Friday, October 16, 2009
Upon recovering from a flu, my first breath of fresh air made it felt like I have not been under the clear sky for more than a month! The mercury level has fallen over 20 degrees within the past 3 days, and my stomach just aches for something sweet and soothing, and there are very few things that could battle against this enchanted one.
Catching a whiff of the zesty zing as the near boiling milk collides into the golden nectar of ginger, then watching it magically set into a pudding consistency, without the aid of gelatine or eggs, I feel grateful towards the adventurer who discovered the scientific reaction between milk and ginger.
The warm Ginger Milk Pudding (薑汁撞奶) is a Chinese dessert that originated in Panyu Shawan Town of Guangzhou, China, where buffalo's milk is abundant. The mystery behind the coagulating union is the natural protease that exist in fresh ginger. The protease hydrolyses the casein and other milk proteins, causing it to coagulate, a procedure that very much mimicked by the production of cheese. Buffalo's milk is preferred for this dessert as it is much denser in consistency than the bovine version; the naturally high milk proteins content aids the pudding formation. Temperature is also a key, as with other sweets in the making. Since most enzymes are sensitive to heat treatments, the milk must be no more than 80 degrees Celsius as it meets the ginger juice for their first date. Here is how you initiate the romance:
2 cups whole milk
2 tbs fresh ginger juice (first mince the fresh ginger, place it in cheesecloth and extract the juice), 1 tbs in each bowl
2 tbs sugar (can be adjusted to your liking)
You will also need 2 saucier.
1. Heat the milk on high in 1 of the saucier till it simmers
2. Remove from heat, add sugar and stir quickly till dissolved
3. Pour milk from 1 saucier into another, repeat this procedure 5 times to cool down the milk
4. Pour milk into bowls with ginger juice, and allow it to stand for 3 minutes
As an individual with a Chinese heritage and embraces food, cooking and culture, it is almost shameful to admit that I have not yet tried dishes with a Southern flare.
A fellow foodie Kahakai Kitchen has recently posted a cookbook review on "My New Orleans The Cookbook" by Chef John Besh. It was insightful about the flavour combinations, and I was most intrigued by her intuition with personal touches to the recipes. It is a must to check out this book when it hits the shelfs, and enter an adventure with the Southern hospitality of my own.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Recipe for the classic Hong Kong dessert: "Willow Branches of Aquarius - 楊枝甘露" Sweet soup with Mangoes, Pomeloes, Sago and Coconut Milk....
A follow-up on a related post:
6 Fresh Mangoes - remove skin and stone, or approximate 6 cups of thawed frozen mangoes
1/2 Pomelo - remove rind, membrane and seeds
1 can Coconut Milk (can be substituted with low-fat version)
50mL half and half (optional if conscious of fat intake)
200g Rock Sugar (can be adjusted to your taste, and the sweetness of mangoes)
1. Bring rock sugar and water to a boil
2. Reduce heat to medium and add sago. Stir occasionally and cook the sago until they turn half transparent (each sago should still have a bit of white at the core)
3. Add coconut milk to the sago mixture and remove it from heat and allow it to cool to room temperature
4. Puree half of the mangoes, and cut the remaining into bite size pieces
5. Shred the flesh of pomelo by hand into the width of a chopstick
6. Add mango puree, mango chunks, and pomelo pieces into the sago coconut milk mixture
7. Chill the sweet soup prior serving.
Monday, October 12, 2009
une recette, deux plaisirs délectables! Featuring the marriage between Nature's Pride and Fall Flavours....
A short drive down to Providence R.I. was a scenic treasure saturated with Autumn colours, a mesmerising sight against the heavy traffic. As the weather cools and we begin to layer ourselves with sweaters and scarfs, there is nothing better than waking up on a lazy weekend, with the kitchen filled with harvest aromas.
Nothing speaks more to the Fall weather than the scent of pumpkin, and the inspiration from the colour of Autumn leaves led to a recipe that brings the perfect union between french toast and this orange gourd-like squash. The fluffy cloud texture of french toasts topped with a homemade crunchy Pumpkin Spiced Butter will deliver a harmony on your palate.
If the image of this delectable "Harvest Toast" doesn't inspire you to try this recipe, well I will let slip of this little secret. For those who often stack away the ends of bread in your freezers, or worse, in our landfields, all it takes is just adding one extra ingredient to this Harvest Toast recipe (plus baking time) and your cookie jars will be visited often by your cookie monsters, devouring the treats within!
~ Recipes ~
12 slices of Nature's Pride bread (works great with both the Hearty and Soft Breads)
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
Juice and zest of 1 medium orange, (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter - for searing toasts
1/2 cup whole pecans
Pumpkin Spiced Butter - see recipe below
Pure maple syrup
Ginger ice cream
1. Whisk together eggs, milk, juice, vanilla, sugar, zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl; set aside
2. Spread a thin layer of Pumpkin Spiced Butter (see recipe below) between 2 slices of bread to form 6 sandwiches
3. Place sandwiches in a shallow baking dish large enough to hold in a single layer. Pour egg mixture over sandwiches and allow them to marinate until they are soaked through
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
5. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Fry 2 sandwiches at a time until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a foiled baking sheet large enough to hold all sandwiches in a single layer. Wipe skillet, and repeat with remaining butter and sandwiches
6. Evenly spread the remaining Pumpkin Spiced Butter over the 6 sandwiches. Sprinkle with whole pecans and place it in the 400 degrees oven for 3-5 minutes or until the butter turns golden brown and crispy
7. Serve the toasts with a generous sprinkling of dried cranberries, drizzle with pure maple syrup and dust with powdered sugar for an elegant finish. This toast is also delightful with a scoop of ginger ice cream as an after dinner treat.
Pumpkin Spiced Butter Recipe:
80g unsalted butter - soften
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
120g unsweetened desiccated coconut
40g almond powder
200g pumpkin butter
1/2 ts pumpkin pie spices
1. Cream butter and sugar in mixer until light and fluffy
2. Scrape down the side of the mixing bowl with a spatula and add eggs while mixer is on low, one at a time, until completely incorporated
3. Scrape down the sides again and mix in the pumpkin butter and pumpkin pie spices
4. Add coconut and almond powder and allow to mix until incorporated
"Harvest Toast - The Cookie Monster Version"
1 batch of Pumpkin Spiced Butter
1 1/2 cup simple sugar syrup (250g sugar dissolved in 250g water)
10 end slices of Nature's Pride Bread* - cut into 8 triangular pieces
(*regular slices also works, works great with both the Hearty and Soft Breads)
1 cup whole pecans - chopped
Powdered sugar for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Quickly dip the bread pieces into sugar syrup and squeeze out excess. Please pieces on a foiled baking sheets in a single layer
3. Spread the Pumpkin Spiced Butter on the soaked bread pieces, about 1/8" thick
4. Sprinkle chopped pecan over the buttered bread pieces. Gently press the pecan pieces into the Pumpkin Spiced Butter
5. Bake the cookies at the 350 degrees oven for 15 minutes or until just slightly golden. Rotate baking sheets half way through baking
6. Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and allow the cookies to dry out in oven for 4-6 hours or overnight
7. Store cookies in your cookie jars or an air-tight container. They can be stored for up to 2 weeks.