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Featured Recipe: 35 Recipes to make the most of Asparagus Season

Tuna Feta Salad

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A bowl of bright summer flavours that's suitable for all the favourite seasonal vegetables.

SaladOregano Vinaigrette
  • 100 g Tuna fish in olive oil
  • 1 Romaine lettuce, torn into pieces
  • 80 g Cucumber
  • 1/2 Tomato, cut into wedges
  • 10-12 Olives, cut into rings
  • 50 g Feta light (or regular)
  • Onion
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Dried oregano
  1. Cucumber peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks. Flake tuna with a fork. Mix all the vinaigrette ingredients thoroughly.

  2. Place the lettuce and cucumber in a salad bowl. Arrange the tomato wedges around the dish. Top with the olive rings, tuna, feta and onion rings.
  3. Chill and serve with the prepared dressing and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Agedashi Tofu / Japanese Fried Tofu

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Agedashi Tofu are deep fried tofu pieces accompanied with a soya based dipping sauce and they are usually served as an appetizer. If you cannot find mirin and dried silver pomfret, then use medium-dry sherry and anchovy instead. Some food police would tell you that this is then not a traditional Japanese appetizer, nevertheless, the dish does taste delicious and good enough for me to recommend it. I love every bite of this crunchy and soft Tofu.

  • 20 g White radish, minced
  • 5-8 g Fresh chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp Mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1 tbsp Dried sliver pomfret
  • 1 tsp Sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp White vinegar
  1. Cut the tofu into 3-inch squares or any desired patterns. Mix all the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small pan and bring it to a boil.
  2. Heat the oil to very hot for frying. Coat the tofu squares with cornstarch and deep-fry them until golden brown and crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  3. Place fried tofu squares in a serving bowl. Pour the prepared dipping sauce over. Garnish it with shredded seaweed and parsley if desired.

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Candied Walnuts

Thursday, April 23, 2009

These crunchy, easy-to-make snacks are fantastic on their own or can be used as a garnish or tossed in salads.

  • 100 g Sugar
  • 2 tsp Inverted sugar syrup
  • 40 ml Water
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 200 g Walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Spread walnuts in a single layer over a baking tray. Roast for about 10 minutes until the nuts start to turn brown.
  2. Mix sugar, inverted sugar syrup, water, and salt in a heavy sauce pan. Stir over low-medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring it to a boil until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage about 113C/236F.
  3. Remove from heat and immediately stir in vanilla. Add in roasted walnuts and stir to coat well. Turn out on parchment paper and separate the walnuts with a fork. Cool completely before store in airtight containers.

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Florentine Cookies - Florentiner

Monday, April 20, 2009

Florentines are a wonderful holiday cookie, but delightful all year round. Austrian bakers are attributed with creating these cookies although their name implies an Italian heritage.
Florentines are a delicious mixture of candied fruit (I used dried cranberries) and nuts (I used sliced almonds) with caramel, then baked. They are very often finished with chocolate on one side.

  • 100 g Butter
  • 100 g Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Honey
  • 250 ml Whipping cream
  • 300 g Almond slices
  • 100 g Dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 100 g Dark chocolate for coating, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper. Chop the cranberries finely. Melt butter, sugar and honey in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the mixture turns a caramel colour, stirring occasionally.
  2. Pour in the whipping cream and bring it to a boil. Add in chopped dried cranberries and almond slices. Lower the heat and cook until the mixture is combined and thickened.
  3. Scoop two rounded teaspoons of the mixture on prepared baking trays and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool. Coat or drizzle Florentines with melted chocolate as desired. Set aside at room temperature until set.

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Strawberry Pine Nut Mirror Cake (with Natreen sweetener)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Artificial sweeteners used in this recipe were to avoid sugar and calories. Sugar adds calories, and that cause weight gain with no end. But let's face the cruel reality: removing sugar from cakes and desserts doesn't automatically make them low-calorie and healthier. The cake tastes lighter, but I ate twice much more than usual. Next time, I will just use the real sugar or honey. No more sugar substitutes.
#Mousse:#Strawberry Mirror:
  1. Whip together quark, yogurt and sweetener in a mixing bowl until blended. Soak the gelatin sheets in water until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir over the low heat until dissolved. Combine 4 tablespoons of quark mixture with the gelatin, then blend it with the rest of the quark mixture. Add in the roasted pine nuts and chill for 10 minutes. Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form and fold into the quark mixture.
  2. Place the 9-inch cake in the bottom of the cake ring lined with a cake cardboard. Surround the cake ring with sliced strawberries and scrape the mousse onto the cake layer in the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Covered with a plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours until filling is set.
  3. Put the strawberry glaze powder and sweetener in a small pot filled with water. Stir to blend and bring them to a boil over the medium heat until smooth. Cool glaze until barely lukewarm, about 15 minutes. The glaze should be thick but still with a pourable gel consistency. Take out the mousse cake from the fridge and cover with a layer of strawberry slices in the desired pattern. Gently pour over the strawberries and refrigerate for 1 hour or until glaze is firm. Unmold mousse cake with the help of a hot towel. Slice and serve with strawberries if desired.
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Steamed Spelt Twisted Carrot Rolls - Hua Juan

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Simply shaped into rounds and steamed

two toned buns

Twisted Rolls or Hua Juan in Chinese are steamed buns (with scallions, sesame seeds, peanut, etc. ) twisted into a beautiful flower pattern. The dough can be simply shaped into rounds too. You can also use a bit of cocoa powder to make a darker dough and roll it up with a light dough prepared with water to create a two toned steamed bun.

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, whole spelt flour and instant yeast together. Make a well in the middle and pour in the carrot juice. Mix on slow speed until you have a dough that holds together. Adjust the amount of carrot juice, adding more or less as needed. Turn the speed of the mixer to medium and knead until it is smooth and elastic.
  2. Prove the dough in a bowl covered with a plastic film until it has increased in volume distinctively, about 45 minutes. Press out the air and roll it out into a large rectangle. Brush the surface with oil and sprinkle the black pepper salt and chopped spring onions over. Roll up and divide it into 16 portions. Take each piece and, with the cut sides facing outward, use chopsticks to press down lengthwise in the middle so that the layers of both sides extend outward beautifully.
  3. Arrange the rolls in the steamer lined with cheese cloth. Cover it with a plastic film and set aside for 15 minutes. Steam the twisted rolls over a pot of boiling water on strong heat. Turn the heat off and leave the steamer covered for 2 minutes before serving.

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Diced Asparagus Pork In Olive-pickled Leaf Mustard

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

© 2024 |

This is one of the dishes you would find on the menu of Chinese restaurants, where serves Cantonese and Chiu chow cuisines. The string or garden beans are usually used to cook the dish. I used the asparagus because I love it and it is in season.

  • 75 g Diced pork (or ham or ground meat)
  • 250 g Bottom halves of green asparagus
  • 1-2 tbsp Olive-pickled leaf mustard
  • 2 clove Garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp Ginger, shredded
  • 1 tsp Jiafan rice wine
  • 1 tsp Light soya sauce
  • 1/3 tsp Chicken bouillon powder
  • Pinch of white pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp Cooking oil
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Quick and Easy Garnishes

Monday, April 13, 2009

How many times have you eaten out at a restaurant and found the edge of serving plates garnished with a flower pattern of veggie, a fan shape of fruit slices, and even a cute rabbit of quail egg, a heart of cherry tomato surrounding the food? Wouldn't those garnishes make your dining experience more pleasant and enjoyable? I have a couple of quick easy garnishes to share, hoping they would add excitement to your family banquet, casual brunch with friends, or just dinner for one. If you want to get fancy with the designs, then a book about garnishing would be more practical.

Tomato or Apple Rose

  1. Starting at the stem end cut round an apple or a tomato and keep the peel unbroken. Make the strip of apple or tomato skin narrower and narrower while you continue cutting.
  2. Start curling the skin at the narrow end towards the wide end. Turn upside down, adjust the roll if necessary to resemble a flower and set on a serving plate.

Tomato Heart and Rabbit

  1. Holding a sharp knife at a 45-degree angle slice off 1/3 of a cherry tomato. Place the 2/3-part, cutting side down, on a cutting board. Slice it into even two halves and put them together to form a heart.
  2. Slice 1/4 of a cherry tomato horizontally with a sharp knife. To make a little rabbit ear, we need to cut a V-notch with scissors at either side of this horizontal slice. Put the cutting side of the 3/4-part as a base, and cut a slit on the top to fit in the rabbit ear.

Carrot Flower and Cucumber Loop

  1. Peel carrot and place on cutting board. Cut off ends and discard. Cut out a thin, shallow lengthwise wedge from side of carrot. Lift out wedge with tip of knife. Give carrot a quarter turn and cut out another wedge. Repeat, turning and cutting two more times. Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Sprinkle chopped olives or caviar onto center of each carrot flower. Use a thin strips of green onion for stems and garnish as you like.
  2. Slice the cucumber open lengthwise and cut unpeeled cucumbers at angle into lengths about 3 inches long. Cut 5 thin slices along the length, leaving slices connected at one end. Curl the second and fourth slices towards the base to form an open loop.

I am sending this to Innovative In-Laws who hosts the event "Garnish the Dish" .

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Pesto Bread

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pesto, which originated in Genoa, Italy, comes from the Italian word "pestare" that means to pound. The traditional pesto is composed of basil, pine nuts, garlic, cheese and olive oil pounded into a paste.
Pesto can be made at home with a mortar or blender, esp. if you have an allotment garden (Schrebergarten is very popular in Germany) full of various herbs, like basil, coriander, parsley, mint, chive, or spinach etc. etc. There is pasta with pesto, pesto on pizza, pesto sauce for seafood, pesto vinaigrette for salads, pesto marinade for the grill, red bean pesto, cilantro pesto, and I used Sun-dried tomato pesto for this bread.

  1. Place the yeast in a bowl and pour the warm water over. Stir in the sugar to dissolve. Let stand for 15 minutes. The mixture should look bubbly. Combine and sift the flours and salt in your mixer bowl and turn mixer on to lowest speed. Add in pesto and the yeast mixture. Keep stirring until you have a dough that holds together and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl. Adjust the amount of water, adding more or less as is needed.
  2. Turn out the dough and shape into a ball. Grease the bowl with a teaspoon of olive oil and return the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Set the bowl in a warm place and allow the dough to double in volume, about 45 minutes.
  3. Grease a large loaf pan and lightly dust with a bit of flour. Punch down the risen dough and knead for 5 minutes. Shape into an oblong loaf and place it in the prepared pan. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Once the dough has doubled in size, make a deep incision on the top of the loaf with a sharp razor blade.
  4. Bake at 200C/400F in the middle of the oven for about 10 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F and bake for another 50 minutes until golden and crusty. Cool the loaf in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes and remove from the pan to cool completely.

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Angel Cake Roll

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A light, moist, and tender angel cake roll is a wonderful treat at any time! The blueberry jam filling, which was supposed to provide a contrast to the white cake, makes the cake a bit messy. It tastes great by itself and definitely worth trying!

  • 35 g All-purpose flour
  • 45 g Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Vanilla powder
  • 2 tbsp Raisins, or 1/2 tbsp Poppy seeds, optional
  • 6-7 / 200 g Egg whites
  • ½ tsp White vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/ 4 tsp Salt
  • 100 g White sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp Blueberry Jam
  1. Whisk together flour, starch and vanilla powder and sift. Prepare a 11x13-inch or two 9x7-inch baking trays lined with parchment paper. Evenly sprinkle raisins or poppy seeds over if using. Preheat the oven to 175C/350F.
  2. Beat egg whites, salt and vinegar in the mixing bowl of a table mixer until foamy. Add in sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually sift the flour mixture into the whipped egg whites and fold until the batter is well-combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 15 minutes or so.
  3. Immediately invert the cake to cool for about 5 minutes on a rack and peel off the baking paper. Place the cake on a parchment paper or plastic film, with the baked side up and raisin side down, and spread cake with jam to within 1 inch of edges. From the narrow side roll the cake up tightly. Chill the cake roll for 1 hour and slice to serve.

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Fast-fried Asparagus With XO Sauce

Sunday, April 05, 2009

© 2024 |

Asparagus is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables, which is high in "folic acid" and is a good source of "potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin". Moreover, asparagus has no fat, no cholesterol and is quite low in calories and sodium. It is very popular in Europe, especially Germany where promotions, creative events, and festivals are held to honour the arrival of what's crowned as "Königliches Gemüse" - royal vegetable. There's even an asparagus peeling competition/Spargelschäl-Wettbewerb during the celebrated asparagus season, and the crowning of an asparagus king or queen. Along with the asparagus-based delicacies, a range of German white wines, such as Riesling, Müller-Thurgau or Grauburgunder, together with some interesting reds, will be launched. White asparagus are sunlight-deprived stalks and they are milder and more delicate than the green one.

  • 5 stalk Asparagus, white
  • 1 tbsp XO sauce
  • 1 tsp Garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • 2 tbsp Dry white wine
  • 1/2 Tomato
  • 1/2 stalk Spring onion
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  1. Before start cooking white asparagus, they must be peeled, as the outside is fibrous and even woody at times. Use a common but sharp vegetable peeler, starting just below asparagus spears, peel toward the cut end. Once all the asparagus has been peeled, cut off the cut ends about one inch up. Slice the tomato into wedges and the spring onions into smaller chunks.
  2. Heat up a skillet over medium-high fire. Stir in XO sauce and minced garlic until aromatic. Add in the prepared white asparagus, stir briefly, drizzle water and white wine over. Cook until soft to your liking. Add in tomato wedges and spring onions. Mix everything together. Flavour with salt and serve.

© 2024 |

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Fast-fried Sliced Lotus Roots With Bean Sauce

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Easy, healthy, and delicious lotus root ! Lotus root is the root of the lotus plant. It can be used as a salad, or stuffed with glutinous rice and steamed as dessert, or squeezed into a drink, or stir-fries, or double-boiled with pork spare-ribs as a popular summer time soup, which, according to my mum, helps to clear the heat and improve the appetite.

  • 250 g Lotus roots
  • 50 g Ground pork
  • 1 tbsp Corn oil
  • 1 tsp Jiafan rice wine
  • 3-5 Dried chillies
  1. Fill a pot of cold tap water with a tablespoon of vinegar. Peel and clean lotus root. Slice the lotus root and put them into the vinegar water to prevent lotus roots from browning.
  2. Heat up a pan with oil and add chillies. Stir-fry a bit before adding spring onions and ground pork. Stir for 30 seconds, then add bean sauces, rice wine and lotus root slices. Splash the chicken stock and cover, reduce heat to medium and cook for 30 seconds. Dribble in the sesame oil Serve hot.

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Scrap Cake

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I bake foam cakes very often, as I prefer the fluffy, light chiffon cake to other baked goods. Whenever I baked a chiffon cake, I would reserve one or two layers well-wrapped in the freezer just in case I don't feel like to bake, but happen to have an itch to eat something light and sweet. So this is the result of cleaning up all the saved foam cakes.

  1. Remove the cake layers from the freezer and defrost them at room temperature, about 1 hour. Slice the peeled bananas and figs and have a round cake board ready.

  2. Place the matcha chiffon cake layer on the prepared cake board, spread a thin layer nutella on the cake, and then top with babana slices. Arrange another two layers of cake in the same way. (There’s still some nutella left after placing the 3rd layer of cake, so I decided to top the cake with last layer of matcha chiffon cake, which resulted in a mismatched colour appearance to the cut.)
  3. Arrange the fourth layer of cake on the top and spread the nutella. Arrange the sliced figs and bananas in a decorative pattern on top and the chocolate praline in the center. Spread the strips with whipped cream and surround the sides of the cake. Use a mousse ring or a ribbon to stabilize the strips.

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