Ferrero Rocher Cookie

Happy year of the dog everybody!

Chinese New Year is the time when you visit your friends and relatives, very often those you only see during this time of the year, and got “interrogated” by them =.=.  Gift plays an important role in Chinese culture, so you never go empty-handed! If you pay attention to TV commercials enough, you may notice that many of the most popular gift items among Hong Kongers are, interestingly, not Chinese produces. Kjeldsens Cookies, Almond Roca, Sugus, Ferrero Rocher… just to name a few. Ferrero Rocher is particularly popular in Hong Kong for its golden package, a color Chinese people love for it symbolizes wealth.  I’m not a superstitious person, but I do like their creamy, nutella-like centres!

And…. Surprise, surprise! They are equally nice when made into cookies!!


Ingredients (yield 12 pieces):

  • 6 Ferrero Rochers  (freeze them before baking)
  • 1 cup (packed) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼  cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Place the Ferrero Rochers in the freezer until firm, about an hour. Remove from freezer and hit with a hammer in a zip-loc bag a few times until they’re broken into chunky pieces. Put back in the freezer until ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the full egg, then the vanilla, mixing until smooth. Add flour mixture in three parts, stirring until just combined after each addition.
  5. Stir in ½ the Ferrero Rocher pieces. Drop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto prepared baking sheets, spaced 2 inches apart. Place the remaining Ferrero Rocher into the tops of the cookies, pressing them into the dough slightly.
  6. Bake for around 10 minutes until edges are nicely browned. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

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Fluffiest Overnight French Toast

As the year ends, it’s the perfect time to reflect on what you have accomplished and look ahead to your new goals.

Cooking, hoarding recipes, photographing food and, of course, eating, have been my lifelong passions. Two years ago, I started the page << Miss Amateur Chef >>, this has changed my life and taken my obsession with food to a whole new level. The kitchen has always been my place of solace; working in the kitchen, testing recipes bring not only joy but beautiful memories. This little project of mine allowed me to properly document my favorite recipes- which I believe can now live on forever =)

Let’s start the new year with a scrumptious breakfast! This French toast is a real crowd pleaser, it comes out best when you work with thick slices of loaf bread and allow them to soak in the mixture overnight. “Preparation is the key to success”- this applies to cooking and everything else in life. May all our preparation in 2017 make us FIERCE and UNSTOPPABLE in 2018!!!

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Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Beat together egg, milk, salt, cinnamon and vanilla.
  2. Soak slices of bread in mixture overnight, until saturated.
  3. Heat a lightly oiled skillet over medium-high heat, cook bread slices on both sides until golden.
  4. Serve hot with maple syrup and berries.

 

Braised Short Rib with Sautéed Vegetables

So this is Christmas…

We all have a holiday tradition or recipe that we hold so dear and near to our hearts, don’t we? One that we keep making the same way for years and never get bored with. Boeuf bourguignon is one of such dishes for me. Hearty and so packed full of flavour. It is a must in our house in the winter months.

This Christmas I am trying to make an elevated version of beef stew based on Gordon Ramsay’s recipe with a few modifications: cutting down the amount of red wine and adding in extra tomatoes cause I like a little more acidity in the sauce. The vegetables are sautéed instead of adding to the stew at the very beginning so to avoid a soggy texture.

p.s. This is my first time working with pearl onions and they are truly god-sent!

 

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Ingredients:

  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 3 thick-cut meaty beef short ribs
  • Minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 250ml bottle red wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 100g pancetta lardons
  • 6-8 small chestnut mushrooms, trimmed and halved
  • 6-8 pearl onions
  • Carrots (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tomatoes cut in wedges

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.

  2. Season the short ribs thoroughly, then panfry in the dutch oven for 10–15 minutes to brown well on all sides.

  3. Add the minced garlic, pushing it to the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato purée and heat for a minute or two to cook it out. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up the bits at the bottom. Put in tomato wedges.
  4. Bring everything to the boil and cook for 10–15 minutes until the liquid is reduced by half, then add stock to nearly cover the ribs. Bring to the boil again, basting the ribs with the juices.
  5. Put the dutch oven in the preheated oven for 3–4 hours, until the meat is tender and falling away from the bone.
  6. About 10 minutes before the short ribs are ready to come out, peel the pearl onions and boil them for 5 minutes.
  7. At the same time, panfry the pancetta for 2–3 minutes until crisp and golden. Add the mushrooms and carrots, cook for 4–5 minutes until tender. Drain off any excess fat.
  8. When the short ribs are ready, remove from the oven and transfer to a serving dish.  Spoon off any excess fat from the beef cooking liquid.
  9. Serve the short ribs topped with the hot pancetta and mushrooms and the sauce poured around.


 

Gingerbread men

Soft in the centers, crisp on the edges, perfectly spiced =) No holiday cookie platter would be complete without our beloved gingerbread men!


Ingredients (yield 12 pcs):

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  1. Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add golden syrup, egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed.
  3. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Decorate cooled cookies as desired.

 

Crab Cake Benedict with Sriracha Hollandaise Sauce

Trying out something a little outside the box with this Crab Cake Benedict served with a Sriracha Hollandaise sauce. A tribute to Sarabeth’s- one of my favourite breakfast places in New York.

Revisit my authentic homemade crab cakes recipe at:

https://missamateurchef.com/2015/07/11/authentic-homemade-crab-cakes/


Sriracha Hollandaise Sauce

Ingredients:

  •  4   tbsp butter, melted
  •  4   Egg yolks
  •  1   tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  •  1-3   tsp Sriracha
  •  Sea Salt
  •  Freshly ground black pepper
  •  1-2   tbsp water, room temp

Directions:

  1. Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume.
  2. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.
  3. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume.
  4. Remove from heat, whisk in salt paper and sriracha, taste and add more sriracha if desired for more heat.
  5. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the eggs benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.

 


 

Lu Rou Fan- Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice

Lu Rou Fan滷肉飯 (Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice)

Caution: The following recipe is not for the faint of heart!!

Okay, just think of it as Chinese Bolognese meat sauce! Although pork belly is the cut where bacon originates, and is known to be heavy in fat, you’ll find that the Lu Ro, despite flaunting thick layers of fat, is surprisingly not as greasy as you might have imagined. In fact, since the pork is cooked under low heat for an extended amount of time, the amount of fat is somewhat mitigated.

Braising has always been one of my favorite ways to cook meat; it is the best sort of kitchen alchemy- transforming tough cuts of meat into something completely flavorful and tender, and you know what… braised meat tastes even better the next day!


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb skin-on pork belly, cut into 1/2” pieces
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 piece of medium size rock sugar
  • a couple of shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, cut into 1/2” pieces
  • 1/4 cup rice wine
  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1 cups water
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, peeled (optional)

For the spices (wrap everything in the spice packet):

  • 3 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • cumin seeds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 slices fresh ginger

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degree C.
  2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over low heat, add in the sugar. Add the minced shallots when the sugar starts to melt. Turn up the heat to medium high and stir-fry the shallots for a minute.
  3. Add the mushroom pieces and chopped pork belly; stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Pour in the blanched pork, rice wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and water. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add the spices (which should be wrapped in cloth), along with the peeled hardboiled eggs.
  5. Transfer everything to the oven and cook for around 1½ hours.
  6. Once the meat is fall-apart tender, remove the spice packet. Transfer Dutch oven to the stove, cook under medium high heat to thicken the sauce, stir occasionally, for about 5-minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon. Serve over steamed white rice!

 

Mushroom and Chicken Braided Bread

“Good things come to those who bake.”

Sometimes, all you need to do is bake, and that very act will bring you instant peace and happiness. Whether you’re baking a loaf of brioche or whipping up some quick banana bread for breakfast, the joy that fresh, warm bread brings to the table is unlike any other.

Came across this ultra easy pizza dough recipe, calling for only two ingredients- greek yogurt and self-rising flour, on allrecipes.com the other day.  Instead of ordinary pizza, I used it for a more fancy-looking braided bread and I was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out!

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Ingredients

Pizza Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

Filling

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 gloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of mushroom, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1 bowl of chicken cubes (marinated to taste with salt and pepper)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 260 degree C.
  2. Mix flour and Greek yogurt together in a bowl; transfer to a work surface floured with self-rising flour. Knead dough, adding more flour as needed to keep dough from being too sticky, for 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, about 3 mins. Stir in chicken cubes and mushroom. Cook for 5 more minutes, stir occasionally. Remove from heat.
  4. Unroll pizza dough on parchment sheet. Starting at center out, roll dough into 15 x10 -inch rectangle with a rolling pin. Sprinkle cheese over center third of dough. Spoon onion-chicken mixture evenly over cheese.
  5. Make cuts 1 inch apart on both long sides of dough to within 1/2 inch of filling. Alternately cross strips diagonally over filling; turn ends under and press to seal. Brush egg white over top.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes and then cut crosswise into slices and serve!

 

Taiwanese Beef Noodles made with Dutch oven

My go-to recipe for a hearty meal full of braised tender beef, vegetables and plenty of carbssss!

Sluuuurp~


Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds meaty beef short ribs
  • 2 onions
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 3 slices of peeled fresh ginger, smashed
  • 1 bunch scallions, white parts smashed with flat side of a large knife and green parts chopped
  • 1.5 cup Chinese rice wine
  • ¾ cup soy sauce
  • 1 fresh red chile
  • 3 tablespoons of Doubanjiang
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly grinded pepper
  • 2-3 cubes of rock sugar
  • 10 ounces dried Chinese wheat noodles
  • Bok Choy for garnishing

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
  2. Cut onions and tomatoes into wedges, scallions into sections.
  3. Chop short ribs into 3-inch cubes.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the onions, tomatoes, scallions and ginger slices and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned.
  5. Dry the beef cubes with paper towels. Toss into the Dutch oven, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.
  6. Add the soya sauce, water plus Chinese rice wine, just enough to almost cover the meat.
  7. Add the rock sugar, pepper and Doubanjiang , toss in red chili. Bring to a simmer.
  8. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 2.5 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
  9. Serve with noodles and bok choy!

 

A woman’s love affair with doughnuts

There is no doubt that Bostonians love doughnuts. After all, there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts on every other block. The city even has a doughnut named after it (Boston Creme, anyone?). I mean, who can blame them? There’s something special about that fluffy, sugary, fried dough. I am not from Boston, but I’m in no way above the temptation of fried dough goodness. When Krispy Kreme closed all its stores in Hong Kong overnight ten years ago, a part of me was taken away…  Since then I go on a doughnut hunt whenever I’m out of town, independent joints or big chains, I visit them piously, almost like pilgrims.

These local doughnut places in Boston have survived the turf wars with Dunkin’ Donuts, many supported for years by a fiercely loyal clientele… and it’s not hard to tell why!


Union Square Donuts

20 Bow St, Somerville, MA 02143

Brown Butter Hazelnut Crunch is a real show stealer

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Kane’s Donuts

90 Oliver St, Two International Pl, Boston, MA 02110

Great selection of fancy donuts. Go for glazed and creme brûlée if you’re committed to an ultimate sweet tooth experience.

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Twin Donuts

501 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134

Highlight is definitely the inviting neon sign!

Blackbird Doughnuts

South End, 492 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

We all need a confetti doughnut from time to time to celebrate life!

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Red Apple Farm

100 Hanover St, The Boston Public Market, Bostom, MA 02108

An apple a day keeps the doctor away…
So, why not eat your apple in donuts form?

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Flour Bakery

12 Farnsworth St, Boston, MA 02210

Not really a doughnut shop, but the bakery’s renowned sticky sticky bun, especially when fresh out of the oven, mimics the flavours of  a doughnut.

 

Crumbliest Scones

These are essentially British, delicious and simple to make… Get baking and fill your home with the smell of freshly baked scones!

scone illustration

It is no secret that I have always wanted to open my own cafe. And this is the sign that I will put up at the storefront when a batch of scones are hot and ready (Yes! I stole the idea from Kripsy Kreme’s neon sign!!).

scones

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Ingredients (serves 8):

  • Plain flour, for dusting
  • 1.5 cups self-raising flour
  • 40g butter, softened and cubed
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 cup dried fruit, e.g. cranberries/ raisins (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Sift self-raising flour into a large bowl.
  2. Rub butter into flour using your fingertips, until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Make a well in the centre. Add milk and mix until mixture forms a soft dough. Add in dried fruit if any.
  4. Knead gently until smooth (don’t overwork the dough or scones will be tough).
  5. Pat dough into 2cm-thick. Cut out 8 rounds using a 5cm round cutter.
  6. Place scones onto baking tray, 1cm apart. Sprinkle tops with a little plain flour.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and well risen.
  8. Serve warm with jam and cream.