Monday, November 7, 2011

Life is merrier with whole grains....Whole Grain Fig and Raspberry Bars~!

My fellow nutrition students have inspired this recipe with a discussion on whole grains and the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Please check out the Whole Grain Council for more information on the health benefits of whole grains, and how to identify the "TRUE" whole grain products!

Whole Grain Fig and Raspberry Bar
makes 16 bar cookies

1 cup whole grain flour
1 1/2 cup old fashioned (large flake) oats
1/8 cup flax seeds
1/8 cup wheat germ
1 t baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/8 cup granulated sugar
4 oz (1 sticks) cold butter
2 oz canola oil
1/2 cup black mission fig preserve
1/2 cup raspberry preserve
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Lightly grease an 8” square pan and line with a piece of parchment paper to cover all sides

3. Combine the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and both sugars in the bowl of a food processor. Process until ingredients are combined and the oats are chopped a bit but not ground completely.

4. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and add to the dry ingredients along with the vanilla. Pulse until the mixture starts to clump. It should remain a bit loose but hold together when pinched.

5. Transfer the above mixture into a large bowl, and stir in flax seed, wheat germ and canola oil until uniform

6. Press about 2/3 of the oatmeal mixture into the prepared pan to form the bottom layer. Distribute the chopped chocolate evenly across the surface. Pour the fig mixture over the chocolate and spread gently. Top with the remaining oatmeal mixture.

7. Press the chopped walnuts gently into the surface.

8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until slightly browned. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into bars

Bon Appetit~!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Get "nutted" up for the cool breeze of Autumn....Black Sesame Cupcakes with Ginger Glaze and Toasted Coconut Flakes~!

To some, black sesame and sweets might be an odd pair, but it is truly a flavour that is close to many Asian's hearts..especially during those unexpectedly windy Autumn evenings, there is nothing better than a bowl of lusciously fragrant black sesame soup that would send comforting warmth from within..

~ Black Sesame Cupcakes with Ginger Glaze and Toasted Coconut Flakes ~

makes 12


3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 cup ground black sesame
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup black sesame butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
4 large egg whites
Ginger preserve
Coconut flakes, toasted for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup muffin pans with liners; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground black sesame, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and 3/4 cup of sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk until just combined.

5. In the clean bowl, beat egg whites and gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Gently fold 1/3 of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining egg-white mixture.

6. Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each up to 3/4 full. Bake until the cupcakes are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

7. Spread thinly the ginger preserve, and decorate with toasted coconut flakes.

Bon Appetit~!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A forbidden crime for an enthusiastic cook..Exploring the "attractiveness" of frozen entree!

It is almost "sinful" to admit that I have opted in to try something frozen and pre-made for my dinner, but with the constant expansion of such complex concotions, I couldn't tame my growing curiosity..

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I tried the new Birds Eye Voila Garlic Shrimp pasta, and it was a decent surprise. Having the shrimp frozen in their raw state kept them from being overcooked, and the pasta maintained al dente. Lucious corn kernels, though limited, gave the dish a fresh sweetness, however, the generic oily sauce is certainly in need of improvements!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Infuse a little fragrance into a ganache tart for celebration....Saffron Ganache Tarte with caramelized nuts!

A friend's graduation/summer celebrations always deserve some extra jazz! Among those glistening jewels of caramelized hazelnuts and pecans that dressed a tart with flaky buttery crust, your friends will be dazzled by a molten rich ganache that excites your olfactory nerves with lingering perfume.

~ Saffron Ganache Tarte with caramelized nuts ~


Pre-baked homemade French pate sucree tart shells, glaze the interior with melted chocolate
Caramelized nuts (a combination of your favourite nuts..hazelnuts, pecans, almonds!)
Saffron chocolate ganache:
6 oz dark chocolate (66% to 72% cacao), chopped
1 tbs honey
1 cup heavy cream
1 generous pinch of good quality saffron

1. In a medium bowl, combine the chopped chocolate and honey. Set a fine strainer over the bowl.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium-high heat until simmer. Add saffron and allow it to seep for 5 minutes. Pour the cream through the strainer into the chocolate mixture. Use a rubber spatula and gently stir the cream into chocolate with minimal agitation until the chocolate melts.

3. Pour the cooled ganache mixture into glazed tart shells, allow the ganache to set in refrigerator before decorate the tarts with caramelized nuts.

Bon Appetit~!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Inspired by a friend's favourite snack..Honey Chèvre Ice Cream with Sesame....

Crumbly, creamy with an attractive tangy palette, Chèvre has made frequent appearances my summer dishes. With this heavenly versatile fromage, my dear friend created her favourite snack for a twins baby shower..Chèvre ornamented with golden honey and fragrant toasted walnuts.

With the delicate balance between the fragrant sweetness of honey and the unique tartness of mature Chèvre that linger in a nutty afternote, wouldn't it be perfect to translating this experience into a dessert perfect for the humid hot summer!

~ Honey Chèvre Ice Cream with Sesame ~


1 pint of homemade vanilla bean ice cream
5oz Chèvre
3 tbs honey
6 tbs toasted white sesame seeds, pulse in grinder into a fine powder

1. Combine the Chèvre, honey and sesame powder into a smooth paste.
2. Add this mixture into the homemade vanilla bean ice cream as it is half way through its churning process.
3. Freeze until it is completely firm.
4. Serve with drizzle of honey, or with toasted walnuts!

Bon Appetit!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The perfect "Geraish" brought together friendships and great conversations....

There is certainly no questions that great friendship and conversation can be built upon a delightful meal, but with items made by one with such true passion, this event deserves an album documentation =)

Geraish '11 / Ge•raish / قريش / Brunch!

Apart from the modern chic plating, each of the items was a perfect marriage of ethnic spices on a Western canvas. From falafel sliders to cinnamon waffles with pistachio sauce, every single bite hid a delightful surprise! A "Spiced" dessert party is now in the making....thanks to my talented insightful friend =D

This post is part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program for KODAK Gallery.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Recipe: Maple Pecan Coffee Cake

Recipe for the "failed" attempt of Maple Pecan Coffee Cake as promised, though rather belated....

Makes 8-10 servings


For the Cake Batter:
1/2 cup (1 stick/4 oz/113g) butter
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole milk

For Maple Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup (1 stick/4 oz/113g) butter
4 tbsp. maple syrup
1 cup coarsely chopped or whole pecans, roasted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees oF. Lightly grease a 10 or 11-inch springform pan or a 10 or 11-inch removable bottom cake pan.

2. Sift the dry ingredients and set it aside.

3. With an electric mixer on medium high speed, blend butter with cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Blend in eggs, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and salt.

4. Fold in the dry ingredients and the milk in 3 alternate additions. Set aside.

5. For the maple topping, combine all topping ingredients, except pecans. Cut in butter until particles are fine. Spoon the topping mixture over cake batter. Sprinkle pecans over topping.

6. Place cake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

Bon Appetit~!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A failed attempt came with a hidden surprise....

There is nothing better than to spend a lazy Saturday "late" morning in a breezy kitchen, executing a new coffee cake recipe! But with the wrong baking pan in hand, and a cake that escaped the oven mimicking the depression of a volcano, I was pleasantly surprised that the fluffy centre of this failed attempt has selfishly abducted the identity of the supposedly crusty surface, and served as its gooey sticky toffee pudding-like interior!

Will be tasting this warm with Madagascan vanilla bean gelato....verdict and recipes will be posted next~!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The delicate bouquet of Vouvray gives magic to a simple poached pear custard tart....

I guess infusing my favourite beverages with desserts has given me inspirations! Although Earl Grey still tops the exclusive list, the complex yet delicate bouquet of Vouvray, and the high acidity from Chenin Blanc makes it the perfect complement for the luscious yet velvety Anjou pears.

Located in the Touraine district of France's Loire Valley, this Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) is dedicated almost exclusively to Chenin blanc, a variety known locally as Pineau de la Loire that is believed to have been originated interestingly in the Anjou wine region sometime in the 9th century. A wine pairing dinner featured 4 wines from Loire Valley has drawn my attention in the potential marriage with desserts, where the notes of honey, nuts, ginger, fig, apples and white flowers can be innocently exhibited.

~ Vouvray poached Anjou pears ~

1 bottle of your favourite Vouvray
4 Anjou pears - firm but with slight give, peeled and cored but leaving the stem intact.
6 tablespoons of organic cane sugar
1 pinch of salt
*avoid using vanilla bean for this recipe to preserve the bouquet of the Vouvray

1. In a deep stainless steel pot (should be large enough to stand all 4 pears, and deep enough that enough wine can be added to cover the pears completely), add wine, sugar and salt and bring it to a simmer.

2. Add the pears and ensure all parts are submerged in the wine, simmer very gently in the wine for 40 minutes, or until the flesh have been soften but not breaking.

3. Gently remove the pears onto a plate to cool.

4. Strain the poaching liquid; return the liquid to cleaned pot and reduce it on high heat to 1/4 of its original volume, or until it becomes a consistency between maple syrup and honey.

5. Serve the pears with the reduced syrup, or to top a luscious custard tart!

Bon Appetit~!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Squash for all seasons! A raw/Asian take on the golden, lucious, butternut squash....

Hearty yet refreshing seems to be an odd flavour combination, but with the humble butternut squash in its most simplistic state, Mark Bittman has successfully translated this flavour profile with zero stove/oven time!

As this golden fleshed squash made its rare entry into my kitchen, I timidly approached with a vegetable peeler. Their first tough encounter gave me doubts on the prospects of this dish, but one snap-sounding bite was enough to shatter my hesitations. The distinct flavour and strong personality of this squash was well balanced by its natural sweetness; its pillow-tender interior was smartly enclosed by a refreshing crunchy coat. I was inspired to inject an Asian twist to this not-so-Asian vegetable.

~ Fresh Butternut Squash Salad with Israeli Couscous ~

1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded and grated (I made ribbons with a vegetable peeler)

2 tbs sesame seed oil

2 tbs pomegranate syrup (this can be replaced with balsamic vinegar)

1 lb package Israeli couscous - cooked with water or chicken stock

4 cloves garlic, smashed

2 tbs Toasted sesame seeds

2 tbs Toasted sesame seed oil

2-3 tbs Szechuan Chili Bean Paste

1 tsp Szechuan peppercorn

3-4 tbs Chinese chicken marinate sauce (this is vegan)

1 tsp sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Toasted pumpkin seeds and candied pecan for decoration

1. Gently toss the butternut squash ribbons in 2 tbs of toasted sesame oil and pomegranate syrup. Set it aside in a large salad bowl.

2. In a 4-6 quart pot, heat the toasted sesame seed oil in medium heat, stir in the Israeli couscous and allow it to toast for 2 minutes, turn the heat to high then add the amount of liquid as instructed on the package (water or chicken stock). Cover and allow it to come to a rapid boil.

3. Reduce heat so the mixture returns to a simmer. Stir occasionally with spoon and cook until the Israeli couscous has absorbed all the cooking liquid and has become al-dente.

4. Stir in the marinate sauce and chili bean paste and allow the couscous to absorb the sauce for about 1-2 minutes.

5. Remove from heat and stir in the toasted sesame seeds. Allow the couscous to cool completely to room temperature.

6. Lay the cooled couscous over the butternut squash ribbons, and dress with toasted pumpkin seeds and candied pecans.

Bon Appetit~!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Little Omega-3 to Celebrate the First Home-cooked Meal of the Palindromic 2011....

In celebrating the arrival of the palindromic 2011, I have decided to give myself an omega-3 boost by making a Thai Tom Yum sesame-crusted Ahi tuna, with stir-fried napa.

No supplements involved! I don't think there is a greater pleasure to nurture both your taste buds and your body than a simple and savoury dish..the keys to the simple part are a non-stick, and sesame seeds!

..leaving the benefits of omega-3 in the next entry =)

~ Thai Tom Yum Sesame-crusted Ahi Tuna ~

2 tbs Sesame seeds
1 tsp Ground ginger (ground galangal was used here)
1 pinch of sugar
~6 oz Tuna steak (best to be sushi grade)
1 tbs Thai Tom Yum paste (this can be replaced with other flavours to your taste, such as curry or chili bean paste)
1 tbs Canola oil
1 tbs Sesame oil
salt and fresh grounded pepper to taste

1. Towel-dried the tuna steak (at room temperature), and rub the paste on all sides
2. Combine the sesame seeds, ground ginger, few grinds of pepper and sugar in a plate
3. Firmly press the sesame seeds mixture onto all sides of tuna
4. Place the oils in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, sear the tuna for 2 minutes per side, to create a nice crust, but still reddish pink in the centre
5. Serve with stir-fried napa cabbage (here I simply placed chopped napa into the same pan used to cook the tuna, so the vegetable could pick up all the residual sucs, similar to deglazing the pan with wine)

Bon Appetit~!


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