Chestnut Flour Pancakes

chestnut-flour-pancake

Happy New Year! May your 2017 is a sweet one!

I was very curious about the chestnut flour when I found it in a quite corner of my local grocery shop. I love roasted chestnuts. I wonder what is its flour taste like. What can I do with it? After an extensive research, it seems making pancakes is my best option. It can’t go wrong. It is going to be marvellous. I served them with maple syrup, fresh figs and berries. Perfect!

Ingredients:

chestnut flour (1 cup), baking powder (1 and 1/2 teaspoons), caster sugar (1/4 cup), 2 eggs, milk (1 cup), maple syrup, figs, black berries, blue berries.

 

What to do:

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar in a mixing bowl, add eggs and milk, whisk until smooth.
  2. In a large none stick frying pan, add pancake mixture to form about 3 inch circle. Cook each pancake under low heat until it starts to bubble on the top and looks set, then flip it over and cook the other side for about 20 second, or until cooked through. Repeat the process until all of the pancake mixture has been used up.
  3. Serve with maple syrup, figs, black berries and blue berries.

Spinach & Tofu Sheets Salad

spinach and tofu sheets

My mother did lots of good old home cooking during her visit. The familiar flavours has brought back a lot of childhood memories. I really had to hold my urges of taking any photos of my mom’s cooking. Mostly because it takes a long time to get a perfect shot and I didn’t want to keep everyone waiting. So I will be trying my best to replicate some of her best dishes in the coming weeks.

Ian also has been very good and politely ate everything my mom cooked. Just between you and me, he rarely eats any Asian greens I make at home. He was doing his best to impress…

So today’s dish is my mom’s recipe 🙂

There is one ingredient of today’s recipe probably needs a little explanation, the tofu sheets, it is a tofu which has been pressed into thin sheets. It has a texture of half way between firm tofu and noodle. I really like it. Ian is not a huge fan of tofu, but he also likes tofu sheets. So don’t be so judgemental because it has something to do with tofu. Give it a shot when you have a chance. As for the rest of the dish, spinach pairs perfectly with a simple ginger & vinegar dressing. Tofu sheets added another layer of texture to whole dish. Simply delicious!

Ingredients:

Spinach (1 bunch), thin tofu sheets (1 sheet, sliced), dried chilli (1, seeded and sliced), garlic (1 clove, minced), ginger (same size of 1 clove of garlic, minced), canola oil (1 1/2 tablespoon), apple cider vinegar (1 1/2 tablespoon) and salt.

What to do:

  1. Blanch spinach and tofu sheets briefly in boiling hot water, strain and set aside.
  2. Place minced garlic and ginger, chilli and canola oil in a small microwave bowl. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 1 minute under high heat.
  3. Mix the blanched spinach, tofu sheets, the above ginger & garlic oil mixture and apple cider vinegar together.
  4. Season with salt to taste.
  5. Serve as a side.

Lettuce Bowl

lettuces bowl

Ian and I just had our wedding and that is why I haven’t got time to update my blog recently. Now everything is back to normal and hopefully I will have time to work on my blog more regularly.

As for my wedding, it was a perfect day. Everything went so well. Hopefully I will have photos soon to upload. I was so happy that my parents flew all the way from China to attend our wedding. It was their first trip to Australia. Ian and I did our best to show them around. In the end, they really love Canberra, which is beautiful garden city with pretty autumn colours at the moment.

Today’s recipe is the famous Chinese lettuce bowl. Basically, all you need to do is a little stir fry and then serve on a piece of lettuce leave. It is a great party food, people could just help themselves.

Ingredients:

pork (400 g, diced), garlic shoots (300g, diced), celery (half, diced), canola oil (3 tablespoon), salt, pepper, fresh red chilli for garnish.

pork marinade: minced garlic (1 clove), minced ginger (same size of 1 clove garlic), 1 green onion chopped, white pepper (a pinch), chilly powder (a pinch), corn flour (1 table spoon), soy sauce (1 table spoon), beer (1 table spoon).

What to do:

  1. Mix all ingredients of pork marinade in a mixing bowl. Add diced pork, mix well and leave it in the fridge to marinade for at least half an hour. Remix it again before cooking.
  2. In a none stick frying pan, heat 2 tablespoon of canola oil at high heat. Add the marinated pork and cook until all the diced pork change colour. Take off from the heat and transfer into a container, set aside. They are diced into small pieces, so it doesn’t take long to cook.
  3. In the same frying pan, heat the rest of canola oil at medium heat. Add diced celery first, fry for 1-2 minutes. Add diced garlic shoot . Stir fry for another 3-4 minutes until garlic shoots are cooked (no longer spicy but still crunchy).
  4. Add cooked pork, mix well and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Garnish with sliced fresh red chilli and serve with lettuce leaves.

Roasted Potatoes & Tomatoes

roasted tomatoes and potatoes 1roasted tomatoes and potatoes 2

I have to say this is the best potatoes wedges I have ever made. The flavour of roasted tomato infused into the potato wedges, which is simply delicious.

Ingredients:

baby potatoes (10, cut into wedges), cherry tomatoes (8, halved), white pepper(1/2 teaspoon), mixed Italian herbs (1 teaspoon), olive oil, salt.

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees Celsius.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a shallow baking tray, sprinkle the herbs, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for 50 minutes or until potatoes are golden and crispy.
  4. Serve as a side.

Sichuan Spicy Tofu

Sichuan spicy tofu

Tofu is made from soy bean milk and itself doesn’t have much taste. People from Sichuan have done a good job cooking it. I like it spicy and the tofu was infused with delicious flavours.

Ingredients:

tofu (200 g), beef mince (50 g), garlic (3 cloves), ginger (a thumb size piece), spring onion (1), sichuan spicy soy bean paste (2 tablespoons), canola oil (4 tablespoons), sichuan pepper powder (1 tablespoons), chilli powder (2 teaspoons), soy sauce (1 tablespoon), sugar (1 teaspoon), corn  flour (1 teaspoon).

What to do:

  1. Dice tofu into cubes. (I prefer tofu with medium firm texture over silky tofu. You can use silky tofu)
  2. Place garlic, ginger, spring onion, sichuan spicy soy bean paste, sichuan pepper powder, chilli powder, sugar, soy sauce in a blender and blend them to make a paste.
  3. Fry beef mince in a medium pot, add the above paste and fry for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add tofu and a cup of water. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Suspend corn flour in 1 tablespoon of water, then add the corn flour water into the pot, which is cooking the tofu.
  6. Cook for 1-2 minutes over high heat.
  7. Garnish with spring onion and serve with rice.

Braised Pork Shoulder

braised pork shoulder

A couple of month ago, I had Spanish pork ribs at Canberra Multicultural Festival. It was slowly braised and melting in my mouth. What amazed me the most was its flavor. I could taste smoky paprika, tomato, herbs… I decided to replicate it this weekend and I dare say I have got it very close.

Ingredients:

pork shoulder (2 kg, bone in), smoked paprika (2 tablespoon), hot paprika (2 teaspoon), pepper (2 teaspoon), ginger powder (1 tablespoon), dried oregano (1 tablespoon), dried thyme (1 tablespoon), dried basil (1 tablespoon), bay leaves (3), brown onion (1), garlic (4 clove), olives (1 cup), canned whole tomato (1 can), fresh parsley or coriander (1 small bunch), water and salt.

What to do:

  1. Place all the ingredients except fresh parsley in a large pot and top up with cold water until the pork shoulder is submerged.
  2. Bring it boil and then reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for 2 and 1/2 hours or until the pork is melting in your mouth.
  3. Bring the heat back up to high and reduce the sauce until it is thicken.
  4. Garnish with chopped parsley or coriander.
  5. Serve with some good quality bread.

Seafood pasta

seafood pasta

I had leftover mussels and they were live mussels. So I have another seafood dish again. Out of all pasta dishes, I love seafood pasta the most. Every time I go to an Italian restaurant and there is a seafood pasta on the menu, it would be my first choice. To me it can’t go wrong. It also tastes of holidays, because most of our holidays we go to the coast. Fresh seafood is a must have when we go down to the coast. Using premium seafood as ingredients with simple recipes, everything tastes sensational!

Ingredients:

pot ready mussels (500 g, scrubbed and debearded), fish fillet (200 g, cut into 1 inch size), prawn cutlets (10, tails intact), whole baby squid (3, sliced into tubes),olive oil (1 tablespoon), garlic (3 cloves, finely chopped), chilli flakes (1/4 teaspoon), canned tomato (400 g), bay leaves (2), thyme (2 sprigs), dry white wine (1 cup), flat-leaf parsley (finely chopped).

What to do:

  1. Place a large pot of salted water onto boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive in a large sauce pan over medium heat, add garlic and chilli and cook until fragrant.
  3. Add canned tomato, thyme, bay leaves and dry white wine, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add mussels and cover to cook for 2-3 minutes, shake the pot occasionally, removing them as the open. Cover again and cook for a further minute or until all the mussels have opened. Set aside.
  5. Add fish fillet, baby squid and prawn cutlets into the soup, cook for 1-2 minutes or as soon as the seafoods starts to change colour, remove them from the sauce.
  6. Reduce the sauce over high heat until it is thicken.
  7. Return the cooked seafood back to the sauce pan, and toss with pasta.
  8.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve while warm.

Figs with toasted almonds

figs 2

figs 1

Figs are still in season. Can you believe it? Every time I see some figs at the market, I have to buy them. This time I paired them with some toasted almonds, which gave a crunchy texture. Plus lime and honey dressing, it tasted great.

Ingredients:

figs (4), almonds (6), honey (1 tablespoon), lime (half)

What to do:

  1. Cut figs into quarter.
  2. To make a dressing, mix juice of half lime and honey. Drizzle them on to figs.
  3. Garnish with crushed toasted almonds.

Sichuan Green Beans

Sichuan green beans

It is the last day of Chinese New Year. How did it pass so quickly? I can’t even recall what I did in the past two weeks. Time flies! As I am getting older, the day feels like is getting longer, the week is getting shorter and the year is getting even shorter.

Ingredients:

Chinese green beans (500 g), garlic (2 cloves), ginger (about 1/2 inch size piece), dried chilli (5), dried sichuan peppercorn (1 tablespoon), canola oil (2 tablespoon), sea salt.

What to do:

  1. Cut Chinese green beans into 5 cm long pieces.
  2. In a fry pan, add canola oil, dried chilli, sichuan pepper corn, sliced garlic and ginger. Cook over low heat until garlic is nicely golden.
  3. Add Chinese green beans, continue cook over low heat until beans are soft and have a nice chargrilled colour.
  4. Season with sea salt.
  5. Serve with some rice.

Peri Peri Chicken with Green Papaya Salad

peri peri Chicken

Ingredients:

peri peri Chicken: 1 whole chicken, 3 cloves of garlic, Juice and zest of a lemon, 60ml olive oil, 2 teaspoon sweet paprika, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon chilli flakes, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Green Pawpaw Salad: half green papaya, juice and zest of a lime, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 clove of garlic, 1 red chilli, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 small bunch of coriander.

What to do:

  1. Combine all the spices of chicken marinade. Rub the marinade all over the chicken and leave it in the fridge overnight.
  2. The next day, preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  3. Roast chicken until juice come out from chicken become clear.
  4. In the mean time, finely grate green papaya.
  5. To make a salad dressing, combine  juice and zest of a lime, honey, garlic, chopped read chilli, olive oil, chopped coriander in a small container.
  6. Drizzle the dressing all over grated green papaya.
  7. Serve peri peri Chicken with green papaya salad.