Kung Po Pork

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Kung Po Pork

25 May 2014

I love the simplicity of this dish. The original dish uses chicken but I find pork fillet a great substitute.

500g pork fillet, sliced
1 tbsp plain flour
1 ½ tbsp water
5 tbsp peanut oil
8 small to medium-sized dried red chillies
5cm young ginger, cut into thin strips
½ brown onion, sliced into half-moons
1 tbsp brown sugar
½ cup roasted cashews
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinkiang Chinese black vinegar
1 tbsp Szechuan pepper, toasted and crushed

In a mixing bowl, marinate pork fillet slices in the flour and water for at least 20 minutes.

Place 2 tbsp oil and chillies in a wok then turn on heat to low. Cook for 2 minutes or until chillies darken in colour. Drain and remove chillies, reserving the oil.

Using the same oil, turn heat to high and fry the pork slices in batches until golden brown (approximately 3-5 minutes). Use extra oil if required. Return all the pork into the wok then add ginger and onion. Cook for 3 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients (except Szechuan pepper) and stir-fry for another 3 minutes. Turn off heat, sprinkle with Szechuan pepper and serve.

Deep fried baby snapper with green papaw salad

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Deep fried baby snapper with green papaw salad

15 April 2014

This dish is inspired by a similar dish I had at Red Lantern on Riley. In a lot of Asian cultures, it is good luck to serve fish whole. And out of respect for the elders,  the head of the fish should always point in their direction on the dinner table.

A tip I learnt from Sydney Fish Market – always make sure you measure the size of your wok so you get the right size fish that fits.

Peanut oil for deep frying
1 small whole snapper (to fit a large wok), scaled and scored deeply on both sides
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp sea salt flakes
½ tsp turmeric
1 green papaw peeled and shredded
5 spring onions (scallions), sliced finely
1 large red chilli, deseeded and sliced finely
½ zucchini, julienned
½ carrot, julienned
¼ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
¼ cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
3 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
Fried shallots for garnish

Heat oil in the wok until it reaches 180C.

In a bowl, mix flour, sea salt and turmeric. Coat snapper with flour mix then gently lower snapper into hot oil. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until golden. Remove from hot oil and set aside on a paper towel to drain.

In a large mixing bowl, combine green papaw, spring onions, chilli, zucchini, carrot, coriander and mint leaves.

To make the dressing, combine lime juice, palm sugar, fish sauce and sesame oil in a mixing bowl. Dress the salad then pour over fish and garnish with fried shallots.


Asian BBQ duck salad with hot, sweet and salty dressing

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Asian BBQ duck salad with hot, sweet and salty dressing

31 March 2014

I love love love Asian BBQ duck. This salad is easy and quick to whip up, and a guaranteed winner. When I am feeling a bit naughty, I would make duck skin croutons by crisping up the duck skin then cutting it up into pieces and stirring it through the salad.

1 ½ cup shredded Asian BBQ duck
50g bean sprouts, trimmed
3 large golden shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
Vegetable oil for frying
1 garlic clove
3 birds eye chillies, roughly chopped
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp white vinegar
½ cup thinly sliced spring onion
½ wedge of lime (optional)

Heat vegetable oil in a pan and fry shallots until golden and crispy. Drain and set aside, reserving 1 tbsp of the oil.

In the same pan, heat 1 tbsp of the reserved oil and fry the garlic until fragrant. Set aside.

In a mortar and pestle, pound the fried garlic clove with the chillies until you get a rough paste.

Add brown sugar and fish sauce and vinegar and mix well, adjusting the taste to your liking.

In a large bowl, mix the duck and the bean sprouts. Pour in dressing and serve in a bowl topped with fried shallots and spring onion.

Squeeze lime just before serving.

Peanut butter fudge brownie

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Peanut butter fudge brownie

15 March 2014

This brownie is incredibly gooey and goes really well with the saltiness of the peanut butter. Use good quality chocolate and you’ll never go wrong.

500g good quality dark couverture chocolate (containing 60% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
170g butter, roughly chopped
1 ½ cups caster sugar
1 tsp salt
4 eggs
2/3 cup plain flour
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter, melted slightly

Preheat oven to 160C. Grease and line a 20 cm square baking tin.

In a heatproof bowl over simmering water, melt chocolate and butter until smooth and shiny. Remove from heat.

Add sugar and salt and mix until combined. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add flour and stir until combined.

Pour mixture in baking tin. Dollop melted peanut butter on top of the mixture and using a fork, gently comb the peanut butter through the mixture to create a swirl effect.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in tray for another 10 minutes. Turn it out on a wire rack and allow to cool completely before serving.

Mixed berries and rhubarb pie with coconut cream pastry

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Mixed berries and rhubarb pie with coconut cream pastry

21 February 2014
Coconut Cream Pastry:
375g plain flour
105g icing sugar
210g butter, chilled and diced
180g coconut cream

Pie Filling:
375g raspberries
9 stalks rhubarb
1 1/2 punnet blueberries
1 cup caster sugar
3 1/2 tbsp plain flour
Grated lime of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp water

Using an electric mixer, pulse plain flour, icing sugar and butter until it resembles rough sand. Alternatively, rub butter into flour with your finger tips until you get the same consistency. Add coconut cream and combine. Tip mixture onto a clean surface and bring together with the heel of your hands until you get a smooth dough. Wrap the dough in some cling film and rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, warm up filling ingredients in a large saucepan until combined and sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 180C. Remove the dough from the fridge and divide it in half. Place one half back in the fridge. Using a rolling pin and on a clean, floured surface, roll out the other half of the pastry to a thickness of 5mm. Brush the edge of a 24cm-diameter shallow pie dish with egg wash. Gently place the pastry, lining the bottom and the sides of the dish.

Fill the pie dish with the cooled filling.Roll out remaining dough to the same thickness and cut 2cm strips long enough to span the diameter of the pie dish. You’ll need about 10 strips. Then brush each strip of pastry with egg wash, sprinkle with raw sugar and place on top of filling in a criss-cross pattern. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Pork Gyoza

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Pork Gyoza

17 January 2014

This is a favourite in my household. Gyoza wrappers are slightly thicker than wonton wrappers. The gyoza purists would advise against using wonton wrappers but I find them both interchangeable for this recipe.

250g minced pork
¾ cup finely shredded Chinese cabbage (Wombok)
4 spring onions, finely sliced
2 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp soy sauce
¼ tsp sesame oil
Rice bran oil for frying
20 gyoza wrappers
½ cup water

Blanch shredded cabbage in hot water for 20 seconds then refresh in ice cold water. Drain and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine cabbage with remaining ingredients.

To fill the gyoza, have a small bowl of water ready. Place one gyoza wrapper on the palm of your hand and put a teaspoon of mixture in the middle of the wrapper. Using your finger, dab one half of the edge of the wrapper with water. Bring the edges to meet to form a semi circle and pinch the edges to seal. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

Heat oil over medium high heat and cook gyoza in batches for 2 minutes or until brown at the bottom. Do not turn the gyoza. Add water, cover and cook until water is completely absorbed. Serve with preferred dipping sauce.

Hazelnut Shortbread

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Hazelnut Shortbread

27 December 2013

A Christmas favourite with a nutty twist.

250g butter, chilled and diced
250g plain flour
60g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
60g hazelnut meal

In a large bowl, combine butter and flour. Rub mixture with your fingers until combined. Mixture should resemble fine crumbs.

Add caster sugar and hazelnut meal and stir to combine.

Pour mixture on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Gather mixture together and pat down to a 25cm-diameter dough. Use a knife and score the shortbread. Rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 160C. Bake for 25 minutes or until light golden.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the tray. Dust with caster sugar and allow to cool completely.

Serve with a cup of tea.

calvados fruit cake

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calvados fruit cake

8 December 2013

Christmas is incomplete without the traditional fruit cake. The fondant icing is a stress-free option and for kids, fondant covered-anything gives Christmas a magical touch.

250g golden raisins
250g dried figs, chopped
150g dried cranberries
250g sultanas
250g dried pineapple rings, chopped
180ml Calvados plus extra
270g butter
50g mixed peel
40g pistachios
225g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
250g brown sugar
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp maple syrup

Optional decoration:
500g fondant
Edible coloured pearls

In a large bowl, place all the dried fruit and soak them in Calvados for 48hrs (if you are in a real hurry, you can get away with 6hrs).

Preheat fan forced oven to 140C. If you are fan forceless, take it up to 150C. Grease a 26cm springform pan with butter and set aside. Sift the flour (reserve 1 tablespoon) and baking powder and combine it with ground cinnamon and mixed spice. In another bowl, combine mixed peel, pistachios and one tablespoon plain flour.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, and alternate it with sifted flour. Mix well. Gently mix in Calvados-soaked dried fruit, pistachio mix and maple syrup. Then put mixture into the springform pan and hollow out the centre to help with the rising of the cake.

Bake for 60-70minutes or until a skewer, when pierced through the cake, comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool completely before removing it from the tin. Store cake in an airtight container and everyday for a week, drizzle 3 tablespoons of Calvados.

If using fondant, brush fruit cake with Calvados. On a clean work bench dusted with icing sugar, roll out 500g fondant to 3mm thickness with a rolling pin to get a sheet of fondant wide enough to cover the cake. Trim excess fondant then smooth the top and the sides of the cake with a fondant smoother. Decorate with edible coloured pearls.


rhubarb and coconut cream cake with walnut crumble

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rhubarb and coconut cream cake with walnut crumble

3 December 2013

A tried and tested recipe. This cake is moist and the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon cuppa.

95g unsalted butter
½ cup caster sugar
2 eggs
75g coconut cream
½ cup self-raising flour
225g rhubarb, washed and cut into 2cm lengths
55g butter
90g flour
40g brown sugar
25g walnuts, crushed

Preheat oven to 165C and grease and line a 16cm springform pan.

Cream butter and caster sugar until pale and light. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in coconut cream.

Fold in self-raising flour and almond meal just until just combined.

Fold in rhubarb and spread mixture evenly over cake tin.

To make crumble, rub chilled butter into the plain flour and brown sugar until it resembles coarse sand then mix in walnuts. Sprinkle this over top of cake and bake for 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool for at least 10 minutes in the tin then remove the cake.

poached chicken breast with hot tamarind broth

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poached chicken breast with hot tamarind broth

17 October 2013

This is a quick and healthy meal to prepare. If you are time-poor, poach the chicken in simmering liquid for 10-15 minutes. Tamarind pulp can be found in specialty Asian grocery stores. Tamarind puree or concentrate is an alternative if you can’t find tamarind pulp.

1 skinless chicken breast
1L chicken stock
125g tamarind paste*
2 lemongrass, bruised
3 garlic cloves, bruised
3cm ginger, bruised
4 large dried red chillies
4 golden shallots, peeled and finely sliced
½ cup cherry tomatoes
2 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
½ cup coriander leaves

In a saucepan, bring 500ml chicken stock to boil then slip in the chicken breast. Cover, remove from heat and allow to poach in liquid for 45 minutes.

In another saucepan, add remaining chicken stock, tamarind paste, lemongrass, garlic cloves, ginger and chillies. Bring to boil then allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Strain the broth and bring it back to a simmer. Add shallots, tomatoes and kaffir lime leaves then remove from heat.

To serve, slice chicken breast and place them in a bowl. Ladle a generous amount of broth over the chicken breast slices and garnish with coriander leaves.

* To make tamarind paste, combine 180g tamarind pulp in 90ml lukewarm water. Massage the pulp in the water with your fingers to form a smooth paste. Push it through a sieve to remove the fibres and seeds.This will give you approximately 3/4 cup of tamarind paste.