Thursday, April 26, 2012

French ~ Pissaladiere

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Finally... I baked and tasted Pissaladiere...thumbs up Been wanting to make this for a long time.... but didn't have the opportunity. Just incase you are wondering why... my dearest beloved daughter, who is a fussy eater hates anchovies...

Its a PERFECT timing that she is in France and I dont have to feel guilty that we are indulging in good food when she is not home...

that's my girl...(at Arc De Triomphe)... and she is coming home tomorrow big grin 
What a shame ...Channel 9 didn't know how to spell 'CHOIR'...phbbbbt

Pissaladiere uses a lot of onion... 1.5kg!!!
When H finished slicing the onion (thank you saved me from crying my eyes out...), he looked at the mountain of onion rings,surprise "Are you sure? So much onions used...".
But once cooked, it became 'mush and jam' like.. just nice to spread over the dough.

It tasted good... the sweetness of the onion, the saltiness of the anchovies.. but there is one problem...
eating too much me wind!!! makes me wonder...
how the French deal with this....tongue

Recipe (serve 4-6) (tweaked and adapted from The Food of France)
40g butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1.5kg brown onion thinly sliced
2 tablespoon of thyme
20-25anchovies halved
100g pitted Kalamata olives -halved
2teaspoon dried yeast
250g bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon olive oil
125ml warm water plus extra 35ml
  1. Heat butter and olive oil in a big frypan. Saute the onion with half the thyme until soft (about 45 minutes). Season to taste and put it aside to cool.
  2. Dough : mix yeast with warm water and leave it for 10 minutes. Sift flour into a mixing bowl, add salt. Make a well, add salt, olive oil and yeast mixture. Knead (uisng electric mixer) for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth, soft and pliable. Proof for 1 hour or until double in size.
  3. Pre heat oven to 200C.
  4. Roll out the bread dough into a rectangular baking tray 34x26cm.
  5. Brush with oilve oil and spread the onion mixture.
  6. Lay the anchovies in lattice pattern and arrange the olive in the middle of the diamond.
  7. Sprinkle with remaining thyme.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until the dough is brown and cooked.
  9. Cut into square and serve.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Persian Pomegranate Soup

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When I unpack 'Pomegranate Juice' from my shopping bag into the refrigerator... I told D "Son, I am going to cook something exotic ... so... please, you are not to drink this". 
And of course... as teens would normally do, especially the one that is always 'Hungry' all the time.... would always want to have his/her last say....ask "What are you going to cook?' 
"Pomegranate Soup' was my short answer. He gave me that 'You are kidding me' look...raised eyebrows

This is the first time I cooked 'something' from a Novel... and not a cookbook.

Reading Marsha Mehran's Pomegranate Soup... I was drawn to the characters, story line ... but I was more into the  'happenings' in their kitchen, the feeling was surreal... the smell of chopped onions, mints, parsley, exotic spices used, a pot of soup simmering on the stove... imagine... the exotic aroma billowing from the chimney of her character's kitchen... wafting through the sleepy town in Ballinacroagh, Ireland. 

Awww.... She had me at 'Pomegranate Soup'... love struck

Hence, Pomegranate Soup it is....

I was thrilled to be able to re-create the flavours and aroma in my kitchen...
It is one of the best 'humble' soups that I have tasted... It is light, smooth and tangy with burst of flavours... and the crunch of the pomegranate garnishes just 'Seal the Deal'.
Everyone ... including my son who gave me that 'Are you kidding me' look was smitten with the soup... shhh.. don't tell anyone... I even licked my bowl cleantongue

Oh .. one more thing... one of the ingredients in Marsha's Pomegranate soup is Angelica Powder. I hadn't a clue to what it was until I Googled... Angelica Sinensis to Persians and it is Dong Quay to Chinese. A 'Female Ginseng' as it benefits women health and well-being here for further information.
There you go, readers... it is a healthy soup too big grin

There are few more recipes in Marsha's Pomegranate Soup that I would love to give it a go... and perhaps blog about it..

Recipe Serve 4-6
(tweaked and adapted from Marsha Mehran novel 'Pomegranate Soup')
1 red onion ~ chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/4 cup of red lentils (washed)
2/3 cup of Basmati rice(washed)
3 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon of tumeric
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
1 cup of chopped cilantro
1/2 cup of chopped mint
1/4 cup of chopped spring onion
300g minced beef* (rolled into bitesize balls)
1 cup of pomegranate juice
2 teaspoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 strips of angelica roots or (pre-cut Chinese Dong Quay from Asian grocer)
salt and pepper
Garnish: 1 tablespoon of fresh pomegranate

  1. Heat up olive oil in medium size stockpot, add onion and saute until slightly golden.
  2. Add lentils, basmati rice, water, salt, pepper and tumeric.
  3. Bring to a quick boil then lower the heat to a simmer, covered, for at 20 minutes.
  4. Add parsley, mint, cilantro, angelica roots or dong quay and spring onion.
  5. Simmer for another 15 minutes.
  6. Add meatballs, pomegranate juice, lemon juice, sugar and season to taste (if needed).
  7. Stir gently as not to break the meatballs.
  8. Bring to boil then lower the heat to a simmer, covered, for 25 minutes*.
  9. Serve with some fresh pomegranate.

Note * ~ I used premium less fat mince. If regular mince is your choice then increase the cooking time to 35-40minutes

Friday, April 13, 2012

Irish Stew and Irish Soda Bread

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Me: Sweetie... since you are going to Ireland, shall we try some Irish food at home?happy
E: oh OK... by the way what do you have in mind?
Me: Perhaps Irish Stew served with either Colcannon or Champs...
E : and what's in the Irish Stew?
Me: Lamb's neck with lots of vegetable like swede, potatoes, carrots, peas... etc etc etc
E: Lamb's neck?...errr... Its OK mom... you can enjoy Irish Stew when I am not aroundwinking
So my plan to have Irish Stew was derailed .... until she has landed safely in Ireland...

She's so looking forward to this Music Tour ...and she is thrilled to be travelling with her friends and 140 other students...  (no mom or dad to nag). Yippee .. Freedom for 3 weeks. But her personal highlight would be ~ she could proudly claimed that she's the "FIRST and only ONE" in the family... that had been there... tongue none of us had ever step foot in Ireland before!!!

The day E stepped foot and entered the Music programme in her current school ( Education Department 'Gifted and Talented Programme' ... under Music play harp)... there were 'talk' that they might be going to Europe (Ireland-France-Belgium) for their 2012 Music Tour... that was in 2010...

Itinerary were finalised by mid 2011...Needless to say ... E was so excited when the school confirmed the trip...
She has been counting down dreaming starting from years then months then weeks then days then hours till take off last Thursday.

Irish Soda Bread
She's been away for a week now... we texted each other almost everynight (for me) and morning (for E)...

She is enjoying her time in Ireland visiting castles, performing either for schools or for the county officials, and the highlight of their Irish tour was the Titanic 100 years Rememberance in Cobh, County of Cork (she was so chuffed... telling D that George Clooney was in the same town... at the same time, however, she didn't get the chance to meet him...rolling eyes...awwww)
but for me ....the most worrying part is ... she has found shops..."TOP SHOPS" and the "like"...aaarggghhh Habis!!! *facepalm*I don't want to seeshe'll come home with heavy luggage and empty purse


Irish Stew (adapted fr Super Food Idea Mag ~ July 2009...)

1 kg lamb's neck (get your Butcher to cut into 1 inch thickness)
1/4 cup plain flour
1 brown onion chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 cm chunks
1 swede, peeld and cut into 2 cm chunks
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 2 cm chunks
1 turnip, peeled and cut into 2 cm chunks
8 baby potatoes, washed peeled
500g mushroom (optional)
2 beef stock cubes (I used Massel ~ beef flavoured vegetarian)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 frozen peas
4 cups of water
1/4 cup of cornflour
  1. In a zip lock bag, place the lamb's neck with plain flour, shake to evenly coat.
  2. Shake of excess flour.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy base saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Saute onion until soft. Dished out and set aside.
  5. Add another 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook the lamb pieces (few pieces at a time)about 2 minutes oon each side or until browned. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining lamb pieces.
  6. Using the same saucepan, place all the lamb pieces into the pot.
  7. Add in swede, potatoes, turnips and parsnips into the pot.
  8. Add water and beef stock. Bring to boil, lower the heat to a simmer.
  9. Cover and gently simmer for 2 hours and skimming off the fat with large metal spoon.
  10. Add mushrooms, peas and corn flour (mix with 1/4 cup of water). Increase the heat and stir occasionally for 5 minutes or until the gravy thickens.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. Serve with Irish Soda bread. 

Irish Soda Bread (adapted from Traditional Home Baking)

450g plain flour
1 teaspoon soda bicarbonate
1 teaspoon salt
40g butter
300ml milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
  2. Mix the milk and lemon juice in a jug to make buttermilk (alternative buy buttermilk). Set aside for 5 minutes.
  3. Sift flour and soda bicarbonate into a mixing bowl.
  4. Add salt and rub in the butter until resemble crumbs.
  5. Make well in the middle and pour in the milk mixture.
  6. Mix/knead the dough until smooth.
  7. Divide into 3 portions (or one) and shape into a round, about 5 inches in diameter.
  8. Place onto baking tray.
  9. Score into quarters and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Serve with Irish Stew.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Red Beans Ice~Cream

 short post... continuation from previous Sweetcorn Ice-cream  post

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The weather is cooling off... the leaves are changing into shades of yellow and soon will be brown... grey dark clouds looking heavy and about to burst... and less sun shiny days...

Its a sure sign of Autumn... and I am HAPPY...big grin

Autumn in Perth ~ is very mild... compared to Eastern States or countries in the Northern hemisphere... I could still indulge in ice-cream... without shivers running through my spinetongue
I chose to make red beans of many favourite flavours among Malaysians... Other flavours would be Sweetcorn, Durian and Jackfruit.
My all time favourite would be all of the above except for durian... I wasn't very keen on Durian or any durian flavours food eversince I was knocked out by XO durian... I had migraine for 2 days ... sad
Red beans with coconut milk... combine the 2 together...  ... beautiful struck and I can assure you that one popsicle will not be enough

Have a Wonderful Easter Break

2 cups of cooked red beans
1/2 cup of sugar (more if you have sweet tooth)
1 cup water
1 knotted pandan leaf
1 cup thick coconut milk
1 cup evaporated milk
a pinch of salt
  1. Mix sugar and water and pandan leaf in a small pot and bring to boil for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolve. Set aside. Discard the knotted pandan.
  2. Mix cooked red beans(set aside about 1/4 cup), coconut milk and blend until it has become semi puree.
  3. Add evaporated milk and syrup.
  4. Add a pinch of salt.
  5. Stir well.
  6. Using an ice-cream maker and following manufacturer's instruction, churn the mixture.
  7. If you are using popsicle mould... fill about 2 teaspoon of cooked red beans before adding the ice mixture into the moulds
  8. Freeze 2 hours before serving
Note : Do not leave the mixer unattended.. this mix contain high percentage of water, it will turn icy very fast... just watch the churning blade, once you detect that it is struggling to churn, quickly turn off your ice-cream maker and pour the mix into a container.... to avoid disaster in the kitchen