Red Wine Poached Pear Tartlets

April 10th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Red Wine Poached Pear Tartlets_01

Drunken pears for a drunken night.

Red Wine Poached Pear Tartlets 2


— Red Wine Poached Pear Tartlets (makes 8 tartlets) —

4 pears, under-ripe

300ml red wine

250ml water

170g brown sugar

2 whole star anise

1 cinnamon stick

2 wide strips lemon zest

300g ready-made puff pastry

1 tablespoon butter, melted

30g walnuts pieces

30g blue cheese, crumbled


Peel the pears without removing the stalks. Cut in half and remove the core.

Place the red wine, water, brown sugar, star anise, cinnamon stick and lemon zest in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low, add the pear and simmer for about 30 minutes until tender.

Remove the pear from the sauce pan, set aside to cool.

Bring the wine liquid to a boil and simmer gently until syrupy.

Preheat oven to 200C / 400F.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut out 8 circles (approximately 4 inch dimeter).

Cut the pear into slices, leaving the stalk end intact.

Place the pastry on a baking sheet, arrange the pears in the centre of circles. Brash the rims with melted butter.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until the pastry is risen and golden.

Drizzle with the wine syrup, sprinkle with the walnuts and blue cheese.




Mushroom Dip with Bagel Chips

December 18th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Chip and dip, chip and dip, chip and dip . . . it’s very difficult to stop.


— Mushroom Dip with Bagel Chips (serves 3) 

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

300g button mushrooms, sliced

2 tablespoons white wine

200g cream cheese

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

A pinch of ground black pepper


– for bagel chips –

3 plain bagels

50ml extra olive oil

2 clove garlic, peeled and crashed


Melt the butter in a frying-pan, sauteé the onion and garlic over a medium heat until the onion became translucent.

Add the mushrooms and sauteé for 5 to 7 minutes until the mushrooms turn brown. Add the white wine and cook until all the liquid is evaporated. Let cool slightly.

Place the mushroom mixture, cream cheese and salt into a food processor and puree until smooth. Mix in the chopped thyme and ground black pepper.

Cover and refrigerate until chilled.


Preheat the oven 350F / 180C.

Slice the bagels vertically into very thin slices.

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan over low heat until the garlic became golden, remove the garlic from the oil.

Lightly brash the oil on the bagel chips. Bake until golden brown.

Serve with the mushroom dip.

Pasta with Pistachio Cream Sauce

November 28th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I thought, I spaced out for a little while, and it’s already the end of November. . .

Time flies too fast, please wait for me.


— Pasta with Pistachio Cream Sauce (serves 2) —

2 tablespoons olive oil

40g shelled pistachio nuts, ground in a blender or very finely chopped

2 shallots, finely shopped

1 clove garlic, minced

180ml double cream


160g linguine

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Freshly ground black pepper


Heat the olive oil and sauteé the shallots and garlic in a large frying-pan over a medium heat, until the shallots become translucent.

Add the grounded pistachio and sauteé for about 1 minute.

Pour the cream and keep stirring for another minute, add salt to taste and remove from the heat.

Add the linguine to lightly salted boiling water, cook until al dente (follow the package directions). Drain, reserve some of the cooking water.

Add the linguine to the frying-pan of pistachio sauce,toss well with the sauce and add the cooking water if necessary.

Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and fleshly ground black pepper.

Tofu Steak with Teriyaki Sauce

October 14th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

My vegetarian friend taught me “freezing-tofu” method, and this is the first time I put tofu in the freezer.

Yes, freezing tofu does change the texture, it became more meat like and chewier, also soaks up sauces more than normal tofu.

It’s perfect with the sweet and savory teriyaki sauce.


— Tofu Steak with Teriyaki Sauce (serves 2) —

400g water-packed firm tofu

2 tablespoons mirin

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 tablespoon sake

1/2 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon corn flour

1 tablespoon sesame oil

some spring onion, finely chopped (for garnish)


Place the unopened tofu package into the freezer. Let it freeze for overnight.

Defrost the tofu and squeeze out the excess water.

Cut the tofu block into 4-6 blocks.

Lightly coat the tofu blocks with the corn flour.

Combine the mirin, soy sauce, sake, sugar and water in a bowl. Set aside.

Heat a frying-pan over medium heat with the sesame oil. Fry each side of the tofu until lightly golden.

Add the teriyaki sauce in the frying-pan and shaking the frying-pan gently and cook both side until the sauce has thickened.

Garnish with the finely chopped spring onion.

Olive and Rosemary Bread Rolls

September 27th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Flowers for you.



— Olive and Rosemary Bread Rolls (8 rolls) —

350g strong white flour

1 teaspoon salt

7g fast action dried yeast

200ml warm water

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing

80g Kalamata olives, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, finely chopped

Some Kalamata olives and rosemary leaves for decoration (optional)


Brash a baking tray and the inside of a large bowl with oil.

Place the flour, salt and fast action dried yeast in another large bowl and stir together, mix in 200ml warm water and the 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Knead the dough on a floured surface board for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and place in the oiled bowl, cover the dough with cling film and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

Transfer the dough onto a floured surface board and Punch down. Flatten it out and sprinkle over the olives and rosemary. Fold up and knead for 3 minutes. Leave the dough to rest for 5 minutes.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces, and shape into balls. Lightly coat the surface with oil and sprinkle a little flour on top.

Arrange some olives and rosemary leaves on the balls (optional).

Place on the oiled baking tray, cover the balls loosely with cling film and allow them to rise for about 40 minutes in a warm place.

Preheat the oven 200C / 400F.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden.

Creamy Pumpkin Risotto

September 23rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Creamy pumpkin risotto. Dreamy pumpkin head.


— Creamy Pumpkin Risotto (serves 2) —

1 tablespoon butter

4 sage leaves

40g butter

300g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

160g risotto rice

100ml white wine

500ml hot chicken stock or vegetable stock

50ml single cream

40g parmesan cheese, grated

Black pepper

Some shaved or grated parmesan cheese for garnish


Place the 1 tablespoon of butter in a frying-pan and heat over medium heat. Place the fresh sage leaves into the heated butter and cook until crispy (about 30 seconds each side. Don’t make them brown). Remove them on a kitchen paper. Set aside.

Melt the 40g butter in a flying-pan over medium heat, add the chopped pumpkin and stir-fry until just tender. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the chopped shallots and garlic, sauté over medium heat until softened.

Add the risotto rice, stir for 5 minutes until the rice start to turn translucent at the edges.

Add the white wine, cook and stirring until all the wine has been absorbed.

Add the cooked pumpkin and pour in a ladle of chicken stock, stirring continuously. When the stock has been absorbed, stir in another ladleful. Continue adding the stock in this way until all the stock has been absorbed.

Add the single cream, stirring until it has been absorbed. The rice should be al dente. Stir through the grated parmesan cheese.

Transfer the risotto to serving plates, sprinkle with black pepper, garnish with parmesan cheese, top with the sautéed sage leaf.

Japanese Style Salads (aemono)

September 12th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

These simple dressed salads are called aemono (it means “dressed things”).

Aemono are usually served very small portions, meant to accompany main dishes or as appetisers.

There is wide range of ingredients and dressings for aemono. Today’s recipe is one of the most basic and popular aemono dressings – Karashi-ae: mustard dressing, and Goma-ae: sesame dressing (this sweet and nutty flavored sesame dressing is my favourite one!).


— Tenderstem Broccoli with Mustard Dressing (serves 2) —

1/2 teaspoon karashi mustard paste or english mustard

2 teaspoons light soy sauce

1 tablespoon dashi stock
(see how to make dashi stock, and dashi stock for vegetarian)

100g tenderstem broccoli


Mix the mustard, light soy sauce and dashi stock in a bowl.

Bring a pot of water to boil and add a pinch of salt. Cook the tenderstem broccoli until soft but still crunchy (about 30 seconds – 1 minute), rinse in cold water and drain.

Cut the tenderstem broccoli into 1.5 inches. Toss with the mustard dressing.



— French Beans with Sesame Dressing (serves 2) —

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 teaspoons light soy sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

100g french beans


Roast the sesame seeds in a dry frying-pan over medium-low heat until golden.

Transfer the roasted sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle, grind the sesame seeds into a paste. Add the sugar and soy sauce and mix well.

Bring a pot of water to boil and add a pinch of salt. Cook the french beans until soft but still crunchy (about 30 seconds – 1 minute), rinse in cold water and drain.

Cut the french beans into 1.5 inches. Toss with the sesame dressing.

Grilled Rice Balls with Spicy Miso

August 28th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

In Japan, children are taught not to leave even one grain of rice in your rice bowl, because there are seven rice gods residing in every single grain of rice, so we shouldn’t waste them.
This custom to ‘finish all the food served for you’ contains expression of gratitude for food and appreciate farmers who produced the food.

Anyway, I calculated how many rice gods in this rice ball when I was making them today.

100g of rice = about 4300 grains of rice.
I used 300g of rice for 8 small rice balls.
So, 11287 rice gods residing in each rice ball.

Mmm… they must feel so cramped.


— Grilled Rice Balls with Spicy Miso (8 rice balls) —

300g rice (Japanese short grain white rice, or sushi rice)

420ml water

Some salt

2 tablespoons spring onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons miso paste (light brown coloured miso is preferred)
*please see this link for more information about miso

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon chilli powder

Some sesame oil for frying

1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


Rinse the rice in a clod water, changing the water several times until the water runs almost clear.

Drain the washed rice in a sieve and place in a saucepan.

Pour 420ml water in the pan and cover with tight-fitting rid.

Bring to the boil over high heat and let cook for 2 minute. Reduce the heat to the lowest and simmer (always cover the pan with a rid) 15 minute. Remove from the heat, still covered, and leave the pan for another 10 minutes.

Place the chopped spring onion, miso paste, mayonnaise, sugar and chilli powder in a small bowl and mix together. Set aside.

Divide the cooked rice into 8 equal portions.

Wet the palms of your hands and then lightly sprinkle them with salt.

Form the rice into circle shape.

Heat a frying-pan on medium heat with a little bit of sesame oil. Fry each side of the rice balls until lightly golden.

Transfer the rice balls onto the baking tray. Spread the miso mixture on the rice balls.

Preheat broiler, position the backing tray approximately 6 inches away from top heating element. Broil about 5 minutes, until the miso mixture starts to brown.

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Spinach Olive Pizza

August 16th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Spinach olive pizza. Popeye and Olive . . .  Help me, Popeye!


— Spinach Olive Pizza (1 x 12 inch round pizza) —

1 x 12 inch pizza base (please see how to make pizza dough. *This recipe makes 2 x 12 inch thin pizza base)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 tablespoons pine nuts

400g spinach, roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

A pinch of grated nutmeg

A pinch of black pepper

120g mozzarella cheese, grated

12 small black olives

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Some black pepper


– for tomato sauce –

2 tablespoons tomato purée

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tablespoon olive oil


Mix all the tomato sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a frying-pan and fry the crushed garlic and pine nuts over low heat until golden.

Add the spinach and stir-fry over medium heat until wilted. Season with the salt, nutmeg, black pepper.

Preheat the oven to 220C / 425F.

Brush the baking tray with olive oil and lay the round base on the tray.

Spread the tomato sauce onto the base, sprinkle with half the mozzarella. Spread the spinach and black olives over the top, followed by the rest of mozzarella and the parmesan cheese.

Bake for about 15 minutes until topping is golden and the base is crispy.

Sprinkle with some black pepper.

Root Vegetable Chips

August 11th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Bright and breezy. A perfect day for making vegetable chips.

The sliced root vegetables and my cat and I, we all bask in the sun today.

Sunshine brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetables,
and these half sun-dried vegetables makes light and crispy chips.


— Root Vegetable Chips —




Butternut, peeled

Sweet potatoes

Chinese lotus roots

Vegetable oil for deep-fry

Sea salt


Slice all the vegetables in very thin slices with a mandolin or vegetable peeler.

Wash the sweet potato slices and chinese lotus roots in several changes of water, till the water runs clear of starch. Dry the slices thoroughly on paper towels.

Lay out each slice of all the root vegetables separately on a sheet or tray.

Dry them in sunshine for about 4 hours until half sun-dried.

Heat the vegetable oil to 325F / 160C.

Deep-fry the half sun-dried vegetable slices in batches until lightly golden and crispy (deep-fry each kind of vegetable separately). Drain excess oil on kitchen paper.

Sprinkle with sea salt.