Cod en Papillote with Tomatoes and Olives

The name of the dish sounds a lot more fancy than it actually is—ingredients are simply wrapped into a paper parcel and then baked.

En papillote translates to “in parchment.”  When ingredients such as fish, seafood and vegetables are sealed in a parchment paper parcel with herbs or other seasonings, it creates an aromatic, moist heat where the protein cooks in its own juice as well as the essences from other ingredients.

Ummm… So easy and so delicious!
The only thing to remember is to seal your parcel well, so that none of the delicious juices can escape!

Ingredients:

    • Parchment paper
    • 2 cod fillets
    • 2 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
    • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
    • 6 large, pitted olives
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 teaspoons dry white wine
    • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
    • 2 fresh thyme sprigs

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 240°C
  2. Place the fish fillet on the parchment. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a small skillet, warm 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Sauté sliced garlic until golden.
  4. Remove skillet from heat; stir in tomatoes and olives. Divide tomato mixture among fish.
  5. Top fillets with wine, butter and thyme sprigs.
  6. Bring the edges of the baking paper together and fold over twice to enclose. Twist and tighten both sides with string to form a sealed parcel.
  7. The parcel should look like a giant sweet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

 

Lemon Blueberry Loaf Cake

Moist, flavorful and delicious- a classic combo that everyone loves!

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Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 cups self-rising flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup canola oil

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs (at room temperature)

1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup plain Greek yogurt, room temperature

lemon zest and juice from 1 lemon

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

Lemon glaze

•2 Tablespoons butter, melted

•1/2 cup powdered sugar

•2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

•1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180deg C and slightly grease a 9″x 5″ loaf pan with butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Set aside.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients using a spatula just until smooth. Be careful not to over-mix.
  4. Toss fresh blueberries together with one tablespoon of flour.  This flour coating will help prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of your loaf while baking.
  5. Add the flour coated berries to the batter and fold gently to combine.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  7. Cool bread in the pan for about 20 minutes, then move to a wire cooling rack with a baking sheet below (to catch the glaze you’re about to add).
  8. Prepare glaze by simply whisking together the melted butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla; then pour glaze over the loaf.  Allow to set a few minutes.

 

Crumbliest Scones

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

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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.

Rustic New York Style Cheesecake

 

Phew! I survived another V-day! Never have been a big fan of this “Hallmark holiday”, I sometimes like to think of myself as a Valentine’s day scrooge with a secret desire to ruin everyone else’s best laid plans (like booking every other seat in the cinema so couples can’t sit together!!). That being said, I think romance and love and caring and all those gushy sweet feelings we have for others should be celebrated every day… Why not start doing so by making this cheesecake for your loved ones?

Because a piece of classic New York cheesecake- likes any great love, never goes out of style. ❤

p.s. I like to have mine looking all rustic, cracked and glorious… but do feel free to add any toppings you like!

Yield an 8-inch cake (3 inches in height)

Ingredients:

Crust-

16 digestive crackers, crushed  

3 tablespoons butter, melted  

Filling-

3.5 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese  

1 1/4 cups white sugar

3/4 cup milk

4 eggs

1 cup plain yogurt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract  

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

1.      Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 8-inch pan.

2.      In a medium bowl, mix digestive cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of pan.

3.      In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar with hand mixer until smooth. Blend in milk, and then add in the eggs (one at a time), mix until just incorporated.

4.      Add in plain yogurt, vanilla and flour, mix until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.

5.      Bake in preheated oven for 50min. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 2 hours to prevent cracking.

6.      Sprinkle icing sugar on top. Chill in refrigerator until serving.


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

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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

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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

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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

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Fruit always tastes better when you pick it yourself!!

Sorell Fruit Farm: 174 Pawleena Rd, Sorell TAS 7172

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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

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My favorite hotcakes in the whole wide world. Period.

bills: 359 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010

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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

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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

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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!

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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?

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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.