Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Street Food: Imagawayaki

Originating from Japan these imagawayaki's can now be found all over. Delicious pancake/ waffle batter stuffed full of delicious fillings, there are few street food snacks I enjoy more whilst on the go.

Value for money these can go right at the top. 1 piece set me back $10 Taiwanese dollars which is roughly 25p or 32 cents. Can you even get a Freddo for that nowadays?!

How they're made.


Imagawayaki is made in a unique pan that's just for them which full of 2cm deep circles. Of course, they are now available in almost any shape. From Spongebob to Hello Kitty! 
The sweet batter is then poured into these moulds, brushed up the sides and left to start to cook. After around 30 seconds the filling of choice is added. With most sellers having huge pans they can have up to 60 halves on the go at any one time.
 After the fillings are heated through 2 halves are joined, more batter is used in a squeezy bottle to seal them together. A short sealing time later and they are ready to enjoy.
The flavours.


Predominantly you will find imagawayaki filled with red bean paste or a vanilla custard. Whether there are stools amongst the street markets, on a street corner or even at an event, these two flavours will certainly be there. Having only seen a limited selection you can only imagine my surprise when stumbling upon a stool with 3 extra flavours. Especially that they were savoury aswell! Having only seeing sweet it was time to give them a go. 

They are as follows.

Red bean imagawayaki.

The traditional flavour and one of my favourites in truth. The sweet red bean filling is perfect, there's enough flavour from the beans so it's not boring with the right amount of sweetness to wolf down a fair few. P.S, if you get too many this flavour is yummy cold as well. 
Vanilla custard imagawayaki.

No matter what culture vanilla custard is sure to crop up. Perfectly gooey with the right amount of "stodge", which coats your mouth perfectly with flavour. If you're lucky there are a few stools with chocolate sauce too, the addition to this flavour is superb. 

I'm well aware for the next three flavours my naming of them may not be entirely correct. I'm sure they will have a name for the flavour but I've named them based on flavour.

Spicy garlic chicken and spring onion imagawayaki.

From the first bite, you get this wonderful hit of garlic and fresh chilli. Followed swiftly by a touch of sweetness from the spring onion and fragrance from some ginger. Add that to the meatiness of the chicken and it was just right. The addition of cabbage to help bulk these out and keep them moist hit the spot.
Fragrant chilli chicken imagawayaki.

Next up was the fragrant chilli chicken. Instantly there's an aromatic bouquet of ingredients. Very clean on the palette with a light heat from some chilli flakes at the end. Quite possibly my favourite savoury imagawayaki.
Fish and tomato imagawayaki.

Possibly the biggest surprise. After munching down the four previous imagawayaki's I was certainly hitting a roll full of flavour. I was soon stopped in my tracks. Don't think I didn't like it, it was more of a shock, biting in and finding an intense fishy flavour. I must say the filling was incredibly flaky and moist which made it enjoyable. 
No matter what there is bound to be a flavour out there for you!

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Friday, 15 September 2017

Mini Chocolate & Passion Fruit Cupcakes


Apparently "bigger is better" isn't always true. Normally, I'd completely disagree. However, in this case, I'm all for it. These mini chocolate and passion fruit cupcakes are packed full of flavour and make the perfect size treat any time of the day.

Passion fruits are a real favourite of mine. Full of flavour, on the sour side and full of bits to crunch on. What's not to love? Combine this fresh citrusy flavour with a light chocolaty sponge and they just hit it off. Using a good quality cocoa powder is essential. Passion fruits, depending on location and season, can set you back more than a penny or two. There's little point having a delicious frosting on an average cupcake.

Do feel free to ditch the mini and make some large ones. I doubt you have a tray at home for mini cupcakes. I certainly don't (not even a normal cupcake tray). If you still want to try and keep the shape, without a cupcake tin, I recommend doubling up the cases. It certainly helped me. They are by no means perfect but a lot better than a potential catastrophe of them collapsing and leaking everywhere.

Do bare in mind when it comes to piping the icing it will have the seeds in it. Choose a nozzle to accommodate this. It will be hard to get the right look that you have in mind, piping anything with bits in is always a little, let us say dodgy.

For more cake ideas check out these others options here.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                    (Makes 20 mini cupcakes)

Cake batter
100g caster sugar
100g butter, softened
2 eggs
100g self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder
3 tbsp cold milk

Frosting
100g butter
200g icing sugar
2 passion fruits

Method:
  • For the cupcakes, cream the sugar and the butter together. When light add the eggs gradually. 
  • Sift in the flour and cocoa powder. Fold through gently. Adjust consistency with the milk. (You may require more or less than stated).
  • Pipe or spoon into cases. I used 3cm base x 5cm top sized cases. 
  • Bake in a preheated over at 180°C for 10-15 minutes, size dependent. 
  • Once cooked remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  • For the frosting, beat the butter until light and pale. Add the icing sugar and mix through. Continue to beat until light. 
  • Cut the passion fruits in half and remove the seeds, pulp and juice. Pour into the icing and mix through well. Spoon into a piping bag and leave in the fridge for 5-10 minutes. 
  • Once the cupcakes are cold piping on the icing. 
  • Any leftover seeds or extra can be used to garnish the tops. 

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Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Iced Matcha Tea Latte


In an effort to use up the last of a bag of matcha I've been living off these iced matcha tea lattes for the past week.

These lattes can be found all over, but why pay the price of the coffee shop? They are super easy to make. It takes a lot less time than going to the cafe and can be enjoyed in the comfort of your home. In three or four minutes, you could be sat back and indulging. The smooth clean flavours of the matcha will wash over your tongue. It's ice cold perfection! There is, of course, another plus side. You've got your matcha, you've made a latte and now you have some left over to get baking with.

If you're still not convinced that it's worth the effort to make yourself a matcha tea latte, then consider that with normal tea you don't get half the benefits of a matcha one. With matcha, you consume the whole leaf (and all its benefits).

Be sure to check back in two weeks time for a full feature of matcha in the Ingredient Insight.

Recipe

Ingredients:

10g matcha tea powder (premium grade)
350ml cold milk
Sugar to taste/ sugar syrup
Good handful of ice

Method:
  • Form a paste with sifted matcha powder, some sugar and a little milk. 
  • Add 300ml of milk, followed by a good amount of ice. If you have a cocktail shaker, that's perfect. 
  • Give the drink a strong shake to fully combine everything. 
  • If you fear for matcha lumps, pass into the serving glass through a fine sieve. Remember to add more ice after. 
  • Pour over the remaining milk (carefully and slowly), to leave with a beautiful 2 tone effect.
  • Enjoy this delicious drink with some fresh baked goods or by itself in the sun.

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Friday, 8 September 2017

Chewy Peanut & Caramel Bars


With some leftover condensed milk from some key lime pies earlier in the week, there is no better way to use the rest up than in these chewy peanut and caramel bars.

With a crunch from the thin chocolate, an incredible chew from the caramel and a wonderful roasted peanut flavour combined into the sweetness, these bars will leave you pondering if "just one" really is enough.

If like me you fancy saving yourself some time, there is no need to fully coat these bars individually. They will still be delicious no matter what. Just with sticky fingers! If you do feel inclined to coat in chocolate after cutting for a more refined looking bar, add at least an extra 50g of chocolate to your shopping list.

I enjoyed these at fridge temperature, the caramel has a wonderful chew to it this way. However, place a couple in the freezer, leave them for a good 2-3 hours until completely frozen. Then have a go at them. So much chewier and quite reminiscent of the American candy bar, Charleston Chew.

Recipe

Ingredients:

60g butter
200g condensed milk
1 tbsp clear honey
80g soft brown sugar
50g peanuts, toasted and roughly chopped
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
120g milk chocolate

Method:
  • In a medium sized pan, bring the butter, the condensed milk, the honey and the brown sugar to the boil. 
  • Cook gently until a deep caramel colour. Takes between 2-5 minutes.
  • In a separate mixing bowl combine the chopped toasted peanuts and the peanut butter. 
  • Pour over the caramel mix and stir well until fully combined.
  • Pour into a lined tin or container, roughly 10x18 cm. 
  • Leave to cool on the side before chilling in the fridge to set. Roughly 1-2 hours. 
  • Melt the chocolate over a bain marie for coating. 
  • Remove the set peanut caramel from the mould. Either cut into pieces or leave whole, it's your choice. 
  • If whole, pour half the chocolate on top and spread over until the top is fully covered. Place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to quickly set the chocolate. Turn over and repeat with remaining chocolate on the other side. Quickly set in the freezer once again. Once set cut into desired pieces.
  • If you've portioned, simply dip in the chocolate to get a full even coating. Bare in mind you will need extra chocolate if doing it this way. 

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Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Sticky Asian BBQ Pork


With the end of the summer in Taiwan soon upon us, it was time to try and use up some left over coal and fire up the barbeque. Using fairly ordinary ingredients you can find at home, this sticky BBQ sauce is one to keep in the fridge.

This soy sauce based BBQ is a variation that once tried will be remembered. It has this wonderful stickiness, a great balance of sweetness, spiciness and sharpness. Whether you want to use it as a marinade like I did, or simply to smother your meat with afterwards, this is the sauce to use.

Packed with garlic, ginger and chilli, it sure has lots of flavour. A sprinkle of sesame seeds gives the perfect subtle nuttiness to make the flavour compound so much stronger. This sauce will keep happy in the fridge so you can come back and enjoy it as you please. Upon barbequing with pork belly you get a delicious char, a hint of smokiness and a wonderful caramelisation with the sauce. It creates this sticky outer layer, packed full of flavour, that's truly finger licking.

Check out this delicious salad to serve together, crispy lychee salad with sesame dressing.

Recipe

Ingredients:

500g pork belly slices
3 garlic cloves, pureed or finely chopped
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
15g fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
200ml soy sauce
2-3 tbsp chilli sauce
2 tbsp clear honey
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
125g soft brown sugar
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
15g cornflour
2-3 tbsp water
1 tbsp white sesame seeds

Method:

  • In a medium sized pan combine the garlic, fresh chilli and ginger. Add to this the liquids. The soy sauce, the chilli sauce, the honey and the worchestershire sauce. 
  • Gently bring everything to the boil. Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Slowly bring back to the boil. 
  • In a small mixing bowl stir the cornflour and water until dissolved. Whisk into the saucepan. 
  • Leave on a medium heat, stir regularly for 5 minutes or until it's just thinner than the desired consistency. (It will thicken as it cools).
  • Pour into a sterilised jar and leave to cool. If not using right away, store in the fridge.  
  • For the BBQ pork, cut the pork belly into your desired sized pieces. Add 4-5 tbsp of the sauce, rub all over thoroughly and marinade over night in the fridge. (Marinating over night can be skipped if need be).
  • Cook over hot coals if using a barbeque, alternatively grilling will work just as well, minus the lovely char and BBQ flavour.
  • Turn regularly brushing with more sauce from marinating or fresh from the jar. When almost cooked give a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds.  
  • Once cooked give once last brush of the sauce, a few sesame seeds and serve. 
  • This sticky Asian BBQ pork is perfect with a crisp fruity salad like this crispy lychee salad with sesame dressing. Be sure to swap out the lychees for a lovely seasonal fruit near you now. 


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Friday, 1 September 2017

Apple & Ginger Biscuits


Whenever you buy fresh ginger. there's always more than you can handle. You can pickle the remaining or turn it into some wonderful stem ginger but I much prefer to make some delicious biscuits instead.

Ginger biscuits have always been a favourite of mine (though it's an extensive list). With the addition of apple to the mix, these biscuits resemble an apple crumble. The warmth and aroma from the fresh ginger and the fruitiness from the apple are mouthwatering. The brown sugar helps combine with flavours adding a nuttiness of its own. Add a drizzle of your favourite toffee sauce to top off these moreish biscuits.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                        (Makes 16-18 biscuits)

250g plain flour
200g butter
50g caster sugar
30g soft brown sugar
1 apple, peeled cored and finely diced
15g fresh ginger, finely grated

Toffee sauce to drizzle
Icing sugar for dusting

Method:
  • Sift the flour and the two sugars into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub together until you can almost form a dough. 
  • Add the diced apple and grated ginger. 
  • Mix once more until fully combined and forms a ball. 
  • Leave in a refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up a little. 
  • Weigh out the biscuit dough into 40g balls or of a size of your choosing. 
  • Place on a baking tray, lined with baking parchment evenly spaced apart. 
  • Give them a little flatted before baking at 180°C for 12-15 minutes. Times will vary depending on size. 
  • Once baked leave to cool on a cooling rack. 
  • To finish, drizzle with toffee sauce and a dusting of icing sugar. 

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Friday, 25 August 2017

Fresh Fruit Tartlets


With an abundance of seasonal fruits everywhere at the moment, these fresh fruit tartlets let you enjoy the ones you love the most. Don't be confined to sticking to a couple of fruits - be bold try a couple of new ones if there's the opportunity. These tartlets give you complete free reign. Taiwanese fruit markets have been stocking some wonderful selections recently. Why not head to your local fruit market to see what's best near you?

The sweet crisp pastry gives you the perfect case for these tartlets. If you're pushed for time, or don't want the extra washing up and baking, store bought ones will do just fine. Filled with a light citrus pastry cream, thanks to the addition of some whipped cream, makes these perfect for eating at any time of the day. But the fresh fruits are the real highlight. Choose a variety... peach for a clean floral taste and grapes for a wonderful pop of flavour and a little tartness. Orange too, why just use the zest? Lastly, some dragon fruit. It's visually wonderful and leaves another clean fresh flavour. I did find the red dragon fruit had more going on the flavour department.

Try out these tartlets for a late summer treat. They're great with plums, cherries, you name it. Sometimes a big tart is just too much handle. These little ones are just right.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                                (Makes 7-8 tartlets)

Pastry
200g plain flour
65g caster sugar
80g cold butter
1 egg

Citrus pastry cream
185ml milk
1/2 lemon zested
1/2 orange zested
2 egg yolks
40g caster sugar
25g cornflour
150ml double cream

Fruit to top
1/4 Red dragon fruit
1/4 White dragon fruit
Handful of green grapes
1 peach
1 orange segmented
(Or any fruit of your choosing)

Method:
  • For the pastry, crumb together the flour, the sugar and the butter. Once it resembles breadcrumbs, add the egg. Combine until you form a smooth ball of pastry. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Whilst the pastry is resting start on the filling. Bring the milk to the boil with the lemon and orange zest. 
  • Whisk the egg yolks and the sugar together in a mixing bowl. When light, add the cornflour to the egg yolks.  
  • Pour the boiling milk over the eggs whilst whisking. Return to the pan and cook whilst whisking on a medium heat. You'll notice lumps will form at the start, persevere, keep whisking and cooking. Soon you will be left with a smooth, lump free pastry cream. 
  • Spoon into a container, top with cling and leave to cool before refrigerating.
  • Roll the pastry out until it's around 3mm thick on a floured surface. Cut into manageable sizes for you tartlet cases. My tartlet cases were 6cm x 10cm. 
  • Press into the case, trim the edges of overhanging pastry off and return to fridge to firm up for 10-15 minutes.  
  • Fill with baking beans or rice lined with oven proof cling film.
  • Bake in the oven at 180°C for 12 minutes. Remove the baking beans/ rice and bake for a further 3-5 minutes.
  • Leave to cool before removing from the tins. 
  • Whisk the cream until firm peaks. Give the pastry cream a little beat to loosen it up before folding in the cream. Spoon into a piping bag if using.
  • Pipe the filling into the tart case and decorate with all your chosen fresh fruit.

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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Crispy Roasted Five Spice Pork Belly


From the crackling to the moist meat and all that lovely fattiness in between, roast pork belly can be appreciated by all.

It'd most definitely been way too long since I'd had roast pork belly. To help change up a standard roast, a delicious rub of Chinese five spice was called for. Add a wonderful dipping sauce with the right amount of bite to cut through the natural fat in the pork belly, it was hands-down a winner.

When the pork is near finishing and you're waiting for the last pieces of cracking to... crackle? Be sure to keep an eye on it. The last thing you want is to momentarily forget and for it all to go belly up and burn.

This pork will also work great for sharing. Don't be surprised to see everyone drifting over for more than just one piece.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                                            (Serves 3-4)

Pork belly
500-750g pork belly, skin on
1 1/2 tbsp 5 spice
1-2 tbsp Sunflower oil
Table salt
Coarse sea salt
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Dipping sauce
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pureed
6 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp chilli sauce
3 tbsp clear honey
1 tsp five spice
2 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Method:
  • On the meat side of the pork belly, rub the five spice all over before turning over.
  • Deep score the skin on the pork belly, rub with fine salt (1 tablespoon should do it), then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the pork belly from the fridge and dab with kitchen roll to absorb the water now on the skin. Rub with the coarse sea salt. Again a tablespoon should do it.
  • Place into a tin foil-lined tray and into a preheated oven at 180°C on the middle shelf. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour. 
  • Remove from the oven and now dab or brush the rice wine vinegar over the skin side. Return to the oven, now at 220°C for 15-20 minutes on the top shelf.
  • Remove from the oven an brush or dab with 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Only use what required to coat the pork belly, no extra.
  • Return to the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until you have the perfect crispy crackling on top. 
  • Once crisped to perfection, leave to rest on a wire rack over the tray.
  • For the dipping sauce, whisk together all the ingredients. Taste to check if you'd like more heat - if so add the required amount of chilli. 
  • Once rested, cut the pork belly into bite sized pieces and serve. I enjoyed mine with the dipping sauce and some honey roasted carrots with garlic.

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Saturday, 19 August 2017

Chocolate & Coconut Truffles


After binge watching the Pirates of the Caribbean, it had me thinking about bounties. Naturally, this led to me creating these Bounty inspired chocolate truffles.

I don't think anyone can openly say Bounties are their favourite chocolate bar, at least anyone I know. Either way, there's always someone that will take a hoard of Bounties of your hands from a box of Celebrations. I'm that person. It's extra chocolate and a sweet treat - how could you resist?!

Taking inspiration from this chocolate bar, these truffles soon appeared. With a white chocolate and coconut ganache, encased in a crisp dark chocolate shell, they are divine. Quite possibly more so than the chocolate bar itself. From the first crunch to the soft, creamy ganache, with all the coconut you could ever want in truffle you will be left longing for relaxing time in the Caribbean.

For more chocolate truffle recipes, be sure to check these out here.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                          (Makes 35-40 truffles)

Ganache
250g coconut cream/ milk
80g desiccated/ powdered coconut
250g white chocolate, chopped
10g butter

Coating
125g dark chocolate
10-20g desiccated coconut

Method:
  • Bring the coconut cream to the heat along with the desiccated coconut. 
  • Once the coconut cream has heated up, add the chopped chocolate and butter.
  • Stir or whisk until all the chocolates melted. Then leave in a fridge to cool and set.
  • Once set divide the ganache into sized balls. Rolling in your hands to create a round ball. (Cold hands are preferable so not to melt the ganache.) Leave in the fridge once again before continuing. 
  • Melt the chocolate for coating. 
  • Dip the ganache balls into the chocolate, let the residual drip off before placing on parchment paper.
  • Either roll using a fork to create a spiky outside or leave to dry smooth. 
  • If drying smooth, add the remaining desiccated coconut to garnish.

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Friday, 11 August 2017

Banoffee Upside Down Cake


All things banoffee are always delicious. Well, that's my understanding anyway. This banoffee upside down cake is by no means an exception.

With gooey, sticky, toffee coating infused into bananas, it's something not to miss. With the addition of some walnuts for a welcomed crunch, it brings this cake together. You'll also be happy to know you're likely to get some delicious random pockets of toffee appear throughout for an extra surprise.

This cake makes a nice change from the usual banana loaves you'd find, so if you're looking for something a little different, this sweet treat recipe is for you.

Recipe 

Ingredients:                                                                                                                          (Serves 8)

Topping
70g soft dark brown sugar
35g butter
1 1/2 bananas, cut into 2cm slices

Cake
60g butter
100g sugar
1 egg
170g self raising flour
200g banana, peeled weight, mashed
80g walnuts, broken into pieces
Milk to consistency

Method:
  • For the topping, melt the butter and sugar together in a pan. Stir till combined and cook for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Pour into a lined 18-20cm tin. Quickly place the banana slices on as you wish before the toffee sets.
  • For the cake, beat together the butter and sugar until pale. Gradually add the egg, beat until combined. 
  • Add the sifted flour and stir until you form a smooth cake batter. 
  • Add the mashed banana and broken walnuts. Fold everything thoroughly together. 
  • If the cake mix is too stiff, add some milk until a soft consistency. 
  • Smooth over the topping in the tin and bake in a preheated oven at 170°C for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Once cooked leave to cool for 10 minutes before flipping and removing from the tin. 
  • Serve with lovely banoffee cake with a generous scoop of ice cream.


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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Pineapple Iced Tea With Pearls


A road trip to Taichung at the weekend was enough to jog my memory about tapioca pearls. Taichung is the birth place of the bubble tea with pearls. There's a bubble tea shop on virtually every corner.

For those of you who remember my post of, homemade bubble tea with boba, you may remember I mentioned there's a second way of making the tapioca pearls (boba). In this recipe I decide it would be a great opportunity to share it with you. These may the a little more labour intensive and time consuming but it's worth it. Finding tapioca pearls is not the easiest task, tapioca starch on the other hand, certainly is. From start to finish the pearls shouldn't take any longer than 25 minutes.

Pineapple iced tea is great! Whether you are using regular tea, a good quality black tea or even green tea you can enjoy this. The natural sweetness from the pineapple helps this drink a lot, especially letting it have a little brew with the tea before cooling.

For more great recipe to use up any leftover pineapple, check these out.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                                               (Serves 4)

Tapioca pearls
50g tapioca starch
15-25ml boiling water
50g soft brown sugar

Iced Tea
500ml boiling water
3-4 black tea bags
100g fresh pineapple, finely diced
Ice cubes

Method:

  • Sift the tapioca starch into a mixing bowl. Add the boiling water gradually (crucial it's boiling or the texture will be very different). Mix well until you can form a smooth firm ball. The water can vary so be sure to add slowly to avoid a soggy mess.
  • Roll the ball into a long cylinder, approximately 6-9mm thick.
  • Cut the cylinder into small pieces to make the balls.
  • Roll the balls one by one to make them spherical.
  • In a pan of boiling water add the brown sugar. Once dissolved, add the tapioca balls.
  • Cook the pearls for 10 minutes to start, check to see if they are ready by lifting a couple from the water and look for a soft texture and lots of bubbles in the pearls.
  • Leave them to cool into the now formed sugar syrup. 
  • For the tea, let the tea bags brew in the water. Whilst brewing chop the pineapple into a small dice. 
  • Add the pineapple to the brewing tea. Once brewed remove the bags. 
  • Add a good handful of ice and shake through the tea. 
  • Place some tapioca pearls, along with some syrup to sweeten the tea into the bottom of a glass. Add the iced tea, be sure to check there's lots of pineapple in there. Lastly top with extra ice and serve. 


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Friday, 4 August 2017

Lemon Curd & Chocolate Shortbread Bars


It's rare to find excess chocolate in this household, but when we had some the other week I had to make something new with it. Combining it with lemon was unexpected, but well worth it.

The key these bars being so good is how crumbly and delicate the shortbread is. The addition of cream and an egg yolk is truly noticeable. If, however, you don't have them to hand, the recipe will still work very well. This chocolate shortbread is most definitely moreish just on its own - with a wonderful zing from the lemon curd, it is transformed. You get this light, easy to eat bar, with a real chocolatey taste before a fresh taste of lemon freshens your taste buds.

You'll be having a bite of these bars in no time with this recipe.

Recipe

Ingredients:

Shortbread
110g butter
60g sugar
1 tbsp cream
1 small egg yolk
110g plain flour
20g cocoa powder

Lemon curd
1 whole egg
3 medium egg yolks (70g)
3 lemons, zested and juiced
170g caster sugar
85g butter

Method:
  • For the shortbread, mix all the shortbread ingredients together until combined and comes together in a ball.
  • Press into a lined 18cm/18cm tin. Bake at 160°C for 15-18 minutes. 
  • Whilst the shortbread bakes it's time to make the lemon curd. 
  • For the curd, whisk together the egg, the egg yolks and the sugar. Add the lemon zest and juice, followed by the butter. 
  • Whisk over a bain marie. Constantly moving the mixture from the edges to ensure even cooking. You will notice it thickening, wait until it starts to leave a trail and remove from the heat. 
  • Pass the curd through a sieve to remove any zest or pips. Leave to one side. 
  • Remove the shortbread from the oven. Pour over the lemon curd whilst hot, then smooth out. 
  • Bake once again for 5-8 minutes until fully set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. 
  • Once cool trim the edges and portion. 
  • Top with a dredging of icing sugar before serving. 


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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Prawn & Corn Dumplings


I took advantage of the free time this weekend due to a possible typhoon hitting the area and unpleasant weather to make some prawn and corn dumplings and play about with shapes.

Making your own dumplings at home is very straight forward. Whether you make your own skins or head to the shop for some, they are something the whole family can do. When it comes to the shapes you can be as creative as you please. With there being almost endless possibilities, just like pasta, feel free to experiment. If you do have open face ones, steam them instead of boiling.

Corn and prawn is a lovely combination and depending on your location, corn may be in season right now. I've gone for baby corn, however, regular corn would also work just as well. These dumplings have a great crunch from the corn with the meatiness of the prawns holding everything together amongst all these fresh flavours.

For another dumpling recipe to try out, these gyozas (pan stickers) are a superb dinner or lunch.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                      (Makes approx. 18 size dependent)

Dumpling skins
150g strong bread flour
Pinch of salt
100ml boiling water

Filling
200g baby prawns
2 garlic cloves, pureed or finely chopped
1 whole medium sized fresh chilli, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh pureed/ finely grated ginger
1/4 bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped
4 large baby corns, finely chopped
4 large Chinese leaves of your choice, chopped small

Method:
  • Start by making the dumpling skins. If using store bought, head straight to the filling.
  • Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the boiling water and incorporate with either chopsticks or a spoon. (Don't add all the water in one go as it may not all be required).
  • Make a ball with the dough, cover with cling-film and leave to rest for 30 - 45 minutes.
  • For the filling. Chop the prawns until they are around 5mm dice. Add the garlic, chilli, ginger and coriander. Give it a good mix before seasoning with salt and pepper. 
  • Add the chopped baby corn and Chinese leaf. Leave in the fridge until the skins are ready. 
  • Roll the dough into a cylinder and cut 18 even sized pieces. Roll the individual dough pieces on a floured surface until a thin as you can possibly get it. Normally around 10cm diameter. 
  • Place a tablespoon of filling into the centre of the skin. Wipe a little cold water all around the edge of the skin and shape into the dumpling shape of choice. 
  • Repeat for all skins. Once made keep in the refrigerator or cook straight away. 
  • Cook in either salted boiling water, stock or even the soup you may be serving with. Remember these can also be steamed. 
  • Cook for around 5-6 minutes. Remove from the water or cooking liqueur if not being served as a soup and serve with a dipping sauce of your choice. I recommend a good sweet chilli sauce or a blend of soy sauce, little rice wine vinegar and some chilli oil. 

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Friday, 28 July 2017

Matcha Tea Ice Cream


Matcha anything is pretty popular here in Taiwan and I'm a huge fan of it myself. Since I had some on hand after making a cake and some truffles with it, I thought I'd make myself a treat to help keep me cool during the summer.

I usually make my own cones to enjoy with this matcha ice cream, but you could stack it high on some cake, waffles or pancakes to replicate the latest food trends or enjoy it by itself. For an added yum factor, sprinkle it with some white chocolate shavings or some broken up pocky sticks.

Recipe

Ingredients:

355g whole milk
355g double/ whipping cream
4 egg yolks
200g caster sugar
2 tbsp glucose
20g matcha tea powder

Method:
  • Mix the sieved matcha tea powder with the milk in a large pan over a medium -high heat. 
  • Whisk the egg yolks, glucose and the sugar together till pale in a large mixing bowl.  
  • Once the milk mix is brought to the boil, pour into large mixing bowl whisking to incorporate the pale eggs. 
  • Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook out. 
  • Constantly stir with a heatproof spatula until the base thickens (it should coat the back of a spoon) or reaches 84 degrees on a thermometer.
  • Pour in the double cream the stop the cooking then pour into a container to chill.
  • Once the ice cream base is chilled, pour into an ice cream machine and follow the machine's instructions.
  • Alternatively, pour the chilled mixture into a container and place in the freezer. Every 15 minutes stir the ice cream well until thick and almost set.
  • Leave in the freezer, covered for 2-3 hours to fully set before serving.




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Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Street Food | Taiwanese Oyster Omelette


Eating street food is not only delicious but incredibly cheap. 1 portion from a street vendor will set you back the equivalent of £1.40 / $1.80. For that, you get around 10-15 fresh oysters in this delicious Taiwanese oyster omelette. It's a bargain - try finding that anywhere else.

These Taiwanese omelettes have a significant twist on what you may have in mind from other cuisines. The main bulk in this omelette comes from sweet potato starch. When cooked this way you get an incredibly gooey and chewy omelette. With cooked oysters, fried egg and Chinese cabbage, each mouthful is glorious. Top that off with sweet chilli sauce and it's perfect. I use the word topped off lightly as it comes swimming in it, almost like a soup. See picture below for reference. Unlike the majority of dishes with chilli, the sauce served with this has very, very little punch. Almost more tomato like, with the sweetness and sharpness you'd usually expect.

Getting hold of oysters is straight forward. You can find them at any good fishmonger or supermarket. If you happen to be in Taiwan or somewhere similar, head down to almost any supermarket. You can buy them fresh and shucked in a sealed cylindrical bag with water.

Try one of my favourite street food dishes from Taiwan at home. Taking no more than 10 minutes it's the perfect dinner or lunch if you're busy. For more street food have a look here.


Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                                 (Makes 2 portions)

100g sweet potato starch
200ml cold water
20-25 oysters shucked
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Handful Chinese cabbage, chopped
75-100ml sweet chilli sauce (not very spicy)

Method:
  • Whisk together the sweet potato starch and the cold water. Once dissolved leave to one side. 
  • In a hot pan add the oysters to a tablespoon of oil. Preferably sunflower or rapeseed. 
  • Add half the potato starch mix, ensure to give a whisk before adding as the starch will go to the bottom. 
  • Cook on a high heat for a minute, before turning down. Gently cook until it becomes translucent. Give a stir to help break it up. 
  • Add the lightly beaten eggs and stir quickly to combine. Top with chopped cabbage. 
  • Cook for another minute before pouring over the remaining potato starch. 
  • Cook until translucent once again. Split the omelette into 2 with a lifter and flip. 
  • Cook to get a little colour on the other side and serve. 
  • Serve with sweet chilli sauce, usually poured all over.



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