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Waterblommetjies, Mushrooms and Chorizo with Sesame Oil on Pasta

January 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

I love visiting the market at the Palms Centre on Victoria road (main road) in Salt River for an early quick breakfast and fresh produce to cook up a storm later that same day. This Cape Town market occurs every Saturday and they showcase traders mostly from the Platteland. Check out my introduction post on the Market at the Palms.

With these ingredients, I made lunch with an Asian twist, using one of my favourite ingredients – Dark Sesame Oil, which is made from toasted sesame seeds.

Waterblommetjies-chorizo-and-King-Oyster-Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 King Oyster Mushroom or 4 Pink Oyster Mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp of Dark Sesame Oil
  • 500g Waterblommetjies
  • 1 Portuguese Chorizo
  • 1 Onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves of Garlic (pressed then diced)
  • Cooking oil to cook with
  • Salt
  • White Pepper
  • Linguine Pasta

Method:

  • Prepare your ingredients
  • Cook the pasta first – the pasta we bought was gluten-free and I found it took much longer to boil through compared to everyday pastas. Make sure to rinse your pasta through cool water once it reaches the right texture to retain that perfect bounce. You can always rinse it through warm-hot water just before serving.
  • Pan-fry the onions on a low to medium heat in 1 Tbsp of dark sesame oil and a little cooking oil.
  • Once the onions turn golden-brown add the garlic, waterblommetjies and add salt and white pepper to taste.
  • Add the mushroom slices then cover the pan with a lid for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. (I prefer the waterblommetjies with a bit of a light resistance to the bite, similar to the crunch from blanched green beans)
  • While you wait for it to cook, use a small pot and pan-fry the chorizo slices in 1 Tbsp of dark sesame oil for a few seconds (as soon as the spices and fat dissolves into the oil).
  • Add the chorizo slices, excluding the oil, to the mushrooms and waterblommetjies mix and serve it on top of a pasta heap.
  • Drizzle the chorizo-infused dark sesame oil over the dish.

This was originally posted on Butterfingers.

Cinnamon Apple Roses and Cherry Pie, dusted with Gold

January 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

Pie, pie, oh wonderful pie. For Boxing Day 2014, we hosted my teammates for a day of Jaffle-making and pie-eating. I decided to make some festive pies, an Apple Roses and Cherry Pie, and a Speculaas Pumpkin Pie.

Apple roses and cherry pie

For 1 large pie

Prep Time: 30 min for pastry & 1.5 hours for the roses and pie filling (the roses are quite time consuming).

First step: Make short crust pastry and blind bake. Note: You won’t be using all the pastry for the base as the top needs a few strips as well. Once the pastry is done (220°C), turn the oven down for preheating at 200°C.

1. Roses

Ingredients:

  • 4 Apples (cut up in thin half moon slices)
  • Pastry strips (to hold the roses together)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar

Method:

  1. Cook the apple slices lightly with enough water to cover the apples in the pot, This makes them softer and easier to work with.
  2. Lay a strip of pastry down, and place the apple slices with the rounded side sticking out over the pastry.
  3. Overlap the apples to create a better petal effect.
  4. Fold the roses, then set them aside.

Check out this video – it taught me how to fold them apple roses. The longer the strip, the bigger the rose.

2. The Cinnamon and Apple Filling

There are many methods to go about this. My favourite is to cook it up using pectin. Pectin is used in most all-natural jams, jellies, marmalades or preserves. It’s a natural substance that occurs in many fruits, and when heated with sugar – it creates a thickening effect.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Apples (diced, keep the cores)
  • 3 C water
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 C brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1 small block of butter

Method:

  • Heat all the ingredients together in a small sauce pan until it reduces.
  • Remove the cores.
  • Set aside

3. The Cinnamon and Apple Pie

This is the fun part. You can decorate the pie any way you want and using cookie cutters is a great way to get fun shapes. For this pie, I like to use pastry strips for a more traditional Apple pie look.

Ingredients:

  • Cinnamon Apple filling
  • 1 egg
  • Extra pastry
  • Cinnamon to dust

Method:

  • Roll the pastry out and cut into strips.
  • Add the Cinnamon Apple filling, but keep some of the syrup aside.
  • Lay the strips over the pie.
  • Lay the Apple Roses on top of the pie.
  • Drench the roses with the syrup and pour the rest into the pie.
  • Whisk the egg and brush the exposed pastry.
  • Bake for 15-25 minutes.

Serving Suggestion: Lay fresh scored half cherries around and brush the tips of the Apple Roses with edible gold dust. Then whip up some vanilla and cream to go with it.

Originally posted on Butterfingers.

DIY Short Crust Pastry with Blind Baking Method

January 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

I love pastry. It’s not worth making pastry from scratch  if you don’t use real butter. This recipe is adjusted slightly from the original recipe I got from pastry school through Chez Gourmet, Institute of Hospitality Education SA (City and Guilds). You can use short crust pastry for a wide variety of sweet or savoury pastry-based dishes.

Apple and Cherry Pie - Short Crust Pastry

Short Crust Pastry

1 large pie

Ingredients:

  • 300g flour
  • 200g chilled butter (cut it up into blocks)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 tbsp chilled water

Method: (By hand or food processor)

Preheat 220°C

  1. Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
  2. Incorporate butter to dry ingredients to make bread crumby texture.
  3. Mix egg and water together in a separate bowl.
  4. Add slowly to butter and flour, using a knife to mix the liquid in evenly. Don’t work the pastry or it’ll stretch and create gluten.
  5. Wrap in cling wrap and chill for 15 min.
  6. Line over tin, thicken the edges to prevent breakage.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes with a baking page lining and weights (I use large beans)
  8. Take weights off and bake for a further 15 minutes to complete the bake.

Useful tools: Scraper (I have a smallish one from the hardware store that I use to lift the edges of rolled pastry), rolling pin and cookie cutters.

Bling Baking

Steps 7-8: This is known as blind baking. Blind baking is also known as prebaking – to cook the pie crust before adding the filling. This prevents the base from getting soggy. This is often done for pies that set, e.g fridge cheesecakes, curds and chocolate tortes.

Originally posted on Butterfingers.

Fusion: Championship Boerewors Shui Mai (Dim Sum)

November 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

Thanks to Checkers, I received a braai package to do a product review on the new 2014 Championship Boerewors. I invited my team mates over for a braai with Championshop Boerewors appetisers and a Championship Boerewors braai.

Championship Boerewors Shui Mai (Dim Sum)

Dim sum is a style of Cantonese food and one of my favourite things. This term is the collective noun for all the varieties of these small/bite-sized Cantonese food. The term ‘yum cha’ which means ‘drink tea’ is the action of going out for dim sum. A great comparison would be ‘high tea’ as ‘yum cha’ and all the little eats of finger sandwiches, petite fours, macarons etc as dim sum. Dim sum freezes well, so when you’re making shui mai, make some extra to enjoy another time.

The won ton wrappers used can be purchased from any Asian supermarket – go have a look in the freezers, there are parcels you can buy in different sizes. It’s so easily accessible that making your own wrappers is just unnecessary.

For this recipe, you’ll need a steamer – the bamboo steamers are pretty easy to use, and all you need is a pot or pan that’s slightly smaller so that the steamer sits above it nicely. It’s important to spice up the mince, but if you’re using Champion Boerewors like I did – you won’t need to add any seasoning.

DIY Dim sum – Shui Mai

Makes 25 Shui Mai

Prep Time: 1 hour (10 minutes to make the filling and 50 minutes to fold – the more you fold, the faster you become)

Cook time: 10-15 minutes (fresh) and 20-25 minutes (from frozen)

Ingredients:

  • 30 Won ton wrappers
  • 400g of Filling
  • A small bowl of water (to help the won ton wrapper stick)

Filling:

  • 250g  of Championship Boerewors (remove the mince from the casing)
  • 1 stalk of leek (slice into thin strips)
  • 150 cabbage (shredded)
  • 2 Tbsp of Maizena (corn starch)

Method:

  • Mix all filling ingredients together until it forms a paste.
  • Scoop a heaped teaspoon into the centre of a won ton wrapper (step 1).
  • Dab some water on the edges – this will help the wrapper folds hold their shape.
  • Bring the corners together on the top – check out the step-by-step pictures below (step 2).
  • Place thumb against index finger, like an ‘Okay’ sign, and slot the dim sum through (step 3).
  • Press the mince down to make it more compact (step 4).
  • You’re also welcome to add a pea or edamame bean on top to decorate it.

How to fold Shui Mai

Serve with a dipping sauce – a fantastic one to go with is is a combination of white sesame oil, julienne ginger, rice vinegar and soya sauce.

Shui Mai with Championship Boerewors from Checkers

This was originally posted here.

Bitten TV Show with Sarah Graham

July 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

‘Bitten’ is a story about a remarkable lady, who I follow on Twitter, who evolved from food blogger to author to TV personality. Her Twitter handle is @foodieliveshere and her real name, Sarah Graham. Sarah invited myself and another fellow food blogger Thuli Gogela (Mzansi Style Cuisine) to join her and Ishay Govender (Food and the Fabulous) for a Food Bloggers Lunch for episode 9 of Bitten TV.

Catch my awkward self with these lovely ladies this Sunday at 4pm on SABC 3 (South African television).


Sarah was the first food blogger in South Africa that turned her delicious pixels to print. Her book ‘Bitten’ is a compilation of humble, yet impressive recipes written in a style that captures this food blogger’s fun personality.  Check the raving reviews on ‘Bitten’ here.

“bitten. is a fun, funky, relevant recipe book for people who love life, love food, love their friends, and love to squeeze the last drop from their time and money. It is a collection of simple, down-to-earth and healthy, no-mess-no-fuss recipes that almost anyone can cook. A companion of convenience, the blog-themed writing style ensures that the writer/reader relationship is established right off the bat.”

This was originally posted here.

Asian Peanut Pancake 面煎粿

November 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

I have fond memories of this dessert. It’s a flapjack-like base but is commonly called a pancake. My buddy, Candice, came over the other day and my mama made this for us. Biting into the soft cake-like dough contrasted by the crunchy brown sugar and flavoured with toasted ground peanuts takes me back to my childhood. Like generic pancakes, the recipe is simple and extremely easy to make.

My mama said she used to buy it at the markets and she’d have to wait up to 20 minutes in a queue for this warm and fresh Asian peanut pancake.

Check out the recipe here :)

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節)

October 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節) also known as Full Moon Festival usually occurs over late September or early October (this year it was September 30). Traditionally, we eat “Moon cakes” and pomelo after a family dinner. Family dinner has evolved into barbeques, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the full moon while eating a family-orientated meal. The “moon cakes” are something quite special. My favourite flavour is made of a sweet lotus paste, salted pickled duck egg yolk (symbolising the full moon) and a light pastry on the outside. These guys symoblise harmony, family reunion, and good fortune.

This picture was taken from here.

Last night, my cousin (Christine), my brother (Frank) and I celebrated this festival with our loved ones at one of our favourite Chinese restaurants, Heng Sheng. We stuffed ourselves with dumplings, glutinous rice cakes, won ton noodle soup, then finishing it all off with a moon cake.

The story behind the Mid-Autumn Festival is quite a romantic one. And the moon plays a very important role. Check out a nice write up on the story taken from here:

Legend

The story of Chang E is the most widely accepted tale regarding the origins of the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is said that in ancient times, ten suns existed and the extreme heat made people’s lives very difficult. It was the hero Hou Yi who, owing to his great strength, shot down the nine of the ten suns. On hearing of this amazing feat and the hero who performed it, people came from far and wide to learn from him. Peng Meng was among these people. Later, Hou Yi married a beautiful and kind woman named Chang E and lived a happy life.

One day, Hou Yi came upon Wangmu (the queen of heaven) on the way to meet his old friend. Wangmu presented him an elixir which, if drunk, would cause him to ascend immediately to heaven and become an immortal. Instead of drinking the potion himself, Hou Yi took it home and presented it to Chang E to keep. Unfortunately, Peng Meng secretly saw Hou Yi give the potion to his wife and three days later, while Hou Yi was out hunting, Peng Meng rushed into the backyard and demanded that Chang E hand over the elixir. Knowing that she could not win, she took out the elixir and swallowed it immediately. The moment she drank it, she flew out of the window and up into the sky. Chang E’s great love for her husband drew her towards the Moon, which is the nearest heavenly body to the earth.

On realising what happened to his wife, Hou Yi was so grief stricken that he shouted Chang E’ s name to the sky. He was amazed to see a figure which looked just like his wife appeared in the Moon. He took the food liked by Chang E to an altar and offered it as a sacrifice for her. Hou Yi’s neighbours also burned incense and prepared food to express their good wishes to the kind Chang E. This became a custom later every year.”

Hope you all enjoyed staring at the Full Moon, as much as I did, last night.

This was originally posted on Butterfingers.

Chinese Cream Corn Soup with Poached Egg

September 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

I recently started a new job as a copywriter at Liquorice Digital Agency and I’m loving it! The agency oozes team-spirit juice and I have to say, it’s quite infectious. Every Wednesday, the Liquorice soccer teams plays Fives Futbol together and every Friday we have Liquorice Fridays, in which the agency organises food and treats for everyone to enjoy. This really helps all the new kids get to know the old crowd.

I haven’t been able to cook and take rad photos – see why here. So this picture comes from here.

I joined the Soup Club, and this club is only active during winter. Once a week, one member brings a soup to work, enough for all club to enjoy. I decided to make a Chinese Cream Corn Soup.

Chinese cream corn soup, warm, creamy and filling, is ideal for cold and windy nights. This recipe uses canned cream corn, I usually purchase the KOO Cream-style Corn – it’s even better to make your own, but using canned cream corn will decrease your cooking time to a mere 10 minutes. I used to love making this when I was a student.

This recipe makes 5 servings, (Warning: 1 person never has 1 serving only.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 salad spring onion (finely sliced)
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 3 mielies/corn cobs (cut kernels off)
  • 1 Tbsp corn flour/Maizena
  • 1 1/2 can of cold water (simply fill water into creamed corn can after use)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt (add to taste)
  • 3 pinches of white pepper
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • fresh coriander to sprinkle
Method:
  • In the soup pot to be, fry 1/2 the sliced spring onion with olive oil, till lightly browned.
  • Add the creamed corn.
  • Add the fresh kernels cut from mielies.
  • Use the empty can to add 1 can of water to pot.
  • Allow the soup to boil.
  • Add 1/2 can of water mixed with corn flour.
  • Slowly add to soup, while stirring – this will thicken the soup.
  • Add sugar, salt and white pepper.
  • Mix the eggs in a separate container (I usually use a measuring jug for easy pouring).
  • While stirring the soup in one direction, slowly pour the egg liquid in one spot and it’ll poach automatically
  • Serve hot!
Suggestions:
Serve with a spoonful of sesame oil on top, garnished with spring onion slices, fresh coriander and a dusting of white pepper on top.

Zhongzi – Glutinous rice pyramids wrapped in bamboo leaves 粽子

June 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

I love my folks and visiting them always includes many foodie highlights. This visit up, my mama taught me how to make zhongzi, also known as rice pyramids, Chinese tamales, glutinous rice cakes and glutinous rice tamales.

Zhongzi is traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Festival 端午節) period, which falls on the 5th of the 5th on the lunar calendar. This festival commemorates the poet Qu Yuan 屈原. I remember this story well from my Chinese classes and storybooks and it’s one of those stories all Asians should know. This year 2012, it falls on the 23rd June.

“Qu Yuan (c. 340 BCE – 278 BCE) was a patriotic nobleman who served in court in the state of Chu 楚国, in the Warring States Period of the Zhou Dynasty 战国时代. However, after resisting the alliance with the corrupt state of Quin, Qu Yuan was banished.  While living in exile, Qu Yuan spent his time writing poetry, becoming one of the most well-known Chinese poets throughout history. Sadly, 28 years later, the state of Chu was attacked and dominated by the state of Quin. After Qu Yuan heard the devastating news, he drowned himself in the Milo River 汨罗江 on the 5th of the 5th in 278 BCE.
 
The locals, who admired his patriotism, made glutinous rice pyramids wrapped in bamboo leaves and threw them into the Milo River, in hopes that the fish in the river would eat the zhongzi and leave Qu Yuan’s body’s alone. The locals then searched for the body in boats and thus, the dragon boat race became a tradition to mark the occasion.”
 

Zhongzi flavours and fillings vary from city to city and country to country. My family is from Tainan, which is south of Taiwan – the ingredients that my mama prepares are more on the savoury side and also, adapted for my family’s taste buds (I secretly add more pickled duck egg yolk and shiitake mushrooms to the ones I make). This dish is made with glutinous rice, which is also known as sticky rice, sweet rice, waxy rice, botan rice, mochi rice, biroin chal and pearl rice. Even though it’s called glutinous rice, like all rice types, it is completely gluten-free.

Makes 10

Ingredients:

To prepare the zhongzi requires quite a bit of time, as all the ingredients for the filling needs to be cooked before being encased in bamboo leaves and rice. For a vegetarian version, add more mushrooms and veto the pork.

  • 5 cups glutinous rice (soaked in warm water)
  • 20 bamboo leaves (soaked in warm water)
  • 1 tbsp Shallots mix (purchasable in Chinese stores)
  • Oil to fry shallots and to add to rice
  • 10 shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimp
  • 1 cup peanuts with husk (boiled, but intact)
  • 2 strips of cooked pork rashers or pork belly (slice into 10 pieces)
  • ½ cup soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 10 strings

Method(To see method in step-by-step pictures, click here to the original post)

  • Add a tbsp of oil to the rice and water, this will prevent your zhongzi from sticking to the bamboo leaves at the end.
  • Cut the mushrooms into halves and make sure to have already soaked them if they were dry.
  • Fry up the shallots and when it becomes golden brown with some oil, add the shrimp into the frying pan for another few minutes.
  • Separately, fry the pork belly till golden brown then add the soya sauce and sugar till caramelised.
  • This is the tricky part (see steps). Place two bamboo leaves, with the shiny side facing upwards, on top of each other, opposite ways. Fold it 4/5ths of the way to the right, with the right end on the inside and the left holding it on the outside.
  • Drop in a few peanuts, then press it down gently with a tbsp of rice.
  • Add the filling in – 2 mushroom halves, a yolk, shallots and shrimp, and pork.
  • Fill it to just under the brim with rice, making sure there are no air spaces in between.
  • Fold the leaves over the top, pressing the rice down.
  • Steam for 1 hour and serve.

What’s in Chinese 5 Spices

June 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

Chinese 5-Spices provides a myriad of flavour bursts and can be found in a wide variety of dishes in Asia.  The five different spices consist of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, Sichuan pepper and star anise – they don’t need to be equal in quantity.

You can find Chinese 5-Spices from any local supermarket or Chinese supermarket (click here for listings of Asian Supermarkets in Cape Town).

This picture was sourced from here
 
  • Cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of the most well known spices in the world because of cinnamon and sugar pancakes. True cinnamon is actually the bark of an evergreen tree from Sri Lanka, but most cinnamon sold throughout the world comes from a plant relative called ‘cassia”. Unlike true cinnamon, rougui (cassia bark) offers a stronger flavour, is cheaper and has a thicker texture.

  • Cloves

This spice can be used whole or ground and is found in various dishes in Asia. Cloves are buds (unopened flowers) of an evergreen tree native to Indonesia.

  • Fennel Seed powder

Fennel seeds provide a liquoricy taste and is often used to flavour breads, marinades, sauces and liqueurs. This flavour comes from a chemical known as “anethole” and also exists in star anise. Cool thing about anethole is that it’s 13 times sweeter than sugar.

  • Sichuan Pepper

Sichuan pepper, also known as Szechuan pepper, is actually not even pepper. This spice originates from the Sichuan province in china and is merely the husk of an ash tree fruit. Sichuan pepper also contains a chemical component called Hydroxy-alpha-sanshool which cases a numbing sensation in the mouth.

Warning: Don’t consume in large amounts, can become poisonous to the human body.

Served in Chinese hot pot.

  • Star Anise

One of my favourite spices is star anise. It originates from China and (as mentioned under Fennel Seed), it contains enethole, which creates the liquoricy flavour. Star anise is a star-shaped brown pod and used in both sweet and savoury dishes.

Found in Taiwanese beef noodle soup.

This was originally posted on Butterfingers.