Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Beef and Barley Soup

Perth weather had been creating news ... we had few cold days last week... temperature dropped below 0 degrees Celcius in the city and -ve4 in the bush!!!
I woke up to an icy, frosty morning... a marvellous sight... everywhere around the garden covered in frost... from far ~ it looks like someone had dusted my garden with some icing sugar... yes.. I am always thinking of FOOD!!
Oregano with speckled of frost

In cold days like these, its nice to have hot soup... its better if we can have one pot meal... just chopped all vegetables, add meat and cook everything in a slow cooker... while we enjoy the comfort of nice warm bed with a good book...

  • 1kg gravy beef - cut into 1 in cubes
  • 1 liter V8 juice
  • 1 brown onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic - crushed
  • 1 cup of chopped leeks
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 1 carrots - chopped
  • 1/3 cup pearl barley
  • 2 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped oregano
Coat the beef with flour and give a quick 'cook' on all side .. to seal the juice. Spray oil and saute the onion and garlic until translucent. Transfer the onion , beef and all the rest into a slow cooker. Pour in the V8 juice. Cook on HIGH for at least 5 hours. Season to taste.

Serve with crusty bread.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Angku... literally means Red Tortoise cakes (translated from Hokkien).

It has a been a tradition or a culture among Chinese families... to celebrate the baby's reaching his/her 1st month... the parents will prepare (nowadays ~ just order) and celebrate with other members of their extended families, friends and neighbours... everyone get to feast on yellow glutinous rice served with Chicken Curry, Red hard boiled eggs, and Angku

Why Angku??? Angku or Tortoise Cakes... Tortoise represents longevity... and the colour Red represents Good Luck... wonderful tradition to celebrate and bless the baby ...

And I still have some leftover split green beans from last week (lap chup).... so this week Sweet Saturday ~ I am sharing with you...Angku

  • 300g split green beans - washed and soaked overnight
  • 2 pandan leaves knotted
  • 250g sugar or more if wishes
  • 4 tablespoon oil
Prepare steamer and steam the split green beans with pandan leaves for at least 30 minutes until it is soft. Discard leaves.
Combine split beans with sugar and oil in wok and stir on medium high fire. Stir continuosly until sugar and beans becomes thick and binds and not stick to your hands. Roll into a ball and put aside.

Dough for the skins:
  • 150g orange sweet potatoes or kumara - steamed/ microwave and mashed
  • 300g glutinous rice flour
  • 4 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 tablespoon of oil
  • orange red colouring
  • 250ml-300ml water
  • extra oil for later use.
  • Some banana leaves - cut up into squares (slightly bigger than the size of Angku)
Add food colouring to water. Combine the mashed sweet potatoes to glutinous rice flour. Knead. Add water bit by bit until smooth dough is achieved.

Take a bit of the dough..may be slightly bigger than the size of the rolled up split green beans above... Flatten into a disc on your palm... add the green beans ball ... wrap the ball with the dough. Making sure that the split beans ball is fully enclosed. Roll gently to smoothen.

Prepare steamer.

Cut up banana leaves and lightly oiled it. Place the uncooked angku in the steamer and steam for 10 minutes. Once it is cooked... lightly oiled the angku surface..(to prevent it from sticking to one another!!).. enjoy...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chawanmushi / Japanese Savoury Custard

We love anything Japanese... even the kids are into Japanese movies, manga and teenage lovey-dovey high schools series!!!

There is a buffet restaurant in Kuala Lumpur that we never failed to visit on our every trip to the city ~ Saisaki Japanese Buffet... we could eat till our hearts content!!! Mr H and Mr H Jr would make numerous trip to the sashimi counter... Miss E would go for her tempura... I am an all rounder... 'sampling' the arrays of Japanese food on displays...

This restaurant is so famous (value for money)that one has to make an advance booking ... otherwise... we'll have to wait for quite a while!!!!

One of our favourites would be Chawanmushi.... steamed egg custard ... with crabsticks, prawn, shitake mushroom... love that smooth silky texture...
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 2/3 teaspoon sugar
  • 400ml bonito stock
  • 1 piece chicken breast - thinly sliced
  • 4 shitake mushrooms or chinese mushrooms - thinly sliced
  • 8 prawns
  • 4 crabsticks.
Marinate the chicken slices with light soya sauce... Dissolve bonito powder in 400ml boiling water and leave it to cool. Then mix in salt, sugar and soy sauce.

Prepare the steamer.

Break the eggs into a bowl. To avoid introducing too much air...do not beat the eggs... just gently stir and using 'cutting' motion...

Pour the eggs into the cooled stock. Strain into another bowl or jug. Divide the chicken strips, prawns, mushrooms into 4 ramekins or Japanese cups... and pour in the egg mixture. Place the ramekins onto the steamer tray or bamboo tray and steam on low fire for 8-10 minutes (note: time plays an important factor to have a smooth silky texture)..

Insert the bamboo skewer.. if the liquid comes out clear ... it is cooked. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fish Chowder

Its nice to have a bowl of hot soup during cold winter days...

I used whatever fish I had in my freezer section... it would be nice to add a little touch of smoked fish... it will give that lovely flavour of smoked fish and cream...
  • hiramasa and salmon cutlets - deboned and cut into chunks...
  • 1 brown onion - chopped
  • 2 garlic- chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of fish stock (use the fish bones and whetever flesh left on the bones ...bring to boil with some salt and water)
  • diced potatoes
  • 100g sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup of milk or 300 ml cream
  • 2 tablespoon of plain flour
  • 50g butter
  • some thyme
  • bay leaf
  • paprika
  • salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a hot pan with a little bit of olive oil. Saute the onion and garlic until transparents... Add in flour and give a quick stir around the pot. Pour in the fish stock with bay leaf. Add potatoes and bring to boil and simmer for a while until the potatoes are soft and tender. Add milk or cream, with a dash of paprika, a pinch of thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Leave it to simmer again to enhance the flavour.

Lastly add fish and mushrooms.... Bring to a quick boil for few minutes until the fish chunks are cooked, cover and turn off the heat. Serve with bread rolls...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lap Chup/ Miniature Fruits and Vegetables

Miniature oranges, star fruits, mangosteen, strawberry, apples, carrots etc

Lap Chup~ originated from Thailand... made of steamed split peas paste and shaped into miniature fruits and vegetables. Making Lap chup ~ is an art in itself; challenging one's skills and creativity... and most of all - one's patience!!!
Making the split peas paste is the easiest part... the hardest part is painting (I reckoned)... and dipping the fruits into agar-agar mixture ~ making sure it did not slide off the toothpick or colour run-off or uneven coat of agar-agar...

Miss E painting an apple... note how small Lap Chup is on her left hand!!

After dipping into agar-agar...Leave it to set on a toothpick

The very first time I had tasted Lap Chup, was in late 1990's...It was a huge craze in Penang. Almost every Restaurant/ Eatery will sell these Lap Chup in a small packet of 8... 
Needless to say.... one packet is never enough for me...  ;)
  • 250g split mung beans
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 100g sugar
  • colourings ~ red, green, yellow and blue
Soak the split mung beans for at least 1 hour. Prepare and line the steamer with a piece of white or muslin cloth and steam until its soft. Mash the beans into a smooth paste.
In a non-stick pan, dissloved the sugar in the coconut milk and add in the mushy mung beans paste. Cook on slow fire until it is well combine and form like a 'dough' and on the drier side. Leave it to cool.
Shape into miniature fruits or vegetables.
Insert toothpick and start colouring the fruits or vegetables.

Agar-agar layer:
  • 13g agar-agar powder
  • 400 ml water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
Dissolve sugar and agar-agar powder.
Dip the coloured fruits and leave it to set. Repeat for the second layer.

Displayed on the 'olive serving dish'... 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ipoh Hor Fan / Flat Rice Noodles Soup


Ipoh, is the capital city of Perak, Malaysia... famous for its culinary delights... 

Hor Fan or Flat Rice Noodles Soup is one of them...  The flat rice noodles from Ipoh is said to have a  smooth and light texture ~ in comparison to noodles from other states...even beancurds taste better in Ipoh. Everyone believes that it has something to do with its magical water ...

Geologically, Ipoh sits on a limestone formation oops...a little bit of technical information here..., therefore the groundwater may have made a huge impact on the noodles, beancurds...and even for the Ipoh born and bred!!  :) I can't vouch for the later.. I am not from there!!  

Miss E has a penchant for Chinese and Italian cuisine (no other reason... other than it is less spicy!!), she bugged Mr H to cook her this dish... she once had it in the Oldtown White Coffee Restaurant. This is our version of Ipoh Hor Fan ... note: the noodles are not from Ipoh but from South of the River (Perth)...
  • 3 to 3 1/2 liter water
  • 2 chicken frames
  • 1/2 kg prawns
  • salt and white pepper
  • rock sugar
  • chives - cut into 2cm length
  • shredded cooked chicken
  • Fresh kway teow or rice sticks noodles(cook as per packet instruction)
Bring water to boil in a large stockpot.

Peel the prawns... put aside its heads, and the rest of the prawn shells into the stockpot. Heat up about 3 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan. Fry the prawns head until fragrance... and the oil turn into 'orangey' in colour. Strain the oil into a clean bowl and toss the fried head into the stockpot for soup base.

Add chicken frames and bring to boil again then simmer for at least 1 or 2 hours.. Cook prawns in the small pot using the same soup base... drained the soup back into the pot and set aside the prawns (once cooled ... sliced thinly)

Add salt, rock sugar and white pepper to taste. Drain the soup into another pot and discard the bones and shells..

Divide the noodles into bowls, top with chives, shredded chicken and prawns .... ladle the hot stock into bowls and serve...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Feta Ricotta and Spinach Roll

From My Lemony Kitchen is back in action ...

I am back from my short visit to Malaysia... had a good time catching up with family and friends... and shopping.. :). A visit to Malaysia will be incomplete if one did not sample its local cuisine... but in my case ~ its not just sampling!! its eating with a vengeance!!...  over-indulging ... but it was good...  afterall Diet always start tomorrow...

After a week of 'chow-ing down' spicy food... to have a change in taste is most refreshing.. :)

Feta Ricotta Spinach Rolls
click here to print 

1 packet frozen spinach (heinz)
1 slab reduced fat feta
250ml fresh ricotta
2 sheets puff pastry
salt and pepper
egg yolk for egg wash
Pre heat the oven to 180C. Heat up the baking tray too.

Defrost the frozen spinach overnight in the fridge section. Squeeze out as much water as you could. Crumble feta in a mixing bowl. Mix in fresh ricotta cheese and spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide the thawed puff pastry into quarters. Spoon the spinach mix onto one puff pastry square. Seal the edges with eggwash. Roll.... Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. Place rolls onto the greaseproof paper.... then onto the hot baking tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry puffed up and golden in colour.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Apple Pie

Note: I'll be away from 7th to 14th... :)

Baking has always been my passion since young...  and my first attempt ~ was an apple pie. My cousin who was studying in Manchester in the late 70's brought home a baking cookbook with lovely photos ... I was fascinated, smitten and drooling all over the pages... and apple pie caught my attention... I was determined to bake an apple pie... 

Those days... to have an electric oven was a luxury... and my mom precious oven was the black box known as Butterfly oven (picture on the left ~fr google)... placed on a kerosene stove... the temperature was not consistent.. nevertheless.. I baked my first Apple Pie... it was a disaster... too young to understand what it takes to bake and most of the ingredients sounded alien to a young teenager...:) but that experience did not deter me from trying again...

My quest to bake a good apple pie has led me to this recipe from an old book 'Traditional Home Baking'... 

This apple pie is definitely our all time favourite...   I baked this version of apple pie umpteen time... and everytime everyone would ask for more... 

For filling:
  • 6-7 granny smith apples - peeled, cored and cut into 1cm chunks
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ground cinnamon
  • lemon juice
  • add about a tablespoon of flour to thicken it slightly
Soaked the apple chunks in the water with some lemon juice.. not to let the apples oxidise.
Heat up frying pan... and add sugar and water... let the sugar dissolves (before it started to caramelised)... then add the drained apple chunks.. into the pan. Add in grounded cinnamon and continue to cook until the apples are soften and not mushy.

  • 150g cold butter - cut into cubes
  • 300g plain flour
  • 3 tablespoon icing sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoon cold water
  • a pinch of  salt
Mix the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a mixing bowl, rub until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Then add egg yolks and water. Mix all until the dough comes together... chill for at least 10 minutes.

Pre heat oven to 180C.

Roll out to fit pie dish, and gently fit in the dish and cut out the excess.. Blind bake for 10-15 minutes...
Fill the pie casing with the apple fillings. Roll out another pastry to cover the pie... Make small incision to let out the 'steam'. Leftover dough.can be cut out for trimmimgs..Brush with milk...
Bake @180C for another 30 minutes or until the top turn to golden brown... Leave it to cool before serving with either cream, custard or vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Baby Octopus and seaweed salad

We enjoy this simple Japanese side dish... easy to make and serve with steam rice and Miso Soup.

I love to feast on these baby octopus but then I have to have Panadol after that... triggers my headache...  I have to be careful not to over indulge... but kids and Mr H loved it .... could finish 1kg of baby octopus easily... :)
  • 1 kg baby octopus - cooked and thinly sliced
  • a tub of ready mix seaweed salad (from Asian grocer)
  • sweet chilli sauce
  • sesame oil
  • extra roasted sesame seed for garnishing
Mix all up... and serve. No quantitative for the seasoning... depending on one taste bud.. :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Moroccan Fish with Chickpeas and Coriander

Recipe from Clarissa Hyman's ~ The Jewish Kitchen...

Your choice of fish plays a significant part in this dish...
I used Taylor as it has firm, sweet and juicy flesh... and it would not easily 'crumbled' ... as cooking this dish requires more than the usual 'rule of thumb of 8 minutes' in fish cooking.. and as Clarissa mentioned in her book... we could prepare this dish a day before ... and heat it up just before serving... There you go... choose your fish wisely ...otherwise the fish would be dry and have that cardboard texture.... bon apetito!!
  • 2 whole Taylors - cut into 2(depending on the size) or use 4 white fish fillets
  • 2 lemons - 1 for the juice and the other cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil and extra for the last step
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 red capsicum- deseeded and cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • a generous pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 canned chickpeas - drained and rinse
  • 1 canned of diced tomatoes
  • a large bunch of fresh coriander - some leaves for garnishing and the rest chopped
  • salt and white pepper
Pre heat the oven to 180C

Sprinkle the fish with some salt and some lemon juice. Put it aside for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a shallow casserole dish. Saute garlic until fragrant. Add capsicum and the spices. Stir for a few minutes. Then add in chickpeas and diced tomatoes. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Lay the fish cutlets on top and finish with remaining lemon juice, coriander, lemon chunks and give it a good drizzle of olive oil..

Transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then put the dish under the grill until the fish skin is crispy (if using fish cutlets) ...
Serve with steam rice or couscous.