Muffin Around

17 Apr

blueberry_muffins (3)

Oooo It is almost Easter and I would like to have some baked goodies on hand!
Wouldn’t you?

The more you bake, the quicker and better you become at it!

What makes baking muffins easy for me, is I stick to my foolproof  basic muffin recipe that I have tried and tested over time.
Then I add any toppings as I please (with the extra quantity not more than 1 Cup capacity).

Basic Muffin Recipe
2 Cups Self Raising Flour
½ Cup Caster sugar (can also use brown sugar or honey)
1 large egg lightly whisked  (70g minimum)
100g melted butter, cooled (I have used vegetable oil and works just fine but I like the fragrance of the buttery taste)
1 Cup Milk (I have used soy milk too and works just fine).

 

blueberry_muffins (2)

Muffins 1: Apple and Blueberries
+ 1 diced apple
+ ½ Cup frozen blueberries thawed

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Muffins 2: Carrot
+ 1 Cup grated carrot.
+ 1 teaspoon each: cinnamon & nutmeg.
- replace caster sugar with brown sugar.

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Muffins 3: Oats & Coconut
+ ¼ Cup rolled oats.
+ ¼ Cup dessicated coconuts.
- replace ¼ Cup sugar with honey.

 blueberry_muffins (1)mix mix mix

 

Method:
Preheat oven to 180C.
1) Sift flour and sugars in a large bowl.
2) Add melted butter, egg and milk.
3) With a large spoon stir and fold until just combined.
4) Add your desired toppings and stir to combine.
5) Divide batter amongst a 12 hole muffin tin (with liners).
+ top with rolled oats or dessicated coconuts if you want.
6) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

oats_honey2happy baking!

Alaskan Spider Crab Legs

11 Apr

Easy and Impressive!
Did that get your attention?

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This has got to be the most brainless dish that can add some WOW factor on the dinner table.

 

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A beautiful day to start my cook off for dad’s birthday dinner!

 

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They don’t come cheap – one bunch of these are around a kilo. I recommend one leg per a person.
Got these from Sydney Fish Markets.

 

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Leave it out in room temperature to let it defrost, as most likely it is frozen when you purchase it.

 

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A crab cracker would have been good but I didn’t haveone …
My ingenious dad got a wooden chopping board and smacked the living day lights out of the legs  to open the shells haha!

 

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I made wasabi mayonnaise (ratio 1:1)  with a squeeze of lemon for dipping.

 

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Use scissors to cut the length of the shell to extract the meat (another brilliant idea of my dad’s).

 

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Check out that meat!

 

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So juicy and fresh! Total indulgence!

Onsen Eggs

7 Apr

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Okay, “what are onsen eggs?” I hear you ask!

Firstly, onsen is Japanese for hot springs.
Most hot springs quite hot but not quite boiling – usually around 50-70 degrees.

The method of cooking traditional onsen eggs is to leave the eggs with the shell on and place it in the hot spring water for 30-45 minutes.
Technically, I would have had to go to Japan, bring a carton of eggs and have a good soak with them in the natural hot spring waters.
Luckily, normal tap water boiled works the trick too!

onsenegg1look at that gorgeousness!

The result of the eggs are like poaching them while the shell is still on.  I love this method over the usual poached one, because it is a lot less messy and easier to control.

The whites are just cooked through, soft and custard-like and the egg yolks are semi-hard, however its’ bright hue remains!
Just like a reverse cooked egg, it’s all very magical!

I read up online and there were several ways of making this.
Some called for thermometers and changing the water temperature and leaving it in the water for various amounts of time.
I had one that said you can use eggs straight from the fridge but when I used this method and put the eggs straught into the pot of boiling water, it cracked. Boo….

It all comes down to experimenting and seeing what works for you. This is what I found works for me.

ONSEN EGGS

Ingredients
2-4 fresh eggs at room temperature
1 litre water

Method
1) boil the water in  a large pot.
2) When it has come to the boil, remove the pot from the stove.
3) carefully place eggs into the pot of water, being careful not to move the water.
4) leave it in there for 12-15 minutes depending on the size of the egg.
A safe guide for 50g put the eggs in for 12 minutes, for 70g put it in for 15 minutes.
Of course if you are using more eggs then more time would be required. Don’t put the lid on, otherwise it will cook the eggs too much!
5) take the eggs out after the designated time period and plunge it into cold water to stop the cooking process.
6) pat dry and keep aside until ready to eat!

onsenegg3These were 50 gram eggs in water for 11 minutes – looks like another minute or two would have been better!

Almost forgot this part of the recipe!
This was experimental dish because I just wanted something to go with the Onsen eggs!

BRAISED MUSHROOMS

Ingredients
1x packet of mixed mushrooms (enoki, shitake and shumeji)
1 Tbs oil
1 small piece of ginger
1 Tbs mirin
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sake
1 tsp sugar
1/2 Cup dashi stock
1 Tbs oyster sauce
1 tsp corn flour

Method
1) mix the mirin, soy sauce, sake, sugar and dashi in a bowl.
2) Heat the oil and ginger in a pan over high heat.
3) add the mushrooms to the pan for about 1 minute.
4) add the bowl of seasoning, stir wel, turn the heat to medium low and pop the lid on for 2 minutes.
5) Meanwhile, mix the oyster sauce and corn flour with a splash of water then add it to the pan until the sauce thickens.
6) Serve.
*crack the onsen eggs on top of the mushrooms and serve!
*garnish with some spring onions.

onsenegg5Here’s the 70 gram egg in hot water for 15 minutes and I had some unagi and rice with it.
This one was perfect!

 

Shake that Avocado

2 Apr

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The first time I heard of an avocado shake, shudders transcended my spine because I am not a fan of avocado, let alone drinking it? It will be like drinking butter.

In my head I was thinking – “You can’t ‘drink’ avocado!”
“It’s how can you drink avocado?” I was told … !

I know it is loaded with health benefits, it just wasn’t something on my bucket list.

… Until I actually had one. It seems to be a common drink sold down at the West side of Sydney.
I must admit, it was’t as bad as I had imagined.

IMG_4713A small selection of the produce at the Fresh Farmer’s Market

Bought these avocados over the weekend at the Fresh Farmers Market at Warwick Farm,  along with other organic fruits.
Sure they were a bit mongulated in shape and the apples didn’t have that shiny gloss (why would anyone want to eat artificial wax anyhow!?!), the taste however was oh so naturally sweet and fresh!
Got to love organic, pesticide-free, wax free  produce! Just as nature intended for us to stay healthy this way!

I made some no-rice sushi with some of the avocado as fillings on Sunday for my dad’s birthday feast. I’ll update you later on that as there were so many dishes!

I used at most one and a half avocados for those sushi rolls.
A few were left over and nothing better than to experiment making an avocado shake!

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Ingredients:
1 ripe avocado roughly chopped
1/2 cup soy milk
2 Tbs honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
6-8 ice cubesIMG_5052_副本

Method:
You’re going to love this one step … Blend it altogether and drink up!

IMG_5056_副本The green smooth shake.

IMG_5060_副本I had this as breakkie with an apple & blueberry oat muffin I baked yesterday. Yummo!

Teriyaki Salmon

2 Apr


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Chatting away to my good friend about what to make for dinner and we both had fish in mind.

She had just started out her cooking adventures and wanted some simple dishes to impress.
I suggested teriyaki salmon and was about to pass her my recipe.
Clicking through my blog, I was dumbfounded to find no teriyaki salmon recipe, even though I made it a gazillion times!

The closest one is the teriyaki salmon and pumpkin fried rice.

I was going to make a fish rub grilled dish tonighy but I had to make this teriyaki salmon to do myself justice!

IMG_4376_副本Went out to buy a mini saucepan and scored a free can opener! $2 for both things – sweet bargain!

Basically you can Teriyaki any thing from fish, beef, chicken … to hmm duck? ( Do that one next time!)

The longer you put the meat in the marinade the more tastier it is!

IMG_4375_旋转_旋转As long as you have mirin, sake, soya sauce you can create most Japanese dishes. So have these ready in your pantry!

Ingredients:
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup mirin
1 Tbs sake
1 Tbs caster sugar
2 pieces of Salmon fillets about 200g each, skinned, cleaned and de-boned.

IMG_4378_副本salmon marinating away in zip lock bags.

 

Method:
1) in a small sauce put in all the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil.
2) turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes or until it thickens.
3) remove from heat and cool completely.
4) Put Salmon pieces into a snap-lock bag and carefully pour sauce in and seal the bag tightly.
5) Leave it in the fridge for atleast 4 hours.
6) After a long marinating period, take fish out of the fridge.
7) Heat a large frying pan with a teaspoon of oil.
8) Pan fry the fish for 2 minutes each side.
9) Clean the pan and pour the remaining sauce and cook until heated through.
10) Pour over the fish and serve.

IMG_4387_副本Accompanied by a pickled ginger rolled into a rose, cucumber & wakame salad, greentea soba sitting on dried seaweed as sides.

 

Social Brew

27 Mar

Feryx and I meet up once in a blue moon and every time we do, we go on ends about any thing and every thing.

She is going back to Malaysia to chill and then off to Belgium for an indefinite period of time!
I will indeed miss this dear friend of mine!

Today, in a speed catch up sesh before she flies out of the country, we threw a spat about not being able to run around naked at home, plotted to make pies for a pie-deprived civilization, how Facebook has become stalker-ish (nothing new here), all the girly things like makeup, nails and hair, what gluten does to a “gluten sensitive” body, our future selves and of course boys!

All of this, over a cute little cafe in Ultimo called “Social Brew” on Harris Street.
“They serve fantastic brunchies” and “lunchies!” Quoting Feryx.social Brew (2)
Feryx told me before the new owners took over, it was a barren place where no one visited. After the newbies revamped the place with a better deco and menu, swarms of people flocked in!social Brew (6)

It’s cute and I’ll definitely be re-visiting!
social Brew (8)
For drinks I had a Grey something tea… I had forgotten the name already but I believe it is a type of Earl Grey tea – it was light and fragrant just the way I like my earl grey’s!
I remember it had vanilla and bergamot in it! Then Feryx had this concoction of green juice with cucumber, parsley, coriander and apple. Surprisingly refreshing and felt so healthy even after just one sip!
social Brew (5)

Feryx had the roast beetroot, goats curd, walnut and rocket salad with extra chicken! I stole a piece of beetroot and it was divine!

social Brew (3)

I ordered the “Brekkie Board” which had several elements on a platter that worked really well together!
Sliced tomato with goats curd and thyme, avocado, prosciutto, grilled olive bread, soft boiled egg with this AMAZING pesto which I’ll tell you more about!social Brew (1)social Brew (7)

This soft boiled egg sits proudly on top of this moorish insy jar of pesto had me wanting more and more! I was absolutely intrigued by the taste of the pesto as it was not pungent and robust like other pestos.
It had a light refined texture, despite it snuggling in a layer of oil, there was no pine nut flavour which made it easy to eat it by the spoonful. I just had to know what was in it!

I braved the nerves to asked the manager. He went to ask the head chef who was a little reluctant to tell but he walked over the counter and shared the secret recipe with me! I can’t tell you here but when I do experiment and make it I’ll share my version of the recipe with you! (keep your eyes peeled, you will not be disappointed I assure you!).

Or… just go there and taste it yourself! Head down Harris Street, Ultimo, Sydney, it’s on a corner, you can’t miss it!

social Brew (4)

Like them on FB -this was on one of their walls, how cute!

 

Doria – Japanese Baked Rice

17 Mar

It was a cold and wet morning in Osaka, Japan and there was no where to go besides indoors.

I was hiding out in the underground area within the subway station where there were lots of shops and restaurants.

I went inside an Italian looking restaurant which caught my eye because they were serving Western-styled food.

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The name doesn’t give much away as to what a Doria was, lucky most menu’s in Japan comes with pictures.
“Mmm looks warm, hearty and cheesy – I’m going to order that!”

Out came this toasty hot dish with cheese still bubbling on the top and melting over the sides of the plate.
Inside was a gooey mixture of rice and mixed seafood. Yum!

What I loved most about it, is the plate that it came in, cutest little dish it was!

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I had seen this plate at Daiso on several occasions and had wanted to make this baked goodness many times.
Never got around to it until last night!

I was happy to have found recipes for this and discovered the roots of this is indeed from Italy.
Doria reminds me of lasagne because of the bechamel (white sauce) and cheese topping.

Makes two
Ingredients

1 cup of rice
1 small carrot diced
1 Tbs butter
½ an onion diced
3-4 large button mushrooms sliced
200g Chicken breast cut into small pieces (marinade with 1 tbs of each: soya sauce, mirin sake and season with pepper)
Shaved cheese (as much as you like)
Parsley for garnish

Bechamel Sauce
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs flour
1 bay leaf
1 Cup milk

Method
1) Pre-cook the rice in a rice cooker with carrots placed on top.photo_副本

2) Heat a large pan over medium heat, melt butter and cook onions until they soften.doria (4) 3) Add mushrooms until cooked and remove from heat.
4) Wipe pan with a paper towel and turn the heat to high, cook chicken till golden brown.
5) Toss the mushroom and onions, season with salt and pepper and combine well. Set aside.

Make bechamel sauce: (preheat oven at this point to 200C degrees).

6) on low heat: melt butter(use a bit of the melted butter and brush inside the dish).
7) add the bay leaf and flour and stir until combined flour is combined with butter.
8) Add in milk and whisk until sauce thickens.
9) season with salt and pepper.
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10) place the rice at the bottom of the dish, layer on top the mushroom+chicken pieces.
11) pour over the bechamel sauce.doria (2)_副本12) sprinkle cheese on top.
13) bake until golden, garnish with parsley and serve!

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So yummy! I thought this little dish won’t be enough and I made a cucumber & crabstick appetiser, salad with sesame dressing and panfried dumplings.
It was SO filling! Don’t let the little size of the fish fool you like it fooled me!

I cooked way too much rice for this – so watch this space and find out what I did with the extra rice!

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