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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Friday, 21 July 2017

Plum & Stem Ginger Galette


Making the most of seasonal fruits is the best way of making a great summer dessert. With plums being all around the shops and so many varieties to choose from, it was a no brainer for this dessert.

Galettes are a wonderfully rustic tart, made without a tin, leaving these great hand folded edges. Making a tart at home couldn't be any simpler, especially if you're travelling from place to place with little equipment.

I wanted this recipe to have an especially old fashioned almost country kind of feel. With this pastry recipe including oats, when baked it has this wonderful flavour you don't normally get with pastry. Combine that with some lovely fresh plums, stem ginger and a hint of cinnamon, it has a wonderful homely feel to it. Almost so much it's begging to be served with some custard.

When making the galette be sure to roll the pastry out even, around 3-4mm in thickness. Too thick or thin will have negative issues. When it comes to adding the fruit, ensure it's not piled up, you'll end up with cooked pastry and uncooked fruit. Don't let any of these points deter you, if you can get hold of any plums, most fruit will be wonderful in this, strawberries and peaches especially.

If you want to make your own stem ginger, check out my post here.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                                (Serves 4)

Pastry
150g plain flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
20g sugar
75g cold butter
25g oats
45-50g ice cold water

Filling
6 plums
1 piece stem ginger
1 tbsp caster sugar
Sprinkle of cinnamon
1 tbsp stem ginger syrup
10-15g butter

Method:
  • For the pastry, sift the flour, the salt, the baking powder and the sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and using the tips of your fingers rub them together. Do this quickly so not to let the butter warm up. 
  • Add the oats and cold water. Mix together to form a smooth dough. Once made, wrap in cling film and rest in a fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  • Whilst the pastry is resting, cut the plums into 6 pieces, removing the stone. Either finely slice or chop the stem ginger, add to the plums with the sugar and toss together. 
  • Roll out the rested pastry on baking paper you will be cooking the galette on. Roll out till about 3-4mm thick. 
  • Arrange the plums on the rolled out pastry, arrange in a layered circle or how you'd like the finished article to look. Remember to keep quite a wide border. See the slideshow for an example. 
  • Fold over the pastry rim. Do it a section at a time so it has this lovely folded, crinkled look.
  • Carefully list on the baking paper, or slide the tray under. Drizzle the stem ginger syrup over plums. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon, followed by finely chopped pieces of butter.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 185°C for 40-45 minutes. You're looking for beautifully golden edges.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little, before serving warm. Serve with a delicious scoop of ice cream.

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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Homemade Stem Ginger


Stem ginger is an item you will always find in my cupboard. It's able to be used in dessert and savoury recipes, making it a must have ingredient. It can be used in drinks too. The syrup is to die for! Taking the time to make it yourself is definitely worthwhile.

When I made this, I happened to use young ginger - it's less spicy and a little more floral. It's perfect for some lovely light desserts. Using normal fresh ginger will also work just as well. The end product will be spicy and pungent.

I love stem ginger in anything from a delicate panna cotta to a light lunch, like this sea bream with a shimeji mushroom broth. Be sure to check out my post on Friday when I combine some of this lovely stem ginger with some fresh plums in a wonderful dessert.

Recipe

Ingredients:

150g young fresh ginger/ fresh ginger
200g caster sugar
1 tbsp glucose
200g reserved cooking liquid

Method:
  • Gently scrap the young ginger to remove the skin. There's no need to peel as where the skin is soft it comes off super easily. If using normal fresh ginger you can use a peeler. (keep the peel to one side).
  • Cut the peeled ginger into rough 3 cm pieces. Remember preferably all the same size so they all cook at the same time.
  • Squeeze what juice you can from reserved ginger peel through a sieve into a medium sized saucepan.
  • Add the ginger to the pan and fill with water until the ginger is covered with water by at least 1-2 cms.
  • Bring to the boil and then leave to cook for around 40 minutes depending on the size of the ginger and whether it's young or normal. I'd recommend cooking normal ginger for about an hour.
  • Remove the ginger from the pan using a fork and leave to one side. Measure 200g of the cooking liquid and pour away the remaining. 
  • Add the ginger to the remaining cooking liquid, followed by the sugar and the glucose. Stir until dissolved and then bring to the boil. Once a boil is reached, turn the heat down and gently simmer for 20 minutes or until thickened to a syrup.
  • Once cooked add the ginger to a sterilised jar with the syrup and seal immediately. 

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Friday, 14 July 2017

Chocolate Ice Cream Cones


Ice cream in a cone is a sure-fire way to tell that summer is underway. By no means is either ice cream or cones something strictly reserved for summer. With this recipe, you can be rustling up some cones in no time.

Making these simple cones at home couldn't be any simpler. Using no fancy equipment or ingredients, these are perfect for upgrading any garden party or barbeque. Unlike other recipes out there, these are baked in the oven and not to be cooked in a waffle maker. By all means try, however, I can't vouch that they will work. Let me know if you try it.

Adding a good quality cocoa powder really helps make these cones a little extra special. They have a more discerning flavour when matched with appropriate ice creams. Matcha ice cream, strawberry and even banana ice cream work well to name a few. If you have a little spare time, check out this peanut butter and chocolate ice cream recipe. It's a great match for the cones and also uses no fancy equipment.

To be drip conscious, you can dip the ends in melted chocolate, giving them the perfect seal to avoid messy hands.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                                 (Makes 16 cones)
2 egg whites
95g icing sugar
60g plain flour
25g good quality cocoa powder
75g melted butter

For dipping (optional)
50g dark chocolate

Method:
  • Start by whisking the egg whites. Once they are frothy continue to whisk and slowly add the sifted icing sugar.
  • Gently fold the sifted flour and the cocoa powder through the mix with the whisk. 
  • Gently beat in the melted butter until fully combined and smooth. 
  • Scrape the mixture into a small container and leave to rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  • Spread out around 20g of mix a portion into a circle on baking paper, spreading thinly.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 8-10 minutes. 
  • Once cooked remove from the oven, quickly lift from the tray and shape. Remember to do this as fast as possible as they will go hard and set in approximately 10 seconds from being off the tray. 
  • Leave to cool.
  • Dipping the end is chocolate is optional. If you want too, melt the chocolate and leave to cool until it starts to thicken slightly, dip the end of the cone and let the residual chocolate drip off. Leave to set.  
  • Once cool store in an airtight container. 
  • Serve with your favourite ice creams or sorbets. 

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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Sea Bream With Shimeji Mushroom Broth


Whether you're lucky enough to catch your own or snagged a lovely fresh fish from the store. This recipe is a slight change from my usual meals, but I was craving something different.

Using the bones to create a wonderfully light and flavourful simple fish stock, you really do make the most out of everything with no waste. This isn't a conventional fish stock, using just the bare minimum ingredients to get as much flavour from the remaining bones as possible. Any leftover fish stock can also be frozen for future use.

Combining this lovely fish with a light mushroom and fish broth is superb. The warmth of chilli in the background and the light sweetness and spiciness from the stem ginger helps to lift the broth. The addition of the kelp or your favourite seaweed helps tie everything together with a taste of the sea. Lastly, the vegetables, with their crunch, give this light lunch or dinner everything you could ask for. The crispy fish skin completes it.

Taking very little time, this is a handy go-to dish. If your catering for friends, serving a smaller portion as a starter is a great way to get the evening started with lots of flavour.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                                (Serves 2)

1 whole sea bream or 2 fillets of sea bream or a similar fish
1/2 red chilli, finely sliced
1 piece stem ginger, finely chopped
1/4 carrot, cut into small thin shapes/ paysanne
1 spring onion, finely sliced
50g fresh kelp, tied into bows or in strands
4 pieces baby corn, halved then quartered
1/2 punnet shimeji mushrooms, removed from the root
50g beansprouts

Method:

  • Start by filleting the sea bream if bought whole. Chop the remaining bones and add to a pot of water with the head and mushroom trim. 
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Once cooked strain through a fine sieve and leave to one side.
  • Score the skin before sealing the sea bream, skin side down, in a hot frying pan with a tablespoon of oil. You're looking to get a lovely crispy skin. When 3/4 cooked remove from the pan and leave to one side. 
  • For the broth, using 300ml of the simple fish stock from earlier, add the chilli, the stem ginger. 
  • Bring to the boil and turn to a simmer, add the carrots, spring onions, kelp and the baby corn. Simmer for 1 minute before adding the mushrooms and the beansprouts. Continue to cook for another minute.
  • Add the fish leaving the skin facing up to finish cooking in the broth. 
  • Once cooked remove from the heat and serve. Your not looking to overcook the vegetable, you're after a fresh crunch. 

 
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Friday, 7 July 2017

Matcha & Adzuki Layer Cake (Red Bean)


When the weather's hitting 33 degrees and feeling more like 38 degrees, being outside is sure appealing. The last thing on your mind is being stuck in the kitchen, surrounded by a hot oven and having to do what feels like a work out to make a recipe. This recipe is an absolute breeze and you merely need the oven for a maximum of 15 minutes.

This cake comes out light as a feather, full of flavour and is best served chilled. What could be more appetising on a summers day? Matcha and adzuki are a superb combination that is very popular amongst Japanese and Chinese cuisine. They are superbly healthy, readily available and most important, they taste amazing together. A real earthiness from the matcha, with a clean finish as you get the sweet filling from adzuki beans and a hint of savoury that they also provide. It makes the perfect combination.

Adzuki is simply red beans. Here in Taiwan you can easily buy them in store, vac packed in the fridge, cooked. It really makes this recipe bliss to make knowing a lot of the work is done. However, if your not lucky enough to have that ease, this information is vital for you. If your bag of beans has cooking instructions on them, follow them as most won't. You will need to soak them for at least 1-2 hours. When it comes to cooking, cook them in sweetened water. When used in desserts it is the thing to do. You will be looking to cook them for around an hour or until tender.

This cake will make the perfect afternoon tea snack to have out in the lovely weather. If your looking for a iced tea to go with, search no further. This homemade bubble tea with boba is perfect to keep you cool and refreshed in the sun.

Recipe 

Ingredients:

Cake
10g matcha tea powder
40ml whole milk
20g rapeseed/ sunflower oil
25g sugar
7g cornflour
35g plain flour
10g matcha tea powder
4 egg whites
40g caster sugar

Filling
100g cooked red beans
100g whipping cream
10g icing sugar

Method:
  • For the cake, whisk together the milk, the 25g sugar, the matcha powder and the oil until combined and the sugar is dissolved. Sift the two flours and add them. Whisk until smooth and mixed together.
  • In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites till their fluffy. Slowly add the sugar whisk whisking until peaks.
  • Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the flour mix. Fold through carefully and thoroughly. Add this to the remaining egg whites. 
  • Fold everything together gently until fully combined. (Do all of this as carefully as possibly so not to loose excess air).
  • Spoon onto a lined tray, 28x18cm preferably. Bake in a preheated oven at 160 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Once the cake is slightly springy it's ready. Leave to cool.
  • For the filling, mash the cooked red beans. In a separate bowl whip the cream with the sugar. Once there's stiff peaks fold through the mashed red beans. 
  • Once the cake is cooled, peel away the baking parchment and place back on the reverse side of the parchment. 
  • Cut into 3 equal sized rectangles. spread half the filling on the first layer. Add another layer and top with the remaining filling. Lastly add the last layer. 
  • Leave in a fridge for an hour to firm up before serving. Serve with a dusting of matcha powder and any extra cooked red beans you may have. 


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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Ingredient Insight: Lychees


Lychees are a seasonal fruit originating from China and other countries in South East Asia. They're renowned for their rough skins, revealing a juicy white flesh around an inedible seed. With lychees only being freshly available between June and July, if you see them, get them.

Lychees are quite the versatile fruit. They work great amongst desserts, complimenting slightly tart berries like raspberries and blueberries very well. In savoury dishes, like a lot of fruits, they go well with duck. They compliment spices and are great in salads for a freshness. They can make a soft drink or cocktail that little bit more special with their floral appeal in taste and aroma.

Get your lychees fresh whenever you see them. They normally have a  beautiful pink/red skin, sometimes with a little green. They are fast and easy to peel with your fingers. You are highly likely to get juice on you. Their juicy white, almost translucent flesh is a true delight. You could easily sit and eat these one after another as they are. Containing lots of vitamin C and numerous other beneficial vitamins and nutrients, they are certainly close to being in the realm of being called a superfood. Not without caution though - they are also high in fructose, a natural sugar, which if eaten excessively can be harmful.

They store well so don't feel rushed to use them. I like to keep mine in the fridge until they turn a little brown as it often means the fruit will be a little sweeter. They're also widely available dried or even tinned. However, do check a recipe before using first as dried can't be used as a straight swap in most cases. With canned lychees, do bare in mind they will likely be kept in a sugar syrup so are likely to have lost some taste and gained a lot of sweetness.

For some great ideas of how to use this incredible fruit, check out the sweet and savoury recipes below. There's also a superb drink in there too for a way to cool down with after being in the sun.


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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Coconut Crusted Fried Chicken


The 6th July marks a popular day in many a food lovers calendar. It's National Fried Chicken Day.

With fried chicken being one of the most popular foods, it's no surprise that there are many variations. This recipe combines an incredibly crispy coconut coating around a wonderfully flavoured and perfectly cooked piece of chicken.

In the recipe I've used powdered flavours, they are best when it comes to fried chicken and other foods. They are directly coating the chicken for maximum flavour and consistency. If you can't get your hands on them or fear they will never get used again, fear not. They are widely available and can easily be used in many recipes. Using them up in marinades and sauces is perfect.

When cooking ensure that the cooking oil is as 160 degrees. If it exceeds that you may find your chicken coating will colour overly fast and still be raw inside, or simply become something similar to charcoal. If you can use coconut flour that would be perfect, a lot less likely to burn and you get an incredible crunch with great flavour. I happened to use powdered, it gives a texture similar to panko breadcrumbs once fried. You just have to be a little more careful when cooking.

If you're looking for the perfect side for this coconut crusted fried chicken or for National Fried Chicken Day in general, check out this recipe for loaded sweet potato fries.

Recipe

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp chilli powder
coconut flour/ coconut powder
cornflour
2 egg whites/ 75ml buttermilk

Method:
  • Sieve together the paprika, garlic powder, the onion powder, the chilli powder and cornflour together and season with salt.
  • Whisk the egg white till lightly frothy if using. For buttermilk simply leave as is.
  • Toss the chicken through the cornflour mixture. Then in into the egg whites and repeat once more. 
  • Lastly, they go into the coconut flour/ powdered coconut. 
  • Heat a  fryer to 160 degrees. Carefully add the chicken to the hot oil watching out for any pops or spits from the hot oil. 
  • Cook the chicken till perfectly golden and the chicken is cooked inside.
  • Remove from the hot oil and leave to drain before seasoning and serving.
  • I enjoyed my coconut crusted fried chicken with some flavour packed loaded sweet potato fries.
 

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