Friday, June 14, 2013

Lemon curd-filled pancakes with berry and mint sauce

I thought I'd just have to make a tribute post for Father's day weekend. 

...especially because I always forget and I'll get an upset call from my dad the day after. Whoops. In my defense, New Zealand's Father's Day is always the 1st of September and in Malaysia and many other parts of the world, it's the third Sunday of June. I haven't forgotten this year though. Yus!

Treat your dad with a special colourful breakfast/tea this weekend - lemon curd-filled pancakes! I wish I could :( (my dad lives in Shanghai).

You just need to swing to these happy, upbeat tunes when making crepes/pancakes:

Parov Stelar - Booty Swing

Caravan Palace - Rock It For Me

1)  Filling
I have recently shared with you a simple recipe for Lemon curd, which makes an excellent filling with these crepes and the strawberry-mint sauce. Yum.

2)  Thin pancakes
Slightly adapted from V-recipes:
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
250 ml milk (I used almond milk)
a sliver of butter to grease pan

1. Combine the flour, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the beaten eggs. Stir in half the milk, gradually working the flour down from the sides.

2. Beat mixture vigorously until smooth and bubbly, then stir in the rest of the milk. Pour in to a jug. Allow to stand for at least 10 minutes. (I refrigerated the mixture while I work on the berry-mint sauce).

3. Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat, adding a little butter to create a very thin film of grease.

4. Stir the batter and pour about 4-5tbs into the pan (just enough to thinly cover the base of the pan). Tilt and rotate the pan so that the batter thinly covers the pan evenly.

5. Cook pancake for about 2 minutes until the pancake is set and golden brown underneath. Ensure that the pancake is loose by shaking the pan. Flip the pancake with a spatula and cook the other side for about 30 seconds or until golden.

6. Slide pancake on to a plate. Place 2 tbs lemon curd filling in the middle of the pancake. Fold four sides of the pancake, securing the middle, and quickly turn upside down. Serve :)

3)  Berry & mint sauce
1/2 cup berries (frozen is okay too)
1/4 cup mint
1 tsp honey

1. Mix all ingredients using a hand blender until fine.

2. Serve. 

Enjoy. Happy Father's Day to all fathers out there. (also to my dearest friends who have recently become fathers themselves. Wow, how we've you've grown. Very proud of you guys. Well done.)  

To my dad, thank you so much for being the most wonderful father a girl could have. It seems like only yesterday when you forced me to fry my first fish...and made fun of how it turned skinless and burnt 10 minutes later. Ah, memories. :P Thanks for continuously believing in me. I'll cook up a storm for you when I'm back in July. :)

Saucy Fridays: Lemon Curd

It's study week, exam two weeks away. Contrary to some people, at these beckoning times, I don't really stack up on instant noodles and microwaveable dinners (Well, not everyday anyway). I would normally find myself cooking something just because the whole experience is very therapeutic, plus you get to enjoy good food after. So why not? :)

Today, I made lemon curd. I thought it'd be a great alternative to my daily peanut butter toasts. Of course, it goes on a lot of other things too - pancakes, tarts, muffins, ice cream...the list goes on.

...and it's yellow. I know it doesn't have to do with anything, but I just love the colour yellow. There's just something about it that makes me feel happy instantly. I'm sure many feng shui books will agree with me. Well, at least Coldplay did. (Tip: make this lemon curd for your loved one with a " was all yellow" love note- if not something more creative. Hee.).

Anyway, hope you enjoy both of today's "jams". :)

Phoenix - Trying to be cool (Breakbot Remix)

Lemon curd
50g of butter
3/4 cup caster sugar (or just under)
4 lemons (or 3 large lemons) - juice and zest
3 large eggs
4 tbs almond milk
1/2 tbs plain flour

1) Combine all ingredients except eggs in a metal bowl (Not everyone has a metal bowl, so you can be creative and use a smaller pot ;) taking care that water does not flow into the mixing pot). Place bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir until sugar has dissolved completely. Remove from heat. 
2) In a separate metal bowl, whisk eggs. Add the first mixture and beat until combined.
3) Pour mixture through a strainer to remove zest.
4) Place mixture back over pot of simmering water and keep stirring slowly until mixture is thick enough. (keep stirring constantly and do not overheat to prevent eggs from curdling)
5) Cool and store in a jar in the fridge. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Steak Empanadas

So on Friday, I finally submitted my assignment. And...i looked and felt like a wreck. I knew the only thing that could make me feel better was getting my major food craving of the week : EMPANADAS.

Now where on earth do I get them around Auckland, ASAP. I could have made them initially, but they can be a little fiddly and I don't really have the patience to wait for 2 hours (usual minimum time to freeze the dough). My hat goes off to the makciks in Malaysia who make curry puffs (Malaysian version of empanadas) every day and selling them for only 30cents each. Really, salute. Oh, by the by, curry puffs here are $8, for 5 tiny pieces. Pfft.

There is this saying:

"The First Law of Pies: No Pastry, No Pie.” ― Janet ClarksonPie: A Global History. I can't help but concur: No Pastry, no empanadas.

I remembered there is a stall selling them at the Britomart market on Saturdays. So, we went but to our dismay, that was the only stall not open that day :(

I was still not satisfied. I think my food craving syndrome has just gotten worse over the years. When I feel like eating something, I want it now. And no, you can't simply forget about it or sleep on it

After googling a multitude of recipes, I found this dough recipe that only takes 15 minutes to freeze. Score!! So here they are, steak empanadas. :)

Cooking is just so much more enjoyable with the right music - especially when you're rolling dough. The music playing in the background in my kitchen was: 

Steak Empanadas

pastry (only slightly adapted from Honestfare):
2 cups flour
1 1/3 stick unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg beaten for dough + 1 egg yolk for egg wash
3 tbs heavy cream

~300g Chuck Steak (cut in small cubes)
1 small onion (cut in small cubes)
1 clove of garlic (diced)
1 tbs cumin (+ 1 tsp for onions)
1/2 tbs chilli powder
1 tbs Worchester sauce
Olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
1/2 cup cheese

For the filling
1) Mix cumin, chilli powder, and Worchester sauce with steak. Season with sea salt and pepper.

2) In a different bowl, mix 1 tsp of cumin with onions and garlic. 

3) Heat pan with 1-2 tbs olive oil. 

4) Saute the onions and garlic until soft. Add in the steak, and lightly saute until just before medium-rare. Set aside.

For the dough:
1) Place flour, salt and butter in a big bowl. Work with your fingertips or in food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

2) Beat together 1 egg and 3 tbsp of cream. Combine dry and wet ingredients and mix using your hands by making smooth circular movements until dough is even. Add another tablespoon of cream or water if dough is not coming tougher quickly or seems dry. Roll into 2 balls and wrap in plastic and place in fridge for at least 15 mins or until ready to use.

3) Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8 inch thick. Using cardboard stencil or a bottom of a mug, cut out as many round shapes as possible and then combine excess to the other dough ball and roll it out. Repeat until all dough is used. 

4) Scoop steak filling onto the middle of the round-shaped dough. Top with 1 tsp grated cheese. Fold the dough from end to end (into a half-moon shape). Press edges firmly with a fork to seal. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Beat egg to make egg wash and brush each empanada with egg wash. Bake at 180C or until golden brown (12-15mins). Serve warm.

If you are one of those serious, impatient food cravers like me, now you can enjoy these little dumplings of joy within an hour. Buen apetito!  

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Cheesecake with Peanut Butter Ganache

So it's Monday. But it's a public holiday. Thank you Queen.

I got really stuffed with my finance assignment. Not being able to work out this one question for days just threw me off the charts. When I accidentally spilled coffee all over my notes, I decided yup, screw dividend models, it's time for cheesecake. And let's make them in jars.

Cheesecake with Peanut Butter Ganache
makes 3 jars

9 digestive biscuits
25g butter
1 tbs brown sugar
Pinch of sea salt
3 ferrero rochers/hersheys kisses (optional)

150g cream cheese (1 pack)
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
Pinch of sea salt
1 tbs flour

1/4 cup peanut butter1/4 cup cream
1 tbs milk
small block of dark chocolate (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 175C. 

2) Crush the digestive biscuits. Add in melted butter, brown sugar and sea salt. Mix/crush together until they form finer crumbs. (I did this by hand, but food processors would make a better time record :))

3) Use about 1/3cup of crumbs for each jar. Press down the crumbs until you have a packed crust at the bottom of the jar. Spread the rest of the left over crumb on another small baking tray and set aside.

4) Bake the crumbs in jars for between 10-12mins. Once golden brown, take out the jars out of the oven and let them cool. Reduce oven temperature to 160C.
*optional step: place 1 ferrero rocher/hershey's kisses per jar, it'll make a good surprise :)

5) In a large bowl, whisk cream cheese until smooth on low speed. Add sugar. Whisk again until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream and a pinch of salt, mix well. Finally, add 1 tablespoon of flour and beat well until fully incorporated. 

6) Divide batter between the jars, leaving enough room (about 1/2 inch) on the top for the ganache.

7) Place the filled jars into a deep baking dish. Carefully fill the baking dish with boiling water until halfway up the sides of the jars. Bake for 40 minutes. Check with a toothpick. You'll know the cheesecake is done if nothing sticks to the toothpick.

8) Place the leftover crumbs onto the lower oven rack  and bake for about 5 mins. Once crisp, take out of the oven, and set aside to cool.

9) Once the cheesecakes are done, remove from the oven and let them cool completely before serving. These cheesecakes could also be refrigerated overnight.

10) For the topping, mix peanut butter, cream and milk together well. I used Pic's Peanut Butter, probably the best peanut butter I've ever tasted.

11) Once the cheesecakes are completely set, spoon the topping onto the cheesecakes. 

12)  Swirl in some melted chocolate in the middle and top with the leftover crumbs :)

Easy and portable. Now go have a picnic :) 

..while I set camp again in front of my assignments. :|