#600 g firm bean curd
#500g pork mince
2 tablespoons peanut oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions (scallions)
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
#2 tablespoon ground bean sauce (mor sze jeung)
#2 teaspoon chilli bean paste
#6 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
[for this one I used Capibu Jari Jempol Sambal Asli chilli sauce and and a bit of tomato sauce]
#2 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 & 1/3 cups water
2 teaspoons fermented bean curd, mashed*
2 teaspoons cornflour
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon chilli oil or sesame oil
(optional) diced ‘instant’ jellyfish or kelp seaweeds
Cooked Rice/quinoa/pearl barley to serve.

Where I have indicated an ingredient quantity with a hash mark (#), I have increased the quantities from the original recipe. Generally, I have doubled the sauce ingredients. I like this dish with a bit of sauce which you mop up with rice.

For the tofu, I used a combination of 200g fresh silken tofu, and ‘297g’ of uht packet firm tofu.

What irks me about Charmaine’s book is that the ‘Chinese’ pronunciation given is generally of the Cantonese language. Cantonese doesn’t really have an official method of translating the sounds into english, unlike mandarin. Providing the Chinese characters would brook no argument.

So here is a photo of the unusual ingredients that I used:

Spicy tofu ingredients

From left to right we have.
1. Mei3 Wei4 huang2 jiang4, (literally “delicacy yellow soybean paste”).
2. (top) instant natural sea vegetable fresh kelp.
3. (bottom) long life UHT firm tofu.
4. preserved beancurd

The fermented bean curd I bought after I tried to replicate the vegetable dish from Red Lantern, using water spinach (kang kong).

Directions
1. Cut tofu into 2 cm chunks and drop into a pan of boiling water until heated through, about 4 minutes. Drain in a colander.
2. Heat peanut oil in a wok and on a low heat fry spring onion for a few seconds before adding garlic and ginger. Stir and fry over low heat until fragrant and starting to turn golden.
3. Add pork and break up into small clumps until cooked.
4. Add chilli bean paste, soy sauce, chilli sauce, bean paste and mashed red bean curd mixed with 1& 1/3 cup stock or water.
5.Stir until boiling, then mix in cornflour stirred with cold water and stir until sauce boils and thickens.
6. (optional) cut up your crunchy pickles, jellyfish or kelp and stir through.
7.Add tofu and heat gently in the sauce. Sprinkle with sesame oil and serve on steamed carbs of your choice.

* Red bean curd is the Chinese equivalent of ripe gorgonzola cheese.

I added one chopped up fresh red chilli at step 4 to add some colour. When I lifted the lid off the frypan just before step 5, it smelled just right. Ah. Satisfaction.

I added the kelp at step 6 for texture. Sometimes when eating this in restaurants, you get the sour crunch of pickles, which I quite like.

Ma Po Tofu

Delicious. Noms. I went back for seconds. And ate the leftovers for lunch.

Recipe: Broccoli, Zucchini and Blue Cheese Soup

Broccoli, Zucchini and Blue Cheese Soup

I first tasted this soup when driving Sydney to Newcastle and stopping at the twin servos at Tuggerah. They have onsite, a health food chain “oliver’s”, which serves fabulous Allpress coffee, and fast food snacks of the less refined sugar quality such as sushi, soups and wraps.
I grabbed a bowl of broccoli and blue cheese soup which was quite tasty, and *very* hard to eat whilst zooming down the highway. Made a refreshing change from plastic burgers from which you are hungry again after one hour.
I didn’t think of it again until recently, when the weather turned cold again and I felt like soup. I bought 3 heads of broccoli and a wedge of ‘Danish blue’ cheese, and then went home to make this recipe from the taste website.

Preparation Time
15 – 25 minutes

Cooking Time
20 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 tbs olive oil
1 leek, white part only, sliced
1 head broccoli, coarsely chopped
2 zucchini, trimmed, chopped
1 pontiac potato, peeled, finely chopped
4 cups (1 litre) vegetable or chicken stock
75g mild blue cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup (80ml) thin cream

I didn’t have any leeks, so I used one large onion, and a grey (light green) zucchini that looked like a football. My potatoes were leftover roast potato, equivalent to two potatoes. I used two heads of the broccoli, reserving some when just cooked for colour and garnish, and I left the two stalks chunky and halved – wanting to add the flavour without having the pain of fishing out the small bits. This is me learning lessons from my asparagus soup experience.

Anyway, I cooked this for about 20 mins, until soft and then blended it with cubed bits of the Danish blue cheese.

The result was very blue in flavour and quite thick in texture – possibly because of the extra roast potato I had added. The flavour was more intense than the bowl from Oliver’s. I might make this one again but with less blue cheese. Or even some fresh goat cheese. Nom!

Recipe: Warm goat cheese salad

My friend H told me about this salad as we were browsing the Hawksbury Harvest markets at Castle Hill. She got super duper excited when she saw that Willowbrae Goats cheesestock “st albans”, a two week ripened white rind cheese similar to a Brie.

The story goes that it was her first night in Belgium for her first trip to Europe and they ordered this salad which was so delicious, it had her swooning all over her plate and all over her husband. He made her promise that if she saw that cheese for sale, she would have to make the salad.

I was a bit dubious, since I’m not particularly a fan of fruit in a savoury salad, but since I had a wedge of rapidly diminishing st albans cheese, I gave it a go.

Warm goat cheese salad

Pan fry 4 slice slices of goats cheese just to the point of softening
Put in a ramiken and place in the middle of a plate

On the plate, drizzle honey and olive oil
Plate fancy lettuce leaves* sparsely
Thin slices of apple^
Walnuts
Raisins
Grated carrot~
Tomato wedges

Eat the goats cheese with the salad.

Doesn’t it look pretty?

It was, to my surprise, *fantastic*. Pan frying the cheese mellowed the chalky flavour that it had developed, and crunched up nicely the cut surface of the cheese. I only had two chunky slices left, so I also used some Danish fetta. The cheese helped balance the sweetness of the honey. It’s important to have only minimal ingredients on the plate, that way everything gets to touch a little of the dressing.
* for my fancy lettuce leaves I used Darling Mills “saltini” micro salad mix. This worked very well and added some lovely colour to the plate.
^I used 1/4 gala apple, scattered haphazardly.
~ for the carrot, I had 1/2 small carrot grated with a potato peeler.
I also used heirloom cherry tomatoes, picked fresh from my garden.
I did not have any raisins. To add them would’ve been strange and I don’t think the salad needed them.

This would serve one person as an entree or side salad. Delicious, and I’ll be making it again!

Recipe: Fresh Asparagus Soup

Asparagus is in season!

I haven’t had much luck with growing my own asparagus, but it is in season from October to March. Apparently the prime stuff to get are the fat first growth spears, because they are full of flavour, rather than the skinnier variety that I thought was the younger more tender lot. The skinniness indicates that it might be the second growth, and less tasty.

Anyway, I had spotted a recipe in the Women’s health magazine for  asparagus soup, and I thought of it when I saw 3 bunches for $5. All I could remember was that it involved almond milk and whisking, but since I had lent my magazine to someone else, I ended up with the recipe at taste.

I used two bunches of asparagus (440grams), and reserved a few spears which were cooked at the last minute to add some fresh green colour. I would recommend cutting the woody tips of the spears “differently” (e.g. making them longer, or cooking whole spears), so that prior to blending, you can remove the woody stem so that the soup is less fibrous. That way you get the flavour, but not as much chewing.

I included two potatoes, chopped into small pieces to make it thicker.

I tried to make this again, keeping the spears whole during the flavouring/cooking process but it was a *pain* to then later chop floppy cooked whole asparagus so that it would blend nicely. The soup was much smoother and less fibrous than my earlier effort. Perhaps the trick is to cut into pieces as directed, but then tie up the woody ends in a small muslin bag so that they easily spotted and removed.

Tasty, and very easy to make. Recommended.

Recipe: Orange and Chocolate Ganache tart with Lavender cream

I made a chocolate tart last night. I had visions of an almost solid chocolate tablet, with something sharp to break up the rich chocolate flavour.

Enter my friend google.

Based on as masterchef recipe of
chocolate ganache tart with lavender cream and raspberries.

I turned it into

Orange and Chocolate ganache tart with Lavender cream
Suitable for 26cm flan dish

250g 70% dark chocolate finely sliced/grated
Splash of orange oil

300g thickened cream
40g butter
Splash of orange oil (I use Boyajian)

160g cream
fresh lavender flowers

I used frozen puff pastry, although the pastry part of the recipe didn’t look too bad. This was blind baked, and then rested.

I grated chocolate until it melted all over my hand, and turned to cutting it with a serrated knife. Make sure the chocolate is all ready before…
Heat the cream until the butter melts, and then add the orange oil. Stir until blended.

The rest of the recipe I followed to direction (ish), except that I baulked at using 300mL thickened cream just to make it lavender flavoured, so I used 160g (ish) instead. I like cream, but not that much! Depending on the strength of your lavender flowers, I would use more than 1tsp (2 heads) per 160g for Spanish lavender

I stored the tart overnight at room temperature before serving the next afternoon. Just before serving, I topped the tart with cream. Surprisingly, the ganache had “set” – however considering the quantity of chocolate used, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised!

The feedback was that it tasted just like Terry’s Chocolate Orange, but no one could pick up the lavender flavour in the cream, unless you had a bit of cream right next to a lavender bud. It was very rich – I could only eat a very skinny slice!

I thought that I had two slices leftover for a later-day snack, but when I went to collect from them work fridge, my two slices had been reduced to one. This tart is definitely a hit!