Sunday, August 31, 2014

Churros with maple glaze

These are choux-pastry type churros, as opposed to the more traditional (I think?!) churros which uses flour and boiling water in making the dough. I tried the latter method a long time ago, and it didn't turn out as I had hoped. So I decided to stick to these ones instead, with a little twist by covering it in a maple syrup glaze. I also made a chocolate sauce (by melting some chocolate in hot milk) for the kids to dunk their churros into. Churros are also referred to as Spanish doughnuts, and are relatively easier and quicker to make compared to regular yeast doughnuts, simply because there's no need to proof the dough.They are also wonderfully light, fluffy and buttery, with a sweet and crunchy exterior that is accentuated by the ridges characteristic of this popular street food.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Beef Sliders on Brioche with Sticky BBQ sauce and Thousand Island Dressing

Ever since I started baking brioche buns (see my Pulled Pork burger with Korean Slaw) and using them for mini beef burgers (a.k.a. sliders), there was no turning back. Given a choice, brioche wins over plain hamburger buns (particularly those that are sold by the dozen at the supermarket). Not all brioche buns are created equal. I have ordered brioche burgers before when dining out, and have come across really thick, heavy, dense and sweet buns that makes the mammoth of the burger a feat to eat (and enjoy). The recipe that I've used for these brioche buns is adapted from magazine (August 2014 edition). Rich, melt-in-your-mouth and buttery with a hint of sweetness, these brioche buns make supremely delicious burgers. I've also tried buttermilk brioche buns and they are equally good, with the slightest tang from the buttermilk.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

King brown mushroom with XO sauce

This has been the dish of the month for me. I've made these mushrooms at least five times since the start of August, and I've enjoyed it as a side dish, a light lunch and even added it to my instant noodles for a touch of "gourmet". I made a big batch of it which has lasted up till now (there's still some left in the fridge) and have been spooning it liberally on almost anything I can think of. Last night, I made some sushi for the kids and had leftover rice, which I mixed through with some XO sauce. Tasty! I also used the XO sauce in cooking Mapo tofu (instead of using hot bean paste) along with some diced chinese mushrooms. It's a wonderful condiment which I've also used to spruce up some boring fried rice from the Chinese takeaway.

I never knew how to make XO sauce until I found it in Gary Mehigan's new book "Favourites", and it was the first recipe I bookmarked to try (among many others). I thought it was the perfect recipe to try, as I had some premium dried scallops that was long forgotten in the fridge, and the rest were just pantry ingredients that I had. A pretty simple recipe, though I added some extra dried chillies to "colour" the oil more. I added a drop of Cheong Chan caramel towards the end for a little extra flavour. Homemade XO sauce is definitely worth making, and it's probably best you use good quality dried scallops if you plan to do so. I highly recommend serving it on top of grilled king brown (or king oyster) mushrooms and grilled scallions (also from "Favourites") as it's the simplest and tastiest way to enjoy XO sauce.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cream cheese cinnamon rolls with blueberries and white chocolate icing

I've come across many recipes for cinnamon rolls, from yeast-free doughs to the fancier ones using buttermilk or cream cheese. The key to a good cinnamon roll (or scroll/bun) is to use good quality cinnamon and in the right proportion to the sugar filling. The addition of a syrup (like maple syrup) makes for a sticky cinnamon roll, and you can add nuts or fruits to that as well. In my "search" for cinnamon, I learnt that there are hundreds of types of cinnamon, but the main ones are Ceylon Cinnamon, Chinese Cassia Cinnamon, Saigon Cinnamon and Indonesian Korintje Cinnamon. In this recipe, I've used Indonesian cinnamon which has a strong aromatic flavour that is sweet and spicy, and perfect for cinnamon rolls. Make sure you check the label on your bottle of ground cinnamon to see where it's sourced from.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Roast Chicken with Creamy Parsley and Fondant Potatoes

I purchased Gary Mehigan's new book "Favourites" a couple of weeks ago during his book-signing at Costco. I love that he has put together his all-time favourite recipes in one book, because honestly, there are way too many recipes out there that I would love to try. I may be dreaming of cooking chilli crab one minute and baking kouign amann the next, and sometimes I just end up making more that I can fit leftovers in the fridge.

So far, I've attempted two recipes from the book. One is the XO sauce, which is utterly, utterly delicious. I was a little skeptical about making a big batch of it, but I'm so glad I did because it means I can eat more of it with more of everything! The other recipe that tempted my tastebuds was the Creamy Parsley and Nutmeg, which I found a little unusual yet intriguing with the combination of parsley and cream. A little like creamed spinach, but with a herby taste, I suppose? It turned out to be one of the most amazing things I've ever made with parsley. It's luxuriously rich and creamy, and the added sweetness from the shallots makes this so tasty that I couldn't stop eating it out of the pan (I was just checking for seasoning, really). In his book, Gary recommends serving it with a roast chook or rib of beef. I've been cooking a lot of red meat lately, specifically pork belly and pork shoulder (see my previous post on Korean Pulled Pork Burgers), so I settled on a recipe for roast chicken from Gary's other book (under Lantern Cookery Classics). The recipe is also available on the Penguin/Lantern website.

Creamy parsley and nutmeg
It's wonderful how the simplest recipe for roast chicken can yield the most satisfying results. A testament to how good it is, is when my 6-year old takes a bite and her face just lights up as she goes "Mmmmm..." before she reaches for another mouthful. It's really just chicken stuffed with thyme, garlic and lemon, but I guess it's the technique and method of cooking it that makes the difference. Also important is to make sure you use good quality, corn-fed, free-range chicken. I find that La Ionica (chemical and hormone free) chickens are really good too, which we always use when making our best ever Hainanese chicken rice.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Pulled Pork Burger with Spicy Mayo and Korean Slaw

This started with a craving for a Korean-style slaw with a spicy gochujang dressing. Gochujang (as many of you might be familiar with) is a Korean red pepper paste that are sold in tubs and come in varying degrees of "heat". You can usually tell by the number of chillies on the label. I chose one with 3 chillies I think, as these things can pack quite a punch in terms of heat and intensity of flavour. So, I was wondering what would go with Korean slaw, and thought of bo ssam (Korean boiled pork belly with lettuce wraps). I found David Chang's bo ssam recipe using pork shoulder/butt and decided to turn that into a pulled pork burger with Korean slaw. And what's a burger without mayonnaise, especially a spicy gochujang mayonnaise? And to top it off (no pun intended), I baked these wonderful buttermilk buns (or brioche) which were moist, tender and didn't fall apart like most buns do when you're halfway through a burger.
Korean food doesn't just stop at Korean Fried Chicken and Korean hotpot. Give these a go at your next party. They don't require much preparation (the buns are relatively easy too) and will feed an army or two. Moreover, you can make the slaw one day ahead, which allows the cabbage to absorb the tangy, spicy and sweet flavours from the dressing. Oh, and that slow-roasted pork? Amazing.