No-peel Apple Cream Cheese Tart

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I am a BIG sucker for apple tarts. Indeed, I like all sorts of apple desserts- apple turnover, tarte tartin, apple strudel, etc etc… As much as I like these aromatic pastries filled with the unmistakable scent of cinnamon, I seldom make them on my own because I hate peeling apples!!! So you can probably imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon this no-peel apple tart recipe. ♥

Happy baking everyone!


Pastry:

250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

70g icing sugar

125g unsalted butter, cubed

1 egg yolk

Beans for baking

Filling:

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated white sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2/3 cup cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon grated lemon

Topping:

3 apples (cut into 8 -12 slices each)

4 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 160C fan.
  2. To make the pastry, mix the flour and icing sugar in a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until crumbly.
  3. Mix in the egg yolks, roll into a ball. If the pastry is still too dry, add 1-2 tbsp water until it comes together.
  4. Place the pastry in your tart pan and, using your fingertips; evenly press the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of your pan. Gently pierce the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. (This will prevent the pastry crust from puffing up while it bakes.)
  5. When ready, place the tart pan on a larger baking pan and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 13 – 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.
  6. Beat cream cheese using a hand mixer until smooth. Add sugar gradually until incorporated. Add eggs (one at a time) until thoroughly combined.
  7. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until well blended and smooth.
  8. Carefully pour the filling into the pre-baked tart shell and then bake the tart for about 30 – 35 minutes or until the filling is set. Transfer tart to wire rack to cool and start making the topping.
  9. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the apples to the pan and sprinkle with 2 tablespoon brown sugar. Sauté the apples, frequently stirring, for 6 to 8 minutes until they just begin to turn tender. (Be careful not to overcook at this stage as the apples may become puree!)
  10. Sprinkle the apples with the remaining sugar and add cinnamon. Toss the mixture gently and cook over medium heat for an additional 1-2 minutes until the sugar begins to caramelize, and the apples are crisp-tender.
  11. Arrange the apple slices in an overlapping spiral pattern. Pour the remaining caramel sauce on top of the apples.
  12. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving!

Under the Tassie Sun

Happy year of the rooster everyone!

After the non-stop family gatherings and reunion meals over the past three days, my life seemed to go back to normal. I finally have time to sort out all the photos from my Tasmania trip. I feel a growling rumble in my stomach while going through the films, and it wasn’t because I haven’t had enough of turnips cakes, my all-time favourite…

Just like any other wanderluster, I have an constant yearning for new tastes and discoveries. “Under the Tassie Sun” summarized my adventure from the North to the South of Tasmania. Starting in Launceston, Tasmania’s second’s city that has forever been locked in rivalry with Hobart, but to me somehow has the zestier food scene, to the humble but charming seafood shack in Freycinet. Up long winding roads and down farm tracks, through blazing sun and misty rain, I visited producers and local shops that are fighting the big corporations and creating artisanal products to sell with pride. I fell in love with the delicious giant oysters and all the colourful dishes that radiated the true spirits of summer (and don’t get me started on the affordable but very flavoursome wine).

At the end of the trip, I returned home with my suitcase laden with all the edible souvenirs like jasmine infused honey, whisky marmalade, but most importantly a grateful heart to all the people who welcomed me into their farms and shops, shared with me their passion for food. I hope u like my photos and enjoy Tasmania as much as I did. Bon Voyage!

Fantastic sauces to sample that have been made on site using only fresh local ingredients. I’m amazed by all kinds of sauces they came up with, an excellent variety from sweet to savoury, with Whisky Seville Marmalade being my personal favourite.

You can buy their products in HK at Feather & Bone.

Tasmanian Gourmet Sauce Company: 174 Leighlands Rd, Evandale TAS 7212

Longford- a country town full of colonial charm.

Evandale’s Sunday market is one of the highlights of the trip. Unlike most food markets in the states or in Europe, where the selection is excellent, but resellers run most stands. In Evandale the producers (farmers) run the majority, you really get to interact with each and everyone of them and listen to all their stories about starting up a local business.

Breakfasts on the road usually means a cup of black coffee plus a flaky croissant at best. In Evandale’s Sunday Market I enjoyed some extremely scrumptious homemade baked goods thanks to Anabel! I’m already missing her orange loaf cake which had an unapologetic burst of citrus flavour.

Evandale Sunday Market: Falls Park, Logan Road, 7212 Evandale                                              (open every Sunday from 8am to 1:30pm)

A charming restaurant with an interesting fusion menu. I seldom go to the same restaurant twice when I travel but I made an exception for this one. With great expectations when i returned for breakfast and it didn’t disappoint. Loved the rye waffles and the omelette made with slow cooked pork and kimchi!

Stillwater: 2 Bridge Rd, Launceston TAS 7250

Highly recommend Black Cow Bistro, another establishment by the Stillwater team, which serves some pretty solid steaks. My wagyu filet was melt-in-the-mouth perfection!

Black Cow Bistro: 70 George St, Launceston TAS 7250

dsc_0059

All things lavender from the jam to the scones to the cookies! Since when did I become so girly?!

Bridestowe Lavender Estate: 296 Gillespies Rd, Nabowla TAS 7260

img_1567

Sheffield- a picturesque town, in literal sense, is effectively Tasmania’s outdoor art gallery. There are more than 80 murals adorning its buildings.

Situated on the Main St of Ross, the Ross bakery Inn, is a heritage building from the early 1800’s which was once a horse-drawn carriage stop. Along side the Inn is the famous Ross Village Bakery. By all means try their vanilla slice and scallop pie, totally worth a detour!

Ross Bakery: 15 Church St, Ross TAS 720

 dsc_0206

A nice joint to stop by for a quick seafood taste before heading to the wineglass bay. Highly recommend the oyster trio as you get to eat them in various ways instead of just having them with lemon.

Freycinet Marine Farm: 1784 Coles Bay Rd, Coles Bay TAS 7215

Love everything about this modern farm! Tim and Jane and their family dogs, Billy and Sandy are super friendly. As weird as it sounds, I had the best scones in my life there… The clotted cream made by Jane gives an unique decadent consistency and a wonderful flavor.  It’s quite thick and spreadable, and when you slather it on a freshly baked scone there is no better thing in the world.

Curringa Farm: 5831 Lyell Hwy, Hamilton TAS 7140

dsc_0255

Fruit always tastes better when you pick it yourself!!

Sorell Fruit Farm: 174 Pawleena Rd, Sorell TAS 7172

imgp0248

See you soon Tassie! ❤

Whirlwind to Sydney in 36 hours

Question: What do you do when you are in Sydney?

Answer: EAT, visit some friends, go to the Sydney harbor, Bondi Beach…

Question: What do you do when you are in Sydney, and you have been there a few times before?

Answer:  EAT, you can still visit your friends, I guess…

Question: What do you do when you are in Sydney, you have been there a few times before and this time you are there for 36 hours only?

Answer: Oh, that leaves only eating!

Question: Where then can I find something good to eat in Sydney?

Answer: Go to these places!!


The first thing to draw your eyes in this patisserie is the trays of delicately constructed slices of cakes- watermelon cakes in particular. Topped with strawberries and edible flowers this dessert is just heavenly freshness! There is a generous slice of watermelon in the middle, but the layers of evenly spread almond meal help to absorb the moisture and stop the watermelon from making the whole cake soggy.

Newtown is an interesting neighbourhoods, the beating heart of Sydney’s bohemian arts scene. Do spend some time exploring the local art galleries and street art murals afterwards.

Black Star Pastry Newtown: 277 Australia St, Newtown NSW 2042

A must-go whenever I’m in town! While oyster is a popular choice for many, I had my heart stolen by the scampi sashimi long ago. Originated from NZ, the scampi is slit down the center which allows you to easily split the crustacean into halves and pull out the sweet and buttery flesh that literally melts away in one’s mouth. Absolutely divine!

Sydney Fish Market: Bank St & Pyrmont Bridge Road, Sydney NSW 2009

dsc_0438

My favorite hotcakes in the whole wide world. Period.

bills: 359 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010

DSC_0859.jpg

Instead of macarons, these colorful babies are called zumbarons here. The name may be different but they taste as good- light and crisp with a gooey center, just the way they should be.

p.s. glad to see more and more zumbo stores, not just in Sydney, but across the entire Australia!

Zumbo Patisserie: 296 Darling St, Balmain NSW 2041

dsc_0456

dsc_0460

Warning: Contains Outrageously Good Doughnuts

A rapidly growing doughnut chain, Australians’ equivalent of Krispy Kreme that sells yummy, funky and not so little doughnuts!! I love the quirky little names they give to each of them. Love At First Bite is my personal favorite — a doughnut covered in cinnamon sugar and filled with half a bottle of Nutella.

Doughnut Time: 500 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

dsc_0451

A rarity: Sydney when it drizzles. The city keeps surprising me in one way or the other.

Baked Oysters with Miso-Mayonnaise

I am a real party animal, house parties, to be exact. Nothing beats sharing hearty laughs and intimate conversation with your closest friends in a cozy environment. The truth is, I approach house parties with the same mix of excitement and apprehension you might feel before a first date—what if my home looks messy? What if I get an elaborate menu planned, and then they cancel at the last minute? And obviously you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard… To ease off the pressure of hosting a house party, every hostess should have a few quick, easy recipes up her sleeve for any event on the calendar.

Made this very simple dish with the leftover miso from last week, this serves as a great snack or party appetizer, taking next to no time or effort to do. Add this dish to your arsenal and you won’t regret it, I promise!

dsc_0551


Ingredients:

½ Dozen oysters

¼ Onion (minced)

1 cup Japanese mayonnaise

1 tablespoon miso

1 teaspoon butter

Paprika (for garnishing)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the miso and mayonnaise into a smooth paste; set aside.
  3. Heat up butter in a small skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, sauté the minced onion until they turn transparent.
  4. Divide the onion evenly into shells and top off thickly with the miso-mayonnaise mixture, make sure to completely cover everything in the shell with the mixture.
  5. Place oysters in the oven on the top rack and bake for 20-25 minutes. The tops should be a nice dark brown when done.
  6. Remove oysters from the oven, garnish with paprika and serve!

 

Sous Vide Miso Maple Salmon

Happy New Year!

The beginning of a year is always a good time for me to review my resolutions and take stock of what I have done over the past year. In 2016, I ditched Korean fried chicken for the Chairman’s smoked pigeons, feasted on numerous macarons and cupcakes, and let countless meals go cold in the search of photographic perfection. As I loosen my belt and take a look at the culinary fads that flooded my social media feeds in the past year, including superfood sensation (kale chips? really?), sweet-savory creations and an array of pimped up ice-cream sundaes crowned with egglettes, I wonder how many of these gourmet trends can stay in the scene.

2016 was also a year for upgrading my kitchen gadgets- I owned my very first sous vide machine!! Sous vide cooking was developed in the mid–1970s by chef Georges Pralus at the Michelin Three-Star Restaurant, Troisgros, in Roanne (still remember this place?) initially as a means of cooking delicate foie gras. In the last two decades, sous vide cooking has become the secret of top chefs at major restaurants around the world. This alternative method of cooking promises incredibly succulent meats without having to worry about overcooking, charring, timing. Unlike the aforementioned culinary fads, I’m sure this gadget will be something I swear by for the years to come.


Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 12-ounce skinless salmon fillet
  • 1/4 cup miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:

1) Set the water bath to 104ºF (40ºC).

2) Place the salmon in a large zipper lock bag. Add the miso, mirin, and maple syrup. Seal the bag tightly.

3) Place the bag in the water bath and set the timer for 30 minutes.

4) When the timer goes off, gently remove the salmon from the bag and discard any remaining cooking liquid.

5) Heat up oil in a non-stick skillet over high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the salmon and sear until well-browned on top and bottom, about 1 minute total.


 

 

Dutch Baby with Blueberry Compote

I’ve always been amazed by how many different breakfast food you can create using just milk, eggs, and flour; here is one of the more interesting examples.

Oh, did i mention that everything comes together in about 30 blessed minutes?

dsc_0807dsc_0810


Ingredients:

Batter:

3 eggs

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup whole milk (warmed)

1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Blueberry compote:

1.5 cup fresh blueberries

1/4 cup sugar

Grated zest and juice of a lemon

Powdered sugar,for dusting

Vanilla Ice Cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C.
  2. Combine eggs, flour, milk, salt, vanilla extract and sugar until smooth.
  3. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
  4. Place butter in the skillet, as soon as the butter has melted, add batter to the pan.
  5. Transfer the skillet to the pre-heated oven.
  6. Bake pancake until puffed and golden brown all over, about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Lower oven temperature to 150°C and bake five minutes longer. It will deflate as soon as it’s removed from the oven.
  8. Dust pancake generously with powdered sugar and top with 2-3 scoops of vanilla ice cream. Serve with blueberry compote.

For the blueberry compote: Combine the blueberries, sugar, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and zest in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is thick and syrupy, about 10 minutes.


Fettuccine with Black Truffle Cream Sauce

Still trying to process the shock, disgust, horror and anger I get from reading the news, both local and international.

As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t updated my blog/ Facebook for some time. I was, in the past few months, taking some major moves in my career. And I have been working my butt off to adjust to the transitions. In difficult times like this, I am particularly grateful for all the men in my life, who treat women with respect. I grew up getting all the education I needed; my father often reassures me that it is okay for a girl to be smart and ambitious. When I was too tired to cook after work, my husband would just get us takeaways, without the slightest complaint. I have never felt duty-bound to complete all the household chores, I needn’t be the domestic goddess of the house or the new Martha Stewart – I can just be myself!

Cooking has always been a meditating process for me; I feel a sense of tranquility and peace whenever I cook. Tonight, I felt something more – while I cooked, I thought of all the strong women in my life, starting with my mother, all my girlfriends… colleagues… Susan B Anthony… Claudette Colvin… Instead of feeling confined in a box, like many women before my time did, kitchen is a place where my dreams flourish. To me, food is the key to different cultures… Through all the kitchen experiments, I learn to be a person with an open mind.

So, I feel it really personally when I see how women are being demeaned, devalued and degraded publicly, how some leaders rule by intimidation, how they stifle opposing voices and diminish the potential of their citizens… it is just saddening to see how the world is moving backward…

I guess we all need a hearty truffle pasta like this to heal our souls.

dsc_0795


Ingredients:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoons minced garlic

8 ounces fresh fettucine

1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons truffle paste

Truffle shavings

1 tablespoon of salt and 2 tablespoon of olive oil

Directions

  1. Add salt and olive oil to water, bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile cook garlic in butter over low heat.
  3. Add heavy cream and simmer until thickened.
  4. Cook pasta until al dente and add to cream; toss to coat.
  5. Whisk in truffle paste into pasta and remove from heat.
  6. Season with salt and serve with truffle shavings or fresh truffle.

An Edible Roadtrip in California Part II- SF and its excursions

Set along the ocean, with compact network of steep rolling hills and the iconic cable cars, San Francisco is one the most beautiful cities in the United States and the jewel of Northern California. The city is full of history, hip neighbourhoods and a whole lot of eateries…

My heart swoons every time when I see this photo ♥

DSC_0117

San Francisco has long been famous for its sourdough bread, but in the past few years, the city’s more innovative and eclectic bakeries have stolen the spotlight…The trendy white-tiled sweet shop serves up traditional pastries with a twist. They have recently opened their second location in Seoul.

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse: 1042 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

The restaurant offers amazing view of the Bay Bridge but most importantly the food and service do not disappoint too. The sides (mac and cheese!!) are good and not of the usual Titanic size that you encounter at other American steakhouses.

EPIC Steak: 369 The Embarcadero San Francisco, CA 94105

DSC_0201
DSC_0188

The food truck is very easy to miss and trust me, you don’t want to miss this! Hilarious name and even better food. Yum!

The Codmother Fish and Chips: 496 Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94133

Sausalito

Half an hour’s ferry trip from San Francisco, just over the Golden Gate Bridge, is the quiet, scenic city of Sausalito. A popular residential area, this waterside city famously has a large number of striking houseboats.

DSC_0365

DSC_0390

 

Founded in 1937 by Valeriano Jacuzzi, patriarch of the famous hot tub and spa manufacturing family, the winery is one of the largest in the Sonoma Valley, covering several hundred acres. Remember to stop by the Olive Press at the grounds of the vineyard, where you can sample locally pressed oil in interesting flavours, from lime to jalapeño.

Jacuzzi Family Vineyards: 24724 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476

 

A grape that produces one of my favoritefood-friendly wines.

DSC_0279

Californians’ favorite burger. One of the fun things about eating there is that you get to order custom-made food, often at no additional cost! Try out the fries in animal style and the neapolitan shake (mixture of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavored shakes)!

DSC_0401

California is home to some of the most protected, untouched coastlines in America. Pacific Coast Highway is rated as one of the most beautiful drives in the world.


 

An Edible Roadtrip in California Part I-LA and SB

There’s something special about going on a road trip, isn’t there? It screams adventures, great tunes and spontaneity. Some would say it makes the best kind of holiday. So, with my bags packed, playlist created, I knew an American road trip was the way to go…

The term California cuisine arose as a result of culinary movements starting in the 1970s. It emphasized a lot on the non-traditional take on classics, as well as a lot of fusion- involving the freshest ingredients possible. In California, your meals may be served on a simple wood plank set with mismatched cutlery. No fancy china and polished silver in sight, but there is always abundant sunshine, and, the meals are always magnificent. Dusty and down-to earth, Californian food reaps its star power from its authenticity.

I simply appreciated the fresh take on everything I ate in the Golden State, from homemade ice-cream to super fresh seafood and produce… Here are some of my favorites!


Lived up to expectations and I enjoyed strolling around the well presented food stalls and eateries.

The Original Farmers Market: 6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Nothing screams California more than the Venice beach. Best place for people watching.

Friendly staff and nice location as you can watch people walking on the boardwalk while eating, sometime enjoying the street singers.

Figtree’s Cafe : 429 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

Route 66-aka the Mother Road crosses 8 states from Chicago to Los Angeles. The famous route cruises its 90th year this November, driving down it has been one of the items on my bucket list.

So many delicious food choices to satisfy any palette.

Grand Central Market: 9, 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

The beautiful Sterns Wharf, Santa Barbara.

Situated at the end of the wharf, is small enough to make you feel like a local. Food is fresh and delicious. Standing at the end of pier and looking back at the city of Santa Barbara… is a very special moment you will never forget!

They also serve clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (which is a typical San Francisco dish) and pretty decent crab cakes.

Santa Barbara Shellfish Company:230 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93109

Simply the ice cream heaven!! I went there twice within 3 days, they have all these unique flavours but whisky & pecan pralines definitely won my heart.

McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams: 728 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

 

 


Strawberry and Nutella Swirl Bread

Happy Sunday! It’s always tempting to head out for brunch on the weekend, but why not stay in and try these? Coffee refills are free and brunch at home means you don’t have to get changed or put on any make-up.

And if someone ever tells you that you put too much Nutella on your bread, stop talking to them… You don’t need that negativity in your life!


Ingredients

For the dough:

2⁄3 cup lukewarm whole milk

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

0.25-ounce active dry yeast

3 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Filling:

1/2 cup of Nutella or any other chocolate sauce

2 cups fresh berries (sliced fresh strawberries, fresh raspberries, fresh blueberries)

1 large egg, beaten for egg wash

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine warm milk, granulated sugar, and yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup flour, beating at low speed to combine.
  2. Add melted butter and 1⁄2 cup flour, beating until combined. Add eggs, beating to combine. Gradually add salt and remaining 1.5 cups flour, knead to form a soft dough.
  3. Place dough in bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Grease a cast-iron skillet with butter.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 18×16-inch rectangle. Spread with Nutella, leaving a 1⁄2 inch border. Sprinkle generously with berries.
  6. Starting at one long side, roll up dough, pressing seam to seal.
  7. Using a sharp knife, cut the log in half length-wise, leave 1-inch of the edge uncut at the top. The doughy halves are then flipped upward.
  8. Start braiding the two pieces, by carefully lifting the left strand over the right strand. Repeat this motion until you reach the bottom of the dough. Press together to seal.
  9. Join the two ends, creating a circle with the dough and press together.
  10. Transfer the dough ring to the prepared cast iron skillet. Brush the wreath with the beaten egg.
  11. Preheat oven to 180°C. Bake for around 30 minutes (loosely cover with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary), or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool completely.