Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Roasted Honey Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are perhaps the most popular of all chicken appetizers. Don’t we all love just love it? Here is something you can whip it up in your own kitchen in no time. They are roasted in the oven at a high heat to achieve even browning and a crispy skin.

Ingredients :

12 pieces of chicken wings
2 cloves of garlic - chopped
1 tsp of chili powder
1/2 tsp of salt
3 tbsp of soy sauce
1/2 tsp of pepper
1 tsp of lemon zest
3 tbsp of honey
1. Clean chicken wings to make sure there are no stray feathers. Cut wings into portions through the joints, discarding wingtips (I left it whole as I like the wingtips).
2. Combine all the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Add wings and coat in mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Cover a baking dish with aluminium foil. Spread wings over the base, brush liberally with marinade. Roast for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Turn the wings half way through the baking. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Celebration Bread

I saw this beautiful bread at Kitchen Treasure and I felt in love with it. I always like bread with lots of nuts and dried fruits in it so this bread is just perfect for me to try out and I can say that I am not disappointed. This bread had a great citrus fragrant and with a little spread of butter they are just perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.

Ingredients :

3 cups unbleached flour
3 tbsp granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 packet (7 grm) dry yeast
1 1/2 tbsp orange or lemon extract
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup of milk, at room temperature (I used 1% fat)
1/4 ~1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups dried sweetened cranberries
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I replace this with raisins)
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, whisked until frothy, for egg wash

1. Heat 1/4 cup water to 105°F~115°F (Do not exceed 115° or the yeast will die). Sprinkle active dry yeast on the surface of warm water in a large mixing bowl. Let it stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes. You will see a froth form on the top it, and you can also smell the yeast.
2. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, sugar, salt.
3. Gradually stir (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) flour mixture into the yeast bowl. Add the orange extract, eggs, milk, and butter. Adding the remaining water, if needed, to make a soft, pliable ball of dough.
4. Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook) for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and only slightly tacky, but not sticky. It should have a soft, pliable quality, not stiff and resistant. If it is too stiff, knead (or mix) in small amount of water until it softens; if the dough seems too sticky, sprinkle in small amounts of flour as needed.
5. Add the dried cranberries or raisins and knead (or mix) for another 2 minutes, or until they are evenly distributed. Then gently knead (or mix) in the walnut pieces until they are evenly distributed. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
6. Ferment at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size. Punch down the dough for degas, fold the edges of dough to the center.
7. Transfer the dough to the counter and divide it into 6 equal pieces for 2 loaves. Roll out each pieces into strands about 9 inches long, thicker in the middle and slightly tapered toward the ends. Place 3 strands side by side and braid as you would hair. Pinch together the tips at both ends to seal the finish loaf. Place braid on a sheet pan lined baking parchment or greased. Continuing with remaining 3 strands.
8. Proof at room temperature for about 90 minutes, or until the dough nearly doubles in size. Brush the loaf a second time with the remaining egg wash. Preheat the oven to 325°F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
9. Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes or until the loaf is deep golden brown, feel very firm, and sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. The internal temperature at the center of the loaf should register between 185~190°F.
10. Remove the bread from the pan and transfer it to a cooling rack. Allow the bread to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Southwest Spring Rolls

I received an email from Andrew of AJ Gourmet offering me to try out some of their products. AJ Gourmet is an Internet store that import high quality food products and ingredients from around the globe. Within a week a package arrived at my door step. In the box there were Spanish Olive Oil, all kinds of stuffed Olives, Saffron, Green peppercorns and Piquillo Peppers. That evening itself we tried out some of the olives and they were good. I am never a fan of olives as I find it too salty but these olives were just perfect for my taste. We like their Olives stuff with habanero as it has a spicy kick to it. I made some Southwest Spring Rolls with their olives and roasted peppers and it turn out really good. Carlos gave it a two thumbs up :) I can't wait to try out their Extra Virgin Olive Oil as I heard that Spain produce one of the best olive oil in the world.

Ingredients :

1 cup of cooked chicken
1/2 cup roasted pepper - slice thinly
1/3 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
10 green olives - chopped
1 jalapeno peppers - diced
1 small bunch of cilantro - chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded cheese
salt and pepper to taste

some spring roll wrappers
1 beaten egg

Dipping sauce :

2 tbsp of mayonnaise
4 tbsp of sour cream
some chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp of salt

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl except for the spring rolls wrappers.
2. Lay a spring roll wrapper in front of you so that it forms a diamond shape. Use your index finger to wet all the edges with the beaten egg. Place approximately 2 tablespoons of filling near the bottom. Roll over once, fold in the sides, and then continue rolling. Seal the top.
3. Deep-fry the spring rolls in 3 to 4 batches, cooking until they are golden brown and crispy (about 3 minutes). Remove drain on paper towels.
4. Mix all the dipping sauce together.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Golden Cake with Chocolate Glaze

I love baking cakes but I am not a fan of decoration it. So the cake you see here are mostly naked without any dressing on it :) Occasionally I will top it off with some fresh fruits or chocolate glaze on it. I baked this wonderful plain yellow cake and I just sandwich it with some strawberry preserve and top it off with some chocolate glaze.

Ingredients for Cake

2 cups of flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter
1 1/4 cup of sugar
4 eggs
3/4 cup of buttermilk
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tbsp of orange zest

Ingredients for glaze :

120 ml of heavy cream
120 ml light corn syrup
12 oz of bitter sweet chocolate - chopped

1/4 cup of preserve - microwave for 30 second

1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degree F. Prepare and grease an 8" round baking pan or an 8" x 8" square pan and set it aside.
2) Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a mixer beat the butter until light. Gradually add in the sugar and beat until well blended.
3) Add in one egg at a time, beating well after each edition. Add in orange zest and vanilla.
4) Reduce the mixer speed to slow and add in flour into the butter mixture in 3 batches alternately with buttermilk begining with flour and end with flour.
5) Once the mixture is combined transfer the batter to the baking pan and bake until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. This will take around 40-45 minutes. Let it cool completely.
6) For the glaze combine the cream and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan and bring it to slow simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and then put in the chocolate and continue to stir until the chocolate melted and smooth.
7) Remove from heat and let it stand until lukewarm about 10 minutes. The glaze should be thick but pourable.
8) Cut the cake into half and spread some jam between the layer and put the top layer on. Pour the lukewarm chocolate glaze on top of the cake. Let the glaze set a bit before serving.

Note : My glaze was not as thick as I only had about 9 oz of chocolate in my pantry and I am too lazy to go out and get more :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Crispy Fried Wanton

Wanton is another favorite at the take-out place either in soup or fried. Make these little fried wantons for your guest as it makes a great appetizers or snacks. You can get fresh wanton skins from the Asian Markets or the supermarkets. There are two type of skin sold so make sure you get the square one.

Ingredients for filling :

1/2 pound ground meat (either chicken or pork)
2 spring onions – fine chopped
6 water chestnut – finely chopped
1/2 pound of shrimp – clean and roughly chopped
2 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. corn or potato starch
salt and pepper to taste

1 packet of wanton wrappers
1 egg white - beaten

1. Mix all ingredients for filling together and set it aside for an hour.
2. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of wanton skin. Wet the four edges of the wrapper with the beaten egg white to seal in the filling. Do the same to the rest.
3. Heat up about one inch of oil in a deep heavy skillet over medium heat and fry the wanton for a few minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove and drain oil on paper towels.
4. Serve it with your favorite chili sauce or dipping sauce.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Jerk Chicken Drumstick

Jerk is a popular style in Jamaican cooking. It is used for cooking meat, traditionally pork or goat, but you can use chicken and fish as well. The secret behind the bold flavor of jerk is the marinate as it give this dish a well rounded flavor of sweet, hot, herbal and spicy. For the best result you should marinate the meat overnight and grill it the next day. Since I am too lazy to crank up the grill I just bake it in the oven. You can serve the chicken over rice or salad but for me I just roasted some potatoes to go with it.

Ingredients :

1 big onion - chopped
3 garlic cloves
2 jalapeno chili, chopped (seeds removed if you want less heat)
2 tbsp of chopped fresh thyme
3 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup of soy sauce
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

8 pieces of bone in chicken (can be drumsticks or thighs)

1. Remove skin and fat of the chicken and make some light cuts on the surface of the meat.
2. Put all the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Set 1/4 cup aside for brushing .
3. Put the chicken pieces in a zip log bag and pour in the marinate. Make sure the chicken is coated well with the marinate and refrigerate it for 4-6 hours or overnight.
4. Grill the chicken over medium high heat until its done or bake it in a 400 degree F oven until golden brown. Make sure you turn the chicken occasionally and brush it with the reserve marinate.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mini Cheesecakes

These luscious and dainty mini cheesecakes are great for party, holidays gathering or whatever the occasion. One thing great about these little cheesecakes is their simplicity. Preparation time is very quick and best of all you can put any kind of topping to it. Since I don’t have the mini cheesecake pan I just used my muffin pan to bake these.

Ingredients for the base :

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp of melted butter

Ingredients for the filling :

1 packet (8oz) low fat cream cheese
2 tbsp of low fat sour cream
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp of lime zest
3 tbsp of lemon juice
Some fruit topping.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs and melted butter with a fork until well combined. Line 12 muffin cups with paper cups.
2. Divide crumb mixture evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Using the back of a small spoon press crumbs firmly onto the bottom and set it aside.
3. Using a food processor, blend softened cream cheese, eggs, lime zest, lime juice, sour cream and sugar together until well mix. Spoon cream cheese mixture into each cup (they should be 3/4 filled).
4. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and place on rack to cool for 20 minutes then carefully remove cheesecakes from pan and let cool complete.Top it with your favorite fruit topping before serving.

Steamed Egg Custard

After all the heavy meals let's have something light and easy to make. This much love Japanese steamed egg custard or Chawanmushi tastes absolutely delicious, flavorful, light and smooth texture when serve warm. Chawanmushi is the perfect comfort food for fall season.

Ingredients for the custard

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups of low sodium chicken stock
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sake - optional
a few dash of white pepper


4 small shrimps - blanch in boiling water for 1 min
2 crab stick - cut small
4 slices of carrot - blanch in boiling water for 1 min
Some green peas
some spring onions for garnish
Some aluminium foil

1. Prepare a steamer. Bring the water to a rapid bowl and then lower down the heat.
2. Put all the custard ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Strain the mixture over a fine sieve and set it aside.
3. Arrange the filling ingredient into the small cup or remekin. Pour the custard into the remekin. Cover the top of the remekin with a piece of foil so that the steam will not mar the surface of the custard.
4. Steam the custard in gently simmering water for 20 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the egg and if the liquid stay clear, its set. Remove from steamer and serve hot.

Note : You can replace the filling ingredients with fish, asparagus, mushrooms, ginko nuts, etc.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Honey Sesame Chicken

Sesame chickens are a very popular restaurant or take out dish. I'd like to share this restaurant quality recipes at it always comes out perfect with very little fuss and inexpensive ingredients which you probably have on hand. It can be served at home, potluck, special party, or anytime you crave for some Chinese take out food.

Ingredients :

3 pieces of chicken breast or 1/2 chicken - cut to bite size pieces
1 tbsp of light soy sauce
1 tbsp of cooking wine
1/2 tbsp of sesame oil
1 tsp of sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp rice flour or cornstarch
Salt & pepper to taste


3 tbsp of sweet chili sauce
2 tbsp of tomato ketchup
1- 2 tbsp of honey (depend on how sweet you want)
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
2 tbsp of light soy sauce
1/4 cup of water
some toasted sesame seed

1. Marinate chicken with soy sauce, wine, sugar, sesame oil, salt and pepper and set it aside for at least an hour. Just before frying mix the 2 type of flour together and mix it into the chicken.
2. Prepare oil for frying. Fry chicken until golden brown, dish out and drain the oil in paper towel. Remove all the oil from the pan.
3. Mix all the sauce ingredients together and pour it back into the pan. Bring it up to a boil and let the sauce thicken a bit.
4. Add in the chicken and toss it gently until the chicken are evenly coated with the sauce. Sprinkle the sesame seeds to the chicken. Serve with warm rice.

Note : You can use bone in chicken,chicken thigh, chicken wings or even pork ribs for this dish.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Strawberry Cake

Carlos celebrated his birthday last week and I baked him this special cake. For this cake I used the store bought cake mix as I find some cake mix taste pretty good and make life very much easier. Just follow the instruction on the box with a few extra ingredients and you are good to go. You will have a freshly bake cake in no time.

Ingredients :

1 box of white cake mix
Some fresh strawberry
4 tbsp of strawberry jam
3 tbsp of warm water

For vannila pudding :

400 ml milk
3 tbsp of custard powder
5 tablespoons of sugar
3 eggs
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla

1. Make cake according to the direction on the cake box. Bake until golden brown and let it to cool.
2. Mix eggs with sugar, custard powder with milk. Mix together in a pot. Place over medium heat, mixing all the time and bring to a slow boil. Remove from heat, add in butter and vanilla.
2. Let the custard cool down and pour it over the cake. Let it cool down and decorate the top with fresh strawberry.
3. Warm the strawberry jam with 3 tbsp of water in the microwave for 1 minute and brush it over the strawberries.
4. Serve this cake cold.

Note : I used only 1/2 box of the cake mix as the cake pan I used is very low.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Spicy Szechuan Peppercorn Chicken

This is a quick and simple dish of diced chicken, lightly battered, fried and stir-fried with Szechuan peppercorns, dried chilli peppers, ginger, garlic and green onions. This is my first time using szechuan peppercorn in my cooking and it won’t be the last. I remember seeing the Australian Chef Kylie Kwong used it ever so often in her dishes and I just have to try it out and and I must said I really like it. The peppercorn gave out a really unique aroma to the dish and when you bite into it, it creates in the mouth a kind of tingly numbness. For more information about szechuan peppercorns refer to here .

Ingredients :

2 pieces of chicken breast - cut into 1/2" cubes
2 tbsp of rice wine
1 tbsp light soysauce
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg white
3 tbsp of cornstarch

10 dried chili - cut about 1/2" long
2 cloves of garlic - sliced
2" of ginger - thinly sliced
3 spring onions - cut small
2 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tsp of sugar

2 tbsp of sesame seeds - toasted
1 tbsp of szechuan peppercorn - crush
Salt to taste

1. Marinate the chicken with rice wine, soy sauce and salt for 30 minutes. Then add in the egg white and cornstarch and mix well. Heat up some oil to deep fry the chicken.
2. Fry the chicken for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Dish out and drain well and set it aside. Remove all the oil from the pan and leave about 1 tbsp in it.
3) In a medium heat, stir fry the garlic, ginger and dry chillies. Take great care not to burn the chillies.
4. Stir fry until its fragrant and add in the chicken. Stir well and add in the soy sauce, salt to taste and the sesame seeds and szechuan peppercorns. Stir well.
5. Add in the spring onions and after a quick toss dish out and serve with warm rice.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Almond Cookies

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my Muslim friends and blog readers Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. Hope all of you will have a good time with your family and also enjoying all the yummy food. I am in the Hari Raya mood too as I baked these cookies to give it my good friend Zue when I visit her. This is one of the many type of cookies that people like to make for Hari Raya.

Ingredients :

160 grm of butter
150 grm of sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp of vanilla
220 grm of flour
80 grm of cornstarch
3 tbsp of coffeemate powder
60 grm of almond powder

Glaze :
1 egg yolk
some chopped almond

1) In a medium bowl mix flour, cornstarch, coffeemate and almond powder. Mix well.
2) Cream sugar and butter until light and creamy. Add in egg and vanilla until well combined.
3) Slow down the speed of your mixer and slowly add in the flour until everything became dough.
4) Lightly dust your work surface with some flour and roll out the cookie dough to about 0.5cm thickness. Cut out dough with a cookies cutter into desire shapes. Arrange cookies into a lightly greased baking tray.
5) Brush the top of the cookies with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle some almond on top.
6) Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes or lightly brown. Cool and wire racks.