Friday, May 29, 2015

Coffee Smoked Chicken Breast Recipe

Coffee Smoked Chicken Breast

This is a short cut method. Instead of smoking the chicken until it is cooked, I smoked for a short while and baked in the oven. Not only did this save time (and avoided smoking the whole house) but the smoke flavor was subtle. Chicken is a delicate meat so I think a subtle flavor works best, unlike other meats such as duck.

The smoking process was quite easy, and uses utensils readily available in most kitchen. If you don’t have a wok, you can use a pan that has a lid. You will need to make a rack in this case.

I stuffed the chicken breast with sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and garlic. It wasn't good. Sun dried tomatoes was overpowering, I used too much. I have not mentioned the stuffing in the recipe below. Its probably best to eat the chicken breast on its own, to fully appreciate the gentle smokiness.

Adopted from Ricardo Cuisine

Coffee Smoked Chicken Breast

5 chicken breasts, about 1 kg
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ cup coffee beans, coarsely ground
1 tablespoon juniper berries, coarsely ground
3 star anise, coarsely ground
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar

1.      Line the bottom of a wok with aluminum foil.
2.      Spread coffee, spices and sugar on the aluminum foil. Place a rack in the wok. It should be 1½ to 2 inches from the bottom of the wok.
3.      Brush the breasts with soy sauce. Place chicken breast, skin down, onto the rack.
4.      Heat wok, uncovered, over high heat, until you see smoke, about 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cover the wok.
5.      Smoke chicken breast for 5 -8 minutes. The time depends on how strong you want the smoky flavor to be.
6.      Remove breast from the wok. Place skin side down on a lined baking tray and baked at 400°F/205°C for 10 minutes. Flip the breast and bake for further 5-8 minutes, until done. Internal temperate should be 165°F/75°C. Rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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

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