Sunday, November 24, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Slice

I have always had an appreciation for caramel slice despite not having a sweet tooth; the crunchy coconut base, the sweet gooey caramel centre and the brittle slightly bitter chocolate topping, who came up with such perfect combination?

It would have been unthinkable for me to post such a "complex" baking recipe just 3 months ago, but then I was a non-baker and I am now quite a competent one :)

Despite having the three different components to tackle, it is indeed a very simple sweet to master. Well if I can do it, so can all of the closeted bakers out there!

p.s do excuse the quality of the photos, taken with my iphone on a rather overcast day at work.

makes 16
greased and lined 20cm x30cm lamington pan
oven pre-heated at 170 C (conventional)
for the base;
1/2 of cup of brown sugar
1/2 of cup self-raising flour
1 cup of desiccated coconut
1 cup of brown sugar
125g of butter, melted

for the caramel;
30g of butter
1 can (395g) sweetened condensed milk
2 tbs of golden syrup

for the chocolate topping;
200g of dark chocolate
2 tsp of cooking oil

First start with the base by mixing all ingredients in a mixing bowl until well combined. 

Press mixture evenly and firmly into the lined pan. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes or until browned lightly. Remove and allow to cool down while preparing the caramel.

To make the caramel filling - place butter and golden syrup in a saucepan and stir until the butter has melted, add the condensed milk, mix well and continue to cook over medium heat (stirring constantly) for about 10 minutes or until the caramel is golden brown.

Pour caramel over the base and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool while preparing the chocolate topping.

Stir chocolate and oil in a small saucepan over low heat until smooth.

Pour over the caramel immediately, refrigerated for 3 hours or overnight.

Slice with a hot knife (submerge in boiling water and dry well) to prevent the chocolate topping from cracking.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stir Fried Mussels With Thai Basil, Chillies And Black Pepper

Yay! I finally get to prepare a new post thanks to the relentless rain.

If you have been a reader for a while, you might remember an older post of mine with prawns cooked in the same manner (click here). You may use the addictive and versatile sauce for other seafood, meat or even tofu.

Mussels work especially well as the natural sweet juices of the shellfish will add extra flavour to the already delicious sauce, just make sure you prepare plenty of steamed rice to go with your meal.

I will try to fit in another post this week. Enjoy cooking and see you then!

Serves 4 with other dishes and plenty of steamed rice
you'll need;
1 kg of mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
3 garlic cloves, chopped
5 bird chillies, chopped
2 tbs of black pepper, crushed
2 tbs of oyster sauce
1.5 tbs of fish sauce
1 tbs of sugar
3 kaffir lime leaves, coarsely torn
a bunch of Thai basil, picked

Prepare the ingredients and set aside.

scrub mussels well and remove beards, chuck out those that are opened.

Saute garlic and chillies with 2 tbs of cooking oil for 15 seconds then add in the black pepper and mix well.

Add mussels to the pan and mix well. Add seasonings and kaffir lime leaves and mix well. Cover and cook until the shellfish are open.

Finally trow in the Thai basil and mix well.

Serve with plenty of steamed rice or as a beer snack.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Salmon Sashimi Salad

We were invited to join our friend R's family for Christmas lunch last year and I made a simple raw salmon salad with Japanese dressing as entree. It has been a staple at the Tummies' ever since and I am sure I will be making this more often now that the weather is getting warmer.

Free free to use a combination of sashimi grade fish such as king fish, snapper and tuna. Serve it as an entree or with some cooked Japanese rice.

If you are a fan of raw fish, you might want to check out my hwedupbap (Korean raw fish on rice) or maguro no tataki don (chopped tuna rice bowl).

serves 4 as an entree
you'll need;
2 pieces of sashimi grade salmon, thinly sliced (reserved skin)
2 Lebanese cucumber, peeled lengthwise with a vegetable peeler
2 spring onions, chopped
1 red chili, seeds removed and finely diced
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 tbs of toasted sesame seeds

for the dressing;
2 tbs of light soy
2 tbs of mirin
1 tbs of lime juice
1 tsp of sesame oil

Peel the cucumbers into thin ribbons using a vegetable peeler. Place ribbons  on a large platter.

Pin bone the salmon and slice into 2 mm slices, place salmon on top of the cucumber ribbons.

Prepare the spring onions, chili and shallots, scatter the topping over the salmon.

Pan fry reserved salmon skin with a little oil until golden and crispy, allow to cool before breaking or chopping into chunks.

Scatter chopped salmon skin, toaster sesame seeds over and drizzle with dressing, mix everything well and enjoy!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Raspberry, Pistachio And Chocolate Cake

I am completely addicted to baking so I hope you are ready for another cake!

This is another simple but delicious cake that I often bake at work. The original recipe I found in one of my many Vogue Entertaining Cookbooks asks for pear but I have taken the liberty to replace it with raspberries as berries do  have a more popular appeal.

You may dust the cake with icing sugar but you will be surprised how a little decorating work can transform an otherwise ordinary looking cake.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, happy cooking and baking!

makes 1 loaf
preheat oven to 180 C (conventional) 150 C (fan force)
a lined 22 cm x 11.5 cm loaf tin
you'll need;
225 g of plain flour
1.5 tsp of baking powder
225 g of caster sugar
a pinch of salt
225 g of unsalted butter, soften
4 eggs
300g of dark chocolate buttons, roughly chopped
1.5 cups of frozen raspberries
1 cup of pistachio nuts
zest of 2 oranges

for the decoration;
2 cups of icing sugar mixture
2 tbs of orange juice
1/4 cups of pistachio, chopped

Put flour, baking powder, caster sugar, salt, soften butter and eggs in the bowl of a mixer and process until just combined. (~ 1 minute, do not over-process)

Fold in the chocolate, raspberries, pistachio nuts and orange zest until evenly distributed.

Transfer the mixture into a lined loaf tin and bake in the oven for about 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre withdraws clean. Allow to cool in the tin before turning out to a wire rack to cool.

Prepare the icing by mixing the icing sugar mixture with orange juice until sugar dissolved and it is spreadable. Spread the icing over the cooled cake.

Sprinkle with chopped pistachio nuts and allow the icing to set before serving.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Yeung Chow Chao Fan 楊州炒飯 Fried Rice With Prawns, BBQ Pork And Peas A.K.A Special Fried Rice

As promised I am sharing with you a dish that many Chinese restaurant goers consider to be a must - have here in Australia.

Yong Chow fried rice is a Cantonese classic that is better known as "the special fried rice",  "number 21", "number 42", "number 66"... depending on which "palace", "inn", or "house" one frequents.

It is indeed a very special dish when it is done right, unfortunately it is often not the case when the dish turns up greasy or inferior ingredients are used.

Serve it on its own as we often do or you might want to have a "Chinese night" in by simply teaming it up with sweet and sour pork, beef in black bean sauce and lemon chicken.

serves 4 as a one dish meal or as part of a Chinese meal
you'll need;
3 tbs of cooking oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 spring onions (white parts only), chopped
300 g of banana prawns, peeled and roughly chopped
250 g of char siu, homemade or shop bought, diced
6 cups of cooked rice, cool if using freshly cooked rice
1 1/2 cups of frozen peas, thawed
4 tbs of light soy
a dash of sesame oil
a dash of white pepper
3 spring onions, chopped

Prepare the ingredients and set aside.

Heat up the wok, using 2 tbs of oil lightly scramble the the beaten eggs, remove and set aside.

Heat up the wok again, saute the minced garlic and spring onions using the remaining oil. Add the prawns and cook until prawns are just cooked.

Return the scrambled eggs to the wok, add rice and mix well, stir fry on hi heat for a minute.

Add char siu and peas and mix well, stir fry on high heat for another minute. Season with soy, sesame oil and white pepper, add chopped spring onions and continue to stir fry for a further minute. Check for seasonings before serving.

Serve it on its own or as part of a Chinese meal.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Orange And Poppyseed Loaf Cake

I don't always have time to make fancy and complicated cakes at work so an easy recipe like this is a true saviour, besides who doesn't like a super moist orange a poppyseed cake?

It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare the batter and thats how easy it is. Better still if you want a dairy free cake you may substitute the butter with cooking oil, that will further reduce the prep time :)

P.S I have just realised 3 hungry tummies had quietly turned 4 on the 3rd this month. Thank you for all you support over the years! Happy cooking and baking!

serves 10 to 12 
pre heated oven 170 C (conventional)
a lined loaf tin
you'll need;
1 1/2 cups of melted butter or vegetable oil
1 1/2  cups of cater sugar
4 eggs + 1 egg white
2 1/4 cups of self rising flour
1 1/2 oranges, cut off the tops and ends, pureed
3 tbs of poppy seeds

for the orange glaze;
1.5 cups of icing mixture
1.5 tbs of orange juice
grated rind of 1 orange

Place melted butter, sugar, eggs and flour in a mixing bowl and mix well.

Mix in the orange puree and poppyseed.

Place batter into a lined loaf tin. (recipe is for a single cake, photo taken at work where multiple cakes are baked)

Allow the cake to cool, you may want to just dust the cake with some icing sugar before serving if you can't be bothered with the orange glaze.

To make the glaze, place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well.

Spread the glaze over the top of the cool cake, allow the glaze to set before slicing.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Gu Lou Yuk 咕噜肉 Cantonese Style Sweet And Sour Pork

For many non-Chinese a good Chinese meal is incomplete without the ever popular sweet and sour pork, beef in black bean sauce and lemon chicken.... oh one mustn't forget the compulsory yang zhou fried rice (or better known as the special fried rice, recipe next).

The bastardised versions served at most Chinese restaurant simply do not reflect how wonderful these dishes actually are. Having shared with you the superior versions of beef in black bean sauce (豉汁牛肉) and lemon chicken (檸檬雞) , it is time to give this wonderful dish a much needed redemption.

No thick and soggy batter nor the familiar starchy dyed red sauce in this family recipe of mine. Instead you'll be getting crispy and light battered pork in a delightful sweet and sour sauce flavoured with ginger, vinegar, tomato ketchup, sugar and Chinese cooking wine. The crisp vegetables and pineapple add crunch and colours to this wonderful Cantonese classic

If you are not a fan of pork belly, do feel free replace it with pork neck or loin instead. For a northern version, please check out sweet and sour pork spareribs (糖醋排骨)

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
serves 6 to 8 as part of a Chinese meal
you'll need;
1 kg of pork belly, removed rind, cubed and flatten with a kitchen mallet
5 cm knob of ginger, grated
1 spring onion (white part only), minced
1.5 tbs of light soy
2 tsp of sesame oil
a splash of Chinese cooking wine
a dash of white pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
corn flour for coating
peanut oil for frying
1/2 a red onion, cubed
1/2 a red pepper, cubed
1/2 a green pepper, cubed
1/4 of a pineapple, skinned and cut into chunks
1 small cucumber, cubed (treatment see below)
3 spring onions, cut into 2 cm lengths

for the sauce;
2 tbs of cooking oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
a small knob of ginger, minced
120 ml of tomato ketchup
6 tbs of sugar
300 ml of white vinegar
100 ml of chicken stock
a dash of Chinese cooking wine
corn flour solution to thicken

Prepare the vegetables and pineapple.

Cut cucumber into chunks, rub in a tbs of salt and allow to stand for 10 minutes, squeeze out excess water and rinse well.

Marinate pork with ginger, spring onion, light soy, sesame oil, Chinese cooking wine, white pepper  and beaten eggs for at least 30 minutes. 

Coat pork pieces with corn flour and deep fry pork in batches until golden and crispy. drain well and set aside.

Saute onion and peppers with a little oil in a very hot wok for a minute, remove and set aside.

Heat up 2 tbs of cooking oil  and saute garlic and ginger over medium heat until fragrant (~ 1 minute). Add tomato ketchup, sugar, vinegar, stock and Chinese cooking wine, stir well and allow the sauce to come to a boil. Return the sauteed vegetables to the wok together with the pineapple and cucumber, stir and mix well.

When the sauce return to a boil, thicken the sauce with a little corn flour solution. Finally return the fried pork to the wok, turn off the heat and mix well.

Serve with plenty of steamed rice and enjoy!

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melbourne, victoria, Australia