Aug 20, 2009

Blueberry Cheese Tart & Blueberry Muffins

I know... here comes desserts again and we love fruit desserts! It is summer right now and who can live without nice summer fruit? I have made two all time favorites this week with the healthy ingredient of fresh blueberries which have lots of anti-oxidants, good for your skin and eyes! Moreover, have you heard of a type of fruit called bilberry? It resembles that of wild blueberries and it is very good for the human eyes that its juice has become mandatory in some pilots' diet. Blueberries have proven to be the top ten healthiest food on earth! I just had a warm blueberry muffin with a cup of wildberry fruit tea this morning and it makes a great relaxing breakfast! The blueberry cheese tart, inspired by Evil Shenanigans' Cherry Cheese Tart, makes great tea break snack or after dinner dessert.

Blueberry Muffins:

For 12 muffins you will need:

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powdeer
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh or unthawed frozen blueberries
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/3 cup melted butter or margarine


1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in blueberries.

2. Add milk, egg and butter. Mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. The batter will be lumpy. Do not overbeat.

3. Spoon batter into twelve 2 1/2 inch greased muffin cups.

4. Bake at 400F for 25 min. or until tops spring back when lightly touched.

Serve warm!

Blueberry Cheese Tart

1 pkg Italian Amaretti cookies (100g), crushed
50 ml butter or margarine, melted

1 pkg (250g) cream cheese, softened
1/3 sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1/4 milk
1 Tbsp flour

Blueberry Dessert Sauce:
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Mix the Amaretti crumb with the melted butter and press evenly onto the bottom of a 7 inch springform pan. Bake for 8 to 10 min. until lightly browned. Cool.

2. Mix all the filling ingredients in a mixer over medium speed for about 2 min. Do not overmix. Pour mixture into baked crust and bake for 30 min. or until filling is well puffed. Cool on wire rack.

3. In a small saucepan mix all the dessert sauce ingredients together and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 min. until sauce thickens, changes to a dark purple colour and blueberries are softened. Cool and refrigerate in covered container until needed.

4. Refrigerate cooled cheese tart for about 3 hours or overnight and serve with blueberry dessert sauce!


Meditate on the Truth

If we can realize and meditate on ultimate truth, it will cleanse our impurities of mind and thus eradicate the sense of discrimination.

by Dalai Lama

Aug 11, 2009

Lemon Delicious and Dalai Lama

Lemony desserts are almost my favorite. This recipe comes from the Gourmet Traveller website, and as soon as I saw it I knew I was going to love it. It turned out nice and tangy, soft, souffle like on the top, with a luscious, creamy sauce at the bottom. It is very lemony and nice! I will make this again!

Recently I met my supervisor at my previous work on Facebook, and I am really happy because he is an inspiring person in my life. We are both really interested in arts and different cultures and he always motivates me to explore more. One of his trips last year was a visit to the rural area of Gansu, China. He said that people there lived in poverty and yet the county is famous for churning out academic achievers. I think those kids must have worked really hard and makes people respect them a lot because they can raise themselves to successful people in such a difficult environment. I hope one day I will also have a chance to pay a visit to them!

Also, I have found out the little book of sayings by Dalai Lama, the much admired spiritual leader. I want to share one of his quotes in each of the blog post here because they are very meaningful! The first one is:

Love Springs Eternal

"The foundation of all spiritual practice is love"

by Dalai Lama

Aug 8, 2009

Marshmallowy Three Milks Cake

Very very milky....

This dessert is sweet and milky and anyone who loves the taste of milk would fall in love with the Three Milks Cake invented by Erica from her Columbian recipes. The cake is delicious and the frosting is very interesting... soft and white like marshmallow that I love.. Who doesn't like marshmallow? Although I made these into cupcakes I would suggest using Erica's original plan of a cake mold because it makes things easier, less messy, just because, as you spoon the milk sauce onto the cake, the entire cake gets wet while soaking up the sauce and it is better to do that in a cake pan... though it is still nice, moist, and delicious at the end!

As promise that I would be showing my previous pet "Glutinous Rice Ball" picture here, isn't she adorable? Everyone likes her!

Aug 6, 2009

Chinese (Chiu Chau) Shrimp and Pork Dumpling

Almost a week went by that I haven't posted any new cooking and dessert results, and I am already missing food blogging. I am still really passionate about food and looking forward to explore more into the cooking/food world. I keep reading foodies' blogs and enjoy them a lot. There are just times when one does not feel like speaking or writing, or feel lost. Back with some spirit, I will show you here the Chiu Chau style dumpling! There are many types of Chinese dumplings. Some are steamed, some boiled, and others are pan fried or deep fried. I think they are all good and distinctive, in flavor and texture, thus the feelings one gets when eating them are different. The dumpling featured here is made of a rather thick and semi transparent wrap, and steamed to tender with shrimp and pork fillings. I hope foodies from around the world can try to get as close the ingredients as possible because, the different types of flour yield a totally different experience!


175g ungluten flour (澄麵粉)
75g tapioca or corn starch
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup boiling water
75 g tapioca or corn starch (reserved)

175 g diced or ground pork
100 g diced shrimp
50 g green onions or chives
50 g peanuts
50g salted turnip
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 Tbsp oil
dash pepper
dash sesame oil

1 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soy sauce
50 ml water


1. Mix all the dough ingredients together except the reserved corn starch. Cover and let rest for 10 min. Then add the remaining corn starch and knead until dough is no longer sticky, abt 5-6 min.

2. Mix all the filling ingredients together and let marinade for 20 minutes. Then in a frying pan, add 1 Tbsp of oil and fry the filling till the pork is cooked, and then add all the mixed seasoning ingredients and cook until sauce thickens. Let the fillings cool.

3. Divide dough into twelve pieces, rolling each into a ball and flatten into 2-3mm rounds. Place fillings in the center of dough and fold to form a half moon shape. Make some folds if you wish.

4. Place all dumpling into a large plate into the steamer and steam over high heat for 20 min. Careful the dumplings will be extremely hot!


Aug 3, 2009

Sauteed Cod fillets in Orange Honey Sauce

This is a simple yet delish dish adopted from the real food show on Deutsche Welle TV. I really enjoy the TV show because they always use very nice and fresh ingredients, neat kitchen equipment and utensils, and have very friendly and funny chefs and audience on performance. Although it is only on once in a week (Saturday morning in Hong Kong), it is one full hour long without commercials, and I usually sit still happily to watch the entire show. This weekend they have a new elegant lady chef cooking this orange fish fillet which looks luscious and refreshing for the summer. I could not understand German so I had to reinterpret what the ingredients were and kind of recreated the recipe on my own. I figured that orange is definitely present, and that white wine would go well with white fish to boost its flavor and frgrance. As well I like it a little on the sweet side so I added the nuts and honey. If you like it a little more flavorful I suggest adding some chicken stock to the sauce though I found the sauce quite nice on its own with the white wine, OJ, and honey!


400g cod, red snapper or sea bass fillet
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried or 1 Tbsp fresh tarragon
1/4 tsp schimi powder or chilli powder (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup almonds, toasted
1 orange, peeled and cut into slices
3/4 cup white wine
2 Tbsp honey
1/3 cup orange juice


1. Wash and pat dry the fillet carefully and season with salt and pepper and schimi powder. Sprinkle with tarragon.

2. Heat some olive oil in large pan over medium high heat, add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant, add the fish fillet and turn the heat to medium low and cook for about 5 min. on each side until done. Set fillets aside in warm plates.

3. Deglaze the pan with white wine and turn the heat to medium high and allow wine to evaporate to about one quarter. Add 1/2 cup of chicken stock if using, and add the orange juice, honey and nuts. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Place the fish fillet back into the pan and simmer for a few minutes until sauce thickens and then serve hot with pasta or rice and vegetables!

Desserts of the Night:

Blueberry Sundaes and Strawberry Kitkat McFlurry from McDonald's! They are both new flavors available in Hong Kong and we don't know how long they will last. Although I still like the strawberry sundae more, theses new twists are quite interesting to give a try! Can you buy these in your countries or do you have some new exclusive flavors of ice cream in the McDon Don in your place too?

Aug 1, 2009

Spaghetti Cabonara

Spaghetti Cabonara was once my favorite pasta because I used to crave bacon a lot and Cabonara has a full taste of bacon! Not to mention its nice and warm cheese and cream flavors, you know what I'm saying if you like this pasta as well! Later I learned to appreciate many other ingredients on earth, the pure tastes of food without much seasoning especially when cooked with pasta, so Cabonara went down in my favorite list. However, I still miss this classic and have finally got a recipe of it from an Italian cookbook from the library. I am more than happy to share it here!


20g Butter
80g Bacon, diced (or other cured ham like proscuitto or pancetta)
80 ml cream
2 egg yolks
parmigiano reggiano cheese (add according to your liking)
150g dried or 300g fresh spaghetti


1. Melt butter over medium heat and add bacon bits and stir fry until fragrant, for abt 5 min. Discard most of the fat.

2. Cook pasta in another bowl for about 7-8 min. till al dente while making sauce.

3. Mix together cheese (grated into fine powder), cream and egg yolks and add mixture to a large pan with the bacon. Add in the hot pasta and cook over a very low heat and stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and turns a little powdery, about 4 minutes.

4. Serve immediately with a glass of crisp white wine!

Chicken cooked in spiced wine (Coq au vin)

This coq au vin dish is one breathtaking dish that requires lots of time and attention! The return is quite satisfying, so no regrets! The smell of the chicken and wine penetrates my dining room almost to the bedroom! It is delicious and special and normally cannot be eaten unless we go to some very nice French restaurants. The recipe comes from the book Botanical, featuring a great restaurant from Melbourne. I basically love all the recipes in the book, although sometimes I cut the ingredients like cream and butter somewhat because of their richness. If you have got plenty of time and love chicken, this is probably a dish you will enjoy!


1 x 2.4 kg free-range chicken
1 1/2 litres shiraz (or other red wine)
1 red onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
4 field mushrooms, sliced
8 large shallots
1/2 tsp crushed black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
1/2 tsp crushed juniper berries
100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
50 ml olive oil
150 g quince paste
1 litre chicken stock
1 litre veal jus
1 bouquet garni for Meat
1 Tbsp sugar

Serve with sauteed mushrooms, sundried tomatoes frittata, and French bread croutons


1. Remove the chicken legs and cut between the joint of the drumstick and thigh. Cut out the chicken breast and half widthwise. Cut out chicken wings. Place chicken pieces into deep container and cover with shiraz, then add the vegetables and spices. Massage into the chicken pieces and drizzle with EV olive oil and marinate overnight or for at least 6-8 hrs.

2. Once marinated, drain the chicken, vegetables and spices. Pass the wine through a fine strainer into a saucepan. Bring gently to the boil over a very low heat. As the wine boils remove the foam on the surface with a tablespoon and discard. After simmering gently for 4 min a clear stock will remain. Remove from heat. Pat the chicken pieces dry.

3. Heat an ovenproof flameproof dish over a high heat. Add some olive oil and then the chicken pieces skinside down. Brown on all sides very well, then remove and set aside. Add the reserved vegetables and spices from the marinade. Fry these very well until they are richly coloured. Then add the quince paste. Put the chicken drumsticks back into the pan and add the clear wine stock. Bring to the boil slowly over a low heat and reduce the liquid by half. Refrigerate the chicken breast and thigh pieces until required.

4. Preheat oven to 400F

5. Add the chicken stock, veal jus and bouquet garni to the dish containing the drumsticks. Cover with a circle of greaseproof paperwhich has a hole in the center. Some evaporation of the sauce will intensify the flavour as it reduces. Transfer the dish to the oven and braise for 15 min. until the legs are almost tender. Add the breast and thigh pieces to the braise and continueto cook for a further 15 min. until tender

6. Remove all the chicken and the whole shallots and cool to room temperature. Return the braising juices to the stovetop, add the sugar and reduce slowly over a low heat to a rich sauce.

7. To serve, reheat the chicken and shallots in the sauce. Serve alongside with sauteed mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes frittata, and French croutons.

Broccoli and Sun-dried Tomato Frittata


8 pieces sun-dried tomatoes
10 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups chopped cooked broccoli
3/4 cup shredded cheese of your favourite (I used Montaiso DOP)


1. In a large bowl beat together eggs, milk, parsley, basil, salt and pepper until just blended. Stir in tomatoes and broccoli.

2. Heat oil in a 10 inch (25cm) oven proof skillet over medium heat. Pour in egg mixture. Cook over low to medium heat until eggs are almost set but still moist on the surface, about 10 to 15 min., lifting the edges to allow uncooked egg to run to bottom of skillet.

3. Sprinkle top with cheese and place under hot broiler until the cheese melts, 2 to 3 min. Cut into wedges and serve with coq au vin.

We had a nice strawberry mille foglie cake from Cova for dessert! It was one of my sister Shirley's birthday cakes. I was so happy because I really enjoyed the buttery puff pastry, sweet and smooth pastry cream, and rich whipped cream along with very fresh strawberries in apricot jam!