Potato Crisps

Potatoes crispsRecently, I had been  finding some homemade snack, as I do prefer homemade instead of shop brought crisps. I did it in the office on a Friday after working hour, thinly sliced potatoes with mandoline  slicer, I do not have a great knife skill to achieve the thin slices of the potatoes. If I could make it, so do you too.

This kind of snack are versatile for any occasion and suitable for any age group too. It is matching so well with a macho cold beer with bowl of this warm crisps, I had made a similar crisps as well but that is the Chinese version of wonton crisps.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/ 356ºF. To start of with slicing the potatoes into thin slices, (I used mandoline to do the work), Place them onto flat surface with kitchen paper underneath the potatoes slices and other sheet of kitchen paper on top of it. This process is to absorb the liquid starch from the potato.

In the lightly oiled baking tray, (I used garlic infused oil, you could use regular olive oil, not extra virgin as it burn much quickly than the regular olive oil.) place the sliced potatoes on the oiled tray, do not overlapping the potatoes slices in order to cook it evenly brown. Cook it about 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly in the middle and sides.

Once it is done, remove the tray from the oven and place the cooked crisps onto kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil, let it cool down. Transfer the crisps into a large bowl, then sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper (I adding little bit of chilies powder to give extra kick in the taste) serve immediately.

I bet everyone loves this. Make your own crisps is not difficult but joyful few mouthful of and cold beer, is so wonderful with this. I can’t wait to make another batch for the weekend treat!

Breadcrumbs

breadcrumbsNever ever throw away a stale bread, otherwise you may throw away the most delicious thing. I used a whole stale bread including the crust, cut them into small pieces then put them in the food processor or blender, blitz it until the consistency that you wanted to achieve. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Spread the processed breadcrumbs on the Swiss roll tin, let it dry for 20 minutes (to drying it further) while waiting for the oven to heat up.

There is several type of breadcrumbs you could make it yourself.

  • White breadcrumbs – Remove the crust from some stale bread and rub it through a fine wire sieve, using the palm of the hand.
  • Brown breadcrumbs – Put the crusts or any pieces of the stale bread there may be into a moderate oven, and bake them brown. Then crush them with a rolling pin or pound them in a mortar, pass them through a fine sieve, and keep them in an air-tight tin.
  • Mollica (Italian) breadcrumbs  – Soft breadcrumbs: the inside of a loaf or roll, as distinct from the crust. Mollica is used principally as a binder in Polpette and Polettoni, in fillings for Ravioli and other pasta shapes and in stuffing for vegetables, fish etc. In Calabria and Sicily fried breadcrumbs are the main ingredient in many pasta sauces as a substitute for the more expensive Parmesan. The taste is, of course, different, though not necessarily less good, but the appearance is similar. There is one dish in southern Italy, in the poor regions used this breadcrumbs, even still serving today.

The French breadcrumbs (panure in French) are made from fresh bread and are soft and large-crumbed. Dried breadcrumbs (chapelure in French) are finer, made from bread that has been dried in oven or slightly stale, or by drying fresh breadcrumbs and crushing them. Browned breadcrumbs are dried crumbs that are lightly toasted. (Alternatively, the bread may be baked until browned before it is crumbed.) Breadcrumbs are used in cooking for coating food or as a topping for dishes. They are also used for binding mixtures or thickening soups or sauces.

  • Coating with breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs are used to coat delicate foods before frying, typically fish or seafood, chicken breast fillets, croquettes or fritters. Dry white crumbs do not absorb as much fat as fresh crumbs; they produce a fine, crisp coating and turn golden on cooking. The food is first dusted with flour, then dipped in beaten egg and finally coated with breadcrumbs. This gives a secure coating, ideal for soft mixtures which may melt during frying. Less delicate items can be moistened with melted butter or milk before a fine layer of crumbs is pressed on – this is useful when baking or grilling (broiling) the food. Dishes coated with fresh breadcrumbs must be cooked slowly so that the crumbs do not brown before the foods are properly cooked. The French are prefer their fresh breadcrumbs, making that misnomer!

If you had a very tired or lazy day, you could even ignore the step of drying the bread in the oven. You can cut the crust off and cut the bread into chunks and lacerate  into crumbs in the food processor, and then leave the crumbs in a shallow bowl or spread them out on a plate to dry and get staler naturally. You can keep breadcrumbs in a freezer bag in the freezer and use them straight from the frozen. An average slice of good bread without crusts, should be weights 25g; this in turn yields approximately 6 tablespoons of breadcrumbs.

Vanilla Meringue

Vanilla meringueFrench meringue, one of the easiest meringue you could make in no time, this is my version of mini meringue that melts in your mouth. Only three ingredient, you could have a jar of this to keep in cupboard for a week. In my case, it won’t even last for a week, should be gone in third day. Meringue and macaroon is a very similar however macaroon involved many steps and preparation. Macaroon, always gave an impression that it was one of the recipe I called “failure of success” and the pâtissier recover the bake goods with filling the bottom with cream and sandwich another piece of macaroon. Somehow many French recipe had that kind of repertoire.

  • 4 egg whites
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  1.  Preheat the oven to 100ºC/ 212ºF. In a large clean bowl, whisk the egg white until peak firm was formed.
  2. Shift the caster over the egg white, make sure there is no lumps of sugar, then add in the vanilla extract.
  3. Use a large metal spoon, careful fold over the sugar and vanilla into whisked egg white. Do not over work with it otherwise you may knock out the air you had created into the egg whites.
  4. Use your finger or a spoon and dip into the mixture and smear it onto the four corner of the baking sheet, then line the baking sheet with baking parchment or baking paper.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a large plain nozzle piping bag and pipe it on the baking paper.
  6. Pop them in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Once it is done remove it from the oven and let it cool completely before you store them in the clean jar.

There texture is smooth and melts in your mouth, however it has a bit of chewiness at the end, that is because of the sugar. I think in the batch I going to reduce the sugar, as I think is a bit too sweet to my tooth, however in some explanation saying sugar in the meringue is crucial because sugar is the structure of the meringue, since I’m architectural amateur that word “structure” is sounds seriously in construction industry; which is true because that is the only ingredient comes in a tinny little form or crystal, supporting the “cotton” above it. How wonderful is that?

Berry Barque

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Reminding me about the pâtisserie shops in Paris, the Parisian are so proud of their patisserie because of their passionate and love with their culinary. I must say if you have the easy access to good patisserie, I don’t see any reason you won’t fall in love with. The recipe was picked up on the TV show that Michel Roux and Marry Berry was preparing these little beautiful pastry.

This really make me feels like a French pâtissier, patisserie is the work of art for the pâtissier that created with a flawless not only the taste is good, and is really great to look at too. Eventually walking in streets of Paris whenever I saw a patisserie shop even at the opposite road I could traverse and just to have a look at it, because it is like my favorite masterpiece of Mona Lisa was stolen and hung in the shop for sell!

I have a recipe just for the occasion that you need for dinner party of tea time treat. I used my classic sweet pastry. (refer to my previous post of humble mince pie)

For the filling, I used crème pâtissière (pastry cream, the reason, it taste nicer and the fruit can sitting in creamlike soft sponge and it holds the fruits)

  • 120g egg yolks (approximately 6 medium egg yolks)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 40g corn flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla exact
  • 500ml whole milk
  1. For the crème pâtissière, whisk the egg yolks with sugar until pale and thick, then whisk in the corn flour.
  2. Add the vanilla into the milk and bring to boil then switch off the heat.
  3. Pour the milk in a slow stream onto the egg mixture, whisking vigorously all the time. (Pour slowly to avoid scrambling the egg)
  4. Return the mixture to a clean pot over a medium heat and whisk continuously. Make sure to scrape the sides and the bottom, otherwise it will burn.
  5. The cream will start to thicken. Once it release a bubble or two, take it off the heat.
  6. Pour into a shallow bowl. Cover with cling film (pat the cling film so it sticks directly on to the cream) letting it cool before put in the fridge. Refrigerate for at least an hour before using.

To give the fruit a better shine, warm a jar of apricot jam in saucepan in low heat, do keep your eye on it, no one like the burnt sugar taste, once the jam had warm through then use a pastry brush to brush the arranged fruit.

I like the size of this shape it is much easy as a bite size, usually fruit tattler is in round shape. It is not elegance as this one.

Tips: The jam will thicken as it cool down, you can add little bit of water and warm it through again, to mix the water and jam then continue to brush the fruit again.

 

 

Vanilla biscuit

Vanilla BiscuitThis is one my childhood’s memory, I used to brought it from the shop in the market and I had became addictive to it. I leave them in coffee, the biscuit swim in coffee and I eat it with a spoon, sometime it drop into the coffee. The vanilla infused in the coffee and it tasted vanilla. I had brought these little treat to office, my colleague loves every piece, she dipping into coffee too. I like the soft texture of the biscuit, at least, I don’t need use all the strength to bite the biscuits.

  • 115g Butter, softened
  • 95g Caster sugar
  • 50g Brown sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 167g Plain flour
  • ½ tsp Table salt
  • ½ tsp Baking powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 3cm diameter circles onto the parchment paper to pipe the mixture onto the circle.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
  4. Sift the mixed flour into the egg, sugar and butter and then stir to combine.
  5. Scrap dough into a piping bag fitted with plain piping nozzle.
  6. Pipe the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Pipe the dough onto drawn circles. The biscuit will spread, but only little space is needed between each biscuit
  7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until biscuit are light golden brown. After removing it from the oven let it cool on the baking sheet before transfer onto the cooling rack. Store them in airtight container or jar.

Spaghetti Spice

IMG_0071Do you ever think of a simple ingredient to adding into your pasta and it gives a different dimension to your dish and everyone is asking about the secret recipe of the ingredients of it. Well, I got the answer for it! I picked it up from Nigella’s cookbook, I had tried it. Hmmm! It is a wonderful SOS to have  in your store cupboard, it only takes less than 2 minutes to get it done.

I find this is great and charming present, you can attached a label to the jar, with instructions for use, namely that for each 100g of spaghetti (uncooked weight), 2 teaspoons of the mix should be sprinkled into a tablespoonful of olive oil in the still-hot pan once the pasta’s drained, then the spaghetti should be tossed back in, along with 30ml to 60ml or 2 to 4 tablespoons of starchy cooking water.

As given precise weights below in an effort to be helpful, but basically you need to think of using – in weight not volume – 1 part dried parsley and garlic to 2 parts chilli flakes and 3 parts sea salt flakes. I know this sounds as if the chilli will dominate but remember that the chilli flakes weigh more, as it were, than the dried parsley, so that even though you have double the weight of chilli flakes, the volume of parsley is greater, it goes without saying – or ought to – that you should try to get the best-quality dried herbs that you can find.

Makes to fill 4 x 110ml or 4fl oz jars

  • 15g dried parsley
  • 15g garlic granules
  • 30g dried chilli flakes
  • 45g sea salt flakes
  1. Mix the ingredients in a bowl and then, when you’re happy everything’s thoroughly combined, fill your waiting containers, close tightly and attach instructions for use, if so desired.

Porcini & Chocolate Risotto

IMG_9614Typically chocolate always give you the impression of dessert, something that sweet. The Dutch chocolate company had imposed that image into everyone. However, this wonderful author had changed my impression toward chocolate forever, thanks to Willie Harcourt-Cooze.  I picked up one of his recipe and will love to give it a try, it may sound odd to add chocolate into savory. The flavour is really married well.  Here is the recipe for your adventure with cacao.

  • 100g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 25g butter
  • 250g Arborio rice
  • 1 litre hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp finely grated 100% cacao
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

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  1. Place the porcini mushrooms in a small heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave to soak for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic and fry over a gentle heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft and translucent.
  3. Stir in the butter until melted, then stir in the rice.
  4. Tip in the porcini mushroom, along with their soaking liquid. Bring to a gentle simmer, strring continuously, until all the soaking liquid has been absorbed. Add a ladleful of hot stock and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until the liquid has again been absorbed. Continue cooking, adding the stock and stirring in this way, until all the stock has been used up and the rice is plump and tender.
  5. Finally, stir in the cacao, season with salt and black pepper to taste and serve with grated Parmesan sprinkle over the top.

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The most honest opinion about this apart from the strong bitter cacao that really wonderful with the note of earthy taste to it, likewise with the porcini mushroom. I do suggest to use a bit of thyme to garnish on top. It did settle both strong flavour because of the aromatic of the thyme. This kind of dish as is does look like Chinese porridge, I am wondering does all these food culture related once a upon a time? That will be very interesting subject to find out too.

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Crumpets

IMG_5339AIs had been many year I had crumpet, I think probably about six years ago was last time to had crumpets.  Few days ago I was tidying my books and I found a recipe of crumpet dated back to 1900. Obviously I didn’t follow this recipe to cook the crumpet because it doesn’t specified the amount of flour, as I remembered it is ratio of 2:1 of milk to flour; salt is usually a pinch will do it. Basically is my instinct for this recipe, and it is for a large amount of crumpets  with 1 quart of milk that converted to nearly 1 litre of milk. Somehow I got it right, now I’m really starting historical cooking. It is very amazing when you using the recipe like this, is not only makes you think how our ancestor doing in the kitchen; that obviously make me appreciated more of their cooking, with jotting down every detail that will definitely helps the future generation to understand how their grandparent’s food look like.

I had make a little extra by using our convenience of supermarket, so I came up with this a bit modern version of crumpet away from 1900.

  1.  Sift the flour, salt, sugar into a large bowl. Place the milk in a saucepan, add 125 ml water and warm gently. The mixture should be just hand-hot.
  2. Pour the mixture into a small bowl, sprinkle the dried yeast on top and leave for 10-15 minutes or until frothy.
  3. Add the yeast liquid to the flour and beat to smooth batter. Cover the bowl with a large lightly oiled polythene bag and leave in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until the batter had doubled in bulk.
  4. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in 1 tablespoon warm water, beat into the batter. Cover and leave to rise again for 20 minutes.IMG_5337A
  5. Heat a griddle or heavy-bottomed frying pan or non-stick frying pan over medium heat, then grease it when hot. Grease metal crumpet rings, poaching rings or large plain biscuit cutter about 7.5cm in diameter. Place the rings on the hot griddle, pour a spoonful of batter into each to cover the base thinly and cook until the top is set and the bubbles have burst.IMG_5338A
  6. Remove the rings and turn the crumpets over. Cook the other side for 2 to 3 minutes only, until firm but barely coloured. Cool the crumpet on wire rack. Serve toasted, with butter.IMG_5342AI loved the sponginess of the crumpets and the melted butter, ooze in the holes, oh my god, it is so enjoyable. Yes! Butter makes everything better, this is so true. This recipe original recipe has been pass on for many generation, therefore I’m here to do the same pass the goodness to my family and friends. Start to collate your family recipes and pass-it-on.

 

Christmas Soirée 2014

During the year of 2014, it has been a great year for me. When I reviewed it last week, it wasn’t bad at all. Well, as usual I organized a Christmas Soirée to finish the year.

Obviously, the food should be familiar and welcoming. Although I born and grew up in Asia, and I have not experienced a proper Christmas during my childhood until I met Andrews, therefore I tried to embrace and relishing the British tradition in its foreign land of Asia; it may sounds odd and it turned out to be surprised. All of them has the story to tell, such as mince pie, it is used to be large savoury dish back in Middle Ages and filled with chopped meat or liver mixed with diced hard-boiled egg and ginger; until it predominated and the meat was replaced with suet. Even during the Christmas of 1644, mince pie was banned by Oliver Cromwell. How interesting history become.

Every Continent of Europe has it tradition of food especially during Christmas. French have a simple almost seafood palette from oyster or seashell seafood to fish or goose as main course, dessert are usually chocolate, Kouglof. Most people will terrified with the preparation of Christmas dinner, when you think about it, with some help from local butcher, some of the skilled work they can done it for you. Of course with some good supermarket selling good quality prepared food in can or jar that obviously help to ease off the stress of Christmas cooking. Andrews told me about how their grandmother prepared the Christmas dinner, everything from scratch. I’m really impressed with most of the food that Andrews grandmother cooked, the recipe is complicated for to understand.

I think is a good practice to have a family cook book pass down to next generation, so the family will inherited the recipe for many year. That’s all about home cooking, I think restaurant food is based on home cooked recipe and present it in the different way so it look nicer on the serving plate. I believe every household has a good recipe that going to embrace by the family, this make me feel very grounded to family recipe as it is always the basic to start off your fancy cookery. So start to jotting down your family recipe and embrace it. Don’t let the time vanish away a good recipe.

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 42 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.