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Butter Prawns and a Feast as Sides (奶油虾)

Masterchef started tonight last night! Woohoo!! Was there anyone who watched the Logies instead? No prizes for guessing what we did today yesterday at 7.30pm! (It will be a great relief to be away from the Royal Wedding news that PLAGUE all forms of media at the moment…the dress looked SO good by the way, but was funny that the bridesmaid’s dress outshone the bride just a tad bit :P), but enough about television. In the spirit of Masterchef, we thought we would share a dish that we tried from Adam Liaw’s “Two Asian Kitchens” – Butter prawns!

I think it’s supposed to be “Lai Yao Har” (奶油虾) in Cantonese and this is one of my FAVOURITE dishes back in Malaysia – it’s basically fried prawns stirred in with egg, curry leaves and chillies that have been fried till crisp. So you have some idea of how excited I got when I saw this recipe in his book! We just had to try it!

This made up 1 of the dishes that was part of our feast that night – besides the butter prawns, we also made steamed egg (a quintessentially Cantonese dish I think), vegetables and leftover fried wontons. The recipe has not been changed except for personal preferences (chillies etc) – and I think you pretty much have to cook and taste as you go.

Butter Prawns Adam Liaw Two Asian Kitchens

Butter Prawns

Ingredients

500g raw prawns
3 egg yolks, beaten
45g dessicated coconut
100g unsalted butter
1 handful curry leaves
5 chilles, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp light soya sauce
1/2 tsp Shaoxing wine
Ground white pepper
salt
2 tsp castor sugar

Method

First things first , you have to clean the prawns! We cut off the legs and feelers of the prawns…

Prawns

Then, using a wok – fill it halfway up with oil and let the oil heat up. You know when it’s ready if you place a wooden chopstick into the oil and it starts bubbling against the chopstick. Then fry the prawns in batches until it’s crispy – about 2-3 minutes. When they’re ready, place them onto a plate lined with paper towel to absorb the additional oil.

Fried prawns in hot oil in wok

You can then take the oil out but leave some in there for the butter sauce. Then taking a sieve, pour the beaten egg yolks through the sieve into the wok…

Egg through whisk

Then, whisk it as it cooks on the wok until it becomes strands or little clumps (this was a 2 man job it seems – I was pouring the egg onto the sieve and Sammy was busy whisking away). Take it out onto a separate plate when it’s ready.

Egg strand for Lai Yao Har butter prawns lai yau prawn

Then, clean the wok and dry fry the dessicated coconut until coloured, then take it out.

Dessicated coconut fried

Melt the butter in the wok and fry the curry leaves until crispy, then add in the chillies and garlic and fry until fragrant. I think we used less chillies than the one in the cookbook, so this would be preferential and depending on how spicy the chillies are! Then add everything else inside (prawns, coconut, egg, soya sauce, Shaoxing wine, salt and sugar) and toss it a few times until it is well combined.

stir fry chilli garlic butter for butter prawns

The best way to eat prawns? Peel them with your hands – peel of its head (suck it a little to get the flavour – but please don’t do this if you have gout! :P), then peel off the shells on its body, suck the flavour out of it as you go and then eat the flesh…if its crispy enough, you can even eat everything together!

Butter Prawns Adam Liaw Two Asian Kitchens

Anyway, while we were doing this, Sammy also made:

Steamed Egg with Pork Mince (蒸水蛋)

Ingredients

Eggs
Pork mince
Dried Chinese Mushrooms
Water
Shaoxing wine
Salt

Method

Soak the dried chinese mushrooms in hot water. When it’s soft, drain the hot water and dice the mushrooms into small pieces.

Chopped chinese mushrooms

Then, fry the pork mince in the wok with a dash of Shaoxing wine and salt, and stir fry until the mince is cooked.

stir fry pork mince

Then, put it into a steamer with equal parts of egg and water (1 cup egg to 1 cup water etc) and then steam until it’s firm. An easy dish to make especially when you need it to make up 3 dishes in a chinese meal.

steamed egg with pork mince and mushroom

On top of that, we also made wontons out of the leftovers from the Dumpling Night, and also a token vegetable dish – so suffice to say, we were stuffed that night!! The king of the dishes was the butter prawns, they were DEElicious! Too bad we don’t have enough ‘wok hei’ (people back home, especially in the restaurants will cook from a charcoal stove, that had sufficient heat and added the smoky, charcoal-y flavour to the food that can’t be replicated with gas stoves unfortunately!). But for a dish that was cooked at home, it was a great dish – took a bit more effort though and our house ended up smelling like fried prawns for ages!! All worth it!

butter prawns steamed egg vegetables

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Posted by on May 2, 2011 in Cookbooks, Malaysian

 

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Jamie’s 30 minute meals: Challenge Accepted!

Wow, that was some hiatus!! We’ve had a lovely 5 day long weekend which was a good break for us from work, but I think we busied ourselves even more with housechores, many baking adventures and er…for me, it was catching up on Amazing Race! (I finished Season 17 and have caught up with Season 18!…Gosh, I’m such a sucker for Reality TV shows!)

So anyway, we have decided to plonk back on the blogging world after a break 😀 my good intentions of blogging the last weekend went out the window obviously! But now, I am truly back into this and we have so many adventures to blog about!

Jamie Oliver 30 Minute Meals Book Depository UK

We’ll start with Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals – we bought this book quite awhile ago, before the TV series went on air because we generally liked Jamie’s meals. He knows how to put delicious meals together simply and very quickly – great for full time workers like us! Hence the tagline “A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast”. And I can attest that it’s true! We’ve tried about 2-3 recipes from the book and we are amazed by all the “shortcuts” he takes, and how we can produce 2-3 course meals in about (well it’s not 30), but about an hour – which is quite a feat for us! 😀

If you haven’t seen the book before, it’s not categorized like other cookbooks – but in its own individual 3-4 course meals. It generally has a starter/entree/sides, main meal and a dessert. The steps are meant to be followed to the tee so that while you are cooking, you are multitasking and knowing what step comes next, and in doing that, you are meant to be more efficient in the kitchen.

But to be honest, it’s really difficult to follow every step and every ingredient to the tee – firstly, because we can’t find everything here in Australia – not if we head to specialty shops, ie: some of the salad greens (chicory, watercress) have to be substituted to what we can find here. And also, unless you have a thriving herb garden (which we don’t – sniff! – we have black, as opposed to green fingers), buying the amount of herbs that Jamie needs in his recipe can get quite expensive – but with a little bit of tweaking, and using local produce, it tastes great all the same. We just had to make adjustments and be a little more flexible then the book intended; and we started to see how valuable his little tips are.

So…30 minutes eh? I was intrigued when I looked through the cookbook – how can anyone do this in 30 minutes? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

Recipe: Pregnant Jool’s Pasta and Salad

Jamie 30 minute meals Pregnant Jools Pasta complete

Yes, I know that the recipe is different from the book – but I didn’t have watercress, nor did I have time to make a dessert; so I skipped that part and just made the pasta, sauce and salad. It was actually quite easy and quick to make.

Ingredients for Pasta

4 spring onions
2 carrots
1-2 fresh red chillies
6 good quality sausages
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried oregano
500g dried pasta (any kind) – we used spirals for this
4 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tin chopped tomatoes
basil leaves

Steps:

5.10pm – I started preparing by getting all my ingredients out of the fridge and different parts of the kitchen all together on the counter so I had things within reach and didn’t have to go searching for it

5.20pm – (yea, took me 10 mins! I need to work a bit faster I think!) I started to boil the water in the kettle for the pasta and got my pot and strainer out. Then, I started prepping the vegetables – washing and roughly chopping the carrots and spring onions

 Carrots Spring Onion Food Processor Jamie 30 minute meals Pregnant Jools Pasta

5.25pm – I took out my handy food processor (Jamie calls it a food liquidizer – I had to google it!). If you don’t have one of these, go get one! They are inexpensive and versatile, and makes your life in the kitchen less stressful, especially when you’re busy. Anyway, I put the spring onions, carrots and chillies in the food processor and blitzed it for awhile. Then, I added in the sausages and blitzed some more until it was well combined; then I added in the fennel seed and oregano.

Food Processor Sausage Spring Onion Carrot mixture Jamie 30 minute meals Pregnant Jools Pasta

5.35pm – I boiled more water for the pasta (left the first kettle of water in the pot, and put it under low heat) and added salt in the water. Then I put the pan on the stove to heat up, placed about a tablespoon of olive oil and then poured the blitzed mixture into the pan, agitating them with a spatula and frying until it separates – much like corned beef.

Sausage mixture in the pan, Jamie 30 minute meals Pregnant Jools Pasta

Then, add in the 4 garlic cloves, crushed, along with the tin tomato and balsamic vinegar.

Jamie 30 minute meals Pregnant Jools Pasta sauce

5.45pm – The meat was still simmering and didn’t look quite cooked, so I left it on and started on the salad. By this time, Sammy came home, so I had an extra pair of hands! So she continued on with the salad while I checked on the pasta. (Also did some washing up so my hubby doesn’t have to deal with it!)

6.00pm – Pasta sauce was done and Sammy finished the salad – and the meal was done!

It obviously took us longer than 30 minutes, but I was amazed by how you can make the sauce from scratch without using the bottled ones. I probably did more things in between (when I should be making the dessert), like putting things back into its original place and some washing up etc so if I hadn’t done that, I probably would have come up with another course.

I’m always amazed by the new things I learn when I cook from this book, and how I can be more efficient in the kitchen, and in doing that I save time and will have more time in the day to do other things 🙂 So if you’re thinking of buying this book, I think it’s a good buy if you’re willing to learn from his techniques and a be a bit creative in terms of the ingredients but still sticking to the overall timing of the book. It’s on offer now, in Big W! Funny, I just saw it on the catalogue for $29.93! Or you can get it from Book Depository.

We cooked another dish from this book…so stay tuned….!!

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Cookbooks, Fast Foodies

 

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The perfect way to start your day: Coffee and Crumpets

crumpets breakfast

We were first introduced to the whole concept of crumpets-for-breakfast when we came here to study, and picked them up at a local Coles or Woolworths for $0.99. We buy them coz they were cheap, not necessarily the best thing to eat for breakfast. They are usually hard by the time they get into our toaster, and they can taste like cardboard – I know, highly unappetizing for breakfast.

All this changed, until we tried crumpets at Crumpets, Victoria Park – they were soft, fluffy, piping hot from the frying pan – and topped with butter and honey, they were divine!! This opened up a whole new world, if we knew crumpets should taste like that, (brainwave!) we should so totally make our own! We didn’t really know how to even start making crumpets so we turned to Dr.G (our term of endearment for Google) and tried out a recipe the first time, sometime last year. It was a success and so easy to make! I’ve lost that recipe unfortunately, but we knew roughly what to do…so we invited a few friends over to make it for the second time.

Our recipe was adapted from Home Baking Cookbook which I got from Hubby for Christmas (he knows my heart, and my love for cookbooks – I’m surprised he got me something that I could really use, considering my cookbook collection is growing by the minute!)

Crumpet Recipe


Makes:
10-12 pieces
Preparation Time:
1 hour
Cooking Time:
1 hour

Ingredients
350g plain flour
3 tsp dry yeast (or 15 g fresh yeast)
1 tsp caster sugar
400ml warm milk
pinch of salt
Butter for greasing
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
125ml water

Method

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time because the mixture needs to be proofed about an hour before, so allow yourself about 2 hours before breakfast for both preparation and cooking time. I got up about 7am and started preparation, but while waiting for the mixture to proof, I got a whole lot of housework done, so time is never wasted!! I think my mum just fell of her chair reading this – my daughter up at 7am, cooking AND doing the housework!! 😛 God changes people in tremendous ways, that’s all I can say!

Back to the crumpets, first make the yeast mixture. The recipe asked for fresh yeast, but I used dry yeast instead (because that’s what I had). Mix the yeast and sugar together in a bowl then mix it in with room temperature milk (make sure that your milk is not too hot, especially if you heat it up in the microwave. Overheating the milk will kill the yeast! Trust me, I learnt it the hard way :P). Once you see it turning into a browny mixture, you know you’re on the right path (and the yeast ain’t dead). Leave it for about 5-10 minutes.

Dry-yeast yeast-mixture milk sugar

Then start working on your flour mixture – measure the flour out and add in a pinch of salt. Then when the yeast mixture has risen, create a well in the middle of the flour and pour the yeast mixture into it. Mix it around until well combined then cling wrap it and leave it in a relatively warm place for the mixture to proof and rise for an hour.

Flour yeast crumpets

When you return, it should have risen to about twice it’s original size (above). Then, combine together the bicarbonate of soda and water and mix it into the dough, you should now have a batter-like consistency (a bit thicker than pancake batter).

 

Batter-like consistency

Heat a frying pan with butter. Using Egg-Rings (or any circular pan and heat proof contraption!), butter the sides of the egg rings well and then pour the batter into about 3/4 of the egg ring (it will rise as it cooks, so try not to pour too much). Let it brown for about 2-3 minutes on low heat.  When one side is cooked (you will know when you can easily move the crumpet around), ease the egg ring off and this should be easy if you have buttered them well! Then flip them over to cook on the other side, which will be another 2-3 minutes.

crumpets cooked frying pan

They are best served piping hot with butter and honey/maple syrup. We couldn’t wait to dig in – but we couldn’t eat it alone s0 Sammy grilled some chipolatas and bacon in the grill (healthier option than pan-frying)…

sausages grill

Esther and Deb brought mushrooms, which we fried with butter in a pan…and hubby made coffee bought from our recent Dunsborough trip from Yahava Koffeeworks (Monte Cristo blend). It was a perfect start to a Saturday morning – with a busy day ahead of us, why not start it right? Everything fit perfectly – from the crumpets, to the crispy bacon and the yummy coffee 🙂

It was a great breakfast and even greater company – thanks for being our guinea pigs Esther and Deb! I’m sure there will be many more to come…!

Crumpets mushrooms bacon chipolatas sausages

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2011 in Breakfast, Cookbooks

 

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It’s Out! Two Asian Kitchens by Adam Liaw

Two Asian Kitchens

Two Asian Kitchens (by Adam Liaw)

For all you Masterchef fans out there, I’m sure you would know who Adam Liaw is. If you don’t watch it, well, shame on you! it’s not to late to be caught in the Masterchef craze 😛 Anyway, he was the Masterchef winner of 2010; but I am always intrigued by the dishes that he whips up (it always looks so good) and plus it has a huge asian influence. When it came to the time of the competition where they had to pitch their cookbook idea, I was so excited!! Two Asian Kitchens – what an awesome idea! So I couldn’t wait until his cookbook came out…and now it’s here!

You can read here for a detailed description of his book – basically it’s a combination of his old, more traditional kitchen experiences growing up and pairing it up with his new, modern cooking experiences in Australia. I can’t wait to get it..! People who know me know how much I LOVE cookbooks…and this will definitely be one of them sitting on my shelf! For those who are interested, you can get the book from a list of online bookstores available on Booko.com.au.

Would his cookbook interest you? If you’ve bought it already, let me know how you go with his recipes!

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Cookbooks

 

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