Thursday, 31 July 2014

Chinese snow Peas and Chicken Minced Stir Fry

Stir fry is one of the best weeknight meals to make, you can cook everything from start to finish within 30 minutes. This is one of the recipes I head to if I am at lost with what to cook for the night, and it's so so good with rice.

Snow Peas and Chicken minced Stir fry

Serves: 3-4 people with rice
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes

What you would need 

200 grams of snow peas, trimmed and halved 
250 grams of chicken minced 
50 grams of dried shiitake mushrooms,rehydrated and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced 
1 bird eye chilli (optional), sliced
2 cm piece of ginger, finely sliced 
Splash of vegetable oil
salt and pepper 

1 tablespoon of soya sauce 
1 tablespoon of Chinese rice wine 
1 tablespoon oyster sauce 
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar 
splash of fish sauce 
2 teaspoon of cornflour, mixed with cold water(to thicken sauce)

1. Premix the sauce in a bowl excludes the cornflour

2. Heat half the vegetable oil in the wok, stir fry the chicken minced season with salt and pepper till lightly golden brown. Remove from the wok and set aside.

3. Heat the remaining oil in the wok and toss in the ginger, garlic and chilli. Fry for 1 minutes or until garlic is lightly golden but not brown. 

4. Add the snow peas and fry for 2 minutes, return the chicken minced to the wok and add the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, stir to combine. Add the sauce mixture and stir fry for another 2 minutes.

5. Add cornflour and stir till sauce thickens. Dish up and served with rice.

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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Chocolate Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta always scares me, simmering milk, over boiling it. Oh the horror, I am sad to say that actually happened to me. I left the milk simmering and turn my head to check on something else and BOOM! the milk frothed over! But I have learned that with second tries and lower heat that you just have to stand there and simmer the milk on medium low heat and you would be all good. 

Panna cotta (means cooked cream in Italian) is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing with gelatine and letting it cool until it sets. I was inspired when I when to GiGi's Pizzeria, their pizza is great, but what blew me away was the Panna Cotta, ooh it's creamy and melts in your mouth with the slighted touch of your tongue. I decided to add some chocolate into the mix and wow, it works so well with the fresh golden kiwis.

Chocolate Panna Cotta

Serves: 4 
Cooking time: 20 mins 
Setting time: 6 hours min - 1 day 

What you will need

600ml thicken cream 
3 tablespoons caster sugar 
1 1/4 teaspoons flavourless gelatin powder
120g good dark chocolate or semisweet chocolate
3 teaspoons vanilla extract 
Pinch of salt 

1. Grease 4 panna cotta moulds with flavourless oil.

2. Use 60ml of cream and warmed in microwave   sprinkle the gelatine over it and stir until the gelatine dissolved.

3. Meanwhile, in a deep saucepan over medium low heat, bring the remaining cream, sugar and salt just to a light simmer. Simmer for 3 minutes, adding the vanilla extract and stir to combine. 

4. Remove cream mixture from the heat, add the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Add the gelatine mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir until well combined. Pour through a fine strainer and into the 4 panna cotta moulds. Let it cool to room temperature.

5. Cover the Panna cotta loosely and refrigerate until set and throughly chilled, at least 6 hours or up to 1 day. 

To Served, dip the moulds one at a time into a bowl of hot water for about 5 seconds to loosen the mould and invert onto a serving plate. Served with fresh fruits or sauce.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Lust bags

This are bags that have been on my lust list for ages.

A girl can go a long way with a good structure bag, be it Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, Celine, Saint Laurent or Michael Kors. A good structure bag can *joos* your outfit up in a second!

Tell me what your favourite bag! :)

Braised Beef Stew with Red Wine and Vegetables

As most of you guys know, winter well and thoroughly in Sydney.  The wintery weather always make me crave for something soupy, something hearty. Something that you can feel the warm glow in your tummy after eating and beef stew never seems to fail. 

One-pot dishes are my favourite for winter, you just leave them on the stove stew for hours. The longer they stew the better they are. Leftover you ask? Oooh. They taste so good.

Don't ask me why or how but stews that are left overnight somehow always seems to develop a more hearty and rich taste profile. So give me leftover any day! 

I always have some sort of alcohol in my stew be it red wine, sherry or port. Cause I believe it adds a depth of favour that's essential for the dish. Whatever I have in the pantry, so each time I make these babies they come out tasting slightly different. Good still but different. But you are not comfortable with alcohol, feel free to omit it, just remember to use a good stock.

I experimented with browning the meat and not browning the meat and i found that not browning makes the stew taste, how should I put this, taste cleaner. I know it sound weird, but give it a go and you would understand what I mean.  

You can choose to have this with mash potatoes or even put a puff pastry on top and pop in the oven for a few minutes. The latter is my favourite, writing about this is making me hungry for stew again! 

Braised Beef Stew with Red Wine and Vegetables

Cooking time: 3 hours

1 tablespoon olive oil
1.5kg of Chuck beef, cut into large bite-size cubes
2 tablespoon of flour 
2 onions, roughly diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large rosemary sprig, coarsely chopped
1 large thyme sprig, coarsely chopped
1 tin of crushed tomatoes 
1 1/4 cups red wine

3 cup beef stock or chicken stock
3 celery sticks, peeled, cut into 3cm pieces
3 carrot, peeled, cut into 3cm  pieces

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4-6 Potatoes if you are making mash 
4-6 Sheets of puff pastry 

1. In a large pot or heavy casserole pot, heat the oil over medium-high hear until very hot. Sprinkle the beef with flour and season well with salt and pepper. Add onions, rosemary and thyme fry until translucence and fragrant. Add the beef and cook for 3mins until beef is slightly browned and cook off the floury taste.

2. To the same pot add the carrots and celery to the pot and cook for 1 min. Add wine, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Simmer for about 8 mins, or until wine has reduced by about half. 

3. Add the stock and tin of crushed tomato, bring to a gentle simmer. Cooking liquid should be jus covering the beef. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Cover slightly and cook. The stew should be simmering very very gently, stirring occasionally for about 2.5 hours. Cook until beef is tender enough to cut with a fork.

4. If there is too much cooking liquid left, use a slotted spoon, transfer the beef and vegetable into a bowl. Boil the cooking liquid over high heat for about 20 minutes, or until it is reduced by half. Return the beef and vegetable and heat until they are heated through.

5. Spoon the beef stew into 4 serving bowls,  served with mashed potatoes. If you like the puff pastry option , cover the serving bowl with puff pastry and baked according to the instruction on the package.

*Note: The stew can be made up to 1 day ahead, cooled and refrigerated. Rewarm the stew, covered, over medium heat.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Balsamic Baked Chicken

Here's an all-in-one dish, no fuss no mess dinner that you can prepare in a jiffy. It's so simple you just have to cut the vegetables, arranged them as neat as you wish. 

I love zesting the lemon then slicing the lemons and leaving them on the chickens and as they bake, the lemony juices will seep into the pan and combined with the balsamic 'dressing' it makes an awesome awesome sauce.

While the chicken is getting baked, the vegetables get marinated in the juicy, lemony, balsamic sauce. You can easily put this together and pop it into the oven for and hour and voilĂ ! 

Balsamic Baked Chicken 

Serves: 4-6 
Cooking time: 1hour 15mins

8 chicken thighs 
400g of potatoes, quartered 
1 medium red onion, cut into this wedges
4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
4 medium sized carrots, cut into wedges
1 whole lemon, zested and sliced 

1 tablespoon of dry mix herbs
1 teaspoon of dry thyme 
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoon of olive oil
2 teaspoon of sugar
salt and pepper 

Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced. Arrange chicken, potatoes, onion, garlics, carrots. In a separate bowl, whisk balsamic, oil, sugar and dry herbs until sugar had dissolved. Drizzle over chicken and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. 

Bake for an hour and serve. 

Friday, 11 April 2014

Red velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting the most loveable cupcake of them all. I ask all of my girl friends and they all chimed red velvet cupcake! I wonder why ? I think its the luscious red and and yummy chocolate cupcake. Who doesn't like chocolate? I know I do. 

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Joy of Baking)

Makes: 12 cupcakes 
Cooking time: approx. 1 hour

11/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 Vanilla bean
3 Tablespoon of red food colouring 
21/2 cups of all purpose flour
2 cups sugar 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

For the Frosting

227 grams cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
2/3 cup cold heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl sift together with flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder.

With a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes) Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, scrape the vanilla pods and add into the mixture.

In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter. 

Working quickly, divide the batter evenly among the 12  muffin cups and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 18 -23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes and them remove from pan. Let cool completely before frosting.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to pipe. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.

I use a ziplock bag and jus cut a small hole on the edge of the bag and pipe away. 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Chicken mushroom

I love simple recipes like this, it's for weekdays when you come home from a hard day of work and you can whip this baby up in less then 30mins tops. You can easily cook a larger batch up and save it for later days when you feel lazy.

This recipe is really flexible, if you wish to omit white wine, go right head and replace it with the same amount of chicken stock. No fresh herbs? Dry works well too. It work well with rice, mashed potato, bread, pasta, anything to your fancy. 

What is your favourite weekday meal?

Chicken Mushroom

Sprinkle of flour
500g of chicken (I use breast but thigh would work wonders too)
Salt and pepper
2 eschalot
4 cloves garlic 
1 Teaspoon of dry Oregano (if fresh use 1 tablespoon)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 Tablespoon unsalted butter
500g Mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 
200ml of white wine 
250ml of chicken stock 
fresh parsley 

I like to put the chicken in between cling wrap and give a good pounding to flatten it out. A great stress reliever.

Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, coat chicken with flour and shake off the excess. 

In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium high heat. In batches if needed, cook chicken until well browned on both sides. About 3 mins per side, remove from heat.

Reduce heat to medium, brown eschalot and add garlic stir for 1 min before adding mushrooms. Sweat the mushrooms before adding dry oregano, cook until soften about 5 mins 

Add wine and broth and cook, stirring until reduce by half about 3 mins. Taste to season. Return chicken to the pan and simmer for another 2 mins, top with parsley.