Saturday, June 29, 2013

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe

No bake Strawberry Cheesecake

Making this was tricky since I am new to the complex world of gelatine. I bought gelatine for the first time. Anxious to use it as soon as I got home, I made milk jelly and that worked.

With great enthusiasm and not realising that the concept of beginners luck is well and truly alive, I attempted strawberry cheesecake. First attempt, almost disaster. The filing did not firm up, still delicious as a strawberry cheesecake milkshake! Second attempt, same results, and I thought people learn from their mistakes. Apparently not everyone does. To convert  strawberry cheesecake milkshake into strawberry cheesecake, I warmed the mixture gently and chilled it again. It worked. The gelatine did not fully dissolve the first time around.

After making the same mistake twice, I realise that I missed a crucial step, to warm the gelatine water mixture so that it fully dissolves. 

So, if you make this and the mixture is still runny, warm it up and chill again.

Adopted from Epicurious

¼ cup water  
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin (measured from 2 envelopes)
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sour cream or whipping cream
1 cup sugar (I used ½ cup)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1-2 cups strawberries

⅓ cup (40g) almond meal
¾ cup (105g) plain flour
¼ cup (55g) caster (superfine) sugar
90g butter, chopped

1.      To make the base: place the almond meal, flour, sugar and butter in a bowl. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until a rough dough forms. 
2.      Line the base of a 20cm-round springform tin with baking paper. Place the base mixture into the base and flatten. Bake at 150°C/350°F until light golden, about 12-15 minutes. It will be a delicious cookie but don't eat it. 
3.      To make the filing: Pour ¼ cup water into small saucepan; sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir over very low heat just until gelatin dissolves. Set aside.
4.      Blend cream cheese, cream, sugar, and lemon juice in processor until smooth. Add berries; puree until smooth (some berry bits will remain, don't worry).
5.   With machine running, add warm gelatin mixture through feed tube and blend well.
6.   Pour filling into crust. Cover; chill overnight. .

No bake Strawberry Cheesecake

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Twice Cooked Pork (Huí Guō Ròu) Recipe

Twice Cooked Pork
Huí Guō Ròu means “meat returned to pot”, in other words, twice cooked. The dish comes from Sichuan but don’t ask me how the name is pronounced.  What I can tell you is that this is extremely delicious, and very simple to prepare.

This dish brings back memories. The first time I saw this on the menu, I asked the waitress how it is prepared. My waitress and my friend/dinner companion answered at the same time “its cooked twice”. I ordered the dishing without bothering to ask any further questions.

The recipe below has some complex sounding exotic ingredients. You can substitute or skip some of the ingredients. I skipped tianmianjiang, and substituted doubanjiang with chili powder. Its not the same but the result is still delicious.

320 grams pork belly
1 tablespoon tianmianjiang (sweet wheaten bean paste)
1 tablespoon shaoxing wine 
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons doubanjiang (chili bean paste)
1 shallot or ½ onion, sliced
Scallions, optional

Adopted from No Recipes

1.      Put the pork belly in a pot that it barely fits in. Add enough boiling water so that the pork is completely submerged. Simmer for 30 minutes.
2.      Remove the pork from the liquid and refrigerator for 3-4 hours so it firms up. You can use the liquid the pork was boiled in as soup base
3.      Once the pork is chilled slice it into 1/8" (3mm) thick slices.
4.      In a small bowl, combine tianmianjiang, shaoxing, soy sauce and sugar. 
5.      Heat a wok or large sauté pan over high heat until very hot. Add the oil, then add pork. Stir-fry until the pork has started to crisp around the edges.
6.      Add the doubanjiang and shallots/onions and stir-fry until the shallots/onions have softened 
7.      Add the bowl of sauce and stir-fry until all the liquid has evaporated.

Twice Cooked Pork

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Semolina Yogurt Lemon Coconut Cake Recipe

Semolina Yogurt Lemon Coconut Cake

Sorry about the very long name, I have listed just about every ingredient in the name! The cake is super moist, and semolina gives a fantastic soft gritty texture. I’ve made variations of this cake many times, and I am still not sick of it. Semolina’s texture in this cake in really appealing. 

Semolina Lemon Coconut Cake

¾ cup semolina
¾ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1¼ cups yogurt
½ cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

For syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Juice from ½ lemon

1.      Soak coconut in yogurt for ½ hour (optional)
2.      Beat eggs and sugar until sugar has dissolved
3.      Add yogurt, coconut and oil and mix well. 
4.      Add all the rest of the ingredients and mix to combine. The batter will be quite 'wet', add a little bit more yogurt if the batter seems too dry
5.      Line a 8×8 pan with baking paper and pour batter in it.
6.      Bake at 175°C/350°F until golden brown and delicious, about 25-30 minutes.
7.      To make the syrup: Boil water and sugar for 3 minutes. Add lemon juice and boil for further 3 minutes. Let it cool completely
8.      Pour the cold syrup over the warm cake. Let it cool completely, or chill, before serving

Semolina Lemon Coconut Cake

Monday, June 3, 2013

Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips Recipe

Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips

This was delicious and easy, and no frying involved.

10 Flour Tortillas (or Homemade Flour Tortillas)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic salt
2 Tbs. melted butter or some olive oil

1.      Combine chili powder, garlic salt and cumin in a bowl.
2.      Brush butter or olive oil on one side of each flour tortilla.
3.      Sprinkle the seasoning mixture over each flour tortilla.
4.      Cut the tortilla into wedges
5.      Place them on an ungreased baking tray and bake at 205°C/400°F for 8-10 minutes. Watch closely as the chips can burn quickly. 

Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips

Homemade Wholewheat Tortilla Recipe

Homemade Wholewheat Tortillas
I never realized tortillas were so simple to make. And cooking it is straight forward and quick.

Tortillas are usually round, and if you are good at rolling, it will be round. In my case I made a dozen and about half of them were round, if we stretch the definition of round! The unround ones were just as delicious. They deserved some attention too. Lets call these the rustic tortillas!

Homemade Wholewheat Tortillas

Recipe adopted from Daily Dish

2¾ cup wholewheat flour (or white flour if you prefer)
5 tablespoons butter (diced), or a mixture of butter and oil
¾ cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder

1.      Sift together flour, baking powder and salt
2.      Add butter to the flour mixture and mix until it looks like bread crumbs. Its easier to do this using your food processor or pastry cutter
3.      Add water and knead until the dough comes together
4.      Break the dough up into 12 separate balls and place them on a tray. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for an hour
5.      Sprinkle some flour on the work surface and roll out the dough until quite thin. Keep the rolled dough covered until ready to cook
6.      Cook tortillas on a hot ungreased pan. As soon as the underside gets dark brown spots, flip over. This may take about a minute.
7.      Cook until the other side is done.
8.   Keep the cooked tortillas wrapped in a tea towel, to keep soft.

Homemade Wholewheat Tortillas

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