Monday, August 21, 2017

Olive Oil Cake With Fresh Apricots

This month, at The Cake Slice Bakers, the four recipes selected from the book World Class Cakes by Roger Pizey, which we are currently baking from are ;

Olive Oil Cake with Fresh Peaches
Hummingbird Cake
M'hanncha
Oliver Peyton's Strawberry and Majoram Cream Tart

Members can choose any of these cakes to bake, and my choice is Olive Oil Cake with Fresh Peaches. But instead of peaches, I've used fresh apricots.



I made half a recipe and bake in a 5" cake pan, and it bakes up like a giant cupcake! Maybe I should have used a 6" cake pan instead. This is a simple cake with all the basic ingredients, instead of butter, it uses olive oil.



The cake has moist, close crumbs and I thought that this is just an ordinary cake, nothing special that would make me want to bake it again. I prefer the Danish Apple Cake which I baked months ago from the same book, maybe I have always prefer using butter in my cakes instead of oil.





Saturday, August 19, 2017

Tempura Spring Veg With Sesame Dipping Sauce

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), the theme is Dippity Do Dah!, such a catchy theme! We are to make any dip or spread using any recipe from our current featured chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

I've made Tempura Spring Veg With Sesame Dipping Sauce, from HFW's fabulous book, River Cottage Light & Easy, a gift from a lovely friend.

HFW made the tempura using spring veg, I have however used our local veggies which are available the whole year round. 



The veggies I've used are pumpkin, sweet potatoes, French beans and brinjals. I have made some changes to the batter. In the recipe, Hugh has used only two ingredients ; white rice flour and chilled sparkling water. I do not have any sparkling water, so I have used ice cold water. And I have added one teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt to taste. (thus, I have omitted the sprinkling of salt on the fried tempura at serving time). The batter was quite thin and did not really coat the veggie when I dipped some veggies into the batter for test-frying. So I have added another 2-3 tablespoons of rice flour. 

For the dipping sauce, mix the ingredients together ; toasted sesame seeds, grated ginger, grated garlic, tamari (or soy sauce), lime juice, and honey. I've used soy sauce, so I have added 1-2 tablespoons of water to dilute the taste of soy sauce a little, as the dipping sauce I've tasted at Japanese restaurants are always so light yet so tasty.



The batter coats the veggies beautifully without being too thick or too thin and fried to a light crispiness. The tempura veggies are delicious, crispy and tasty!

And we love the dipping sauce. So good with the crispy fried veggies! Yum!



I will definitely be making this again!


Tempura Spring Veg With Sesame Dipping Sauce
(River Cottage Light & Easy, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
Serves 2-4
a selection of vegetables, such as asparagus, small radishes, baby carrots
and spring onions (I've used pumpkin, sweet potato, French beans and brinjals)
sprigs of flat-leaf parsley
sunflower or groundnut oil, for frying
fine sea salt

For the batter :
100gm white rice flour
160ml chilled sparkling water (I've used chilled plain water)
1 teaspoon baking powder
added a large pinch of salt to taste

For the dipping sauce :
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon runny honey
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

For the sauce, mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
To prepare the vegetables :
Slice and cut the veggies to the same uniform thickness, making sure that they are not too thick so that they can cook quickly.
To prepare the batter :
Mix the ingredients together and used immediately.

Pour a 5cm depth of oil into a deep, heavy-based saucepan and heat to about 180C.
Use a cook's thermometer to check the temperature of the oil, or drop in 1/2 teaspoonful of batter - it should fizzle enthusiastically and just start to colour in about 1 minute.
Dip the vegetables, a few at a time, into the batter, dunking them down to the bottom of the bowl so they get a good coating. Then lift them out, briefly letting the excess batter drip back into the bowl, and swiftly drop them into the hot oil. Fry for about 2 minutes until crisp and very lightly golden. Don't let the vegetables clump together in the oil or the batter won't cook properly - it helps to drop them in one at a time.
Tansfer the cooked veg to a plate lined with kitchen paper, and, while still sizzling hot, sprinkle with a little salt. Serve as soon as they are all cooked, with the dipping sauce.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
Dippity Do Dah!


and 

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #20 hosted by 




Thursday, August 17, 2017

Crash-O-Cookies

This week at Tuesdays With Dorie, selected recipe from Dorie's Cookies, is Crash-O-Cookies. It has been awhile since I last baked with the group.

These cookies has my favourite ingredients, raisins and oats. And there's chopped milk chocolate. They are chewy and soft and lovely with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.



I reduced the sugar to 80gm for both the caster sugar and brown sugar, and thought that these cookies were sweet enough. I mixed the dough in the morning, keep covered in the fridge, and baked the cookies at night. So I have baked them a little longer as the dough is cold from the fridge, about 20 minutes. They are a little crispy around the edges when still warm but turned soft and chewy when they have cooled down completely. 

I baked only half the batch of the dough and store the other half in the freezer. That will be for another day.



Though I am partial to crispy cookies, I do enjoy these chewy soft cookies.

The recipe for these cookies can be found at Dorie's website.

To see the other bakers review on these cookies, drop by Tuesdays With Dorie (TWD) blog roll.


Friday, August 11, 2017

French Beans With Tomatoes

I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) is cooking with tomatoes this week, as the featured ingredient/dish for this month of August is Tomatoes! I've decided to cook with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, our current featured chef at IHCC. Made his French Beans with Tomatoes.

A simple and easy dish to cook, with just minimal ingredients ; chopped onions, chopped garlic, canned chopped tomatoes and French beans. For the tomatoes, either canned or fresh tomatoes can be used. I have one last can of chopped tomatoes in my pantry which I wanted to clear, and seems perfect for this dish. 



Does not takes much effort at all to cook this dish, the only thing is to stir every now and then, to avoid the bottom from sticking to the pan. I did add a little water just to keep the sauce moist and nice. 

This is a delicious dish. There's the usual slight sourness from the canned tomatoes, but at the same time, you can taste the sweetness from both the onions and the French beans. Very tasty. My son seems to be taken with this dish, he loves it. At first, he thought that I have added some sugar to this dish. Well I did not, the sweetness are naturally from the onions and French beans! We had this dish with rice and a few other dishes. No leftovers!


French Beans With Tomatoes
(River Cottage Every Day, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
serves 4
1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400gm tin of chopped tomatoes, or 1 kg fresh tomatoes, blanched, skinned,
deseeded and roughly chopped
500gm French beans, topped, tailed and cut into 4-5cm lengths
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or frying pan, add the onion and sweat for at least 10 minutes, until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook gently for another minute or two, then add the tomatoes and stir well. Stir in the beans, bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and season well. Turn down the heat, partly cover the pan and cook very gently, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes, until the beans are fully tender. If the mixture seems to be in danger of sticking, add a splash of water or stock. Serve warm or cold.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
August Monthly Featured Ingredient/Dish Challenge : Tomatoes !


and 

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #20 hosted by 


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Braised Pork with Potatoes

Another delicious recipe from Every Grain Of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop. The author describes this as a heart-warming stew, one of those you find on display outside Sichuanese restaurants specialising in braised dishes. This stew uses just a few ingredients, the main ingredient that gives the lovely red colour and delicious flavour, is the Sichuan chilli bean paste.



I have used wavy potatoes instead of floury. As suggested by the author, carrots or other root veggies can be used instead, whichever we prefer, or a mixture of root veggies. The next time I would use daikons, one of my favourite root veggies in stews.



The Sichuan chilli bean paste makes a delicious flavourful stew with the pork braised to a soft tender texture. With a bowl of hot fluffy rice, makes a satisfying meal.

The recipe can be found here
(or from Every Grain Of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop, pg 100)


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #20 hosted by 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Marinated Cucumber with Mint

I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) is going raw this week, with the theme, In The Raw! There's certainly not short on recipes for this theme. There's tons of recipes using fresh raw veggies in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage series of cookbooks.  I've made Marinated Cucumber with Mint from HFW's lovely book, River Cottage Veg every day! I love cucumbers, especially when eaten raw.

A very simple, easy and quick salad to put together. Sliced cucumber are tossed with cider vinegar, sugar, salt, olive oil, black pepper and leave to marinate for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving. 



A refreshing salad indeed! Especially with the chopped fresh mint.


Marinated Cucumber with Mint
(River Cottage Veg Everyday, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
serves 3-4
1 medium-large cucumber
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil or rapeseed oil
a good handful of mint, finely chopped
a pinch of sugar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel the cucumber, halve it lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Slice into thick half-moons. Place in a dish with the cider vinegar, oil, mint and a pinch each of salt, sugar and pepper. Toss together thoroughly.  Leave for 15-30 minutes, toss again and then serve.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
In The Raw!

and

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #20 hosted by 




Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Spinach In Ginger Sauce

I have made some delicious meals from Fuchsia Dunlop's cookbook, Every Grain Of Rice. Spinach In Ginger Sauce is another winner. There are more dishes that I will be sharing as I cannot seem to stop cooking from this book!



This is listed under the Cold Dishes section in the book.  A bunch of spinach are first blanched briefly in hot boiling water, then refresh in cold water, drain and very gently squeeze out any excess water from the spinach. They are then arranged on a cutting board, cut into sections, and arrange neatly on a serving plate. The sauce is then poured over.

To make the simple sauce, you would need to finely chop some ginger, place into a small bowl and mix with some Chinkiang vinegar, soy sauce, water, salt and sesame oil. You may need to adjust the soy sauce, salt and vinegar to your liking. I did use double the amount of ginger as we love ginger!



This spinach dish goes well together when served with a rich dish such as braised pork, as part of a meal with rice, as it is slightly sour, salty and gingery nice. So it helps to cut down on the richness of the rich braised meat. We love this spinach dish, a definite repeat. 

The recipe can be found here.
(or from Every Grain Of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop, pg 64)


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #20 hosted by 



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