Saturday, May 08, 2010

Double Chocolate Cake

Nephew #3 gave me some Valrhona chocolate couverture.

Grand Cru Araguani - 72 percent cocoa from a blend of Criollos and Trinitarios beans from Venezuela.

He also gave me some cocoa, the provenance of which is not so certain since it's a collection of dessert leavings.

I would like to think though that the cocoa is Valrhona as well.

I used both the Araguani feves and the cocoa in this cake.

Its texture was crumbly on the fork, like smooth mashed potato in the mouth.

The double chocolate gave the cake a deep, slightly bitter, burnt finish.

The almond slivers added a bit of crunch, resulting in a contrasting mouth feel.


8 oz butter

12 oz self-raising flour

5 oz brown sugar

5 oz castor sugar

4 eggs

2 oz cocoa

4 oz dark chocolate (melted)

4 teaspoons honey

3 fl oz milk

pinch of salt

almond slivers to sprinkle on top of cake


Cream the butter with the sugars and honey. Beat in the eggs. Add the salt and cocoa to the flour and fold this into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk. Mix in the melted chocolate. Transfer to a springform tin that has been buttered and dusted with flour. Sprinkle the almonds on the cake mix. Bake in an 180 degree oven for about an hour.

The next time I make this I will use yoghurt in place of the milk and add some orange rind to give it a slightly sharper citrus note.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Multi-Grain Congee

After a week of eating roast chicken and potatoes, it was time for something a little less taxing on the stomach.

That called for multi-grain congee and some steamed tofu.

I used a multi-grain mix from Taiwan plus whole wheat grains (terigu), barley, green lentils and black glutinous rice.

I cooked it the old-fashioned way - on the stove instead of using a rice cooker or the microwave.

Just put everything in a pot, add water and bring to a boil.

It took about an hour for the congee to reach the consistency I like.

I ate it with tofu, sardines and cabbage.

Simple and healthful; a meal to warm the stomach on a balmy evening.

And it cost no more than about $2.50.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Slimy Soup

My mother called it "san choy" or "slimy vegetable". Now it's just plain "red vegetable", according to the information on the plastic bag in which it is packed. Maybe the change in name is because the vegetable is less slimy now than I remember it to have been in my childhood.

Whatever the name, the vegetable is just as good in a soup like my mother used to make. It's not quite the same yet close enough to recall a taste of what used to be.

Put some water in a pot, add a handful of wolfberries and dried silver fish and a slice of ginger. Let the stock simmer while you clean the vegetables. Add the stalks to the pot; allow them to soften. Then add the leaves. After a minute or so, beat an egg and add to the soup. Swirl the egg around to make clumps. Turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper and a few drops of sesame oil.

My mother used to cook this with a salted egg instead. If you use that, add the yolk earlier to allow it to cook properly. Lay off the salt or the soup would be too salty.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Fish Cake and Char Siew Noodles with Fish Ball Soup

I bought some juicy fish cake at Chinatown Complex this morning. That inspired me to make my own "konloh mee".

My version has all my favourite ingredients.

No lard. I used pumpkin seed oil instead. Just a dash of it together with ketchup, chili sauce, ground black pepper and the juice of one lime.

Fresh noodles must be eaten the moment they are ready or they will turn into a soggy lump of starch. So cook the soup before you start on the noodles.

Mini spinach is so tender when blanched in a stock made with dried silver fish and a clove of garlic. The fish balls give the soup extra oomph. Ground black pepper helps to balance the flavours.

Cook the noodles, put them in the prepared sauce, mix. Top the noodles with fish cake and char siew that have been warmed in the microwave for a few seconds. Garnish with chopped spring onions.

"Konloh mee" with fish ball and spinach soup. A healthier version with no heart-clogging lard.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Cinnamon Buns

I love cinnamon buns.

But I don't like the mass produced ones sold in the shops.

They smell.

So I made my own.

Cinnamon buns are scrumptious with tea.

They are easy to make too.

First make a dough in a bread machine.

Roll it out and brush it with melted butter.

Next, sprinkle the dough with raisins, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Leave a border along one edge of the dough.

Then, roll the dough up like a Swiss roll.

Make sure you start from a covered edge and roll towards the uncovered border.

Press the edges together to seal the roll before slicing it.

Place the slices in a lightly oiled tin and cover it with cling wrap.

Put the tin in a warm place to allow the dough to rise.

After about 40 minutes, it will look like this.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and bake the buns for about 20 minutes.

Melt some sugar in a bit of water to make a thick syrup.

Brush the buns with the syrup once they are out of the oven.

Let the buns cool on a wire rack.

Eat them while they are warm.

The buns can be kept in the fridge for a week.

Warm them in the microwave oven in the morning for a yummy breakfast.

But they are so delicious they might all be eaten the moment they are done.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

One-Egg Scramble

Eggs are perfect scrambled with cheese.

Some may say that's too much of a good thing.

To lessen the guilt, use only one egg in the scramble.

Add tomato to give it a healthful boost.

First fry the tomato with a clove of garlic and one shallot in a bit of olive oil.

Beat one egg with grated parmean and add to the tomato.

Season with freshly ground black pepper. Turn off the heat when the egg forms clumps.

I prefer not to add salt because I like the natural savoury taste of the egg and parmesan.

Spread mayonnaise on two slices of home-made wholemeal bread and pile the egg onto one of them.

Press the other slice on top of the egg, cut the sandwich in half and serve at once.

Oh, and take a picture before you eat the sandwich.

I had some spinach soup to go with it.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Lily's Stuffed Pumpkin

I had a pumpkin sitting on my dining table for two weeks.

Lily saw it and gave me this recipe for steamed stuffed pumpkin.

First cut off the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds.

Fill the pumpkin with sliced boneless chicken breast seasoned with oyster sauce, pepper and a dash of sesame oil.

Steam the pumpkin for about 40 minutes.

When it's cooked, transfer it to a serving dish.

Scoop out the chicken together with the pumpkin flesh and serve warm.

The pumpkin held its shape very well and the chicken was surprisingly tender even though it had been cooking for 40 minutes.

I enjoyed this very much. 

The next time I cook this, I will marinate the chicken in curry.

I am looking forward to pumpkin curry.