Friday, May 22, 2015

Cardamom Shortbread Recipe

Cardamom Shortbread 

These cookies are divine, buttery, aromatic, delicate and warming.

Regular plain shortbread is fantastic, shortbread with cardamom is special. Having a pile of cardamom cookies is a good way to test your will power.

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 cups flour
¼ cup corn flour
6 cardamom pods, freshly ground or crushed (or use more, or less)

1.      Cream butter and sugar until the mixture is smooth
2.      Add flour, corn flour and cardamom and mix until well incorporated
3.      Roll out the dough between sheets of grease proof paper until the dough is ½ cm thick. Let it chill in a refrigerator for 20 minutes. Bake at 160°C/310°F until golden, about 15-20 minutes

Cardamom Shortbread 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Jarret de Porc Pochée et Roti Recipe

Jarret de porc pochée et roti

Jarret de porc pochée et roti is poached and roasted pork knuckle, in English. The dish doesn’t sound that fancy now, does it!

However, it is very delicious. The meat and the skin are flavourful, tender and a bit gelatinous, in a good way.  The skin did not get crispy, even after spending some time in the oven. A few areas were marginally crispy, but only just. If you want a version with cracking, try Schweinshaxe. This is the German version.

I’ve tried both versions, I like them both but I am slightly more inclined towards Schweinshaxe, because of the crispy skin, and the dish is less ‘wet’.

Adopted from Cahier gourmand

1 pork hock, around 1.2 kg
2 onions, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 star anise
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Bouquet garni
120 grams butter (I used much less)
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 litre veal stock

1.      Place the hock in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and drain.
2.      In an ovenproof casserole, add 50g of butter and oil and brown the hock on all sides. Add vegetables and sweat for a few minutes, then add the garlic cloves, veal stock, star anise, bouquet garni and pepper (do not salt). Cover the casserole and bake at 130°C/266°F for 3 hours, basting regularly.  Alternatively, instead of baking, you can simmer on the stovetop, on low heat for around 2 hours, or until the hock is tender.
3.      When cooked, remove the casserole from the oven and increase the temperature of the oven to 180°C/355°F
4.      Place the hock in another baking dish, drizzle the remaining melted butter and cook for about 15 minutes to get a nice golden brown.

5.      To make the sauce, strain poaching liquid and add to a large saucepan. Place over medium high until reduced by around two thirds, or until it reaches the desired consistency. Add salt to taste

Jarret de porc pochée et roti

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Blueberry Kvarg Cheesecake Recipe

Blueberry Kvarg Cheesecake

The blueberry kvarg I used had blueberries already mixed with the kvarg. The kvarg contained 0.2% fat, compared with over 30% for regular cream cheese. Considering the significantly lower fat content, I expected the texture and taste to be quite different. It wasn’t, which was a pleasant surprise. Perhaps the difference in taste would be noticeable for unflavoured or vanilla cheesecake.

As another added plus, kvarg is cheaper than cream cheese. So if you are looking for a low fat cheaper alternative for your cheesecake, kvarg is worth considering.

500 g blueberry kvarg
2 large eggs
50 ml sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup coconut oil graham cracker crumbs (or regular graham cracker crumbs)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar

1.      Line the base of a 20cm-round springform tin with baking paper.
2.      Add melted butter to the cracker crumbs and sugar. Mix well, place in the baking tin and flatten. Bake at 150°C/350°F for 5 minutes.
3.      To make the filling, cream kvarg, sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla and salt with a whisk until the mixture is smooth.
4.      Pour batter over the base and bake at 160°C/325°F until the centre is almost set, about 40-50 minutes.
5.      Remove from oven and run a metal spatula around the rim of the pan to loosen the cheesecake. This helps prevent cracking. Let the cheesecake cool for about 20-25 minutes before covering and placing in the refrigerator. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or overnight before serving.

Blueberry Kvarg Cheesecake

Coconut Oil Graham Cracker Recipe

Coconut Oil Graham Crackers

This is the coconut oil version of graham crackers. It turned out great. I don’t think I have tried the regular graham crackers, hence I am not sure how this version compares. But it was delicious and crispy, and eating cookies made from whole-wheat seemed healthy (healthier).

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
80 ml coconut oil, at room temperature
1/3 cup honey
90 ml milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1.      Whisk flours, salt and baking soda in a bowl.
2.   Beat coconut oil, sugar, milk and honey until sugar has dissolved. Add the flour mixture, and mix until combined.
3.     Roll out the dough on a lightly greased baking pan until the dough is about 1/8 inch thick. I didn't grease the baking tray and it turned out OK.
4.    Using a pastry wheel or pizza slicer, make marks on the dough in the shape and size of the desired crackers. Don’t cut all the way through
5.      Place the baking tray in a fridge for about 5-10 minutes, so that the dough is firm
6.  Remove dough from the fridge. Pierce crackers using a fork. Bake at 175°C/350°F, rotating halfway through, until dark golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. 

Coconut Oil Graham Crackers

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Chicken Kelaguen Recipe

Chicken kelaguen

If you have not heard of chicken kelaguen, and cannot guess what it is and where it comes from, don’t be disappointed. I did not know also until I ‘ran into it’ by chance.

It happened in Hagåtña, the capital of Guam, in the Northern Pacific. I was on my way to see a famous monument called Latte of Freedom.
Source: The Guam Guide

The monument is in the shape of a very large cup. As you can see, you cannot really drink latte from it. Neither can you fill it up with latte and swim in it. But you can take pictures of it (which I didn't do). Anyway, on my way there I asked a girl for directions. She was not from the area so she did not know where the latte was. She was standing at the entrance to a building, selling local food. There were two piles of plastic containers, one contained chicken, the other contained shrimp. Both were finely diced, came with a tortilla and looked bland and boring. She was nice and friendly, so I bought the chicken version.

I then walked to Latte of Freedom but decided not to pay the entry fee required. Waste of money I thought since all you get is a view. I sat by the seawall to eat my chicken dish. To call it bland and boring would be an insult. It was the complete opposite, tasted fresh and packed with flavour. A really simple but delicious dish. The girl had left when I got back so I got this recipe from the internet.

10 chicken thighs (boneless and skinless)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green onion, finely chopped
5 hot pepper (donne' sali or thai peppers)
1 cup freshly grated coconut
Juice from six medium lemons
Lemon flavored powder (if you got it, I didn’t use it)
Salt and black pepper to taste

1.   Cook the chicken (broil, pan fry, bake or cook any other way). No seasoning is needed.
2.   Once chicken is cooled, finely dice it.
3. Place in a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add more seasoning, lemon or peppers if you want

Chicken kelaguen

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Crispy Teriyaki Pork Belly Recipe

Crispy Teriyaki Pork Belly

I made Crispy Chinese Roasted Pork Belly about 2 months ago. The belly, and the cracking, was so good that I had to make it again. This time I used teriyaki marinade, hence moving from China to Japan. I liked both versions equally.

In case you are concerned about the fat content, consider the following:
·   The thick white bit that you think is fat is actually about half fat and half something else (I can’t remember the name)
·       Less than 40% of the total fat is saturated fat
·       If cooked  on a wire rack, part of the fat gets rendered
·  So the total fat content of the belly after cooking and after the fat has rendered may be comparable to the fat content of sausages
·     If you like to cook pork belly over a bed of greens, the greens will absorb the fat and you won’t notice it. So eating more of those ‘fat free’ greens will counter the guilty feeling from eating pork belly.

       Hope I have convinced you to try pork belly, in case you haven’t tried it yet.

Adopted from an earlier recipe I did for Crispy Chinese Roasted Pork Belly

Crispy Teriyaki Pork Belly

800g boneless pork belly, skin on and scored
500ml boiling water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon salt flakes

½ cup soy sauce
½ cup mirin
2 tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons minced garlic
1½ teaspoons minced ginger

1.      Combine ingredients for the sauce in a saucepan and reduce on medium heat until the sauce thickens
2.      Place pork belly, skin-side up, on a wire rack over the sink. Pour over boiling water to scald the pork skin. If possible, try to avoid hot water getting on the meat as it will cook it slightly
3.      Dry the skin with kitchen paper and place pork, uncovered, in the refrigerator for two hours.
4.      Remove pork from fridge and place, skin-side up, on a chopping board. Using the tip of a sharp knife, stab the pork skin repeatedly until the surface is covered with holes, being careful not to go all the way through.
5.      Turn the pork belly over and make cuts about 2cm apart and 1cm deep.
6.      Rub marinade evenly over the flesh side of the pork (not the skin) and massage well into the cuts.
7.      Place pork, skin-side up, on a wire rack (this same rack will be used for roasting the pork, so make sure it is ovenproof and fits inside a roasting tin) and place over a tray or large plate to catch any drips. Place in refrigerator and leave pork uncovered overnight
8.      The next day, bring pork to room temperature and heat oven to 150°C/300°F
9.      Transfer pork and wire rack to a roasting tin. Rub skin well with the sesame oil, then scatter salt all over. Roast for 1½–2 hours or until tender (to test, pierce the meat with a skewer – you should meet no resistance).
10.  Increase the oven temperature to 220°C/430°F and continue roasting for 15 minutes.

11.  Remove pork from oven and allow to rest, uncovered, in a warm place for 15 minutes.
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