Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream


If you ever feel like making ice cream, try your hand at this one. It's blueberry cheesecake and ice cream all rolled into one, and it tastes absolutely fantastic! As I've used quite a substantial amount of cheese in this recipe, I figured it would be rich and creamy enough without the need to make a custard base for it, which makes this ice cream dead-easy to prepare. I layered the ice cream with some luscious blueberry compote which is also a breeze to make, but feel free to substitute it with other berries or fruit, or perhaps some chocolate chips or cookie crumbs if you like. Alternatively, just make plain cheesecake ice cream, which makes it versatile enough to be served with a variety of toppings like passionfruit, chocolate fudge sauce, caramel, fresh fruits or anything else you can think of. You could also make this into a frozen cheesecake by lining the base of a cake pan crushed biscuits, and then pouring the cheesecake mixture over it before letting it set in the freezer.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Thai Duck Noodle Soup

When Ms T asked me if she could make duck soup using chicken stock, this Thai duck noodle soup instantly came to mind. I then realised that she must have been referring to Cantonese-style roast duck noodle soup where the duck is served on top of egg noodles in a chicken broth. The Thai-style version that I've featured in this post uses a stock made using duck bones, galangal, coriander root and some aromatics, and is served with wide rice noodles that I hand-cut to size. Though already tasty on its own, this noodle soup is really best eaten with some tangy, garlicky vinegar chilli sauce that also makes a great dipping sauce for the duck meat.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Malai Kofta with Roasted Capsicum


I first tried malai kofta at this Indian restaurant called Curry at the Rocks in Sydney, and was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was, given that I'm not a big fan of vegetarian-type dishes. My colleague who introduced this dish to me explained that malai koftas are deep-fried potato balls served in a creamy sauce prepared from boiled milk, spices and fresh cream. The first thought that came to me was "I have to make this at home!", and so I looked up some recipes on the internet to get an idea of the basic ingredients that went into this dish. The koftas are usually made with mashed potato and paneer (an Indian cottage cheese) which are formed into balls and deep-fried until they form a crisp layer. The sauce predominantly comprises tomatoes and cream, but I decided to substitute part of the tomatoes with roasted red peppers instead.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Petits pois à la Française (French-style Peas) with Brussel Sprouts (and Roast Chicken)

Peas have usually been an afterthought for me. I always have a bag of frozen peas in the freezer that I use when I need to add a splash of colour to my food ( e.g. fried rice and pasta dishes), or when I have no other fresh vegetables on hand and peas are the closest substitute. I've never really considered cooking a dish of peas before, because, really, don't you just toss them with butter, salt and pepper and serve them as a side? Or mash them up and make mushy peas? Well, I came across some recipes for "Petits pois à la Française", which I thought sounded very.....French and exotic! It means French-style baby peas, usually cooked with butter, onions, stock, lettuce and sometimes bacon. It sounds like a simple dish, but it tastes absolutely amazing! I didn't have any lettuce, and so I substituted it with brussel sprouts instead (love love love!) which turned out so perfect especially with the butter and bacon combination.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Creamy Pea and Basil Soup

I stumbled upon this recipe for pea and basil soup while I was searching for ways to use up the half tub of bocconcini and half bunch of fresh basil that I had in the fridge from two nights ago. I never thought that peas and basil would go together, and was curious as to how it would taste. Well, it's no fancy soup, but it tastes fantastic especially where you get the sweetness from the peas combined with the fresh and bright flavours of the basil. And it doesn't stop there. Top it with some creamy baby bocconcini and bits of roasted red bell peppers and that makes a complete meal that's great for all seasons. I can unshamedly admit that I polished off two bowls of soup for lunch today, and even my four-year-old enjoyed it (albeit in small amounts).

Monday, August 6, 2012

Farfalle Pasta with Sausage and Mushrooms in a Rosa Sauce

The moment I did a preview of the photos on this post, I knew I had forgotten to add something to the pasta. Peas! That's what was missing! It would have added such a nice pop of vibrant green to the dish. Well, at least I didn't forget the parsley, for both flavour and colour. It's been a while since I last cooked pasta, and when I do, it's usually a spaghettini with bacon and mushrooms in a creamy lemon butter sauce. I can't help it. Those are all my favourite ingredients and it's the only way I know how to incorporate them all in one delicious  meal. Well, up until two days ago when I made this super delicious pasta (I used bowtie or farfalle) with pork and fennel sausages, mushrooms, pancetta in a creamy tomato sauce. It was an absolute hit with everyone in the family (even my picky toddler, who often scoffs at any food I place in front of him, was too happy to finish his bowl of "butterflies" -that's what I told him they were).

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Dark Ale Veal Osso Bucco

I love my Chasseur french oven. At a fraction of the price of a Le Creuset, this stylish enameled cast iron cookware comes in a variety of colours, looks great and has so far produced excellent results. I've only used it twice since I bought it a few weeks ago. The first time, I made Massaman curry lamb shanks with potatoes and they tasted fantastic served with steamed jasmine rice. This second time around, I opted to cook this delicious veal osso bucco slow-cooked in dark ale, and I tell ya, it was SO GOOD. Seriously (I'm salivating at the thought of it). I can't wait to make this again when my parents come and visit in a few months' time. The osso bucco was so melt-in-your-mouth tender, the onions were just lovely and the sauce served with the soft cheesy polenta was absolutely yummy.