December 18, 2006

sweets


I don't feel like to say anything right now. But to enjoy these!

Dark Chocolate Pastry

It's quite chilly today. Rain is pouring down generously. The garden is wet. The rooms are heated. I'm here with a glass of hot chocolate, and not even Winter here. But it feels like one!

2 sheets puff pastry
8 squares dark chocolate (I used Whittaker's Dark Ghana--superb!)
demerara sugar for sprinkle
milk for brushing
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 200C. Take one sheet, quartered. Brush the edge, put one square of dark chocolate, fold to triangle shape, then bend it like you are making a ravioli. Brush with milk and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until puffed up and golden. Dust with icing sugar. Enjoy.

December 10, 2006

Menu for Hope III - A Work from the Heart

There are many children in the world are suffering and hungry as no enough food they can afford. While we are setting up our Christams table with hot healthy food and drinks, it won't be hurt to share what we own to the children who are in needs of our help.

Menu for Hope is an annual appeal fundraising organized by Chez Pim. Last year it raised US17,000 in UNICHEF.

I'm more than happy to give donation which is a special thing because I think helping people is a special thing to do in a life time. I'm willing to help as soon as I received an email from Chez Pim about this year's Menu for Hope III. I'm sure you are, too.

I received this book as a birthday gift from my beloved husband and have been enjoying it eversince. I am as happy to purchase a brand new copy for the Menu for Hope III donation as to share the enjoyment of every page is offered. It's my duty to send this copy to you whoever wins the raffle.

This book is written by Peta Mathias featuring her tours (ever screened on TVNZ 'Taste New Zealand') of different parts of New Zealand. I am a huge fan of hers, secretly. This is pretty much an A-Z culinary dictionary of New Zealand which is covering tastes, customs, cultures, produces, styles as well as rich information of lodges and markets across the country. This book is issued on glossy paper with excellent photographs produced beautifully by Laurence Belcher. Her language is as witty as entertaining and refreshing.

Book Title: A Cook's Tour of New Zealand
Author: Peta Mathias
Price Code: AP15

Here's what you should do:

  1. Go to the donation page at (http://www.firstgiving.com/menuforhopeIII)
  2. Make a donation, each $10 will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize or prizes you'd like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your donation. Do tell us how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code-for example, a dontaion of $50 can be 2 tickets for AP01 and 3 for AP02.
  3. For US donors, if your company has agreed to match your charity donation, please remember to check the box and fill in the information so we may claim the corporate match.
  4. Please also check the box to allow us to see your email address so taht we could contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.
  5. Check back on Chez Pim on January 15 when we announce the results of the raffle. (The drawing will be done electronically. Our friend the code wizard Derrick at Obsession with Food is responsible for the wicked application that will do the job.)
Check and buy tickets at First Giving-Menu for Hope III

You can visit Helen at Grab Your Fork for more information on prize lists for Asia-Pacific.

And visit Chez Pim Menu For Hope III for more lists of prize worldwide!

Please, help us to help others.

December 08, 2006

spring rolls

When I was still a student of a Primary School in the 70s, I used to take my coin of Rp 5.00 to the school canteen at morning tea break. I would buy a bag of lumpiahs (Indonesian spring rolls) which were fat and full of sauteed vegetables, a small bag of fried unshelled peanuts, and a bag of ice tea (it was usually a jasmine tea, the type of tea that brought so much memories) . I would then sit with my friends on a bench and were then munching while watching the boys playing soccer or badminton.

That memory came to me lately, summoning...

I'm wondering where my friends are at present, what they're doing... the boys who played soccer and badminton... the ladies who were selling the lumpiahs... I wonder.

Yet, I still remember so well, how the ladies made those lumpiahs, because they were my Mum's friends as she was a teacher at the school I attended. Therefore, I had an access to the kitchen and watched them cooking. They would have the fillings ready and when they were just making the crepes as the school morning tea break came close, put the filling in, wrapped and rolled, had the wok full with hot oil ready on the kerosene stove, then would deep-fry the parcels until they turned golden. Then I would wrap my own bag, hot! How lucky I was!

Anyway, the term what Wikipedia gives for lumpia is similar to Chinese spring rolls actually is somewhat close to risoles wrappers. The only difference is that lumpiah is not dipped in egg and rolled in breadcrumbs, but is just deep-fried after sealed with either water or egg yolks. And it's very different from Vietnamese spring rolls which the wrappers made from rice.

I usually use this recipe for the wrappers with a little adjustment to suit the availability in the pantry. It will give thin textures of the crepes, and will be crispy when they're deep-fried.



Indonesian Spring Rolls [Lumpiah]
Source: Mbak Ine

Wrappers 250g standard plain flour
1 egg yolk
salt
pepper
40g milk powder
650ml water

Simple Filling from My Childhood Memory
mung bean sprouts (this makes the major filling of all)
shredded cabbage
carrots (either chopped or julienned)
shallot, thinly sliced
cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
oil for cooking the vegetables
salt
pepper

oil for deep frying

Wrappers: Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Heat the oil to make the crepes. Try to make as thin as possible.

Filling: Heat the oil, cook the shallots until become translucent, then add in the sliced garlics. Cook until fragrant, add in the vegetables. Cook until the vegetables become soft, but still crisp. Remove and set aside.

Put one crepe on a plate, fill in cooked vegetables, wrap and roll. Have the hot oil ready in a wok or deep-fryer. Cook the rolls until golden.

There is also some idea to use spring roll wrappers. I had this idea from Evimeinar's blog, one of my friends through my multiply account. I used lady's fingers which are still quite half-ripen, so the filling won't become wilted inside when it's fried.


Banana Spring Rolls [Pisang Aroma]
Source: The Art and Science of Food

4 spring roll wrappers
4 lady fingers bananas
ground cinnamon to sprinkle
Nutella hazelnut and chocolate spread
oil for deep frying

Take one sheet, spread the nutella all over, put the whole banana, sprinkle with cinnamon, wrap and roll, then deep fry. I drizzle them with dark chocolate while they're still hot. Yummy to eat with whipped cream or mascarpone.

Selamat Makan. Bon apetite.

December 06, 2006

morning tea goodies-NZBBP



It's always our morning ritual to have breakfast followed by going down the far paddock to feed the chooks. If John's not home, it's my task to check our mailbox afterwards. So, off we went, the three of us, checking our mailbox. And I had a feeling that my parcel would arrive today. Ben was running down the driveway and the first who opened the mailbox, followed by my exclamations "WOW! From Christchurch! It's Bron!" The stickers on the parcel made me smile, Bron and the children were making this noise 'huaaaaooooowwwww!' And Ben said "it's from Mum's friend." He was very keen on opening it firsthand.



Quickly we went back home, hung our hats on (it's a beautiful day today), and opened the parcel. And I knew it was morning tea time. I asked the children to sit at the table while I was putting the jug on. They were too happy to decline, sitting there until I came out to the deck again with three cups of tea.



The macaroons-wrapped and shaped nicely into a Christmas crackers-were nice, Bron! First bite I thought it was coconut essence you put it, but then I realize it was almond essence. Taste so almondy. Delicious for the first attempt! I would love to have more when you've become Pierre Herme. The mini pies were filled with Pecans, dropped with a little mixture of chocolate-caramel and topped with drizzled dark chocolate. I love it! My darlings had two each! The packet was gone!




And what made them happy the most was the lollypos and finger puppets, made by Bron's girls! Quickly they know which one is which. They were even singing with their finger waving in the air! Thank you,girls!



I usually have Earl Grey tea with a half slice of orange and a dash of freshly squeezed orange juice. And I think the Manuka Honey Walnut was just perfect to end our morning tea! I will use Bron's smoked salt to marinate the chicken tonight and I'll grill them with a bowl of green salads drizzled with Hazelnut Oil. What a treat!





Thanks heaps, Bron!!!

December 05, 2006

Rich Christmas Fruit Cake

When I signed up for NZBPP, I immediately made a rich Christmas cake which I normally don't bake. Well, a sultana cake or a light fruit cake might do much for me as I like dried fruits, but rich Christmas cake is really rich for my stomach. It's moistened by the well-soaked dried fruits and it's concreted by dried fruits. To my surprise, it's very easy to do it. Not much washing up, just a big mixing bowl.

Then, Tim wrote a thank you email the other day telling me that he was enjoying the goodies I sent. I was so glad and relief. It's upon Tim's request I write this fruit cake recipe.

I used the recipe from the Edmond Cookbook, but I also combine it with a fruit cake recipe from Lois Daish cookbook called 'A Good Year' [Listener, 2005. Random House] which adding marmalade, grated orange zest. I omitted the use of nuts though.

Rich Christmas Fruit Cake
Source: Edmond Cookbook and A Good Year by Lois Daish

1 3/4 cups orange juice (this I freshly squeezed from the garden)
3/4 cup brandy
2 Tbs grated orange rind
2 Tbs grated lemon rind
400g raisins
200g sultanas
200g currants
150g glace cherries, halved
150g crystallised ginger, chopped
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp almond essence
6 eggs
2 1/2 cups high grade flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsps cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
250g butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 Tbs treacle

Bring to boil the orange juice and grated orange rind, then add in all the dried fruits, cherries in a bowl, add in marmalade, grated lemon rind, brandy and mix thoroughly. Cover and set aside to soak overnight (I let them soak fortnight).

Prepare the 22cm deep cake tin, line with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 150C.

Sift flour, soda and spices in a bowl. Cream butter, sugar and treacle until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Fold in the dry ingredients alternately with fruit mixture. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin, level surface and bake for about 4 hours or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Leave in the tin until cold. Wrap in foil. Store in a cool place.

December 02, 2006

Dinner Meme

I was tagged by Riana about a week or two weeks ago. I've read many dinner memes at other fellow bloggers and they are all wonderful. I'm just wondering how the world will be when all of us come for dinner: the chatters, the laughters, the food, the people, the atmosphere... would we all talk about food and blog?

I'm not such a too-good-to-be-true entertainer, but I can assure you that I will give 110% for the efforts. I may not have an expensive townhouse, but my hospitality is genuine. That's the first start, isn't it?



I usually make vegies spring rolls and vietnamese spring rolls for nibbles. I also make spicy nuts which another option for those who's allergic to gluten.



Now, the starter. I usually cook wonton soup to start the meal, sprinkled generously with finely chopped spring onions and crispy fried shallots. The wonton itself is filled with finely chopped coriander leaves, finely chopped shrimps, a dash of fish sauce, salt and white pepper. I make fish stock to make the base of broth, freshly made from fish bones and carrots. My guests who suffered from Coeliacs will still be enjoying the broth, I suppose. I will add a piece of root ginger to the broth, to add more flavour.



Right, main course. I will make tomato rice, grilled thigh chicken fillets with orange dressing, and green salad with a mixed of mizuna leaves, rocket leaves, beetroot leaves, New Zealand spinach, grated carrots, thin slices of nashi pears--which all just are freshly picked from our garden, except mizuna as we don't grow them. I will dress the salad with extra virgin olive oil.

Towards the end of meals, I usually make desserts as seriously as I do main course. I will make my best chocolate layered cake, accompanied by slightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh fruits depending on the season.

Off we go around the sofa or if the night is still young, we may enjoy the edge of the night on our newly built large verandah, watching the dark silhouettes of sheep, trees, and paddocks. I will still serve you with freshly ground coffee or the best Earl Grey or Green tea to suit your taste and trays of chocolate bites, lemon cake and I still think that my Bailey's Chocolate Truffles will do good to end any meals. I will spare some for you to bring home whenever you feel to.



As this is going to go around the globe, I will keep turning the wheel. I'm tagging Lia of World of Spices and Pepy of The Art and Science of Food.

Hugs for now. Night night.